Misconceptions can really throw us off track. When we share our misconceptions, we throw others off track, too. Whether it’s a misconception about a person, a place, or a truth, we can make terrible decisions when we don’t have all the facts.
For many years, I heard numerous respected Bible teachers insist that the miraculous works of the New Testament ended when its writing was completed. They explained that since we now had the full volume of Scripture, we no longer needed dramatic miracles to demonstrate the power of God. There was no more need for speaking in tongues, prophesying, healing, or miraculous signs. Some even went so far as to state that since the book of Acts was a “history book”, we should not use it for learning doctrine. In other words…Acts is a story, rather than a textbook for today’s church practices.
I held these misconceptions for a loooooong time…until a friend shared with me a book about modern-day healing. The writer shared story after story about how he had witnessed God heal many of the people He prayed for. I was skeptical–for all the reasons listed in the paragraph above–but somehow I couldn’t shake the idea that I (and those who taught me) had missed something.
One night, I was reading 1 Corinthians 13, when a verse jumped out at me. It flew in the face of my previous training. Although I had read it many times before, this night, it shook my understanding of miracles.
“Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” –1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV
So far, nothing here contradicts what I had been taught. Until I kept going…
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away…For now we see through a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” –1 Corinthians 13:9, 10, 12 ESV
Yes, some day we will no longer need prophecies or tongues or words of knowledge. Many believe that time came when the Bible was completed. But that is not what this verse says. Since the Bible is not a person, it cannot look at us face-to-face. The miraculous spiritual gifts expire when we meet our Savior face to face. While Jesus sees us and knows us right now, someday we will get to see and know Him in the same way. THAT is when spiritual gifts, the “partial”, will expire to be replaced with Christ Himself. My mind was blown.
But still there was that pesky idea about the Book of Acts being only a history book…not a doctrinal book. Then I remembered a verse that I had memorized as a kid:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” –2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV
How could I have missed it? If all Scripture is inspired by God and good for doctrine, then Acts, with all its stories of miraculous events, is also inspired by God and good for doctrine.
Last week, we discussed how the early church regularly saw miracles performed by God. If any of you were taught like I was, you may have thought, “Well, those things don’t apply to us now.” But they do!! This dangerous misconception has yielded many powerless, shrinking American churches which fail to reach a lost and dying world. What a tragedy.
I believe that the reason many churches today lack power is that we fail to do what the Christians in Acts did. They fasted. They prayed. They devoured God’s Word. It’s easier to believe that “those things don’t happen now” than it is to labor in prayer, study, and fasting. It takes less effort to dismiss Acts as a history book than it does to humbly repent of our arrogance and unbelief.
We lack miraculous power because we do not invest time to humbly, fervently seek God.
We do not have the results they did because we do not do what they did.
It’s time for a change–one that starts at the grassroots level with you and me. A group of us from ACWM are joining together for our second annual 21-Day-Fast this month. We will pray and fast like the believers in Acts did. We will turn away from something we desire–sugar, social media, meals–in order to turn to God and ask for His anointing. We will do what the first Christians did: fast, pray, and devour God’s Word.
Click here to be a part of the Facebook group for the 21-Day-Fast. If you don’t have Facebook, drop us a message!