“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread and in prayers and fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” (v.43)
After the Holy Ghost was poured out the first act of the apostles was the healing at the Gate Beautiful of the man who had been lame all of his life. Peter reached forth his hand and lifted that man up and out of his diseased condition. After this miracle of healing there was great controversy among the people. Word spread quickly because I am sure all people were well aware that this man had sat at that gate begging alms for years. However, the healing also stirred up the religious leaders and persecution began. Even they knew that a miracle of healing was a good thing and to speak against it would further incite the people. “What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.” (Acts 4:16) When was the last time you witnessed a “notable miracle”? Has the age of miracles passed as some denominations teach? Of course not – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and His Word is forever established in heaven. So why aren’t we seeing these “signs and wonders” today? I believe it is because of unbelief. Once when Jesus raised a young girl from the dead he had everyone who doubted to be removed from the room. Not everyone has faith for the miraculous and their unbelief could hinder the release of many miracles the Lord desires to give us.
The 19th century witnessed some of the greatest revivals or “awakenings” ever experienced. Even before Azusa street there was a woman evangelist named Maria Etter-Woodsworth who was used mightily of God in the first decade of the 1900’s. In her book Miracles and Wonders we read a report from the Dallas Morning News written Sept. 12, 1912. (In just a few months that will be exactly 100 years ago). Please read this carefully and see where we are a century later in the manifestation of the power of God. Also note how remarkable that this was printed in the daily newspaper.
“Hundreds in Dallas and all over Texas and many other states have already been healed in this meeting of all manner of diseases and afflictions by the power of God, in answer to ‘the prayer of faith’. Many have been brought over one thousand miles and have been wonderfully saved and healed. The lame, the blind, many deaf and dumb, the palsied, the paralytic, consumptives, those suffering with cancers, tumors, fistulas, pellagra, operations, many with epilepsy, and invalids for years are praising God for healing soul and body.” As I’ve been reading Mrs. Etter’s remarkable book all of these miraculous healings were accompanied by many slain under the power of God for hours and coming out of this experience speaking in other tongues. Also, the outpouring of the Spirit brought “fear on the people” just as in the Book of Acts.
“A feeling of the awful presence of God began to fall on the people. The sweat came on their faces and they stood as though in a trance; the men began to take their pipes out of their mouths, and their hats off. The women began to cover up their bare necks and arms with their aprons. They felt they stood naked and guilty before God.” A true revival always brings a sense of the holiness of God and our unworthiness. Mrs. Etter goes on to say “Sinners are more hard hearted than they used to be. You can preach hell until they almost see the blaze and yet they will stand and look you calmly in the face; but let them see the mighty power of God manifested and they are convicted.” She goes on, “The Holy Ghost bears witness with signs and miracles; unless these attend our ministry we cannot succeed.”
I pray you are feeling as much conviction reading of this “awakening” 100 years ago as I have. It seems now we praise chemotherapy and surgeries more than the true Healer Jesus Christ. Beloved, I want to see the power of God demonstrated in the days ahead as they experienced in the Book of Acts and as recently as 100 years ago.
During the 1950’s the Holy Ghost outpouring continued with signs and wonders, but error crept in and hypocrisy was exposed. The pendulum swung and the church “threw out the baby with the bath water.” It is time to see all the gifts of the Holy Ghost restored and operating in this last and most evil of days. Then sinners will be convicted and converted when they see the mighty power of God and know of a truth that Christ is in us, the Hope of Glory. Yes, speaking in tongues is the evidence we have received the Holy Ghost, but it is not the power. The power of the Holy Ghost is seeing souls transformed, delivered from the works of darkness, healed and raised from the dead. When we have these signs following us then we will know that we have been approved and confirmed by the Holy Ghost because we truly believe and do not limit the Holy One of Israel. When we see the gifts of the Spirit flowing freely in our midst we will know we are truly apostolics not only in word but in deed.
“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them and the evil spirits went out of them.”