Weekly Devotionals – 5 July 2021

If I have to describe God in one word, it has to be the word ”supernatural”. If this attribute is missing, He cannot be God.

Hence, the Bible, Christ’s message to man, is replete with miracles, healings, deliverance, signs and wonders. In fact, the very first verse of the Bible summarises His supernatural attribute in a simple yet stunning way. He supernaturally created the universe out of nothing.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the fullness of time, Christ the Saviour was born in the most supernatural fashion — through the womb of a virgin named Mary. For the next 30 years, Christ the Son of God lived perfectly without sin as a man. That is supernatural because He had laid aside His inherent divine power in order to share our humanity; yet He didn’t sin even once although He was tempted in all points just like us. (Hebrews 4:15)

At 30, Jesus began His supernatural ministry. He did much more than preaching and teaching. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitude with 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread, calmed the storm, cast out demons and many other supernatural acts.

As His time of crucifixion drew near, He trained His disciples to follow His evangelistic modus operandi. A group of 70 trainees were sent out to replicate the supernatural ministry of Jesus.

On their return, they brought back exciting reports to Christ that they had done what He had instructed and shown them, and the demons also obeyed their commands as they did His.

On the eve of His crucifixion, Christ reminded them to pattern their ministries after His — a ministry of supernatural healing and deliverance.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)

Did His disciples obey Him? The answer can be found in the Book of Acts.

And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. (Acts 5:12)

Also, a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. (Acts 5:16)

It was as if Jesus Himself was ministering to the sick and afflicted, even though He had physically left them. The wonderful truth is that He had never left them; in fact, He was ministering in and through them by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, Christ’s ministry of the supernatural continued unabated.

Let’s compare their supernatural experiences with those of the Lord while He was on earth.

For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” (Mark 3:10-11)

And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:6-8)

Were they not doing exactly as instructed by their Master? And didn’t they get the same result of countless of broken lives being transformed and restored?

Years later, the Apostle Paul who had an earthshaking encounter with the Lord, patterned his ministry after that of Christ and the 12 apostles.

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

Let me paraphrase it for you so that you would catch the nuances of Paul’s statement: “My ministry is not just about words, cliches or slogans. I don’t have soothing or clever words of man’s ingenuity. I come to you to demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit. So, if you are sick or demonised, come to Jesus and experience His love, healing and deliverance.”

Some preachers insist that 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 teaches that the supernatural ministry has ceased because “that which is perfect has come”, meaning to say that the canon Scripture is completed. So, we no longer need the supernatural.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)

Obviously, the perfect hasn’t come yet because we still have partial knowledge of any given subject. The Apostle Paul was obviously referring to our complete restoration and full salvation when we are absolutely perfected by God in glory. Only then will our knowledge be full and not in part.

That’s when we don’t need spiritual gifts of the supernatural such as the word of knowledge and prophecy. It’s true that even these gifts, including the word of wisdom, doesn’t give us full knowledge. Even our entire Bible only gives us essential but not full knowledge. So, the perfect hasn’t come yet!

Paul the Apostle strongly urges us to exercise spiritual gifts, especially in prophecy. It’s important to know that prophecy is often forthtelling (an encouraging or inspiring word from God) and not always foretelling (predicting the future). These gifts must be exercised with care and love. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Some cessationists (Christians who believe all supernatural gifts have ceased) cite failed prophecies of so-called prophets as proof that supernatural gifts have ceased. This is like throwing away genuine money just because there are counterfeit dollars in circulation. False prophets are answerable to God, but they do not negate the divine promises of the supernatural.

There is not even one clear scriptural verse that says that supernatural gifts and ministries have ceased.

It is tragic that throughout church history, there will always be Christian ministers who will deny the supernatural power of our faith. If these ministers are correct, then the Great Commission of Christ would be totally meaningless.

And these signs will follow those who believe: 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 16:17-18)

All the 5 signs are supernatural, and they are supposed to accompany our preaching to attest to the authenticity of the Gospel. In this world that is filled with unbelief and false teachers, surely a Christlike ministry of power would be needed. The early disciples needed the supernatural to convince their world that Jesus is alive.

Here are my shocking questions. Do we dare to even think that we don’t need the supernatural signs which equipped our Lord and His early disciples for ministry? Are we above our Master? Can we ignore His modus operandi to get the job done?

All the 5 signs mentioned in Christ’s evangelistic command are supernatural. They play a vital role in thwarting Satan’s plan to keep humanity in bondage. In this age of sophisticated lifestyle of sin, we need God’s supernatural power even more.

During the coming Great Tribulation, in a last ditch to save souls, God will empower the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and the 2 witnesses with supernatural abilities. In this respect, the Lord has been unchangingly consistent.

He is a supernatural God and He must be known as such by not only our words, but also our deeds.

I grew up in a paganistic environment where I witnessed religious mediums performed supernatural acts of deception to deceive the multitude. Had the Gospel not been demonstrably supernatural, I would have been deceived into believing that Satan’s power was greater than God’s.

The Lord God is not only infinitely more powerful than the devil, but He is also alive and living in us. We have to let Him find benevolent expressions through us, His Body.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

As the early disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they came out from hiding and began preaching and demonstrating the truth which Satan tries desperately to conceal from us. Jesus Christ is not dead, He is alive in us, and still doing what He did on earth 2,000 years ago.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!