Today we see the principle that we have been learning in the last two chapters in Acts put into action. The principle is, that Jesus gave us the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, so that we might receive power to be witnesses for Him (Act 1:4-8). We learned that the Greek word for power, dunamis, does not only mean to be given moral power to walk in newness of life, which it does, but also to be given supernatural power to perform miracles.
This is in accord with Scripture. In Joe 2:28-32, supernatural power through the Spirit was prophesied for God’s children in the Last Days. Peter said those were the days he was living in (Act 2:16). Many believe that we also are living in the Last Days (as do I). How can Peter, and I, both be living in the Last Days? It must be, in order to harmonize the Scripture, that the entire Church Age is in the Last Days. If that is so, we are in the Last Minutes of the Last Days. And the prophecy of Joel applies to us every bit as much as it applied to Peter’s generation.
Not only Joel, but Jesus also told us to expect supernatural miracles by the Spirit (Mar 16:17-18). I am not trying to belabor this aspect of the Spirit and not the other aspect of the Spirit — a sanctified life. It is just that the supernatural miracles aspect of the Spirit has been minimized by the Church, and I am trying to un- minimize it, LOL. I am NOT a fan of charismatic chaos. Charismatic chaos was rightly corrected by Paul (1 Cor 12- 13- 14). But let us not throw out the baby with the bath water.
So we saw the principle at work in Acts 2, that the miracle by the Spirit — tongues of fire and speaking in other tongues — brought an opportunity to witness to Jesus. The result of that unusual occurrence, was that a crowd gathered to see what was going on. God arranged a large audience for Peter, and Peter then witnessed to Jesus.
In this chapter we see the same principle at work. Here the miracle by the Spirit – the healing of a man lame from birth — brought an opportunity for the witness to Jesus. The result of that unusual occurrence was the same: a crowd gathered, and Peter had another God- arranged opportunity to witness to Jesus.
Let us not despise the supernatural working of the Spirit, any more than we despise His working in us a sanctified life. But let us not ever forget the reason for the supernatural, and let us take our God- given opportunities to give to others such as we have – healing in the name of Jesus — AND let us take our God- given opportunities to witness to Jesus as a result.
In explaining the miracle that had happened to the lame man, Peter said, “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong (Act 3:16).” Now there is so much that is wrong with the doctrine of the Word of Faith movement. I despise name it and claim it doctrine as a gross misrepresentation of Scripture.
BUT it is true that receiving what God has for us requires faith. We cannot receive the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, unless we personally have faith in Him (Eph 2:8-9), and personally receive His blood applied to us, even though Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 Joh 2:2). The children of Israel could not enter the Promised Land, even through God was ready and willing to give it to them, because of their unbelief (Heb 3:19).
So why do some people get healed when they are prayed for and some don’t? I don’t know. I do know, that if I was to say to a mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and it did not obey me, then I did not really have faith without doubting (Mat 21:21). So in my personal case, I think the fault lies with me (I have seen God do some miraculous things after praying for someone with the laying on of hands, and at other times, nothing).
I do know that greater faith cannot hurt the Church, and maybe we should be about cultivating that in our churches. Does it all boil down to faith? I don’t know – that is one of the questions we will have to ask Jesus when He returns. But, the Scriptures make a very strong case for the faith connection to miracles and receiving the gifts of God. If I was praying for people to be made whole, and I wasn’t seeing ankle bones strengthened, I think I would want to be spending time on my face, in fasting and prayer, seeking God to strengthen my own faith, so that I could be a better, conformed to Scripture, vessel of His love to others. 🙂