MIRACLES in Acts?

A problem with many denominations today is the belief that God still uses Holy Spirit gifts [9 HS Gifts, 1Cor 12:7-11] through men today. The belief includes thinking that God is still speaking directly to individuals. They say things like, “God spoke to me,” “I’ve been called by God.”

While God is all powerful and can do whatever He wants, He is not still revealing His will and is not using men to do miracles today. Remember this verse:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:30-31]

The miracles & the revelations to the Apostles recorded in Scripture are sufficient for us to believe, repent & obey [Eph 3:3-4]. The miracles in Acts will bolster this assertion.

The MiracleLocationVersePurpose & Result
Baptism of the Holy Spirit #1Jerusalem2:1-21to confirm the teaching at beginning of the church. John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Peter heals a lame manJerusalem3:1-11Teaching. 11-26; Belief John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Ananias & Sapphira struck deadJerusalem5:1-10Teaching at the beginning of the New Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3
Apostles perform many wondersJerusalem5:12-1620 “go stand & teach”
PhilipSamaria8:4-13 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching
Paul convertedRoad to Damascus9:1-9To call an Apostle out of due season. 1Cor 15:8
Peter heals Eneas of a palsyLydda9:33, 34Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Peter raises Tabitha, or Dorcas, to lifeJoppa9:36-41Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Gentiles receive Holy Spirit Baptism #2 (& last)Caesarea10; Acts 11 & 15Confirming God’s acceptance; Acts 2
Peter delivered out of prison by an angelJerusalem12:7-17Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
God smites Herod, so that he diesJerusalem12:21-23Teaching at the beginning of the new Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3. 24 word of God grew.
Elymas, the sorcerer, smitten with blindnessPaphos13:6-1112 astonished at the teaching. Belief Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals a cripple Lystra 14:8-1017 witness. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul casts out a spirit of divinationPhilippi16:16-18Confirming Preaching. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul and Silas’s prison doors opened by an earthquakePhilippi16:25-34Lead to converting the Jailor
Paul communicates the Holy SpiritEphesus19:1-6Confirming the word before it was written. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals multitudesEphesus19:11,12Belief John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul restores Eutychus to lifeTroas20:9-12Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul shakes off a viperMalta28:3-6Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals the father of Publius and othersMalta28:7-9Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4

An honest review of the above list will show the student why the miracles were needed.

  • To Confirm the preachers and the teaching were from God.
    • John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
  • For Belief, not for them alone, but for us in our times.
    • “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:31]
    • Spiritual gifts were to edify in the absence of the written Word [1 Cor. 14:12-13,26; cf. 13:9]. The written Word is now completely sufficient to edify us [Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:16-17].
  • To produce Godly Reverence at the beginning of a covenant to demonstrate God’s displeasure. Not repeated for same error.
    • see Leviticus 10:1-3; Acts 5:1-10; Acts 12:21-23;

Spiritual gifts have fulfilled all three reasons for which they were given.

WHAT MORE SHOULD WE SEEK? When you review both the Old and New Testaments, considering the time frame of the writing, you’ll discover that the Miraculous is quite rare. Additionally, you’ll see that God is very patient and longsuffering [2Pet 3:15]. You don’t see God constantly striking people down. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” [1Cor 10:6]

God has completed His revelations to us, and He confirmed them through the various signs, miracles and wonders. As you read the last chapters of Acts, you’ll see fewer and fewer miracles. Even Paul, Timothy, Trophimus & Epaphroditus did not perform miracles on each other to cure their pains. [cr. 2Tim 4:20; 1Tim 5:23; 2Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25-27].

The Miracles in Acts show us how and why miracles were done. They were done primarily to confirm the Word that was spoken through the Apostles. These signs were referred to, NOT REPEATED, in Acts 15:7-12 to show the others God’s approval of their activities. Now that the Scriptures are complete and the church has been built, what further need do we need of Miracles?

“…thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

[2Tim 3:15; cf 16-17]

The Caterpillar

A noted French naturalist, Jean Henri Fabre, took a flowerpot and placed upon its rim a group of processionary caterpillars one behind the other to form a circle. He then placed their favorite food in the middle of the circle. Each caterpillar followed the one ahead, never diverting from the one in front. For seven days, these instinctively driven animals circled the flowerpot until one after one they started dropping dead from either exhaustion or starvation. To avoid death, all that was needed was to feast upon the food within their grasp. Unfortunately, the processionary caterpillars were locked in a cycle of following and were unable to extricate themselves from a path of death.

If you’re like me, this story probably hit a little too close to home. Many of us are caught up in the cycle of following even if it leads us to endless and mindless toil. We go to college, get jobs because that’s what everyone else does. After work, we come home, eat a little dinner, watch a little TV, go to bed and repeat. We call it, “the Rat Race.” Why? Because that’s what we see everyone else doing. For many, the only reason to go to work is to pay the bills. How miserable a life?

What’s true about life is also true about the religious choices. I’ve made a habit of asking people, who go to church, why they chose that one. Many say, “that’s where my family goes.” The rest choose a church based on size and programs, once again, looking at what others are doing rather than examining the word of God for the truth.

This processionary process also happens with churches themselves. I asked a member of a local congregation, who were looking to hire a youth pastor, “where did you get the idea of a youth pastor?” They realized they only know about the office of a “youth pastor” because of what denominations have done.

This reminds me of 1 Samuel 8. The nation of Israel desired to have a king. What reason did they offer to Samuel? They said, “now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” [v5b]. What they had forgotten was that they already had a King, His name is I Am. “They have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” [v7b].

If the reason for doing a thing is because that’s what everyone else is doing, then we’re destined to starve. Our moms where right when they said, “If everyone else wanted to jump of a bridge would you want to also?” Our Lord said it this way…

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

[Matt 7:13-14]

Human beings are different from caterpillars in that we can change our direction in life. Unfortunately, we often confuse motion with meaning or achievement. We find ourselves in ruts, often dug by others.

Yes, we all want our lives to have meaning, to have a purpose. God, our creator, gave us purpose, He showed us a direction. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” [Ecc 12:13]. Before Jesus left this earth, He commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” [Matt 28:19-20].

We have a purpose higher than the 80-100 years we live on earth. We have an eternity to consider.

Spencer

PS. Do you remember in the experiment of the caterpillar how the food was within sight? The bread of life, God’s word, is never too far away that we’re unable to read it and be filled. [cr. Ac 17:27]

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

[John 6:35]