by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Summary: “Jesus BEGAN to do and teach…” (Acts 1:1) — The four Gospels clearly show Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, cleansing the lepers, feeding the 5,000 and more. Then in Acts we see the Church continuing to minister with signs, wonders, healings, miracles, prophecies, and the like.
I once studied the first ten great revivals in the Book of Acts. I found that nine of these ten ingatherings of souls were clearly associated with a dramatic healing or miracle or other observable supernatural event. Let’s look at some of them to build our faith for the same in the Lord’s Church in our day.
The 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) were baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues. A crowd came together and marveled and asked (2:12), “What does this mean?” Peter then preached a Holy Spirit-anointed sermon to the crowd. The result? (2:41) “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” And Peter had assured the crowd that if they turned their hearts to Jesus for salvation, they too could be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues as the evidence of this great gift of God — “…and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off…” (Acts 2:38-39).
Peter and John came upon the lame man at the temple gate. Peter said, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” And he did! A crowd gathered, and once again Peter preached a Spirit-empowered sermon, and thousands more believed. The preaching/teaching of God’s Word, confirmed with supernatural power, wins souls to Jesus!
The apostles healed many sick and demonized people. Even Peter’s shadow seemed to heal some! The result? Crowds gathered (16) and “more and more men and women believed in the Lord.” Don’t limit these things to apostles only. Remember Jesus’ promise that “these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons… they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18).
Philip was a deacon in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6), later an evangelist in Caesarea (Acts 21:8). Scattered by persecution from Jerusalem, Philip went to the city of Samaria, where he preached Jesus Christ and had many conversions, healings, and demonic deliverances. The new converts were soon thereafter baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).
Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of the Church, persecuting many unto imprisonment and even death. He had a visionary encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road and was powerfully converted, but was blinded in the encounter. God sent Ananias, simply known as “a disciple,” to heal Saul’s blindness and to see Saul “filled with the Holy Spirit” in preparation for a great ministry to the Gentiles. As Ananias ministered to him, Saul was healed of the blindness and rose up and was baptized. Saul went on to become the apostle Paul, one of the great apostles of the early Church and writer of about half the books of the New Testament!
The apostle Peter came upon lame, bedridden Aeneas. He simply said to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up.” And he did! The Result? Two entire towns, Lydda and Sharon, “saw him and turned to the Lord.”
Generous, godly Tabitha (Dorcas) had died. Peter was summoned. He knelt by her body and prayed, then turned to the woman and said, “Tabitha, get up.” And she did! The result? It became known all over the town of Joppa, and “many people believed in the Lord.”
I include this accurate prophetic event to show that the early Church continued to minister in the supernatural ways that Jesus Himself had done. Recall how Jesus had promised that “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…” (John 14:12).
We’ve seen above how great harvests of souls came into the Lord’s early Church as believers continued to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and many other manifestations of the Holy Spirit of God in their lives and ministries, following the pattern shown by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ in His own ministry. Jesus clearly intends those ministries to continue in His Church right up until His glorious Second Coming to earth.
A local church in Antioch had five named men who were clearly that church’s spiritual leaders. They were worshiping the Lord and fasting, when the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul [later called Paul] for the work to which I have called them.” After further fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off. These two men, Barnabas and Saul/Paul became known as apostles (see Acts 14:3f and 14:14). They went forth in traveling ministry and had great success in evangelism, church planting, and training believers in the things of the Lord.
A note of caution: I do believe in local churches ordaining ministers, as was done in this instance. But notice the great carefulness of the Antioch leaders. Both before and after the prophetic revelation of Paul’s and Barnabas’s calling, the leaders were worshiping, fasting, praying. These things must not be done (as a pastor friend of mine described it) “on twitches and tingles”! Notice that the Holy Spirit said, “…the work to which I have called them.” God will call fivefold ministers, elders, and deacons in the local church. But these things must be done in a prayerful, worshipful attitude and with utmost carefulness to discern the “to which I [God’s Spirit is] calling them.”
Here we see the Holy Spirit at work through Paul. He clearly spoke a faith-building, Spirit-anointed message. Then by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Paul discerned that the lame man listening “had faith to be healed.” Filled with faith by the same Holy Spirit, Paul cried out, “Stand up on your feet!” And the man did! The crowd was shocked and, influenced by their pagan background, believed that “the gods” had come into their midst. Paul and Barnabas immediately tried to correct that error and to point them to the true God.
Many more supernatural scenarios from The Book of Acts could be quoted. But these suffice to show clearly that the Spirit-empowered ministry of signs, wonders, and spiritual gifts that Jesus began in His earthly ministry was continued in the ministry of the early Church — and must continue in us to the very Coming of Christ. Remember again that our Lord and Savior promised: “Whoever believes in me will do the works I [Jesus] have been doing” (John 14:12). May we, His believers, be faithful to that, in Jesus’ Name!
Check out our related sermon: God Wants to Use You As His Instrument
Subscribe (always free)
Shortcuts to Major Topics:
Doctrine & Theology
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Hearing from God
Holy Spirit | Pentecostal Topics
Power of God
Various Topics Not Listed Elsewhere
Victory over the Devil
Word of God
Sharing is great!
If you've been blessed by our sermon on
Believers, Be Used in Healing & Miracles & Spiritual Gifts
please share it with your friends.
Email them the browser link. Or
you can post the link on your social
media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Thank you for sharing God's Word!
©2023, James H. Feeney.