Monthly Archives: May 2013
When we read about Pentecost and what ensues after it we see the disciples filled with boldness in their preaching and operating in “extraordinary miracles,” but was this all because of the “out pouring” or something else? What changed after they were filled? What didn’t change? For the record I must state that I have yet to fully achieve the complete answer, but merely have found an argument/perspective based off my observations to hopefully cause one to consider to dig into the scriptures to find truth.
Before we start with the book of acts let’s look at what we see these followers doing in the Gospels so to get a better grasp on what is new post out pouring. In the Gospels we see the disciples already doing signs and wonders and operating in authoritative preaching. When Jesus send out His disciples it says He gave them authority of unclean spirits. And He *summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. Mark 6:7 But what we see them doing is even more than simply casting demons out, but we see them healing the sick and preached of the coming kingdom. We can safely assume that the preaching had some level of impact of people, because they are preaching, healing and casting demons out; the latter is the most unusual of the three. They went out and preached that men should repent. 13And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. Mark 6:12-13
So in the Gospels we see the twelve operating healing, casting out of demons and preaching, however; the twelve are not the only ones Jesus appoints to do ministry with Him. Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. Here we see the seventy being formed to prepare the way for Him, but what does that look like? “and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Luke 10:9 Here we see the seventy are commanded to heal and preach, but did they stop there? No, let us continue on. The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.20Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 So we see the seventy come back saying “Wow You said heal and preach but we thought why not try to cast some demons out and it worked!” Jesus responds, “Ya I saw Satan himself get lose ground because of what you did, good job but it gets better. Because you are citizens of heaven!” So in summary we have eighty-two people preaching, healing, and casting out demons, but do they perform signs and wonders?
So the question on the table is do any of the eighty-two, seventy and the twelve, do any of them perform signs and wonders? In Luke chapter nine before the seventy are even formed we see two interesting things. First some random person is casting demons out in Jesus’ name. Why is this unique? Because he is not of the twelve and the seventy has not been formed yet, meaning even if he were to be one of the ones invited into the seventy he has not been commanded by Jesus to go forth in power. John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” Luke 9:49 The second is even wilder because it is stepping into a new category of supernatural power. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Luke 9:54 That’s right two of the disciples ask Jesus if He would have them call fire down on an entire city and consume all of its inhabitants. That is more than a sign that is a wonder; with that in mind let us not forget all of the supernatural signs, wonders, healing preaching and removal of demons from Moses, the judges, the prophets, Joshua and even David. On a side note consider the powerful transformation of John going from the one asking to destroy a city and all of its inhabitants and fighting to be the greatest to become the Apostle of Love.
There is one last miracle to consider and it is this; Peter walked on water. “in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 28Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ 29And He said, ‘Come!’And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:25-31 So Peter is also doing a sign and a wonder but what happens? His faith wavers and he is no longer able to perform this sign and wonder.
In John 14:12 Jesus tells the eleven disciples that those who believe in Jesus can do the same works Jesus does and even greater. Then from there in John 14:26 and 16:7-14 Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit will help the disciples remember Jesus’ words, teach them more about God and just help them out. Also He will convict people of sin, righteousness and judgment.
So we see that Pre-Pentecostal Out Pouring that followers of Christ are performing, signs, wonders, healings, casting out of demons and are preaching, so what is new? The Holy Spirit? Yes…and no…And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:22 That’s right ten of Jesus’ followers have apparently already received the Holy Spirit. Now if that isn’t confusing then I don’t know what is. So let us try to figure this out. Did the Holy Spirit they receive here was it a smaller Holy Spirit and later they would get a bigger one? May it never be! In Acts 1:5 Jesus tells the disciples that soon they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, but of these eleven we know Thomas was the only one not there when the ten were filled. So is it just for Thomas? Also in Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be my witnesses…” So what does this mean? They already are operating in some serious power. Let us continue.
In Acts 2:4 it says “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving utterance.” So here we see everyone in the room is now filled with the Spirit and now they are doing a brand new sign and wonder. But what of the ten previously filled? Ready for the answer? I don’t know. The best conclusion we can see is that though they were filled they may now have become awakened to the movement of the Spirit until Pentecost.
After Pentecost they are still doing signs, wonders, healings, demon removals and preaching, but two things have changed. First they are doing these things in a more abundance. Second thing is their faith is not wavering like it once did. In the Gospels when the Jews came for Jesus the twelve are scattered, the seventy are unheard from, Peter denies three times and only John returns. However, after Pentecost and when the disciples are all filled with the Holy Spirit their faith is no longer really wavering like it once did, in fact their faith seems to have been both strengthened and dramatically increased. Why? Because the amount of miracles the disciples are doing has increased and the fact that they are performing more powerful and unique miracles. Their handkerchiefs and shadows are now healing people and in Acts 19 it says Paul performed “extraordinary miracles” that led to those in sorcery converting. Demonic miracles workers are being outclassed. Jesus explained it best Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:19-21 The disciples are doing miracles with a small amount of faith but after they become filled with the Holy Spirit their faith is increased substantially. Jesus tells them if their faith was stronger they could do even more. So after they are filled their faith greatly increases and so do their miracles.
So what is our conclusion? It would appear that the filling of the Holy Spirit does four primary things though is not limited to these:
- The filling of the Holy Spirit gives believers great fellowship with God. No longer did the disciples have to wait to be in the same room with Jesus to talk to God but now they can do it anywhere at any time, even to the degree that their spirits are now speaking with God (tongues).
- The filling of the Holy Spirit gives greater revelation and gives conviction. Now believers understand the deep mysteries of God in a new way, having more convictions and are able to walk out holiness. How are they getting this? Because of point #1, fellowship with God.
- The filling of the Holy Spirit gives greater boldness and confidence. Now no longer do they waver like they once did Pre-Pentecost, no longer does their confidence rattle under pressure. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is testifying with theirs of their identity and that He is with them.
- The filling of the Holy Spirit has increased their faith. Now their faith is increased; meaning where once the idea of casting demons out was bizarre now they are breaking off addiction. Where once healing the sick was mind boggling now their shadows and handkerchiefs are doing it for them. Why? Because of greater all of the above has strengthened their faith.
So everything the disciples experienced with Jesus has now been greatly increased through the ability communing (prayer and tongues) with the Holy Spirit who gives identity, revelation, conviction and all of these through the filling of the Holy Spirit seem to increase our faith to believe for more. Pre-filling Peter believed to heal the sick, after his shadow is doing it for him. So the reason their works are increased substantially is because their faith is stronger than it once was. Now if God said “Come” Peter could probably walk on water during the worst of storms and not waver in His faith. Now John’s faith could most likely finally move that mountain. Which at least once has apparently been done in church history, but that is another story for another time…