PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
Signs and wonders are divine events that display God’s glory and reveal His purpose and power to men. There is a slight distinction between a sign and a wonder. Signs are acts of God that, like a signpost, guide men toward God. Wonders are acts of God that strike awe and amazement within someone toward God. There are four major purposes of signs and wonders:
I. The Purpose of Signs and Wonders
1. Signs and wonders glorify Christ and testify to His Messianic claims (John 9:1-3). The book of Acts records 21 miracles. Seventeen of the 21 miracles appear within the context of leading souls to Christ.
2. Signs and wonders convince people of God’s truth (John 20:30-31).
3. Signs and wonders confirm God’s Word (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:2-4).
4. Signs and wonders strengthen believer’s faith (Acts 4:31).
II. Biblical Examples of Signs and Wonders
1. God empowered Moses with “signs and wonders” to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and to bring them into the Promised Land.
2. Elijah’s Fire at Mount Carmel against prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).
3. Sign of Jonah and Christ’s resurrection.
4. God challenged King Hezekiah to ask for a sign that would confirm His Word (Isaiah 7:11).
5. There are 21 Signs and Wonders recorded in Acts. (I’ve highlighted 11 of the 21 below):
a. “Many wonders and signs” (2:43)
b. “Many signs and wonders” (5:12).
c. Peter’s shadow healed an uncounted number (5:15-16).
d. Stephen . . . did great wonders and signs” (6:8).
e. Philip worked miracles (8:6)
f. Barnabas and Saul worked miracles (15:12).
g. Paul’s shipwreck and snakebite at Malta (27).
h. Stephen, the deacon, “did great signs and wonders among the people? (Acts 6:8).
i. Jesus commissioned the 70 disciples to work miracles (Luke 10:9).
j. Ordinary believers in the Galatian church worked miracles (Galatians 3:5).
k. 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 lists gifts of healing and miracles given to Christians.
IV. Objections to “Signs and Wonders”
The most frequent argument against seeking “signs and wonders” goes something like this: Seeking signs and wonders diminishes the preaching of the Cross. Further, Jesus said, “a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after signs” (Matthew 12:39; 16:4). Therefore, Christians should not seek for “signs and wonders.”
How do we reconcile this apparent injunction of Scripture that warns against wrongly seeking signs? First, notice that Jesus said “a wicked and adulterous generation” seeks for signs. The Bible describes “wicked and adulterous” people as having hard, non-repentant hearts. They are people that have no intention of accepting the claims of Christ. Jesus rebuked these people because they would never place faith in Him regardless of how many miracles He performed.
However, honest, sincere believers should not hesitate to pray for “signs and wonders.” Jesus assuaged the doubts of John the Baptist by working many “signs and wonders.” In Acts 4 Peter, the apostles and the Jerusalem church gathered and expressly prayed for “signs and wonders.” Luke spent the entire book of Acts showing how “signs and wonders” turned men’s hearts toward Christ.
V. Scriptural Support for “Signs and Wonders” Today
1. God will use a crush of “signs and wonders” to convince mankind that the “last days” have descended upon the world (Luke 21:25-27; Joel 2:30-31; Acts 2:19-20; Revelation 1-22.)
2. Jesus told all believers to expect “signs and wonders” to accompany them when He said, “These signs shall follow them that believe (Mark 16:20).
3. The nature of the Church is inherently supernatural. God invested the church with supernatural gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). The Lord supernaturally empowers members of the Body of Christ to function as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, or Teachers. Each function takes its empowerment from the Holy Spirit, who operates through servants of God.
Throughout the Bible, and throughout the entire Church Age, “signs and wonders” serve to further the purposes of God. Most importantly, “signs and wonders” serve four purposes. They testify that: (1) God is sovereign over creation; (2) the God of Israel (Yahweh/Jehovah) is the true God; (3) Jesus Christ is the Messiah; and (4) the Bible is the Word of God.