Imagine that poor guy in Mark 3 suffering from a shriveled hand a long time even if he went to the worship place (probably a long-time member of it) where God, the Healer, was supposed to be worshiped. All religion and no power. The "spiritual" high-ranking Pharisees were even there. I remember churches where pastors have titles and degrees, adept at their human theologies, and yet the sick there remain to be sick. [Image above by Kendal, Unsplash].
|Picture borrowed from this site.|
So Jesus commanded the man, "Stretch out your hand!" The man did and his hand (and arm) was "completely restored" right on the spot. Where is this in church today? What we do is pray for the sick and hope that God would "use the medicine and the doctor" for a "miracle." That's our idea of what a miracle is. It's very far from what Jesus had in mind and what he did.
Or, instead of telling the man, "Stretch out your hand," we'd probably say, "Have you seen a doctor?" Or recommend one to him. And then pray for him.
Or, we'd probably say a long, poetic prayer that touches the heart and makes people cry. But powerless, nonetheless. We think that prayers like that please God. Well, it pleases people and touches and blesses them, but powerless. But wait--Jesus didn't pray here. No religious, long, emotional and impressive prayers like what we do. He just commanded the man and it worked! Such a short, unfashionable, vulgar sentence.
And right there before their eyes, the shriveled hand elongated to normal size and transformed into a perfect arm and hand. This means the bones inside grew longer and arm and hand muscles were added. Can you imagine this? Can you see this happening as you read the passage? It's clear and alive!
Where is this in church today?
Worse, if the meds and doctors don't work, we simply say that it's probably God's will. And anyway, a healed and saved soul is what matters. The physical is just temporary. We shall all be changed during rapture. Imagine Jesus saying all these excuses. We've been seeking refuge in them for too long. It's high time that the church repent of this unbelief.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. [Acts 17.30]Inability to do signs and wonders is faithlessness and perversity in God's eyes. It is sin that we need to repent of. When his disciples were unable to drive out demons from a boy, here was what Jesus said:
You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me."Jesus did evangelism only one way--preach and heal. Preach and heal or do miracles, and I mean real miracles. It's all over the Gospel. Why can't the church see it? It's how church should do evangelism, too. No other way. If we keep doing ministry our way, we would end up with nothing but the rotten fruit of our own efforts--like what the Tower of Babel resulted to--just making a name for themselves.
God's way is stick to the marriage of these two ministries--evangelism and miracles. Signs and wonders. Why? To make plain to everyone that it's God doing it, not us. In the spirit realms, it's always important for everything to end up in God's glory. Man's effort is always zero, garbage, though it looks good and successful to natural men. If our church is just about pleasing natural men, then it's zero. We'd be after programs, plans, activities and our petty ministries.
Paul says this is why it's so vital that evangelism should always go with miracles:
4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. [1 Corinthians 2]Evangelism and preaching today solely rests on man's wisdom. No wonder church is so powerless. In the midst of a pandemic, it is among those that need protection from government. Not Jesus. I can imagine him providing genuine miracles and healing, rebuking Covid 19 and commanding it to scram, while multiplying food supply supernaturally. And then preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Imagine the impact, backed up by heaven's armies.
Some churches dare venture to challenge the deadly virus from false bravado. They defy government quarantine orders and gather for worship when in fact, they do not operate in Jesus' signs and wonders. It won't work if you don't really believe it. If you do, it should be a lifestyle. Paul said the signs and wonders in his ministry happened "with perseverance," [2 Corinthians 12.12]. Don't venture into miracles and signs and wonders if you've not been flowing in it.
You need to build up your faith first for this gifting.
What faith most believers have today rests on man's wisdom and effort. What is born of flesh is flesh. You need to level up to the genuine dimensions of the Holy Spirit and have your faith activated there. This is what the church should work on first before it can go out and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Even Jesus needed his wilderness experience first, overcome the flesh, defeat the devil there, and be "empowered by the Holy Spirit." It's essential to defeat Satan in the wilderness. It can't happen in your comfort zone. And often, your comfort zone is your petty church ministry.
This is why Jesus instructed the disciples to "wait for the gift of the Father," before doing any ministry. The modern church skipped this and went straight on doing their own ministry to grab more people into their church buildings and make them members--and get higher church income. Then it produced franchises all over the world. This is why church is powerless. It tries hard to attract the world and look for ways to get its attention.
It operates in the world's systems. Jesus never did that. Instead, of their own volition, people tried hard to come near him, in multitudes. Without gimmicks or marketing promotions.
Church lost this anointing. It should plead God to bring this back in our time and decide never to do ministry in our own ways and efforts again. We should rely solely on God's supernatural power and be led only by his Holy Spirit. By God's grace, I and my wife operate in God's signs and wonders, though we're still novices at this. We need to recoup the big losses we suffered in the spirit realms when we fed mainly on man's wisdom, ways and traditions for so many years. We need to relearn things and make them our new normal.
And God's move these last days is no longer about a single individual or leader. His move is the church--a glorious one, without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Holy and pure. His move is his one body. He will anoint this body in the last days to activate all his spiritual gifts in it, spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth in God's ways alone.
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