Believing for Miracles – and these signs shall follow them

Mark 16:17-20
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 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. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

I would like to focus attention to the phrase “Them that believe” [have believed with renewed belief]. This phrase implies that the signs follows them that believe in the ministry of the signs and their ability to demonstrate the power and glory of God. Not all believers operate in these signs. Many have believed and been baptized for salvation according to verse 16 but have not operated in the signs following as stated in verse 17.

What was the hindering circumstances of these believers between their salvation and their ministry of miracles (with signs following)?

Jude 1:3-4
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Spirit of Complacency
Characteristics of this Spirit:

A. Lost of Fight
“exhort…should earnestly contend for”
Complacency is precisely what the enemy attacks the church with. The word exhort in the Greek is parakaleo and is military language for the great speech a commanding officer delivers just before the battle to inspire and motivate the warriors in engaging the opponent. The battle we must engage is one of false doctrine and a turning from the faith of Jesus Christ: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:3,4,5
These are the tasks of spiritual warfare: watching, enduring, working, and proving. We must never lose this passion to fight the good fight of the faith.

B. Tolerance for relevance
“faith once and for all”
This phrase carries with it the idea of a finished, completed, and perfect work. Does our insatiable desire for that “fresh word” allow for a little embellishment as long as its ‘not the same way we heard it before’? Making exceptions for the little variations to what we have been taught for our own entertainment value marks the embodiment of what many call relevance. The word faith used here in the Greek is pistei and is used to denote teachings and doctrine. We are not fighting against relevance in terms of style or methodology but in a relevance that seeks to change the faith for contemporary culture, to make what is wrong right and what is right wrong. You will know that complacency is setting in when truth is “in the eye of the beholder”.

C. Passing NOT the torch
“delivered unto the saints”
I believe Jude uses the word “delivered” deliberately. It is the Greek word paradidomi and it means to entrust to someone for their safe-keeping or to commit and hand down as in a family tradition. Failing to pass down the traditions and righteousness of the Kingdom of God to our children and children’s children will result in a next generation church susceptible to “seducing spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Here is where the spirit of complacency becomes the dominating force over the Church. Are your children and grandchildren ready, willing, and able to make stand for Jesus Christ and the Faith once and for all delivered unto the saints?

2. Open Door Policy
“for certain men crept in unawares”
A. Hypocrite teachers
Teachers having no real evidence of spiritual change. All believers should demonstrate a growing knowledge of and walking in the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, temperance. While these qualities even the unsaved can exemplify at times, it is the divine enablement of the spirit to have joy in the worst of times, or to love even the most unlovable.  Jesus said of spiritual teachers; “wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). Teachers who do not exemplify what they teach {or ought to teach} end up leaving a bad taste in the mouth of other believers who then question if they can believe anything that they were taught, especially concerning signs following.

B. False prophets
False prophets are the ones who come into the church with a “new anointing” and play on the desires and dreams of earnest seekers for revival and a supernatural move of God. They come with their wise words and impressive manifestations and begin to declare that in order to receive one has to behave or act in a way contrary to traditional church teachings. Many false prophets even say that to receive from this new anointing one must even reject the “old ways” of the church and doctrine. The Church’s crave for the glory of God must not substitute the faith teachings of the church.
“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” 1 John 2:24,26-27
False prophets will rob genuine believers of the real power of god for a phony imitation leaving behind disillusioned believers to the ‘signs following’ from the spirit of the lord.

C. Wolves in sheep’s clothing
Deception is one of the worst of all evils, for it holds only the allusion of right and goodness. Wolves enter only to eat and to rake the people of God of their blessings and abundance. When we only look on the outside and see how a person dresses or looks than we are at risk of letting in these wolves. Sanctification and holiness ought to be the marks for leadership in the church. Wolves are also ones who while in the church seek to cause harm to the body of Christ. All this deception and harm act as a distraction to keep the saints from ministering in miracles with signs following.

3. Misguided Theology
“ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness”
A. Is Love Really Blind?
Because ‘love covers a multitude of sins’ we should never point out sins in the lives of others or preach and teach against sin. Sin is still ever-present in this world and must be dealt with. With sin our lives how can we approach a Holy god? With sin in our lives how can we live in righteousness? With sin in our lives how can the Holy Spirit have room to take up residence in our lives? With sin in our lives how can we walk in the power of the Spirit? With sin in our lives how can we expect to see Christ in the end? With sin in our lives how can we be certain our names our found in the book of life? Dear saints, we must not let a false idea about love hinder us or our teachings from the truth about sin. Signs following ministry of miracles flow from saints sanctified and holy.

B. Is Grace Really all-forgiving?
This mis-guided theology may not be new but it certainly has taken new wind with some popular mainstream ministries today. The main point of this theology is that grace has already forgiven you of all your sins before they were even committed and therefore you don’t have to worry about your sins as grace has already covered them. The Apostle Paul dealt with this same error that was starting to take form in the church at Rome. Bad theology will, such as this and others, will cause sincere believers to walk in a false sense that they are okay with the lifestyle they have always lived and are in no need of a Holy Ghost transformation in their lives. Can Jesus really change my lifestyle? Gods grace is more than a license for freedom but is a supernatural gift of transforming power for believers.

A Renewed Belief
One can believe in Christ for salvation but have no belief in Christ for His supernatural power. Just ask the disciples of Acts 19. Is the Church in America today like these disciples?

It’s time to believe again!

You HAVE what it Takes
1 John 2:20

You CAN change the World
Acts 1:8

You WILL see Miracles
1 Thessalonians 1:5 & 1 Corinthians 2:4

Conclusion: In Mark ch.5 we read about a ruler of the synagogue named Jairus whose daughter was sick to the point of death. He came to Jesus who had just arrived from across the coast, where He casted out the legion of demons, and asked Jesus if He would come heal his daughter. Jairus showed great faith and belief in Jesus. But then disruptions and distractions came; and a servant stopped them on the road advising that the daughter had died and no need to bother the Master any longer. Jesus who heard looked at Jairus and said “do not fear, only believe”. Jairus had already showed belief in Jesus as the healing Christ, but this was not what Christ was referring to. Jesus was referring to a signs following belief.

Today, do not fear, only believe; Your miracle is Now!


Published by Nathanstrom

Ordained Bishop with the Church of God; Cleveland, TN; Senior Pastor at Redemption Place Church of God Allegan, MI. Community Service Chaplain.

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