Lying wonders - they are not new. In fact, they have been around for almost as long as the real thing! Everything that is good and edifies has its counterpart (and very often counterfeit). Such is certainly the case with true miracles and signs. Consider a case from the book of Acts.
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call 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, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 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. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” (Acts 19.13-20).
This story in Acts 19 is not a made up tale; it really happened. The people were real, the actions were real, and the results were real. This is one reason I am persuaded that the position I take regarding the cessation of the miraculous with the completion of the New Testament is a biblically sound position. If it weren't there would be scores of false prophets today who would suffer the same fate as the seven son of Sceva! I hear them frequently on the television and radio; they claim to be speaking for God, but they speak lies! I heard one this morning on the TV; he wasn't satisfied to merely be known as a prophet; he referred to himself as the Master Prophet and so did the company of “prophets” which gathered around him. Although he claimed to be a Master Prophet, he spoke lies and deception. How do I know this? Easy; he spoke things that contradicted and conflicted with the written word of God! Another man on the TV who claimed to be anointed of God literally squealed every time he used the word “God.” His show was entertaining but, it wasn't from God. The deceivers are many and the need to be discerning is great else we be overtaken through such means and come to destruction.
The story in Acts 19 demonstrates the fact that God's power is far superior to that of false prophets and the deceptive “miracles” that they work. If God were working miracles today as in the biblical days, His power would eclipse the pseudo-signs of today like the sun outshines a firefly! He demonstrated this fact repeatedly in the scriptures. In spite of this fact, people will to believe the false prophets that dot the landscape of modern communication media. One self-appointed prophet claims that God can heal though his hands, but he will only do so if you send money to a specific postal address to receive his anointed prayer cloth! What a travesty!! Never in the pages of all the Bible does one read of a true prophet of God working miracles for his own benefit! One man had that attitude (Simon the converted sorcerer in Acts 8), but his mercenary spirit was rebuked when Peter told him to... “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8.22-23).
The Love of the Truth always has the love for the truth as its father. To love the truth is the first step to receive the love of the truth. Among all other things it means putting the pursuit of truth above all else and following that path wherever it leads. God is that path! Follow it; follow Him!
1. How did God demonstrate His power to be greater than that of the sons of Sceva?
2. What did Simon, the converted sorcerer, hope to gain by receiving the gift of the Spirit?
3. Can you name one example where a man of God asked for or received money as a prerequisite to blessing someone? If not, what does that suggest about those who require a donation in order to provide you with the “blessings” that they possess?
4. What is a prerequisite to receive the love of the truth? Is God truth? Can you know God apart from the truth He imparts?
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