Posts Tagged ‘Acts 19:11-12’

Unusual Miracles

Preaching the Word of God

Preaching the Word of God

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)

I love the expression ”unusual miracles”. I’ve personally seen firsthand the extraordinary impact signs and wonders make as they accompany the preaching of the Word of God. Do we truly understand what Kingdom Advancement implies? The Apostle Paul did… and if we are to become ministry leaders who do the unusual in the eyes of the world, we will need to put on a lot more courage and tenacity.

In the city of Ephesus, a shift in the Spiritual Realm was occurring. The Kingdom of God; which is the government of heaven, was gaining influence over all areas of life from the religious practices to the daily routine. Beliefs were changing and faith was being engaged in unusual ways as people stepped into the supernatural, as if unleashed from natural law. Jesus said when you abide in My Word, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:31-32). The Apostle Paul; like Jesus, was pulling them into revelation rather than letting them stay bound to natural limits.

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (Jn. 8:36). Freedom implies the ability to move, without hindrance or limitation and it brings fresh perspective on the future. Unusual miracles change the way you think about your reality, limitations and possibilities.

Conflict with Darkness:

The immediate result of the Apostle Paul’s experience however, was that evil spirits were driven out into the open. Conflict is first and foremost a spiritual battle that makes every leader do an inventory of their gifts and training. Are they equipped to handle the battle? Their experience and character set the standard for how they will address visible opposition in the spiritual realm. Perhaps most important is a person’s awareness of spiritual authority. Some do well, some flounder, but every leader must get their skills sharpened by their identity in Christ and their experiences in the field.

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, over powered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13-16)

This account is like a backhanded compliment. In effect Satan’s agents were saying, ‘This preacher is achieving something’. Yet, the victories of our advancement must be maintained and enforced by radical followers who know who they are and what they carry. These sons of Sceva were trying to be helpful without the tools or experience.

Paul’s preaching was breaking through and crushing the occult practices in the city of Ephesus. What also seemed to be happening was that many people became very nervous about the incredible beating those without spiritual authority had just experienced. Believe me when I say the word gets out. But God will get the last word, if we are truly doing unusual miracles by His hand.

“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (Acts 19:17-19)

Even in the church world today, we see a lot of folks having one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the enemy’s camp. These folks need to see the reality of these kingdoms in conflict. When the Apostle Paul preached, the believers brought the books and tools of their witchcraft and burned them publicly. What an impact that would make on a region. The value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. Each silver coin was a day’s wage… this is estimated at $2,500,000 in today’s market.

Unusual Miracles are only unusual in the sense that they reveal an extraordinary shift from the natural limitations we consider normal. When we begin to see through the eyes of faith, what seems common will change and the impossible will become ordinary.

Grace Platforms

The Ministry of Christ is a ministry of grace! His message was the Good News of a Kingdom of grace flowing from Heaven into Earth. It would bring forgiveness, peace and freedom from sin. Yet the deliverance and freedom experienced in the life of a disciple can only be attained and measured by the transformed mind. Real Kingdom mysteries require us to change the way we think about everything pertaining to God, Church and life on this planet (Mt. 4:17). Jesus has stepped into our natural reality and He brought His world with Him!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

Ministry on Christ’s Shoulder:

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given” as Christ distributes (Eph. 4:7). All ministry is simply the manifestation of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the “Christ” is our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), Prophet (Lk. 24:19), Evangelist (Mt. 9:35), Pastor (1 Pet. 5:2-4) and Teacher (Jn. 3:2). He emulated these offices and distributes the mantles for individuals to function in them, so that the Church carries His anointing for ministry (Jn. 14:12).

“…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So…they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Selected and Sent:

The five-fold leaders are not self-appointed, nor are they simply pastors of a local church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole and its witness in the world. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than the local church. They are grace ministries of Christ to the Church at large. Whether its from inner city pulpits or in the bush lands of Africa, the heartbeat of 5-fold ministry is the discipling of the nations… its our Great Commission! (Mt. 28:18-20).

Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own: 1) Recognition by the wider Body of Christ and 2) Functional Ministry to the wider Body of Christ. Jesus said that the fruit of a person’s life is the best way to recognize their identity, character and anointing. Prior to these two conditions being met, someone may potentially have a five-fold ministry gift, but will not yet be moving in the scope and authority of that gift. Jesus gives the grace for each gift to be released into the Church.

“…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Foundations:

The foundation of the Church is Jesus… the revelation of “Christ – the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:16). And yet there is this unique platform of the apostle and the prophet team (Eph. 3:4-5). This platform carries the role of unveiling the mysteries hidden down through the ages, yet revealed in Christ and by the Holy Spirit to the sons and daughters of men. I believe these two mantle gifts still serve that ministry role (Eph. 4:12-13), so it is vital for us to understand how this works in leading the Body of Christ. We must remember that proper buildings are held up by proper foundations. I would propose; that when grace flows into ministry and functions properly, under the headship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will result in the growth and supernatural health of the Church worldwide. It is the will of God to set this in order and accomplish it through His apostle and prophet teams (Isa. 9:7)… by grace.

The Key of Humility:

The Apostle James and the Apostle Peter wrote specifically about how to receive grace (Jms. 4:6 & 1 Pet. 5:5-6). The humble person receives grace and more grace even as they maintain their humility in the midst of difficult circumstances. Jesus said “Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The humble person; who lives selflessly in ministry, will receive a flow of resource from heaven according to the gift Christ has given them. Their anointing will be in proportion to their faith, assignment and their need.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). The ministry teams made up of Apostle and Prophets like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy served to accomplish great things in advancing the Kingdom of God. They were set apart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2), helped in the midnight hour (Acts 16:25-26) and anointed to do incredible miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Word of God (Acts 19:11-12).

Restoration is needed: In order for the Church to see what God is after today, our impact must set the captives free! We must rely upon the flow of ministry grace… like the dry ground soaks up the rain.

Doing the Unusual

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)

I love the expression “unusual miracles”. I’ve personally seen firsthand the extraordinary impact signs and wonders make as they accompany the preaching of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul understood what Kingdom advancement implies… ministry leaders are called to do the “unusual” in the eyes of the world! If we are to become what we see in the Book of Acts, we will need to put on a lot more courage and tenacity. It requires us to be found doing the unusual!

Shifting our Thinking:

In the city of Ephesus, a shift in the Spiritual Realm was occurring. The Kingdom of God; which is the government of heaven, was gaining influence over all areas of life from the religious practices to the daily routine. Beliefs were changing and faith was being engaged in unusual ways as people stepped into the supernatural, as if unleashed from natural law. Jesus said when you abide in My Word, you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:31-32). The Apostle Paul; like Jesus, was pulling them into revelation rather than letting them stay bound to natural limits.

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed (Jn. 8:36). Freedom implies the ability to move without hindrance or limitation… and it brings fresh perspective on the future. Unusual miracles change the way you think about your reality, limitations and possibilities. We must change the way we think in order to advance into a ministry known by unusual miracles!

Conflict with Darkness:

The immediate result of the Apostle Paul’s experience was that evil spirits were driven out into the open. Conflict is first and foremost a spiritual battle that makes every leader do an inventory of their gifts and training. Are they equipped to handle the battle? Their experience and character set the standard for how they will address visible opposition in the spiritual realm. Perhaps most important is a person’s awareness of spiritual authority. Some do well, some flounder; but every leader must get their skills sharpened by their identity in Christ and their experiences in the field. The spiritual battle is real!

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, over powered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13-16)

This account is like a backhanded compliment. In effect Satan’s agents were saying, ‘This preacher is achieving something’. Yet, the victories of our advancement must be maintained and enforced by radical followers who know who they are and what they carry. These sons of Sceva were trying to be helpful without the tools or experience.

Paul’s preaching was breaking through and crushing the occult practices in the city of Ephesus. What also seemed to be happening was that many people became very nervous about the incredible beating those without spiritual authority had just experienced. Believe me when I say the word gets out. But God will get the last word, if we are truly doing unusual miracles by His hand.

“This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (Acts 19:17-19)

Even in the Church world today, we see a lot of folks having one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the enemy’s camp. These folks need to see the reality of these kingdoms in conflict. When the Apostle Paul preached, the believers brought the books and tools of their witchcraft and burned them publicly. What an impact that would make on a region! The value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. Each silver coin was a day’s wage… this is estimated at $2,500,000 in today’s market.

Doing the unusual reveals an extraordinary shift in the way we think about ministry. We must encourage a new definition of “normal” that moves us away from natural limitation and begins the unusual, supernatural… walk by faith – not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Jesus wants to redefine reality: seeing is no longer the key to believing… now believing is the key to seeing!

When we begin to see through the eyes of faith, the impossible will become ordinary!

Signs of the River

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn. 7:37-39)

Are you seeing any signs of the River? Just how thirsty are you?

Jesus said that when we drink from Him, receive His life and become filled with the Holy Spirit; rivers of living water would begin to flow out from within our lives. The River not only flows from His Presence, as wherever He went life would spring forth… His Presence flows through us. The Glory of the Lord becomes evident through us by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. From this Holy Spirit River, flow salvation, peace, healing and transforming joy. The joy that comes from knowing and partaking of God Himself. It is “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).

A glance through the New Testament, and especially the book of Acts; we see Jesus and His followers demonstrate the signs of Kingdom advancement (Mt. 11:4-6). Everywhere they preached the Kingdom of God broke out and healing miracles and signs of the River begin to flow (Mt. 4:23-24)(Acts 4:29-31)(Acts 5:12-16)(Acts 8:4-8)(Acts 19:11-12). Its more than just cause and effect… its the hand of God mightily impacting the world around believing people! He is wanting to break in with power, truth and compassion… and its thirst that makes His River rush in!

6 Bible Facts about the River:

1. The River flowed out of the Garden of Eden: This was the place where God communed with Adam and Eve. This river separated into four headwaters, sending out life-giving waters throughout the land (Gen 2:10-14). In this way, our Father prepared a means of life to nations and people long before they even existed.

2. The Bible begins with a River and ends with a River: In the last chapter of the Bible, we read of the River of Life flowing from the Throne of God. “On each side of the River stood the Tree of Life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the Tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Rev 22:2) Here in the final page of Scripture, we again see God’s heart for nations and people.

3. The River brings healing to the Nations: Ezekiel had a vision of a River with life-giving properties flowing out from the Temple, after God’s glorious Presence had returned there. Trees surrounding the river, bore fruit for food and leaves for healing. (Ezek 47)

4. The River of Life brings a Harvest: Where once there were no fish, fish abound and fishermen spread their nets for an abundant catch (Ezek 47:9-10). The harvest on God’s heart is souls… people from every tribe and tongue (Mt 4:19)(Rev 7:9).

5. The River of Life is a Source of Joy: The Psalmist says: “There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God, the Holy Place where the Most High dwells” (Ps 46:4). “People feast on the abundance of Your House; You give them drink from Your River of Delights” (Ps 36:8).

6. The River flows from God’s Presence: Consistently, we see that the River of Life flows from the very seat of God’s Presence, the place He inhabits and reigns (Joel 3:18).

  • “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mk. 16:15-18)

The River of Life

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn. 7:37-39)

Jesus said that when we drink from Him; receive His life and become filled with His Holy Spirit, rivers of living water will begin to flow out from within our lives. The River not only flows from His Presence, as wherever He went life would spring forth… His Presence flows through us. The Glory of the Lord becomes evident through us by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. From this Holy Spirit River flow salvation, peace, healing and transforming joy. The joy that comes from knowing and partaking of God Himself. It is “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).

A glance through the New Testament and especially the book of Acts demonstrates that Jesus and His followers go preaching the Kingdom of God and healings, miracles and signs of His River begin to flow (Mt. 4:23-24)(Acts 4:29-31)(Acts 5:12-16)(Acts 8:4-8)(Acts 19:11-12).

6 Bible Facts about the River:

1. The River flowed out of the Garden of Eden: This was the place where God communed with Adam and Eve. This river separated into four headwaters, sending out life-giving waters throughout the land (Gen 2:10-14). In this way, our Father prepared a means of life to nations and people long before they even existed.

2. The Bible begins with a River and ends with a River: In the last chapter of the Bible, we read of the River of Life flowing from the Throne of God. “On each side of the River stood the Tree of Life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the Tree are for the healing of the nations.”  (Rev 22:2) Here in the final page of Scripture, we again see God’s heart for nations and people.

3. Healing is associated with the River: Ezekiel had a vision of a River with life-giving properties flowing out from the Temple, after God’s glorious Presence had returned there. Trees surrounding the river, bore fruit for food and leaves for healing. (Ezek 47)

4. The River of Life brings a Harvest: Where once there were no fish, fish abound and fishermen spread their nets for an abundant catch (Ezek 47:9-10). The harvest on God’s heart is souls… people from every tribe and tongue (Mt 4:19)(Rev 7:9).

5. The River of Life is a Source of Joy: The Psalmist says: “There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God, the Holy Place where the Most High dwells”  (Ps 46:4). “People feast on the abundance of Your House; You give them drink from Your River of Delights” (Ps 36:8).

6. The River flows from God’s Presence: Consistently, we see that the River of Life flows from the very seat of God’s Presence, the place He inhabits and reigns (Joel 3:18).

Archives