One of my mentors, many years ago, told me that it was easy to gather a crowd or to have a circus but difficult to build a church. That has proven to be true in my life and ministry many times over the 30 years since I first heard it.
many Charismatics and Pentecostal-type Christians today have been gripped by a potential fatal disease: “miraculitis.” Like the children of Israel, we have seen God’s mighty acts but have not learned His ways (Psalm 103:7). We have received the message of the resurrection and Pentecost but have somehow bypassed the message of the cross: denying ourselves.
Christians infected by miraculitis do indeed look spiritual when they lift up their hands in worship, but don’t dare challenge them about their selfishness, pride, and lack of accountability to other Christians. And don’t risk offending them by mentioning your concern about their worldly lifestyles or habits of attending meetings only when convenient. Likewise, you will probably be disappointed if you expect them to give back to God even a tenth of their income, for this isn’t the ral church – it’s merely an audience.
God not only wants to do miracles among us, He wants to show us more miracles than we have ever seen before. But He doesn’t want us to live on miracles alone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had the right idea about expecting God’s supernatural intervention. They told King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was able to save them from the fiery furnace, but they were committed to serve Him even if He DIDN’T do a miracle and rescue them. Their hope was in The Lord Himself, not just in getting what they wanted.
Christians and Christian leaders today should be wary concerning the fickleness of miracle-seeking multitudes. Jesus preached to the crowds, but He entrusted Himself to only a few. The reason He was careful about entrusting Himself to people was “He knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). He knew that the multitudes could change directions as quickly as the wind, as they later did in the few days between shouting “hosanna” and then “crucify Him.”
Paul, an apostle, felt the brunt of a miraculitis crowd when preaching in Lystra (Acts 14:8-20). After dramatically healing a lame man, Paul and Barnabas had to rebuke the crowds for worshipping them as gods. Yet, only a short time later, the same people turned around and stronded Paul. The “worshippers” had changed their minds!