Thursday, 5 June 2014

"FOLLOW ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN"

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Is it all about performing miracles and jabbering away in an unknown language? A close study of the New Testament shows that to follow Jesus for most people was completely different from what TV preachers demonstrate to the watching world today.

During Christ's ministry, he performed miracles to fulfil the Old Testament prophecies. These were also a sign of a new phase in God's redemptive plan for humanity. Most of the biblical accounts of miracles happened in three periods of history. The first was when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. The second happened when prophets were called and sent to warn Israel of her harlotries. The third wave of miracles happened when Christ lived among his people. The miracles continued after his resurrection and ascent into heaven.

Some people will argue that a new phase has happened with the charismatic movement of the twentieth century and that it still continues today. I take issue with that view because of all the false miracles and phony tongue-speaking taking place. On that fateful day when the Holy Spirit entered into the disciples at Jerusalem, everybody who was willing to listen heard the gospel in their own language. The only ones who scoffed thought that the men were drunk. If today's tongue-speaking was the same as on the day of Pentecost, earnest seekers would be able to hear the good news of salvation in their own language. Instead, missionaries need to learn the language of the land they'll be sent to.

Additionally, a  close study of The Acts of the Apostles shows how miracles tapered off by chapter twenty-eight. Reading the letters written by the apostles to the churches they set up also shows that the flow of signs from heaven slowed to a trickle by about A.D. sixty. Those letters were mainly concerned with the good news of salvation and how to set up the local churches.

So what really is the Christian life supposed to consist of? We who have surrendered control of our lives to Christ are to spread the good news of his atonement on the cross for whosoever will believe in him. The amazing grace he showed us compels us to love others. We're called to be witnesses in all the world to the new life he has given us. Though we sometimes sin, Jesus is just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all un cleanliness. Though we pray for the sick to recover and for our enemies to do a spiritual U turn, it's up to God to grant or deny our petitions according to his wisdom.

But some will argue that we shouldn't say "thy will be done" because it's a lack of faith. We mustn't use the name of Jesus as if it was an unlimited charge card. We place our total trust in him and let him direct our steps in life. Faith isn't some magical force but implicit trust in God's sovereign power and wisdom. Knowing this makes even tragedies less of a burden. God does do miracles but they are rare and never done on command by famous preachers at arenas filled with spectators.

I know of what I speak since I used to believe in the idea that advanced Christians could wield the power of God like a magic wand. Now I'm much happier since I've placed my trust in the heavenly Father instead of my weak and wobbly faith. My journey from cultism to Christianity is laid out in How I Was Razed. This wonderful story of discovering real contentment is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.