Sunday, 9 December 2018

Signs Following Believers

Scripture: Mark 16 v 15-18: "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." 
Words of Jesus.

Acts 28 v 3-6: "And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
 4  And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.
 5  And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
 6  Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he must be a God."

What makes a disciple, or follower, of Jesus Christ different from a churchgoer?  

Firstly, disciples know that they are part of the living church, the invisible body of Jesus. As Jesus said, Any two or three gathered in My name, I am in the midst of them. That is church.   This is when you are conscious of the presence of Jesus and are in genuine worship of Him and are listening to His voice.  You do not have to be in a church building to do this.

Paul was in a shipwreck but managed to make it to shore and proved that nothing poisonous or deadly; not scorpions, snakes nor spider bites will kill you. The viper that bit him did not even cause pain or harm.  

A few years ago, Pastor Reinhard Bonnke, was holding one of his large tent crusades in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Many thousands of people were packed into the tent.  There were two incidents that became powerful testimonies.  The first was the presence of Satanists from a coven who were inside and planning to disrupt the meeting and cause chaos.

They had cursed the pastor and called up demons to invade the tent but nothing was happening.  One of them went to look outside and saw a wall of the fire of God around the tent and hundreds of demons running around outside it unable to get in.  He got saved.

In another meeting the next night, after many thousands of tribal people had been born again the previous evening, a number of local witchdoctors using black magic, came up to the stage where Pastor Bonnke was preaching.  They threw live poisonous snakes at him to kill him or at least stop the meeting.  He preached on totally unconcerned about the snakes.  The snakes could not get near him.  All the witchdoctors got saved and brought all their paraphernalia and burned it in front of the stage.

In both these instances, people close to Satan found out how he had no power over Christians of strong faith.  They made the right choice to abandon the loser and choose the victory path of Jesus Christ.

Believers speak in new tongues. They receive from the Holy Spirit a heavenly language that edifies them daily. It is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as the tongues of men and of angels, and in chapter 14 as known or unknown tongues.  In Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit first came down on the apostles they were speaking in known tongues which people around them could understand.

Acts 2 v 4 - 8: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
 5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
 6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
 7  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
 8  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?"

Galilaeans were known as uneducated fishermen who did not speak foreign languages so this initial sign of a believer, speaking in known tongues, was amazing to those who heard it.  

Speaking in tongues is very common today and has great benefit.  It is a gift of the Holy Spirit which enables you to have direct, secret communication with God, anytime, anywhere and for however long you choose.  In the church, utterances in tongues are limited to three and only if there is someone present who can interpret tongues, another gift of the Holy Spirit.  Tongues is not a random, uncontrolled utterance, it is always under the control of the speaker.

A group of young people in Edenvale, near Johannesburg, were about to set off on an evangelical mission to share the gospel in their town.  They gathered outside some local shops to pray before going off two by two.  While praying there was a loud utterance in tongues by one of the group.  A Greek shopkeeper ran out and fell on his knees in front of them.  The tongues were in Greek enumerating his many sins.  He was their first convert.

They lay hands on the sick and they are healed. The more you give out the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, the more abundantly the gifts of healing flow.  Jesus conferred His authority upon His disciples, and all those who would believe in Him through their writings.  Any believer can lay hands on the sick and Jesus in your heart will heal them.

It is God at work changing, healing, delivering people from sin and demonic oppression.  The deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised, troubled minds are made sound again and demons are bound by the power in the name of Jesus.  At the sound of His name demons tremble and flee.

The demons knew Jesus and He forbade them to tell anyone. Luke 4 v 40 - 41: "Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
 41  And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ."  Jesus had much better ways of revealing Himself to His followers than through the mouths of demons.

Demons speak today through the mouths of many prominent people, leading people astray through lies and false promises.  God gives believers a gift to discern spirits of good and evil.  They need this gift to cast out evil spirits that trouble people, nations, churches that have fallen into heresy and false doctrines.  Paul had to rebuke the Corinthian church several times for errors.

The churches today refuse to hear wisdom and be corrected, calling those who bring sound judgment unenlightened critics.  They are in danger of having Jesus remove their candlestick, which is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  They will continue in their ways without ever knowing how far they have wandered from the truth, and they will easily become part of Interfaith or the One World Church ruled by Antichrist.

Another sign that follows believers is if they drink any deadly thing it shall not harm them.  This is not to say you can tempt God by drinking poison to prove Him right.  It is if Christians are forced to drink it or drink something accidentally, like a date rape drug or a child drinks some household chemical, the power of God will protect them.

In the world seeing is believing, in Christianity believing is seeing.  In John 3 v 8: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."  These are the blessings that remain after believers have been and gone.  You can't quite put your finger on how and why you have these blessings because they come from the Holy Spirit, but they are a subtle sign that follows believers.

Prayer: Heavenly Father let my light so shine with Your grace that Your signs shall follow me as Jesus in me continues His ministry. Let me lay hands on the sick and speak in new tongues and do all the things you need me to do as a witness to You. In Jesus' name. Amen.