The role of signs and wonders examined
Lisa Cunningham MA , BA(Hons)
Christian artist and author
Acts reports that the healing miracles played a significant part in evangelism and early Church Growth. I will examine the role of signs and wonders
The Gospel can be communicated more effectively to unbelievers if accompanied by signs and wonders. Prophecy and healing, supernatural manifestations train our focus on Jesus. Some think that evangelism is only effective when the miraculous comes alongside
“All healing is Divine, whether it is physical or spiritual; but of the two, it is an undeniable fact, that the spiritual healing is the greater” Kathryn Kuhlman
And they went out and preached everywhere, the LORD working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen
As Kathryn Kuhlman says, salvation is the greater miracle. The signs and wonders are a tool Christ uses to bring others closer to Him. It strengthens the faith of believers. I see this dimension of Christ pulling me in more strongly towards Him because it is deep touching deep. His reality is rock solid. I do not seek the sign but the giver of the sign
Aeneas Healed. Acts 9:32-35
…So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Lydda and Sharon became totally Christian due to this sign
Then they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these that speak Galileans? Acts 2:40-43
The sign was the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost which manifested in speaking in tongues. This was used rightfully so by Peter to present Christ to the world. The unbelievers are told what they are getting saved into as he speaks to their hearts (v37)
The climax of Peter’s sermon is a call for repentance with baptism into the new community as a sign of God’s forgiveness. They too can experience of the Holy Spirit as the apostles had received 2:22-40.
From Peter’s first sermon over three thousand responded to his appeal and were baptised into the church probably moved by what they had seen rather than the scriptural arguments.
Paul was a testimony about Jesus, pointing towards Jesus
Supernatural tongues and healings are always an opportunity to preach the gospel. The response is either for or against, which creates a division. Follow the sign or don’t follow the sign. In the presence of a supernatural God signs follow preaching
Signs don’t speak for themselves. They point to Christ. Signs aren’t necessarily always perfect. Leave a little ambiguity. Don’t have to push it into 100%. Celebrate what has happened, not what has not happened. Do not exaggerate. Responsibility and accountability are important to God
Signs and wonders are seated on the Word of God. There is a danger of being led into deception if the focus is on the persons’ personality, not the Gospel of Christ. We can expect signs and wonders in Great Commission Acts 8: 1-8 Acts 3:1-10. When being filled with wonder a sign takes their wonder somewhere
A lame man is a walking testimony because before the healing he was not allowed into the Temple due to his disability and this sign is used to preach and evangelise the whole gospel. Acts 3:1-11
These healings are impossible for man: this points to Christ
Faced with the incontrovertible fact of the cripples’ recovery two thousand new believers are added to the Church. Peter’s anointing of the Holy Spirit wherein his shadow healed was a sign in itself. (Acts 5:15)
The sign is interpreted to help unbelievers see the purpose of the sign. The sign points to Christ. The receiver of the healing benefited the most and the 2,000. Acts 4:13. The consequence if this sign is that two thousand new believers are added to the Church
Acts 5:1-11. The sudden deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. Their sin was hypocrisy - lying. Holiness is a freedom, but not freedom to sin. Perfectly holy and perfectly gracious. This is a sign to the body to encourage them to walk in holiness and reverence
Jesus was no longer with them, he was in them, and in his name they were able to rout disease and death as he had done himself” William Neil
In Acts 7 Stephen loved people to his own death. The declaration of Acts 7:56
…Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!
Shows us the power of love, love makes Jesus stand.
The signs and wonders established and propagated Christianity by radically changing the way that they lived which attracted more and more believers to the faith. The marks of the community were a common fellowship. They had a hunger for God and lived a lifestyle of fasting and prayer. They were of one accord and lived in unity. Unity attracts the anointing. Their love flowed genuinely. Their focus was Christ, they centred around Him. There was a submission to authority (Acts 15.) Baptised straight away, with clear discipleship, there is a healthy fear of God. (Acts 2:41-4)
They surrendered to Him and had a willingness to give up everything for the Gospel. There is love for the less able and widows. They have joy. They are mature believers who meet to resolve issues as adults. Everybody shares food and property with living communally. Cohesive. One body. Visiting homes, laying on of hands, instruction, no food laws: circumcision. Praise plays a paramount factor in the new Christian life. As a result the numbers increased from day to day (Acts 2:41-47.) The Gospel and the Church spread
The sign is unexplainable but we are drawn towards Him. Signs and wonders confirm the word of the Gospel and are a sign of the presence of the Kingdom of God