The Signs That Follow Believers
THE SIGNS THAT FOLLOW BELIEVERS
By Rodney W. Francis
Recently I have been challenged again on the teachings of Jesus with regards the supernatural evidence and happenings that He taught would follow those who believe Him and His teachings. We need to keep reminding ourselves that true Christianity is all about having a total commitment to Jesus Christ and His teachings. He demonstrated very clearly what He came to this world to do, and He taught and commissioned His disciples to do what He did. For example:
“And He said to them, ‘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 (“be persuaded, to rely upon, to trust”): 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’” (Mark 16:15-18).
WE HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED BY JESUS
Jesus led by example and He now has commissioned us to go and do His works; works that clearly demonstrate that Jesus Christ is alive today and still longs to do His mighty works through those who believe Him and His teachings. Consider a fuller meaning of the word “believe”: “be persuaded, to rely upon, to trust. The New Testament conception of faith is (i) a fully convinced acknowledgment, (ii) a self-surrendering fellowship, (iii) a fully assured and unswerving confidence. (a). implying direction towards the object of faith, to give one’s self up to. (b) referring to the foundation of the faith, put confidence in. (c) implying repose, rest and reliance, or with a view to that reliance” – Bullinger’s). We see from these word meanings that to believe Jesus means a total commitment to what He has said, says and teaches us from His word. Believing Jesus is to be totally convinced that whatever He said and taught was the absolute truth and that we should commit ourselves totally to acting upon what He taught.
Just prior to Jesus giving His disciples this commission they were not in a very good place spiritually. Jesus had to rebuke them for their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mark 16:9-14). Jesus told them they had to wait in Jerusalem until they received the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the ‘dunamis’ power of God that would enable them to work with the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4). They obeyed Jesus and, after Jesus returned to heaven, they received the mighty Holy Spirit power and “they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:19-20). Jesus confirmed what they spoke and taught by mighty signs, wonders and miracles.
Once they had received the power of the Holy Spirit into their lives they were transformed disciples and started to exercise the authority that Jesus gave them to go and do His works. In Acts 3:1-16 we read of Peter and John going to a prayer meeting. On their way they passed a beggar who had never walked. He was crying out for money to help him survive. Peter stopped, looked at him and said: “’Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk’. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them ~ walking, leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God”. That healing miracle opened the opportunity for Peter to preach the Gospel, and the result was about 5,000 people were saved (Acts 4:4). The miracle and the preaching Jesus Christ stirred up the religious spirit within the religious leaders and they tried to silence them through threats of punishment. The result of the religious opposition only stirred the believers to do more for Jesus: “’Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness (“freedom or frankness of speaking; fearless”) they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus’. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (see Acts Chapter 4).
Notice that Peter stepped out in bold faith because through the infilling of the Holy Spirit he now knew that he was carrying a power and authority from God to do what Jesus did, and what Jesus commissioned His believing disciples to do. The result was wonderful and became a testimony to the glory of God and the power that was now working in His disciples. Today we need the same supernatural evidence of Jesus being with us, and working with us, to convict and convince unbelievers of their need of the Saviour. With Jesus alive in our hearts all things are possible to him that believes! Jesus said: ”If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
Sadly, today, we rarely hear of such miraculous signs and wonders being done in the name of Jesus Christ by those who say they believe on Him. Many of this generation of Christians have never seen a supernatural healing or miracle of God. The result is a powerless kind of believing of what Jesus taught us. The commission of Jesus in Mark 16 was not given to “only those who had three years of theological study”, or “had to be ordained into the ministry”; but to those who believe what Jesus said. The challenge is to every one of us:
- Are the signs and wonders that Jesus promised to those who believe Him happening in and through our life?
- If not, why not?
- Do we not believe what Jesus taught us?
- Is our believing according to the Bible meaning of believing, or are we simply having a head knowledge of Jesus?
WE NEED TO OBEY JESUS!
For the Christian believer there is no greater authority than that of Jesus Christ and His teachings. A true disciple of Jesus is one who follows both the Teacher and His teachings. That means to obey what we have been taught. The Bible is clear that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8); and “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Today Jesus desires to be the same through His believing disciples where He can confirm the word we speak with miraculous signs, wonders and miracles. The ‘dunamis’ power of the Holy Spirit (which is a power capable of anything) now dwells within every baptized in the Holy Spirit believer! He is the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Do we personally know Who lives inside of us right now? If we do, then we will be looking for opportunities to be praying for needy people wherever we go. It is not limited to being in church gatherings! Remember, with Jesus living inside of us, we are carrying the real Answer to all of mankind’s needs. We hold the answers to every problem. It is all a matter of what we personally believe what Jesus said.
When I used to do open-air Gospel Crusades in different countries I learned that if we got a miracle of healing in the first meeting, then we did not need to worry about getting a crowd after that. That healing would be shared by the people with others, and they would then come to the meetings so they, too, could receive a miracle of healing from the Lord. The miracle got the peoples’ attention and they came along hoping to get their needs met as well. They got the Gospel ~ with many receiving miracles as well. Praise the Lord!
Today we are the ones who Jesus has chosen to work through, so let us be led by the Holy Spirit and then be bold and courageous in our witnessing to others of what the Lord can do when we put our believing faith into action.
Please know that this is not being written to condemn anyone, but rather to challenge us to experience all that Jesus taught us to do. Every one of us can improve in this realm of being a practical believer in Jesus Christ. When you do get the opportunity to pray for peoples’ needs, make sure you pray positively in the authority given to you by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Command the sickness, disease, problem, whatever, to go in the Name of Jesus Christ. You will be amazed at the results you will get as your believing and faith grow stronger and stronger over time. God bless you.