Signs and Wonders in Acts
Introduction: We should LEAP and rejoice over what God wants to do in our life. HE wants us to exalt him in all we say and do in this life. When we do that then we will be able to praise others! God desires that we praise him in everything we do in this life. Natural situations can have divine results in our lives. We can have divine opportunities to create in this life. Let the Word of God have power to exalt in this life!
Focus Scripture Mk 16:15-20 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
This was the command of Jesus to the disciples on Ascension day! They will told to spread the gospel with signs and wonders for it was to be part of the Christian life. IT was to be the norm and not the exception. Today we act like it is the exception and not the norm. Miracle life is what we should have and the miracles should be abound in our life like they did in the early church!
1 Cor 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
The focus must be on Jesus and him crucified for we were in Christ when he died. IT is not only in words but also in a demonstration of power. The signs and wonders go hand in hand with the preached word. IF there is no power then there be no change. We want change without power and the Holy Spirit must be in our words and God will confirm the word with signs following.
Lame man many lame men were healed in the ministry of Jesus and also in the ministry of the apostles. There is a special account in the book of Acts but that does not mean it is the only time that the lame were healed. God does the supernatural and does not stop doing it. His glory does not fade for God is the same yesterday today and forever! God wants us to do miracles and demonstrate the power that God put in our life! So let the lame walk and blind see! Open your eyes and do the impossible!
Healing- Acts 3:1-9 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
Peter and John saw someone in need and felt led to speak to him. Too often we see someone in need and do nothing or advise them to go to the doctor or some other professional. We do not even think of ministering healing saying to ourselves maybe God will not heal him. We let tradition of men dominate our thinking instead of allowing the Spirit of God to minister through us like he did in Jesus. Peter ministered to him like he saw Jesus. (Peter denied Jesus, remember!) They knew who Jesus was and who Peter was and yet the denial did not prevent the Spirit from ministering to this man! God ministers through us because of his grace and mercy!
Witnessing-v 12-16 12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Peter used this as a chance to witness. The words of Jesus rang in his ears louder then the fear he had to minister. God wants to minister to men and will use people to deliver his Word. We must be willing to share it and when we do the Holy Spirit will anoint us to prick the heart of men with what we say. We do not need to worry about what we say for if God leads us we cannot mess it up. God wants to use us in power with both our words and also with signs!
Before Rulers- 4:7-13 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
These were the same people who crucified Jesus and they were asking these unlearned men how they did this miracle. They had no power in their life and did not know how to accomplish the things of God even they were the religious leaders of Israel. They did not know these things. Peter tells them there is no salvation any other way. We are telling you and doing what God in Christ instructed us to do. They told off the rulers so the disgust of the disciples were evident to the leaders. They were raised to respect the leaders and they spoke with disrespect.
Praise- 29-33 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
These are the same ones who did not understand what Jesus was doing and why he went to the cross and yet the threats of the leaders meant nothing to them. The power of the Spirit totally changed the life of these men that they were more concerned with God and what he wanted to do then the cost of doing it. Today we are more concerned with the cost then who we offend. They spoke with great power and great grace and boldness. I pray that God will give you such great boldness in your life!
Entered in - Stephen was the 1st martyr and Jesus stood up from the throne to welcome him. This was a great honor that was bestowed upon him because that meant that Jesus himself was welcoming him into Heaven. When you give up much for the gospel God does not forget it for God knows what it is to have hardship and loss and will remember what you give up for the gospel. That means that some are worthy of praise! But some do not enter in with praise. Below are given examples ( besides Stephen are 2 examples of the phrase enter in)
Religious thinking Lk 11:45-52 45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
God does not want us to have religious thinking which is based on flesh and man’s goodness. God wants us to focus on him and not on our self for that is putting someone before God and that takes us away from the work of Jesus Christ. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth who did good so that we might have salvation. Salvation comes from Jesus alone. When we destroy what God wants to do in our life we cannot receive the blessings. You have to be willing to receive from the Lord or you will not receive anything from the Lord. Make it simple for God wants you to get it. God is not hard to understand. God loves you and wants to get it to you anyway he can!
Persecution of Paul Acts 21:8-13 8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
One of the ways it talks about entering in is through persecution. Today we do not have the level of persecution in the USA like Paul had back then. Paul gladly received persecution for it gave him a chance to give a testimony for Jesus. We want things but Paul wanted souls brought to the kingdom. When we want God more than self we will suffer persecution.
Selecting Stephen Acts 6:5-15 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
Stephen was selected by the apostles and yet the Jewish people thought that the gospel was blasphemous. They said the same things about Paul they said about Stephen here. It caused them to want to kill these men. With Paul the Romans saw it and protected Paul but with Stephen no one was there to protect him. Stephen let them have it and he was stoned. If Stephen would have been quiet he would have lived much longer. Yet the glory of God shined on him and they thought he was like an angel.
Stephen’s Sermon and Death Acts 7:51-60 51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
He knew what would happen and willingly accepted it. He knew it may cost him his life but he was counted worthy for this message. He was so honored that Jesus stood up to receive him. Once they heard that Jesus would receive him ( whom they crucified, for many in this crowd were probably also part of the same crowd that yelled for Jesus to be crucified.) A young man there was Saul who became Paul, so Stephen will be rewarded with the blessings that Paul has for without Stephen there is no Paul. Stephen walked in love for Stephen said forgive them similar to what Christ said on the cross. ( he did this without the letters of the Apostles John and Paul, so this was something he got directly from the Holy Spirit within him.)
Apostle Paul had special miracles with ordinary handkerchiefs laid on his body. Demons were cast out and diseases and sicknesses as well. He also raised someone from the dead who died after falling out of the window during one of his services. So Paul had many signs and wonders follow his ministry because God was with him.
Special Miracles Acts 19:8-12 8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
There were unique miracles that happened for no one prayed for them, but it was just by a cloth being laid on the apostle Paul. The name of the disease did not matter what mattered is that you had faith that when that cloth was laid on the Apostle Paul you would be healed or delivered. You have to receive it for you need to put in your faith order for your password is the Scripture that you use for what you are asking for when you ask for that need to be met. Paul was there for 2 years and they were able to listen to Paul and Paul could write some letters and they saw him in Person and get the needs met.
7 Sons of Sceva 13-20 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
Evil spirits knew Paul and they left when he prayed for they knew he had power in the Spirit realm. IT is not only important to know that we know we have authority but know that the devil knows you have authority in the spirit realm. The sons of sceva did not have the power or authority for they were not born again but Paul was. You cannot go through a man but only through Jesus Christ and his provision. The devil was defeated here so in this area many were also giving up listening to him. Deliverance came to many there not just the one prayed for that day!
Eutychus raised from the Dead Acts 20:6-12 6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
I can relate to this Scripture for people have told me I speak too long. Here a young man is sitting on a window ledge and Paul is speaking. He spoke to midnight so today many would complain and want to leave for it was too long. Then this young man who was part of Paul’s ministry team fell asleep (perhaps from all the traveling) and fall out the window. He was on the 3rd floor and he died. Paul went and did what Elijah did and laid on him to allow the anointing on him to go into Eutychus so that the spirit of life would come back into him. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus raised the dead here. They had communion and then the Apostle Paul resumed his sermon until morning. HE spoke at least from 8-12 and then from 12 30 – 6am. That is 4 hours and then 5 ½ more. So the Apostle Paul spoke 9 ½ hours that one meeting!
Peter freed because it was not his time and he had many praying for him. However, they did not have much faith for when he was released they were astonished that he was freed. These were great things that happened in the early church. Peter at that time was the leader of the church and although he was arrested and in jail God delivered him.
Peter in Jail Acts 12:1-5 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Peter was in Jail for preaching the gospel. James (one of the inner three) was killed so next was Peter who was the leader of the Christian church. They put him in jail and Peter was so confident that he was asleep between 2 guards and scheduled to be executed the next day. The days of unleavened bread were the same time that Jesus was in the tomb, but Jesus was risen from the dead on the day of Firstfruits. The word Easter is ok here for it was after the Passover. The soldiers were chained to Peter and Peter was asleep. There was no way he could escape.
Peter delivered from Jail 6-11 6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
Peter was delivered by an angel. The angel only had to tap Peter and the chains fell off of him. The guards did not see the angel only Peter for the guards could not see into the spirit realm. The angel told Peter ok get ready let’s go. Peter thought it was a vision and did not really understand what was happening. The angel led him out of the city and once Peter was safe the angel left. It may have been his guardian angel. He was not only delivered from Herod but from what the people wanted.
Peter at prayer meeting for him12-17 12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
Peter came to the house that was praying for him. So this is the reaction. The young girl said Peter is there but no one listened to her or believed her. They are praying for him and do not have faith he would be released. Then why pray! Then they were more amazed I think then Peter was! They were astonished and yet in spite of the prayers of these unbelieving people God delivered Peter, This was a divine act of God not because of his grace to Peter!
Herod killed18-25 18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.20 And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country.21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
God will not under any circumstances share his glory with man. God will glorify us who belong to Him but here God wants men to praise him. Herod had arrested Peter and executed James. He came against the church of God and yet God still gave him another chance and yet he did not repent. God only gives us so many chances to receive him. Nothing would have happened to Herod if he would have said Thank you Lord! His father King Herod tried to kill Jesus and his son wanted to kill the saints/ Like Father Like Son! His father died by God’s hand and so did the son!
Conclusion: Many miracles happened in the book of Acts. Some were where lame were healed or dead raised but some were when natural things happened to people coming against his people. God will defend his people! God takes care of you for God will support you since he is your Daddy. Expect the provision! Expect the Miracle in your life!
Next week: Signs and Wonders in the end times
This sermon is copyrighted @2018 and is the property of our Pastor- Rev. Dr. Don Carson. Used by permission and for more information or questions call Pastor Don during the day at 732-297-7794.