MIRACULOUS GIFTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH


 
  WHY DID JESUS DO MIRACLES?
 

John 3:1-2   Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2  He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
 
 Jesus did miracles to show that he was from God.
 
John 20:27-31  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28  Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29  Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30  Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31  But these are written that you may  believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
 
 Jesus did miracles to cause people to believe in him.


  WHY DID THE APOSTLES WORK MIRACLES?***

 Acts 1:4-8  On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  5.  For John baptized with  water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."  6.  So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"  7.  He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  8.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
 
John 14:26-27  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
 
John 15:26-27   "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
 
John 16:13-15  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14  He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
 
Luke 24:48-50  You are witnesses of these things. 49  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." 50  When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
 
 These men were specially chosen by Christ to get His church started and guide it.  He promised them the Holy spirit would come and guide them in what they are to teach.  They had to spread the gospel through out the world in places where they had no authority and did not speak the language.  Like Christ people weren't going to listen to them unless they were able to show that they had authority from God.  They proved it with their miracles and were able to successfully carry out the work begun by Jesus.

 Christ left them no book to guide the church.
 
Acts 2:4-12  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues  as the Spirit enabled them. 5  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7  Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8  Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
9  Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11  (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12  Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
 

 Here they speak in a way that all who hear do so in their own native language - impossible except in a miraculous way with the Holy Spirit giving them the ability to do so.
 
 The speaking in tongues was definitely intelligible because each understood.
 

Acts 2:43-44  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44  All the believers were together and had everything in common.
 
 The apostles are verifying what they speak is from God by the signs and wonders they did.

 

   GOD USED THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR A SPECIAL PURPOSE
 

Acts 10:44-48  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46  For they heard them speaking in tongues  and praising God.   Then Peter said, 47  "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
 
 Up to this time only Jews had become Christians.  God chose this method to show that gentiles (anyone who wasn't a Jew) could also become a Christian.
 Notice that this baptism of the Holy Spirit did not save them or forgive their sins - they still had their sins washed away in baptism.
 

Acts 11:13-19  He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, `Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. 14  He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.' 15  "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16  Then I remembered what the Lord had said: `John baptized with  water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'  17  So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" 18  When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." 19  Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews.
 
Here Peter is explaining why he allowed gentiles to become Christians.  (Jeremiah 31 says that all men would be under God's new covenant.)


   SOMEONE WHO WASN'T AN APOSTLE IS DOING MIRACLES - WHY?

Acts 8:5-9  Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ  there. 6  When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7  With shrieks, evil  spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8  So there was great joy in that city.
 
 His miracles caused the people to pay attention to what he had to say about the gospel!
 
 Where did Philip get the ability to do these things?
 
Acts 8:9-14  Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10  and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." 11  They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12  But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13  Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. 14  When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15  When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16  because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into  the name of the Lord Jesus. 17  Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18  When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19  and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
 

 Peter and John were apostles and they could pass this gift of doing miracles on to others. (verse 18)
 So, where did Philip get his power?
 
Acts 6:1-6  In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." 5  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
 
 Verse 6 says Philip was one of the men that had the apostles hands laid on them.  So, the apostles passed this power to him.

 
   WHAT ABOUT PAUL?  HE WASN'T ONE OF THE ORIGINAL 12 APOSTLES.
 

Acts 19:1-8  While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2  and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when  you believed?"   They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3  So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"   "John's baptism," they replied. 4  Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 5  On hearing this, they were baptized into  the name of the Lord Jesus. 6  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues  and prophesied. 7  There were about twelve men in all. 8  Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
 
 Paul was just as much an apostle as the other 12 who had been with Jesus and had the same ability to pass the gifts on to others.

 
   WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
 
Ephesians 4:8-14  This is why it  says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." 9  (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? 10  He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12  to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
 

 When the church was beginning there was no Bible to guide them- it was in the process of being written.  God gave different gifts to different people so that His church would be guided and could immediately be what He would have it to be.  He wanted unity in the church not everyone teaching something different, but all guided by the Spirit teaching the same things.
 
1 Corinthians 12:1-31  Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2  You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3  Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,  and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 12  The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13  For we were all baptized by  one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14  Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15  If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16  And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19  If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20  As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21  The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23  and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24  while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28  And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30  Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? 31  But eagerly desire  the greater gifts.   And now I will show you the most excellent way.
 
 One person was not greater because he had a better gift.  All were necessary to get the job done.  God wanted harmony and unity.

 
   PAUL SAYS THE GIFTS WILL PASS AWAY
 
1 Corinthians 13:8-11  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
 
 The prophecies here are not just foretelling the future.  They are simply telling what God wants us to do and how to do it because they didn't have the Bible to guide them. 

 The tongues are the gift of speaking in other languages so the gospel could be taught to people who didn't speak the language of the person trying to teach them the gospel.

 The gift of knowledge was needed because they didn't have the Bible.
 
 There are two reasons the gifts passed away. 
 
 1. The apostles died and they were the only ones who could pass it to others therefore when all that had them died it stopped.
 
 2. Verse 10 says perfection will replace imperfection.  First imperfection - it took several people to be able for a church to know all that God wanted them to know.

 Perfection - the New Testament was being written and once it was completed each church could have all it needed in this Book.  Today we can each have our own copy of God's word for ourselves and to use to teach others the gospel.

 
   SPIRITUAL GIFTS BECOME A PROBLEM IN THE CHURCH 
 
1 Corinthians 14:1-40 1  Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2  For anyone who speaks in a tongue  does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3  But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4  He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5  I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,  but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues,  unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. 6  Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7  Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8  Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9  So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10  Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11  If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 12  So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. 13  For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15  So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16  If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand  say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17  You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. 18  I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19  But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20  Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21  In the Law it is written: "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord. 22  Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23  So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand  or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24  But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25  and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!" 26  What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27  If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28  If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. 29  Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30  And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.   As in all the congregations of the saints, 34  women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 36  Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37  If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38  If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. 39  Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40  But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 
 
 God does not want confusion in His church but orderly worship and learning.  The gifts were for building up each other not to impress others with how much God had given them.

 
   WE DO HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TODAY
 
1 Thessalonians 4:8  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
 
   WHAT DOES HE DO FOR US TODAY?

Romans 8:26-28  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. 28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,  who  have been called according to his purpose.    He helps us in our weakness and makes us stronger than we could ever be by ourselves.  When we just pour out our hearts to God in prayer the Spirit takes our request before God in a way that we cannot.
 
Galatians 1:6-10  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7  which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10  Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
 

2 Thessalonians 2:8-13  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9  The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10  and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12  and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 13  But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you  to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
 

1 John 4:1  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

 
   HOW DO I TEST THE SPIRITS?
 
 Put them up against the Bible and see if they measure up to the miracles and uses there. 
 I know of a man who was born crippled and he would go to the healing preachers and get in line to be healed by them.  He would always be pulled from the line before he got a chance to be healed.  Why because these miracle workers couldn't handle this kind of a miracle but those in the New Testament would not have hesitated.  It would have truly shown God's power in them.

 In my hometown a group invited people to a meeting where the "sick are being healed, the dead raised and people being saved".  Our preacher put an ad in the paper next to theirs advertising "$10,000 reward for proof of the dead being raised".  Their ad was quickly changed.

 Once a preacher challenged me with, "What would you do if I came to your church and during the sermon the spirit came on me and I just had to stand up and speak in tongues?"  "Would you throw me out or call the sheriff - just what would you do?"
I asked would you be alone?  He answered yes.  I asked if he could stop if he wanted to; he said no the spirit controlled him and he couldn't stop it.  I told him we would handle it the Bible way. 

 Let's read I Cor 12:27-33   If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28  If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. 29  Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30  And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.   As in all the congregations of the saints,

 
When we finished this I said, "You say that you can't stop it when the spirit comes on you and these people who spoke in tongues and prophesied had control over their gifts."  "You must get your gift from somewhere other than the Bible."  Hearing this he left quickly; very angry.  
His gift didn't measure up to the test of the gifts in the New Testament.

Galatians 1:6. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7. which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

If someone has the gift of prophecy and teaches something other than what we have in the New Testament he is condemned - If he teaches less than what the New Testament teaches he is condemned.  The conclusion is that we have the New Testament written for us today and there is no need for more prophecy - we only need to follow what has been given to us.


  'Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
  Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by international Bible Society
  Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House."