ACTS 14:3-4: “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What brings a person to faith in Jesus Christ? Some think that more people would come to faith in Jesus Christ if they only saw the power of God manifested through signs and wonders. This is a common misunderstanding of the purpose of signs and wonders. They are never an assurance of faith in those who witness them. In fact, this is not even the reason they are given. They are given to confirm the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These two verses are a clear reminder of this fact. Even though signs and wonders were done through the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, the people of the city were divided and many still did not believe. It is only the ministry of the Holy Spirit, illuminating he Word of God in the hearts of those who hear it, that brings one to faith in Jesus Christ.
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14-17 ESV)
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:22-25 ESV)
This is an important distinction to remember so that we do not misunderstand our calling. Our calling is to proclaim the Gospel, the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are to present Jesus, crucified and risen from the dead. The power is in the Gospel not in the signs and wonders that may follow. God always confirms His Word, but faith is not dependent upon signs and wonders. Signs and wonders are a confirmation of the validity of the Word of God, but they are not at guarantee of faith.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God! Our call is to proclaim Jesus through the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts the hearts of those who hear God’s Word of sin, righteousness and judgment. The Father is the one who draws the convicted heart to Jesus. Jesus is the one who saves those who call upon His Name, by grace through faith. Signs and wonders are given to confirm the Word that is proclaimed, as the Lord sees fit.
Lord, help me to keep the “main thing”…the “main thing”. Help me to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ – crucified for our sins, alive and risen from the dead, freely giving forgiveness, freedom, and eternal life to all who will believe! I leave the confirmation of the Word fully in your hands. In Jesus Name!