Awesome Signs – Part Seven

Along with signs and wonders the disciples walked daily in the fear of God. Members of the church had seen a demonstration of what it means to lie to the Holy Spirit. Frequent signs and wonders imposed an awesome reverence for God on the entire church. This fear “came upon every soul” (Acts 2:43). The word came is in the imperfect tense and denotes a continual, abiding, long-lasting, on-going sense of awe.

Supernatural signs put the fear of the Lord not only on the New Testament Church, but also on those outside the Church. One commentary states, “the non-Christian population felt a certain apprehension over against a group in whose midst supernatural events were taking place.”

Luke refers to the fear of the Lord in the New Testament Church many times throughout Acts. 

Acts 5:11 “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.”

Acts 9:31 “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

Acts 19:17 “And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.”

Fear can be healthy depending on the subject and the motivation for it. Fear keeps people from getting too close to the cliff’s edge. It keeps them from sticking their hands in hot fire. It keeps them from becoming reckless. The fear of God brings positive benefits.

Proverbs 14:26-27 “In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

Psalm 34:9 “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!”

The fear of God is an awesome reverence and respect toward God, knowing He is totally righteous and full of mercy and truth; He compensates and rewards the obedient in faith; and He judges, chastens, and punishes the disobedient in faith.

A person’s fears become dominant in their life. The heart that fears the Lord is submitted to Him. The fear of the Lord shapes a God-centered way of life that acknowledges Him in all ways. A person who is aware of the presence of God and has a holy fear of Him allows no room for compromise or neutrality with sin and evil conduct.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate.”

A healthy fear keeps Christians from being self-assertive, proud, and boastful. It continually reminds them that they will give an account to God for their actions and words. Because of the fear of the Lord, they treat their fellow man decently. It restrains them from giving in to their base nature and keeps them from going to extremes. 

Solomon was known as the wisest man on earth. At the end of his life his conclusion was: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). That summarized it for Solomon because he knew, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:14). In the end, every secret thing will be judged by a righteous God.

Believers need to be sure they fear God, not someone or something else. For instance, the Bible says not to fear false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22), or the face of man (Proverbs 29:25), or man-made religion (Isaiah 29:13). Many who lead people astray using fear as one of their tools. They appeal to people’s fears while pushing false doctrine, or they use fear of violence to dominate others’ lives.

Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”

All such fear is man-centered and self-centered, motivated by self-preservation and self-defence. The fear of the Lord is God-centered and motivated by true knowledge of Him, true love for Him, and commitment to do His will.

In a believer’s desire to see the blessing of God and to see the promise of God fulfilled in their life, they must not be at the center of their own life, goals, and desires. When the focus of a Christian’s faith and prayers is “God bless me, and give to me, and meet my needs, and be nice to me, me, me, me,” then their primary concern is not for God’s honour and glory but for their own benefit. To a degree they are not living in the fear of the Lord!

That does not mean God God does not want to bless them. It means that only those who fear the Lord and put Him first experience His real blessing. So, the local church needs to maintain essential teachings on the healthy fear of God.

As Spirit-filled believers, we claim to want to rediscover the life and pattern of the New Testament Church and so see awesome signs and wonders. But I am concerned that the absence of one of its most essential characteristics – the fear of God – will keep us from experiencing awesome signs and wonders. We know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We have learned to have liberty in the prescience of the Lord. We have experienced the moving of the Holy Spirit and the joy He gives, but too often our motivation is to get whatever we can from the Lord when are in His presence. This is a deficient attitude. It produces a careless lifestyle. Some, in the past, have called it “sloppy agape”. 

The fear of the Lord should impact every aspect of a person’s life. An ever-increasing wisdom will provide new insight into handling life’s difficulties. And, most of all, relationships with others will be conducted from God’s point of view.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

When the entire local Christian community is guided by the fear of the Lord, people will be transformed and will show forth the love and glory of God. This in itself will be another awesome sign. All onlookers will see a demonstration of God’s nature in practical everyday living, and when Christian love one another, the world will believe. 

Awesome Signs – Part Six

The nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, are the basic supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. They are direct manifestations given to born again, Spirit-filled (Baptized in the Holy Spirit) believers who are true disciples of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 “For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”

God may equip everyone by personality, temperament, and motivations to match the gifts He gives them, yet the function of gifts goes beyond the personality and ability of people. The Holy Spirit’s supernatural influence makes the gifts operate.

Paul describes the proper attitude believers should have toward the gifts of the Spirit:

      • Be knowledgable. Christians are not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. They need to think through what these manifestations of the Spirit are and how they are to be used. Each believer also should consider how he can be used to express them

1 Corinthians 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.”

      • Recognize your own gift(s). Each believer has the potential to function is at least one gift. They receive it for the good of the entire church, not for their own gratification or profit.

1 Corinthians 12:7 “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

All believers have the Holy Spirit operating in them. All have the ability to move in the supernatural “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills? (1 Corinthians 12:11).

      • Desire the gifts needed in a particular church. A Christian’s motivation should be love and a desire to serve and bless others. If love is weak, the gifts will not edify or have their full effect. The Fruit of the Spirit — love — endows gifts with full authority and power to minister grace to others.

1 Corinthians 12:31 “But earnestly desire the higher (best) gifts.”

      • Stir up the gifts. Believers should not neglect their gifts but stir them up. Saints are stewards over the gifts.

2 Timothy 1:6 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…” (ESV)

NKJV “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

      • Guard against misuse and abuse. Once God gives a gift, it will not be withdrawn or recalled.

Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

To avoid misuse or abuse of the gifts, they must remain submitted to the written Word of God. A person may be convinced they have a revelation or a word from the Lord, but if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, it must not be accepted. The church’s only safeguard from delusion is to stay within the boundaries of objective, revealed truth from the Bible.

1 Corinthians 14:37 “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”

Leaders of local churches also oversee the operation of the gifts. The fact that gifts are spiritual does not mean they cannot be ordered, guided, and judged. God knows the potential for human error always exists, and He has provided for its restraint and correction.

1 Corinthians 14:29 “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.”

Operation of the gifts requires cooperation from yielded Christians; however, human vessels do not become puppets, act unconsciously, or go into trances.

1 Corinthians 14:32 “… and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”

Believers actively cooperate with the Spirit. They participate intelligently and voluntarily. They are not in an ecstatic, euphoric stupor when the Spirit moves. 

By faith and by an act of the will, Christians obey the Spirit’s prompting to put themselves in positions where the Holy Spirit can use them and manifest Himself through them. 

Romans 6:13b “… present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”

It is time Christians begin to believe the Lord for more regular, normal manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit in the church. The Lord has purposed to work supernaturally through His supernatural people this way.  

Awesome Signs – Part Five

Jerusalem Christian sought miracles with faith and proper motives. They were  not seeking money (Acts 8:18), a demonstration of human power (Acts 14:11-15), or a hypocritical ritual (Acts 19:13-16). Miracles happened as believers tapped into the mind of the Lord, walked in it, and acted in faith — not presumption. 

In fact, 1 Samuel 15:23 warns against the sin of presumption. 

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and the sin of presumption is like the evil of idolatry.”

The Purpose of Miracles:

The purpose of miracles are as follows:

1> The deliverance and preservation of God’s people based on His love and compassion for them.

Ten times the Gospels say Jesus was moved with compassion (pity). Miracles testify to God’s love and caring relationship with His people

Mark 1:41 “Moved with pity (compassion), he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’”

2> The encouragement of real faith, in believers and unbelievers.

The manifested power of God always causes people to stand in awe and have a healthy fear of God. Faith is sometimes built upon this kind of experimental knowledge, people literally experiencing the power of God in real life.

Acts 5:11 “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” 

3> Miracles validated Jesus’s message and His identity.

John 14:11 “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

4> Miracles accompany evangelism and the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Miracles are part of the Great Commission.

Mark 16:17-20 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”

Romans 15:18-19 “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ…”

Dunamis (power) is given to dynamite people in the Kingdom of God. Those who are not passive. When men believe the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom and see miracles, the Father is glorified in and through the Son.

Signs and wonders have not ceased or disappeared from the Church. The Word still needs confirming. Society still needs to know that the Kingdom of God has come, and the members of the Church have an ongoing need to see the demonstration of God’s power. Signs and wonders are basic elements of Church life. 

Awesome Signs – Part Four

In times of revival, the Holy Spirit renews supernatural and miraculous manifestations in the Church. Then the Word of the Lord comes and clarifies the meaning and purpose of the miracles. The Word restores he Church and enables it to fulfill its mission in the present generation by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Miraculous works of God occur internally and externally. The greatest miracle takes place internally as the Lord changes the hearts of men and forms the image of Christ in them. The power of God works to strengthen Christians to carry out the mission He has given them.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”

Colossians 1:11 “… being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”

Externally, miraculous signs and wonders of God confirm the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, making the message more persuasive. The external working of God’s power always serves the harvest.

Mark 16:20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The obedience of man combines with the will of God to produce miracles. Only God in heaven initiates miracles, but they become reality as believers cooperate with heaven by faith. The sequence of events appears as follows:

1> Hearing the Word of God 

When believers have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, they can respond obediently to the Word and see the grace and power of God released to do His will.

Acts 9:17-18 “So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized…”

2> Believing the Word

When believers hear the Word, they must receive it and be willing to act upon it, no matter how silly that might think it looks. 

Acts 14:8-10 “Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he sprang up and began walking.”

3> Speaking the Word

God’s power flows through His Word (see Genesis 1:2). Whenever God desires to perform a miracle, He seeks an instrument through which He can speak or articulate His Word. With the speaking of the Word, power is released.

Acts 3:6-8 “But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”

4> Acting on the Word

An action must correspond to the Word. A step of faith begins the process of seeing God’s sovereign will accomplished

Acts 27:22-25, 31-32 “Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told … Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.”

More next time

Awesome Signs – Part Three

The truth and dynamics of the New Testament Church are being restored, including the working of miracles and sign and wonders. A miracle is a supernatural event that breaks into the natural. It is the spiritual breaking into the natural or the material world. 

One Greek word translated miracle is dunamis. This word is used 113 times in the New Testament. It means inherent power or the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. It refers to God’s energy, power, ability, influence, wealth, or might. It is translated power(s) 77 times; mighty or mightily, 13 times; miracle(s), 8 times; strength, 7 times; virtue, 3 times; ability, 1 time; and abundance, 1 time.

The New Testament Church carried on its mission in the power of the Holy Spirit. This pattern will continue until the second coming of Christ, according to the Bible. Spiritual power will increase greatly before the Lord’s second advent. The Church will move in great power, and so will the domaine of darkness. Therefore, believers will need to distinguish God’s miracles from other miracles. People attracted to spiritual power just for the sake of power open themselves to delusion or deception.

Key passages using dunamis include:

Revelation 11:6 “They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.”

2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders…”

Another important word pertaining to miracles is the Greek word semeion. It refers to a distinguishing mark by which something is known or a visual sign by which something is recognized. It is used 61 times in the New Testament. It is translated as sign(s) 34 times; miracle(s), 22 times; wonder(s) 3 times; token, 1 time; and tare, 1 time. 

John uses semeion in his Gospel to refer to miracles that are signs of Christ or that reveal something about Christ’s nature. For John, miracles always pointed to something about Jesus as King or about His Kingdom.

John 6:14 “When the people saw the sign that he (Jesus) had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

John 12:18 “The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he Jesus) had done this sign.”

Signs never are an end in themselves. They are signposts, prophetic markers, or supernatural revelations of something beyond themselves. In the New Testament they were signs that the Kingdom of God has come, For example:

      • Jesus turned the water into wine (John 2:1-11) and then cleansed the temple (2:12-25), demonstrating that the New Covenant era had come.
      • Jesus fed the 5,000 (John 6:1-15) and then revealed Himself as the Bread of Life (6:25-59).
      • Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9:1-7) and revealed Himself as the Light of the World (9:5).
      • Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44) and revealed Himself as the Resurrection and the Life (11:25).

People who sought miraculous signs as an end in themselves were condemned by the Lord. They sought miracles for self-centered reasons or for personal blessing. Bored religious people even sought signs for entertainment.

A third Greek word referring to the miraculous is Ergon. It refers to a deed, action, or accomplishment. It describes something brought into being by work. It is used 177 times in the New Testament and his usually translated work(s) or deed(s). This word clearly shows that the work of God includes miracles.

John 5:20 “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.”

John 5:36 “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.”

John 9:3-4  “Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.’”

The work and words of God are related. Every work has within it a word. Every miracle has a message. Miracles encourage people to believe the message.

John 14:10-11 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

Jesus promised that the pattern of ministering the work and words of God would increase in the Church.

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

More next time…

Awesome Signs – Part Two

We are looking at the awesome signs. wonders and miracles  that the early Church experienced in book of Acts. Last time we saw that they experienced God’s power and presence in many ways including healing and deliverance. Let’s continue the discussion.


The Lord gave the early disciples and followers of Jesus supernatural messages and prophetic insights. These came to the early Church in many different ways,

Acts 13:2 “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

Acts 21:10-11 “While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

Acts 16:9 “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’”

You will find further references to the prophetic in Acts 18:9; 23:11; 27:23.


Philip received supernatural transport from the Judean desert to the city of Azotus.

Acts 8:39-40 “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.”


The Lord tailored miracles to meet particular circumstances in specific places. Customized miracles clearly demonstrated God’s power and authority as well as His love and care in unique situations and conditions

Acts 19:11-12 “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”


Supernatural judgments took place, resulting in an even greater fear of the Lord.

Acts 5:5 “When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.”

Acts 13:11 “And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.

Acts 12:23-24 “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied.”

The Church was not passive about the miraculous. Believers prayed and interceded, asking the Lord to release signs and wonders in their midst.

Acts 4:29-30 “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

The Church today understand very little about miracles. In fact, modernism denies the possibility of genuine miracles. In contrast, the Jerusalem church saw heaven’s constant involvement in the affairs of men through miracles, signs, and wonders. Because the first Christians were more aware of heaven’s involvement, they were more effectively involved as partners with heaven in carrying out their mission.

So, because miracles, signs and wonders were such a vital part of the life and expansion of the early church we should look further into this and come to understand “miracles” more fully.

Next time… 

Awesome Signs – Part One

In the book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit accomplished through the first apostles we read: “Then fear came upon every soul and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). 

Supernatural signs and wonders revealed God’s presence in the early Church. Through miracles, God gave tangible, visible evidence that He, who is supernatural, was in fact present. Miraculous signs occurred frequently. They were part of the ongoing, normal lifestyle of the Church. The testimony of signs and wonders created a healthy fear of the Lord and a sense of wonder in the people. God used miracles and wonders to authenticate the leaders He sent and to prove their message was His own. Miracles also commanded the attention of people outside the church.

Hebrews 2:4 “God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

The word wonders describes an event or object so strange that people stop to watch or observe it. It is a prodigy or a portent. In Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, wonders is found only in plural and in combination with the word signs. The word translated signs means a mark or token that distinguishes a person or thing from others. Sighs also can also point to remarkable events soon to happen.

The phrase signs and wonders appears 16 times in the New Testament, nine times in the book of Acts (2:19,22,43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12. See also Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). Acts 2:43 begins a series of verbs of the imperfect Greek tense, which attest to the continual activity in miracles.

God gave signs and wonders to the Church as gifts. They were inseparable from the life and preaching of the Church. They were an integral part of the mission of the Church. Without the supernatural, Jesus Christ would not have been born and lived among men. Without the supernatural the New Testament Church would not have begun. The New Covenant people of God are called to be supernatural people in every area of life.

Acts 5:12a “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles.”

Acts 6:8 “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.”

Acts 14:3 “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”

The supernatural presence and power of God was evident in the following variety of ways:

HEALING: The Church ministered supernatural healing to people. As a result, the Word of God spread as it would not have otherwise.

Acts 9:34-35 “And Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.’ And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.”

Acts 14:9-10 “He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he sprang up and began walking.”

Acts 28:8-9 “It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.”

You can also have a look at Acts 3:6 and 8:6-7

Healing included raising people from the dead

Acts 9:40-42 “But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”

DELIVERANCE: God supernaturally delivered people from difficult circumstances. Often angels participated in the deliverance.

Acts 5:19 “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out …”

Acts 12:7 “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.”

Acts 28:5 “He (Paul), however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.”

God also delivered people from evil spirits (demons). Believers confronted the domain of darkness and cast out demons

Acts 16:18 “And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.”

More next time…

An Apostolic Fellowship – Part Six

The Scripture exhorts believers to avoid the following negative ways of relating when sharing apostolic fellowship:

1> “Let us not judge one another” (Romans 14:13). We are to bless and encourage, not unduly criticize.

2> Do not “go to law against one another” (1 Corinthians 6:7). Settle differences and conflicts peacefully and among ourselves.

3> Do not “bite and devour one another … lest you be consumed by one another” (Galatians 5;15). Do not tear each other down with words.

4> Do not get involved in “provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26). Do not let pride create unnecessary conflict.

5> “Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9). Do not mislead one another with words.

6> Do not be “hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Do not seek to harm one another.

7> “Do not speak evil one of another” (James 4:11). Rather protect and promote one another’s good reputation.

8> “Do not grumble against one another” (James 5:9). Do not spread discord and complaints throughout the fellowship.

In every case, the commandments and exhortations of Scripture regarding how Christians are to relate to one another can be summed up in one phrase: Love one another. Jesus calls and empowers His saints to love each other as He loves us. He asks believers to commit themselves to selflessly pouring out their lives for one another. This is the new law, the law of love.

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12 “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.”

1 Peter 1:22 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart…”

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

All Christians are part of the same body of Christ. They are members of each other. They belong to each other. They have been given to one another by the Lord for mutual love, encouragement, and strength. 

“… we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5)

Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.”

The New Testament apostolic fellowship was not just Sunday religion. It was an entire way of life. It brought Christians together into the presence of the Lord and then sent them out into the world to seek and save the lost (Luke19:10) and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). 

An Apostolic Fellowship – Part Five

We are talking about apostolic fellowship. And a simple phrase in the New Testament leads to an understanding of how Christians are to relate together in true fellowship. That phrase is one another, the Greek word alleles. Verses that contain this phrase speak of believers lives together and how they are to treat one another.

The basis of their relating to one another is the relationship they have with God. As a result of being born agin they have received the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23b). This gift of ‘eternal life’ is defined in John 17:3 which states: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” As a result of this intimacy with the Lord and our heavenly Father we can then have fellowship with one another. We can then share the most precious things together.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Christians are to fellowship with one another in the following ways:

    • “Have peace with one another” (Mark 9:50) In this way we will be the salt of the earth.
    • “Be kindly affectionate to one another” (Romans 12:10) We are to love one another as members of one family.
    • “Giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). We are to prefer others in specific acts of service.
    • “Be of the same mind towards one another” (Romans 12:16). We are to be unified in values and goals. (See: Romans 15:5)
    • “Receive one another” (Romans 15:7). Fully accept one another.
    • “Admonish one another” (Romans 15:14). Caution one another, reminding each other of the dangers that might lie ahead.
    • “Greet one another” (Romans 16:16). Embrace one another in a full-hearted welcome. (See: 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).
    • “Wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33). We aren’t to selfishly move ahead of one another.
    • “Have the same care for one another” (1 Corinthians 12:25) Treat every member with the same concern and affection.
    • “Serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). We are now free to dedicate ourselves to one another, being a blessing, serving in practical ways. (See: 1 Peter 4:10). Koinonia may also have reference to the collection and distribution of gifts (Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 9:13; Hebrews 13:16).
    • “Bearing with one another” (Ephesians 4:2). We are to bear with one another’s weaknesses,. Standing strong in our devotion to one another no matter how offended we might get. (See: Colossians 3:13)
    • “Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32). Be gracious and easy going with one another.
    • “Tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Ephesians 4:32). We Must be filled with compassion for one another, graciously forgiving one another from our hearts. (See: Colossians 3:13).
    • “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). Bring the presence of the Lord into the center of our fellowship.
    • “Submitting to one another” (Ephesians 5:21). Respect one another and respond to one another with a word of encouragement in times of crisis and discouragement. (See: 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:25).
    • “Edify one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Always build each other up and not tear down; be a blessing and not a curse.
    • “Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Positively provoke one another to press forward in the will of God.
    • “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). Be open and honest with one another.
    • “Pray for one another” (James 5:16). Stand in the gap for one another in the presence of the Lord.
    • “Having compassion for one another” (1 Peter 3:8). Be sympathetic for one another, identifying with each other at the point of need.
    • “Be hospitable to one another” (1 Peter 4:9). Have a sincere desire to host one another in our homes. 

These are summed up in 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”

An Apostolic Fellowship – Part Four

The apostles’ doctrine included six foundational elementary principles of Christ, according to the book of Hebrews:

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2)

These six doctrines actually involve the following there pairs of truths:

      • Repentance and faith
      • Baptisms and the laying on of hands
      • Resurrection and eternal judgment

The Jerusalem church experiences all six foundations truths in a measure:

1> Salvation by repentance and faith – Acts 2:38; 16:30-31

2> Water baptism by immersion – Acts 2:38-39; 10:44-46; 10:2-6

3> Laying on of hands and prophecy – Acts 13:3

5> Resurrection of the dead (Acts 9:36-40)

6> The judgement of God – Acts 5:3-6; 13:10-11

Initially, the laying on of hands related primarily to receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit; however, later, the laying on of hands was used in a variety of contexts. The doctrine of resurrection and eternal judgement have a future fulfillment, but they also cover the new convert’s present experience of turning from death to life.

To see the dynamics of the first New Testament church restored, Christians today need to understand and experience the foundational doctrines of Christ. Bible doctrine should be studied because:

      • It gives substance to believer’s faith confession
      • It stabilizes Christians in times of testing
      • It enables the saints to handle the Bible correctly
      • It equips the believers to detect and confront error
      • It makes Christians confident in their walk
      • It calms their fears and cancels their superstitions
      • It gives saints objective beliefs that form the foundation of their every day Christian lives

With elementary doctrines understood and experienced, Christians can “go on to perfection” or maturity. 

As soon as the saints in Jerusalem entered covenant relationship with Jesus, they began associating with each other often and regularly. Believers need fellowship with their brothers and sisters. They are not like marbles in a bag — gathered in one place but not bonded together. Rather, they are like pieces of a beautiful puzzle that fit together just right.

Acts 2:42 links fellowship with the apostles’ doctrine. The verse could be translated as: “The apostles’ fellowship that is a result of the apostles’ doctrine.” The Beck New Testament translates the first part of the verse as: “They were loyal to what the apostles taught in their fellowship.” The Living Bible renders it: “They joined with the other believers in regular attendance at the apostles’ teaching.”

Christians enjoyed two dimensions of fellowship:

1> Fellowship with God

2> Fellowship with each other

The basis of Christians’ fellowship with each other is their fellowship wth the Lord. Believers are to have ongoing communion with Him. Being saved cannot be reduced to mental assent to a doctrinal creed; it involves personal relationship and fellowship with Jesus Christ Himself.

1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

1 John 1:3 “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia. It means association, community, joint participation, intimacy, joint contribution, or a collection. It refers to using something in common.

True koinonia involves:

      • All believers
      • Dynamics that bind the church together
      • Unconditional love and acceptance
      • True honesty with humility
      • Restoring fallen and stumbling believers
      • Wise confession and cleansing
      • Heartfelt encouragement and availability
      • Open houses and a spirit of hospitality

On the other hand, the Bible forbids Christians to fellowship with:

      • The world – Ephesians 5:11
      • Satanic spirits and cults – 1 Corinthians 10:20
      • Unrighteousness – 2 Corinthians 10:20
      • False religion – 2 Peter 2; Jude 4
      • False doctrine – Galatians 1:7-10; 2 John 9-11)