Miracles, Signs and Wonders Today. Why are they so Important?
The impact of Signs and wonders in the proclamation of the gospel whether it be in the local or in the missiological and cross-cultural context is enormous. When the proclamation of the gospel is followed by signs and wonders, it demonstrates the power of the kingdom to those being saved. The apostles in the early church evangelized with preaching accompanied with healings, miracles, and deliverances. The scriptures show that preaching followed by healing and gifts of the Spirit were normative in the ministry of Jesus. There seems to be a close connection in the New Testament between preaching, healing, and growth of the church. In the example of Acts 9:35 Peter healed Aenes, the paralytic in Lydda, and the results were as follows; “All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” This example clearly suggests the missiological potential of signs and wonders.
The potential for soul wining through preaching, followed by signs and wonders continues to be very high today. Sometimes the gospel can reach a community not yet reached for Christ much faster if just one miracle is performed among the people. I believe it is important to notice how Jesus conducted ministry Himself. Notice how He presented the whole gospel, the good news concerning God’s ability and wiliness to deliver people from their afflictions (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5, 10, 11; Luke 5:20, 24). In the New Testament a release from afflictions actually suggest deliverance from demons and emotional and /or physical healing. In the book, "The Kingdom and The Power,” authors Charles and Marguerite Kraft suggest;
“Much of the world is still looking for a God who is concerned about all these needs, a God who keeps Jesus’ promise to set captives completely free (Luke 4:18)."
Signs and wonders elevates considerably the potential for soul winning among people groups outside of the western world because in most of these cultures the belief in a spiritual and supernatural realm is an integrate part of their worldview. The majority of people in these cultures will already understand the concept of supernatural activity, but when the gospel of Jesus Christ comes with power it breaks their bondages to sin and sets them free from spiritual slavery. When the people are set free from their yokes of sin and their bodies and emotions are being healed by the power of the Holy Spirit, the works of darkness hiding deep within suddenly begin to be exposed to light and what was staging behind the scenes is now starting to be seen from a spiritual perspective. Even though people in such cultural context, by great majority, are aware of the spiritual world and acknowledge the supernatural they still need to see and experience the difference between God's almighty power and satanic powers in order to learn how to distinct one from the other.
Signs and wonders function in a missiological and cross-cultural context today in the same way that it functioned for Jesus, the apostles, and disciples. For Jesus, the apostles, and disciples the preaching of the gospel were followed by signs and wonders. Sometimes the power of signs and wonders might even come during the preaching of the gospel. In the book, “When the Kingdom comes with Power,” one of John Wesley’s associate pastors describes his perspective about demonic manifestations during Wesley’s preaching,
“I think the case was often this; the word of God would come with convincing light and power into the hearts and consciences of sinners, whereby they were so far awakened... [that] the peace of the strong man armed would be disturbed; hell within would begin to roar; the devil, that before, being unmolested, lay quiet in their hearts, would now be stirred up.”
The apostle Paul modeled the example of Christ in his ministry. His work was done “in the power of signs, wonders, and miracles” (2 Cor. 12:12). The Holy Spirit was the one who dispensed and mediated power in the ministry of Paul. And the same Spirit that worked such power through Paul is available for believers today to perform even greater works than those of Christ (John 14:12). It is very important that those ministering in the power of signs and wonders today will do it in the power of the Holy Spirit erupting from a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thiago Gonçalves Th.M.Missionary & Evangelist Founder of ANS Ministries
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