The primitive church was given miraculous gifts and non-miraculous gifts. In Biblical history, there were various periods when a special witness was necessary in order to establish the authority of the messengers of God. These were the times of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Christ and His apostles. Although there were other miracles in other periods, these were periods of a greater frequency of miracles when some holy men became great "miracle workers" by the power of God. When the revelation of God to men was completed (the New Testament), the necessity of this special confirmation of the word preached by God's messengers passed. Today, preachers do not need for the Spirit to confirm their words with signs. They only need to preach what is written. "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31) The recorded miracles are enough to produce faith just as the very miracles themselves had produced. The Word indicates in various ways the fact that these miraculous gifts were to cease soon after the completion of the New Testament.
I. Method of conferring.
The way these gifts were normally conferred shows that they were temporary.
A. It was by the laying on of the hands of the apostles.
Acts 8:4-25 - "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.
"Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
"When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. "When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
"When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, 'Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'
"Peter answered: 'May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.'
"Then Simon answered, 'Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.'
"When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages."
1. Philip, full of the Spirit (Acts 6:3) and with the power to do miracles (Acts 8:13), could not pass this gift on to others.
2. Also, God did not give them power directly.
3. Two apostles were sent to Samaria to lay hands on them.
4, Simon perceived that the Holy Spirit (the manifestation of His power) was given through the laying on of the hands of the apostles.
B. The power of the Spirit was given through the laying on of the hands of apostle Paul and then they began speaking in tongues.
Acts 19:1-6 - "While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."
C. Timothy received his gift (of prophecy perhaps) through the laying on of the hands of Paul.
2 Timothy 1:6 - " For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands."
D. If these gifts were to continue, the apostles would need to continue laying on their hands but when the apostle James died nobody took his place. The endowing of the miraculous power stopped with the death of last apostle.
II Temporary nature.
The New Testament teaches that miraculous gifts would be temporary.
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 -"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
The Biblical purpose of these gifts showed that they were temporary.
A. The purpose of the miracles of Jesus was:
1. To create faith that Jesus really was sent by God
John 10:31-39 - "Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came and the Scripture cannot be broken what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."
2, Strengthen the faith of the disciples
John 11:11-16 - "After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
3. The written report is enough to accomplish these purposes
John 20:30-31 - "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
B. The purposes of the miracles of the apostolic age:
1. To prove that the apostles were messengers of God.
2 Corinthians 12:12 - "The things that mark an apostle - signs, wonders and miracles - were done among you with great perseverance."
Acts 2:43 - "Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles."
Acts 5:12 - "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade."
Romans 15:17-19 - "I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done - by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ."
Without apostles today, we do not have the need to establish their authority.
2. To equip men to deliver the Word of God without error.
2 Peter 1:21 - "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
1 Peter 1:10-11 - "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow."
1 Corinthians 2:6-13 - "We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
'No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him'
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words."
Jude 3 - "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."
This message has already been delivered once for all time
3. To confirm the word spoken by the apostles and prophets.
Mark 16:15-20 - "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.' After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."
Hebrews 2:1-4 - "We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."
Acts 14:3 - "So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders."
Hebrews 6:13-18 - "When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged."
The point in this passage in Hebrews is to show how that, once confirmed, the Word of God is established and it is not necessary to be reconfirmed.
IV. Cessation of miracles
Miraculous gifts ceased when their purpose was fulfilled and when the way of receiving them ended. Today, the Word already written and confirmed is sufficient. It is only necessary for somebody to preach the Word.
V. Did Jesus also do miracles just for benevolence reasons? If that were so, why did he not cure everybody? It said that his ministry was for the house of Israel (Mark 7).
The main mission of Jesus was to preach.
Mark 1:38-39 - "Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.' So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons."
His miracles were done mainly for evangelistic reasons.
John 10:37-39 - "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."
John 11:14-15 - "So then he told them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.'"
VI. Are people still doing miracles nowadays?
The miracles of Christ and the apostles exerted power over:
The above do not seem to be happening today, so how would we explain the so-called modern day miracles? They are mostly done by healers, Spiritists, etc. Are they:
1. lies of deceivers?
2. products of auto-suggestion or hypnosis?
3. unknown natural parapsychological phenomena?
4. work of the devil?
We have to accept the possibility that there may be deceivers out in the world and also counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 - "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."
VII. Does the spiritual gift of healing still exist today?
If it is, it is very different from what Jesus and the apostles did:
1. Jesus and the apostles did not do advertising
Mark 2:4 - "Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on."
2. The cures in the New Testament were instantaneous
Mark 3:5 - "He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored."
Matthew 8:13 _ "Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour. "
3, Jesus and the apostles cured all types of affliction
Mark 1:32-34 _ "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was."
Acts 5:15-16 - "As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed."
4. They did not do partial or temporary cures
Mark 7:35 - "At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly."
5. The New Testament mentions the cure of extreme cases (dead raised) Also read John 9 and 11.
Luke 22:50-51 - "And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, 'No more of this!' And he touched the man's ear and healed him."
Acts 4:22 - "For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old."
6. Jesus and the apostles cured from a distance
Matthew 15:21-28 - "Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.' Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, 'Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.' He answered, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.' The woman came and knelt before him. 'Lord, help me!' she said. He replied, 'It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.' 'Yes, Lord,' she said, 'but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.' Then Jesus answered, 'Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour."
John 4:46-54 - "Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 'Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe.' The royal official said, 'Sir, come down before my child dies.' Jesus replied, 'You may go. Your son will live.' The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, 'The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.' Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, 'Your son will live.' So he and all his household believed. This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee. "
Luke 7:1-10 - "When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, 'This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.' So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: 'Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.' When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, 'I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.' Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well."
7. Jesus and the apostles cured real illnesses
Matthew 11:5 - "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor."
8. One does not see in the New Testament hypnotisms and auto-suggestion, nor pre-prepared conditionings and set-ups.
9. Jesus did not always demand faith on the part of those healed.
Luke 7:11-17 - "Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.' Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!' The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. 'A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people.' This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country."
Mark 9:23-24 - "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Also read John 11).
10. Jesus cured in front of skeptics and enemies.
11. Even his enemies could not deny the miracles. There was no doubt that supernatural things were happening.
12. Universal healing is not promised in the New Testament. In fact, many Christians were not cured
1 Timothy 5:23 - "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses."
2 Timothy 4:20 - "Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus."
Philippians 2:27 - "Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow."
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
In each of these affirmations we can observe that the opposite is practiced today by some "healers". What they do is not the same gift of healing of the New Testament.
VIII. Can we still pray for healing?
The fact that the gift of healing does not still exist does not mean that God does not answer our prayers. James speaks of the prayer that can result in someone being healed by God of a disease, but is important to notice that this is different from the gift of healing. The gift of healing was the healing that God gave through a man who had, from the Spirit, the power to heal. Generally, prayer was not made because the person already had the power to heal. The prayer for healing is answered by God without an intermediate. Prayer is always present.
James 5:13-18 - "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."
IX. Does Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and he will be forever" teach that Jesus today has to keep on doing miracles?
A. A misunderstanding of Hebrews 13.8 leads some to affirm that if Jesus and the apostles did miracles in the first century, He (Jesus) does not change, therefore He must keep on doing what He always did.
B However, if Jesus cannot change in relation to His actions during His ministry:
1. Jesus would have to continue to be personally on the earth.
2. Jesus would have to have a physical body and to live in Palestine.
3. Jesus must have Jewish apostles as those that he chose.
4. Would this Jesus who does not change be the boy in Bethlehem, the crucified Jesus or the resurrected Jesus? Which of these must not change?
C. A better understanding: the text does not say that Jesus cannot participate in history as a human being in a process of growth.
1. The text teaches that in His interior essence or His most intimate nature, Jesus does not change. The next verse (9) speaks of the danger of falling into false doctrines "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them." The lesson is that Jesus and His doctrine do not change, and therefore we do not have to change.
2. Historically, Jesus has worked in different ways. In the creation He worked in a different way than when he was a simple carpenter in Nazareth. He also did different things during different phases of His ministry.
3. Thus, the Jesus who did miracles is the same today but has a different ministry.
XI. What is "the perfection " of 1 Corinthians 13:10?
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 - "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
A. The reply to this question is interesting in the fact the text speaks of a time when these miraculous gifts of the Spirit would cease.
B. The significant verse in this question is verse 10 and one key to a proper understanding is a literal and grammatically correct translation of the verse. Observe: the Greek/English Interlinear:
"BUT WHEN MAY COME THAT WHICH IS PERFECT (teleion) THEN THAT IN PART (ek merous), SHALL BE DONE AWAY."
This verse is translated in the ASV, NKJV, and KJV thusly
"but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
C. The word translated "perfection" in verse 10 in the NIV is not a noun. It is an adjective. The more literal translations: "but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" correctly reflect this fact. The two adjectives, "perfect" and "partial" (in part), modify an assumed but unwritten noun. These two adjectives are contrasted and in fact perfect (teleion) means whole, entire or complete. A literal translation would be: "but when the perfect (complete) ______ comes, the partial_______ will be done away". The two blanks must be filled in with a noun. The question is: what noun should fill in the blanks? What is "that which is perfect?
D. In Greek, there has to be a grammatical agreement between articles, nouns and adjectives in a phrase. For example, consider this phrase: "when I buy the new car, I will sell the old car". The words old and new must agree with the word "car" in number and gender. To understand verse 10 we have to fill in the blanks after "perfect" and "partial" and the noun we choose to fill in the blanks must agree with the adjectives that precede them. This means that the word we choose to fill in the blanks must be masculine since the adjective "perfect" is masculine in Greek. Greek nouns can be masculine, feminine or neuter. We can eliminate certain words in the space of verse 10, observing the agreement. For example:
1. Love. Although this idea seems nice, the grammar of the passage does not allow it. Perfect, in the original, is a neuter adjective and love is feminine). Besides this, love and gifts are not mutually exclusive.
2. Heaven or the Return of Christ. As noted, "perfect" is in the neuter, and Christ is masculine. Also, this word is never used with reference to heaven or the return of Christ.
3. Human Perfection. Although the word is used to refer to human behavior (Matthew 5:48; 19:21; 1 Corinthians 2:6; 14:20; James 3:2), it does not fit in the context of verses 8-13, nor in the grammar of this text. The contrast in this context is of duration and not quality.
E. A more logical idea is that the "perfect" refers to the completion of the New Testament and the closing of the revelation of God for the Christian age.
1. Why speak of the end of miraculous gifts in relation to the complete revelation? Because the purpose of these gifts was to confirm the word spoken by inspired people.
Mark 16:20 - "Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."
Hebrews 2:3-4 - "How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."
2. Was he purpose of gifts to mature Christians? Or to mature the love of Christians? No, prophecy, knowledge and tongues were to reveal God's Word.
1 Corinthians 13:2 - "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."
1 Corinthians 14:3-6 - "But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?"
1 Corinthians 14:19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Tongues were a sign for the unbelievers. Miraculous gifts among the Corinthians contributed to their lack of love and their immaturity.
1 Corinthians 3:1 - "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ."
1 Corinthians 14:20 - "Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults."
They needed gifts because the primitive church was as children in knowledge.
1 Corinthians 13:11 - "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."
3. "Perfect" (Greek "telios") means complete, grown, nothing lacking. Referring to people it means adult, mature. Read Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:36; Matthew 19:21; 1 Corinthians 2:6, 14; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Philippians 3:15; Colossians 4:12; Hebrews 5:14.) You do not need to reach this perfection to go to heaven.
They were perfect (complete, grown, nothing lacking) but not without sin.
Philippians 3:15 - "All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you."
James 1:17 - "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:4 - "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 2:22 - "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did."
4. See the contrast with verse 9: Something is now "ek merous" (in part, incomplete, imperfect, something lacking) but later will be "teleios" (complete, perfect). The subject is the way we receive divine knowledge and the end of inspired preaching. The word to place in the spaces (Part C above) would be "revelation". Until the closing of the New Testament, God was revealing His will partially. A little bit here. A little bit there. Now the whole revelation for the church has already been given and we can read without somebody having the gift of prophecy or knowledge.
5. An illustration from the life of Paul: Paul left childish things when he grew. The infant church would leave the things of infancy when these gifts had ceased.
6. They saw obscurely as in a mirror. "Mirror" is the same as "sight". In comparison to the other prophets whom they needed to depend on obscure words a dream or vision, God spoke to Moses "mouth the mouth" or face the face. The revelation that he received was clear.
7. Some things we can know clearly:
Matthew 7:19 - "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
Luke 1:3-4 - "Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."
Romans 1:32 - "Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
1 Corinthians 14:37 _ "If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command."
Colossians 1:6 that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth."
1 Timothy 4:3 - "They forbid people to marry and order them to
abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth."
2 Peter 2:21 - "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them."
2 Peter 1:2 - "Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
8. As long as inspiration continued, signs and wonders also continued "So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders." (Acts 14:3) The apostles chosen by Christ lived in the first century, until approximately 100 AD, when the last apostle John died. The apostles had miraculous gifts, and only they could pass this gift on to others. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts 8:14-15)
Those upon whom the apostles laid their hands may have lived into the second century and so there were still miraculous gifts acting directly in the church. But, since they did not have the power to pass this gift on to others, gifts ended with their death. By then copies of the New Testament had been spread to the known world. It was the Spirit, acting now, not through miraculous sign gifts, but through the Word.
1. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s gift of miracles was to:
Heal sick people
Show that the apostles were superior to everyone else.
Prove that the Apostles’ message that Jesus was God who came in the flesh to provide the only way man could be reconciled to God.
2. Miracles of the Holy Spirit have not ceased and can still be performed today.
3. Today people who perform “miracles” perform the same type of miracles performed by the apostles, in the same manner and with the same results.
4. What was the “perfect” that was to come which caused the imperfect to disappear?
That which is perfect has not yet come.
The infallible inspired message from God recorded for
all future generations
Return of Christ
5. Christians other than the Apostles could give other people the ability to perform miracles.