Paul gave an excellent description of how he ministered:
I won’t talk about anything except what Christ has done through me as an instrument in His hands to win obedience from the Gentiles. All of this was through word and deed, even as my preaching was accompanied by the power of signs and wonders — all of it by the power of the Holy Spirit. The result is that starting from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum, I have thoroughly preached the Gospel faithfully to the full the good news of Christ the Messiah in its entirety (Romans 15:18-19)
Essentially, he was saying, “Hey, the Gentiles didn’t come to Jesus because of my preaching. Goodness, no! It was that my words were accompanied by miraculous deeds that proved His Word!”
Let’s be honest. If Paul had spent all of his time preaching, without signs and wonders following his message, would never have had its full impact. It wouldn’t have been preaching the full gospel! He wrote to the church in Corinth,
“When I was with you, I was patient and worked all the powerful miracles and signs and wonders of a true apostle” (II Corinthians 12:12)
I’ll tell you what. If you make a statement like that, today, it will ruffle the feathers of some believers. Why? Because there are some preachers — a whole bunch of them — who just don’t want to accept that miracles can happen today! One teacher talks about “Strange Fire” that is spreading throughout the Church. He encapsulated his entire theological outlook in his commitment to the Calvinistic doctrine of “cessationism,” the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer exist in the church once the original apostles of Christ died off. Huh? How could this be? So, the functioning of God’s word was dependent on men? This belief is a false doctrine that cannot be substantiated by either Scripture or church history. It is, my friends, a tragedy because many are turning away from the truth of a fully preached gospel!
Our Father is still God — He is still mighty in working miracles and wonders! He is still our healer, and He still wants to show that He is strong on behalf of those who trust Him! Great supernatural workings took place in the New Testament church without any perversions — without advertising, showmanship or any person claiming all the power and authority rests in their hands! Sure, today, you will hear some trying to take all the credit, but true believers won’t give them an ear.
You can find a perfect example of this in Paul’s ministry. Paul was preaching a long message in Troas, and a young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man became very sleepy, fell asleep and fell three floors to the ground. Yikes! When they picked him up, he was dead (see Acts 20:9-12).
When Paul got to where the boy was, he quieted everyone. Then, just as Elijah had done, he stretched himself out over the dead boy, and suddenly life came back into the young man! That is good showmanship! The boy had been resurrected — raised from the dead! If that wouldn’t shake you up some, nothing will!
It was a tremendous miracle! Afterward, Paul didn’t send everyone out to share what happened, so tell everyone that a miracle had taken place. No, they merely went back to the third floor, took communion, and Paul continued preaching! Now THAT required faith! What I find interesting is that the New Testament never mentions Eutychus again. Why? Well, because the church expected supernatural works to happen! They preached a full gospel — with signs and wonders following!
Nowhere in the New Testament will you hear that this changed once Peter, Paul, or Mary, or any of the Apostles died off. Nope! None of those who followed the original apostles as leaders in the churches said anything about the signs and miracles was ceasing. Instead, they gave testimony of miraculous gifts and healings that occurred in their day!
Several years ago, Eddie Hyatt, a Pastor, and teacher wrote an excellent article about this:
Those who succeeded the original apostles as leaders in the churches make no mention of a cessation theory. On the other hand, they give clear testimony of miraculous gifts and healings occurring in their day. I have documented this in my book 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, published by Charisma House. Consider the following quotes from church fathers recognized by both Protestants and Catholics as the legitimate successors of the original apostles:
“For the prophetical gifts remain with us even to the present time. Now it is possible to see among us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God.” ~Justin Martyr (100-165)
“In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church who possess prophetic gifts and through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages. … Yes, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years.” ~Irenaeus (125-200)
“For seeing that we too acknowledge the spiritual charismata, or gifts, we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift … and heaven knows how many distinguished men, to say nothing of the common people, have been cured either of devils or of their sicknesses.” ~Tertullian (150-240)
“This is he [the Holy Spirit] who places prophets in the church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works … and arranges whatever gifts there are of the charismata; and thus making the Lord’s church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed.” ~Novation (210-280)
“Some give evidence of their having received through this faith a marvelous power by the cures which they perform, invoking no other name over those who need their help than that of the God of all things, along with Jesus and a mention of his history.” ~Origen (185-284)
Even when Augustine wrote The City of God, he mentions healings and miracles that he had observed firsthand and then says, “I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work that I cannot record all the miracles I know.” ~Augustine (354-430)
These testimonies clearly demonstrate that spiritual gifts continued to be common in the church from the Day of Pentecost and up to the beginning of the fourth century. The Episcopal scholar Morton Kelsey was correct when he said, “These men were well aware of Paul’s list of the gifts of the Spirit and what it included. In no place do they suggest that any of them had dropped away.”
My dear friends, spiritual gifts continued to be common in the church even until the beginning of the fourth century! Morton Kelsey was correct when he said, “These men were well aware of Paul’s list of the gifts of the Spirit and what it included. In no place do they suggest that any of them had dropped away.”
Our problem is that there is an evident lack of faith and holiness within our churches! The 18th-century Baptist pastor and founder of Gordon College in Boston, wrote, “It is not altogether strange that when the church forgot her citizenship in heaven and began to establish herself in luxury and splendor on earth, she should cease to exhibit the supernatural gifts of heaven.”
John Wesley wrote:
“I do not recollect any Scripture wherein we are taught that miracles were to be confined within the limits of the apostolic age or the Cyprian age, or of any period of time, longer or shorter, even till the restitution of all things.”
Wesley also wrote:
“I was fully convinced of what I had once suspected . . . that the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture.”
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.