Journal Acts 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)
Scripture: Now, many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles…
And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them.
The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. (Acts 5:12-16)
Observation: The incident of Ananias and Sapphira get all the attention in Acts 5, but while that is a wakeup call against misleading people, it isn’t the only thing to pay attention to…
What was the change event that made ordinary disciples into apostles?
Application: I wonder why the first few chapters of Acts seem to be all caught up with signs and wonders?
And I wonder why the current church isn’t.
In fact, if I look at the surface of church history, I sure don’t see testimony of any sort of steady, consistent, regular miracles happening. (Look above at the reference scripture: “…many signs and wonders were regularly done…”) Miracles weren’t a “Surprise!”, they were expected.
The scripture reads like miracles weren’t on the heels of a well spoken message or any other sort of preparation…miracles were just “there”.
Somewhere in the intervening centuries, preaching/teaching took a predominant role and emphasis and miracles faded from expectation.
Shucks, I look in the mirror and I don’t expect them either. Why is that?
I am not a dispensationalist—I don’t think that God has arranged eras of time that He has decided to move differently than what His testimony has revealed. (Note: I base my POV on the negative proof of the scripture, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb 13:8) If God can be false in any part of his testimony, then who is to say what is valid for today and what is not? The Gospel falls apart from implied inconsistency. Therefore, God must be true throughout his Word without any inconsistency. How’s that for a quick theology mini lesson?)
Back the other day, posting on Mark 16, Jesus rebuked the disciples for their “unbelief and hardness of heart.” (c. Mk 16:14) Is that what I am experiencing? Unbelief? Having a hard heart? I must think that if I am not directly, then I am unbelieving and hard hearted at least directionally.
What will open my “believer-thingy” and soften my heart to have faith in these things like miracles happening as an everyday, ordinary occurrence?
This is not a “theological” position in me—I truly want to know and moreover want to be an instrument of His Grace in an ordinary and everyday way (which perhaps should include regular, not extraordinary, practice of the gifts of the Spirit in our community). Theory is one thing, practice (praxis) is another. Praxis is, “…the process of using a theory (or a theological position) or something that you have learned in a practical way…”
Study in the Word is not meant to be theological alone (although that is needed), but it must lead to a practice.
Prayer: Shoot, Lord: It is a good thing that you don’t open up many options to jabber, otherwise I would never stop. The Gospel is too rich to be contained in only one direction.
Stir me up, O God, stir me up. Keep me steady on the path of righteousness.
Ricky Two Shoes