Let’s go on now to Divine administration. Moses was given wisdom to lead Israel. He said “Lord, this is going to be a bit of a problem”. The Lord says “Pick seventy elders and I’ll put some of your Spirit on them” (Num. 11:27). What happened? These men were to administer and run the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the day-to-day business within Israel. When they received the Holy Spirit, they all prophesied. Oh my! Often, this administration was seen in that prophets would come to kings and say “Go into battle now’ or “Don’t go into battle” “Watch out for an ambush” or “Prepare the nation for certain dangers or disasters which may come”.
Do you think that the same thing is needed today? Obviously, if God is interested in administering and progressing His church, He has not changed.
In the New Testament, Jesus only did what he saw the Father do. He was constantly led by the Spirit.
Peter “there’s sin in the church”. God wants to cleanse sin from the church, how would Peter know. God tells him “Ananias and Sapphira have lied and stolen”. Do you think we have problems in the church today, that God wants to purify the church today? You’re dead right, He does! How does He do it? I have heard myself and seen it time and time again where people in leadership have been shown sins which exist within the congregation – we can then go and speak to those people – there’s a place for repentance and the church is stopped from a rot setting in.
God is still administering and working with His church today. He hasn’t changed.
O.K. how would Peter know to go to the centurion and his household? God told him. Do you think God wants to send us strategically to people today? Of course He does! God has a massive plan for forwarding His purpose in the earth and He will use us if we are open. Acts 11:28 – Agabus the prophet. Would the church in Israel know to be prepared for a great famine that was coming in the earth? Would they read it in Scripture? Oh no! They would never see it there. The prophet stood up and warned the church to be ready. Do you think that today the church needs to be warned of civil wars, of persecutions. Is it any wonder that countries that Christians are in, places like Chad and different countries like that, at times have had prophetic warning of coming persecution? Why? Because God is actively interested in His church. The only way He can do these things is through prophetic gifts. These don’t replace the Word. These support the Word of God.
O.K. Acts 13:2, the apostles are praying and God says, “Set aside Paul and Barnabas for the work to which I have called them”. Do you think that God wants to send particular people to particular areas of the world to carry on the work of God? Do you? Yes, right! How is He going to do it? Are we going to read it in the Bible? Oh no! He will do it through a prophetic inspiration or word of knowledge or a prophecy working through the leadership of the church. God is still actively working in the church today. Acts didn’t pass away then, it is still going on and on and on in my experience and hundreds of millions of other Christians are experiencing the same thing.
Acts 16:6 – they were forbidden to go to Asia. Do you think God wants to warn us not to go to special places today? Obviously. They see in a vision a man from Macedonia beckoning them to come over. Do you think God has strategic places where He wants us to go and work, to be effective? Obviously He does. How is He going to do it if gifts and visions and all those things, the ways that God would communicate these things, have passed away?
What it says is, if you believe that visions and gifts are no longer for today, in essence what you say is, God is not interested in administering His church. That is what it boils down to.
O.k. Let’s look at the sayings of Jesus. Jesus standing on the mountain with his disciples after the resurrection just before he goes into heaven. This is Mark 16: 15-18. He gives his disciples a commission. He says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow those who believe; In my name they will pick up serpents; they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will drink deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover”. Did he say these signs will only accompany them for maybe fifty or a hundred years? Oh no! He says these signs shall accompany those who believe, no matter when it is. This is the commission that was given to us by Christ. It is always valid.
Were the gifts a stop-gag until the canon of Scripture was fulfilled? Was God just humouring the church until we had the Word. No! It says in Mark 16:20 “And they went out and preached everywhere”. What did they preach? They preached the Word. “While the Lord worked with them”. Doing what? “And confirmed the Word, the Lord worked with them”. Do you think that God wants to work with the church today? Of course He does! Do you think God is sitting back in an armchair saying “O.K. get on with it guys?” Oh no! He’s actively working with us today. He is more interested in getting souls saved, people converted, than what you are! And if He is, if you step out and do something, do you think He might meet you halfway? Of course He will. God hasn’t changed. It says “while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word by the signs that followed” You can see this exact same formula happening all over the world. All over the world the exact same Scriptural formula happens time and time again. The result? Multitudes are turning away from paganism and heathenism to God. Exactly the same Scriptural pattern that happened in Acts.
If you do away with signs, if you do away with miracles which are here, why don’t you do away with baptism and belief? It’s all part of the one parcel. Why not throw the whole thing out? There is no Scriptural type for it to have faith and belief without signs that follow. Now that might sound a bit hard but, if you think of it, how do you really know that you’ve rung the bell with God if He doesn’t give you any confirmation? How do you know that you’re in the Kingdom, if you don’t see Kingdom things happening in your life? How do you know?
Does everyone accept the gospel and it messengers? No! Do we need to have God confirm the word that we are speaking with signs? Yes! Obviously we do. Men are still as sceptical today as they were back then.
Are there no sick to be healed? Would anybody say there are no sick any more to be healed? Obviously there are. If they were healed, would it be an asset and a promotion of the gospel? Yes, it would. I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen miracles happen that you would not believe and the results have been incredible, where whole families and whole neighbourhoods have turned to God. Why? It is just a Scriptural pattern. We didn’t do anything, God confirmed what we were saying. He just meets you halfway.
Now, the opposition says that there are no miracles, right? Is there Scripture to support that stance. Oh actually there is! That surprises you doesn’t it. In Mark 6:5-6 it says when Jesus came to his home town he found that he could perform no miracles there. Why? Because miracles and gifts had passed away? Oh no! Because that was part of a dispensation that was going to disappear? No! It says he could do nothing except he laid his hands on a few sick and they were healed, because of their unbelief. This is the same situation that Duncan is experiencing n his church. He who says he can and he who says can’t are both right. Why? Because “according to your faith, it shall be done to you” (Matt. 9:29). If you say you can’t and that it is not for today, you are right it is not for today. And that is exactly what you will experience. But according to your faith, it will be done to you. Baptists, Methodists, Anglican, you name it, brethren who didn’t believe in gifts of the Holy Spirit, didn’t believe in miracles for whatever reason, some of the people and maybe the pastors read something, all of a sudden started to believe and those things which they previously disbelieved in started to manifest and change their lives and their church.
He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both right. This is a faith issue. If you come to this with your intellect, and try and argue it away you’ll win but you’ll lose out with God really in a sense.
John Wesley’s diary August 15th 1750. He says “By reflecting on an odd book which I read on this journey, The General Delusions Of Christians With Regards To Prophecy (this is the name of the book) I was fully convinced of what I had long-suspected.
Baptist missionaries went to the Philippines (now this was the Baptists who don’t believe in gifts for today and miracles). They preached and won over a small tribe. The Japanese invaded the Philippines during the Second World War. The Baptists got out and beat it back to the States. They came back at the end of the War to see what had happened. To their astonishment, all over the islands and the hills and the mountains, all the tribes have been converted to Christianity because this small converted group had carried on. Not only had they been converted to Christianity, but lo and behold, they all had gifts, signs, miracles, healings, raising of the dead, you name it, they had it. The Board back in the States wrote back to them, what is going on there? And one of the missionaries wrote back and he said, you see the reason these things are here, is they did not have us to tell them they were no longer for today. Isn’t that damning? Those simple people, because they didn’t have the missionaries to rob them of their faith, had a full manifestation of everything the missionaries didn’t have. It is according to your faith, it shall be done unto you. If you don’t have faith, you won’t get it and it will be true and it will be no longer for today.
O.K. One last point I would say here is on eschatology. I notice that the Christadelphians take what would be a pre-millenialist stand which is what most Christians believe. That is that Christ is about to imminently return and that we are soon approaching the great and terrible day of the Lord when the Battle of Armageddon will come and everything like that. Anyway, when Peter was speaking on the day of Pentecost describing why the gifts were there, he says (he is quoting Joel chapter 2) he says “there will come about after this that I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind, your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, even on my male and female servants, I will pour out my spirits in those days and I will display signs and wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, columns of smoke. The Sun will be turned into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Acts 2:17).
I ask you, do you believe that the great and terrible day of the Lord is near? Who believes that? Anybody else? Who believes that the return of Christ is fairly imminent? Yes, O.K. That that day is fairly imminent. When have we seen the greatest outpouring of gifts in this century? It’s been now, right in the last 25 years. There has been no greater outpouring of the gifts of the spirit all over the world. What does it say in this prophecy, that these things would precede the great and terrible day of the Lord. If you believe that Christ is going to come back imminently, these signs are a confirmation that he is coming soon. They are very clearly stated here that prior to the coming of Christ these things would be part of the package of signs that would confirm that day.
Two minutes. So I would say in summation that man is still the same as he has always been. He has always been a sceptic, he always will be. God has still got the exact same purpose to accomplish on this earth that is to win men into his Kingdom. God is determined in spite of man’s scepticism to achieve that objective. How is He going to do it? By Divinely confirming the messenger and the message. Anybody here who preaches the gospel and who speaks on God’s behalf, if you will just say the same prayer that the apostles made and say “Lord, when I go to speak Your Word, You stretch out Your hand and do signs and wonders and miracles in the name of Jesus” and if you have never had them in your life before, you will find them even when you are giving our tracts in the street. God will meet you in that prayer. God has not changed, He still wants to see people saved. He has not changed. If you throw those things out, you may as well throw everything else out. It is an integral part of the gospel.
Thank you very much.
Thank you Mr. Liliekas. I apologize for getting your name wrong when I began.
That’s O.K. My mother gets it wrong sometimes!
Perhaps there’s hope for me yet!
I now call upon Mr. Duncan Heaster to reply to those words of Mr. Liliekas.