One of the most powerful passages for the church is a passage that is not used. When most talk about the Great Commission, they talk about Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The other passage not used as much when referring to the great commission that says the same is Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Some of the bible versions have above this passage in Mark the words, “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.” Others do not have them in the middle of the page but at the bottom. What has happened is many see these words and think they should not be part of scripture but that is not true. These words say nothing that is not said in many other places, so the real problem is unbelief. Both passages talk about going into the world and preaching the gospel. The massage in Mark is much more specific as to what that looks like but that is where many have trouble because Mark talks about things that are not happening in the church. It is verse seventeen that people seem to ignore. Yes, as we talked about yesterday, many are fearful of anything charismatic but that doesn’t really make sense because they are fearing and rejecting what the bible states. Understanding that the charismatic movement did not test the spirits makes a difference so focus on what the bible says.
Jesus gave His disciples authority and power to go out and preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons as that is what Jesus did. When the gospel was preached, signs followed. This is not new, as God’s power has been seen since the beginning of time. God created the heavens and the earth with a word. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 3 And God said…” John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Colossians 1:15 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Ephesians 1:22 “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” We are also told that God would dwell in us His church. Ephesians 2:19 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
The creator of the universe wants to dwell among us. John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Jesus was given power and authority as we talked about yesterday and He then gave power and authority to His disciples to go and do as He did. As you go through the bible you will see the salvation of God’s people and signs, wonders miracles and healing are present. Signs and wonders were both salvation for God’s people and destructive to their enemies. Deuteronomy 4:32 “Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 Has any other people heard the voice of God[a] speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.” The whole Egyptian army was destroyed when the Red Sea covered them. Exodus 14:26 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. 29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”
Then they crossed the Jordon River. Joshua 3:9 “Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” 14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.” They then took the city of Jericho. Rahab said to the spies, Joshua 2:8 “Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Joshua 6:2 “Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” King Nebuchadnezzar saw the power of God firsthand when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were saved and when Daniel told him his dream and interpreted it. He also had his own personal experience recognizing that God is all-powerful. Daniel 4:3 “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” King Darius said Daniel 6:26 “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” All through the Old Testament we see the powerful arm of God at work. We saw God save his people with mighty power. God saved Samaria when 2 Kings 6:24 “Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.” God saved Jerusalem when King Sennacherib was about to destroy them. 2 Kings 19:6 “Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’” God saved Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 20:1 “when the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against” him. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.”
All through scripture we see God’s power save His people. Nehemiah 1:10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. Psalm 89:13 “Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.” This would be supernatural for us, normal for God. In Esther we saw God place people in the right spot at the right time and save His people from annihilation. In Daniel we saw God do amazing wonders that saved His servants. Jonah gives us a little different perspective as he was disobedient to God’s command, but we still see God’s wonders. In the storm, Jonah had told those on the boat to throw him overboard. As those on the ship were panicking Jonah said Jonah 1:9 “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.” Then we have this amazing wonder where God saves Jonah and during this time Jonah reflects on his choice to rebel. Jonah 1:17 “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2:1 “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ 10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”
Salvation comes from the Lord and as we saw yesterday, signs and wonders, miracles healing and casting out demons comes with the gospel message. Salvation and power go hand in hand. Some people say that salvation is the greatest miracle in an effort to minimize the actual miracles we see all through scripture. They think this justifies the lack of power among them. The disciples learned the same lesson Jonah did. Luke 8:22 “One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. Luke 8:23 “As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Jesus also walked on the water. John 6:19 “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened.” This is our Savior who has been given authority and power over everyone and everything, yet people to this day still reject the available power to all who believe. You then have to question whether people have been truly saved as they think they have. When the signs, wonders, healing, miracles casting out demons are not happening, you have to question the salvation because they go hand in hand.
When you look up signs and wonders in the New Testament, many in the church have rejected them based on a few scriptures and the deception of the charismatics. They fail to keep reading so that they understand that signs and wonders are part of the good news of salvation. Matthew 12:39 “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” John 4:48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” This was about their evil hearts. Yes satan will appear as an angel of light and deceive many. Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions.” Remember when there is something counterfeit, there is something real. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.” Revelation 13:13 “And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth.” Revelation 16:14 “They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 19:20 “But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
Yes, these things are happening as we see throughout the church. The amazing part is that in many churches satan does not even have to perform signs and wonders to deceive, as the already do not believe in them, therefore have already rejected scripture. Paul says it this way, Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Today in the church there is a combination of those working in the flesh and those being deceived by satan. Because God has turned His face from the church, it is just like when Samuel started, 1 Samuel 3:1 “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out” If the church would just read scripture, it would become obvious that the church does not have the power we should have. Set aside what you have been taught and read Jesus is saying. He showed us the way, but man decided their empty and powerless ways were better. I have been in charismatic and non-charismatic circles and both are powerless against our enemies.
So what does scripture say about signs and wonders. Peter said Acts 2:22 ““Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” John 2:11 “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” John 7:31 “Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” John 12:37 “Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.” John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other 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 Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Take the time to read through the gospels and see all that Jesus did. Jesus came to save His people and as He told His disciples, these signs will follow.
If someone tells you God doesn’t do this anymore, you should run because that is not God speaking to you. That is someone working for satan, who refuses to repent so that the Kingdom of God would come near. Just because you have not seen true signs and wonders as Jesus did does not mean they will not happen again. You base your belief on scripture not on what you see or don’t see. Acts 2:43 “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” Acts 5:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people.” They had prayed Acts 4:30 “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” 2 Corinthians 12:12 “I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” It wasn’t just the apostles who performed signs and wonders. Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said.” Paul said Romans 15:17 “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God.” Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” Acts 14:3 “So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.”
This is exactly what Jesus said would happen. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” I grew up in a powerless denomination. When I started ministry in that same denomination. My journey took me into the charismatic and as I have said I am thankful God protected me through that part of my journey. Then I joined another powerless ministry. I have looked at both sides and both sides have no power. Even the charismatics who say God has filled them with His presence, do not see the power Jesus had in the gospels. The church should be desperate for God to turn His face back to us but for most they are content following man’s empty ways. If you look at some of the biggest names out there, with their massive churches, you do not see the power of the kingdom. Church leaders wanted to be Rick Warren’s Saddleback but there was and is no power. Millions watch Joel Osteen, and as one article described him, the world’s pastor. “Numbers prove his message is being well received across the world.” At one point during covid they had 4.5 million viewership and he is a false teacher. Numbers prove nothing but true power does. The same with John MacArthur as millions think he is sent by God, yet he is one of the strongest proponents of cessationism. That means he is not sent by God as cessationism is a doctrine of demons. The list goes on and on.
Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Jeremiah lamented and said, Lamentations 2: 14 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading. 15 All who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake their heads at Daughter Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?”16 All your enemies open their mouths wide against you; they scoff and gnash their teeth and say, “We have swallowed her up. This is the day we have waited for; we have lived to see it.” 17 The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago.He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your foes.” Habakkuk 3:2 “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. 16 I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
During the Lenten Journey, we humble ourselves before God as the church looks nothing like how it is supposed to be. The church is desolate and powerless against our enemies. Our only hope is for God to turn His face and shine upon us once again, but we must return to Him. Jeremiah said Lamentations 5:19 “You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. 20 Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? 21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old 22 unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.” If we are to be prepared to meet our God, we must fear Him and ask for mercy. 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 36 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”