But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"
-- Acts 3:6
The greatest heresy in modern Christendom is the so-called "prosperity gospel" and the worst practitioners are the televangelists. To debunk them I want to go all the way back to the earliest days of church history.
The televangelists major in getting money. Peter and John sought none and had none to give. The televangelists preach a faith without the gospel that begets miracles without proof. Peter and John performed a real miracle, and the result was that people came to faith in the true gospel, and their miracle was examined and recorded by the renowned medical doctor of the day, Dr. Luke.
Notice that this great miracle was done without any fanfare. Benny Hinn regularly takes the stage to refrains of "How Great Thou Art," and I don't think he thinks they're singing about God. Peter and John were just going about their regular day and did not draw any attention to themselves.
It was done without solicitation. The lame man was asking for money from Peter and John, not vice versa. Televangelists require a monetary donation, a so-called seed of faith, in order for someone to receive their miracle. Peter and John freely gave what they had freely been given.
The man in question had an obvious, organic defect that was wholly and verifiably made well, as checked by Dr. Luke. Repeated investigative journalism reports have exposed the televangelists for the frauds that they are. Biblical miracles are bona fide facts.
This miracle was not predicated on any faith in the recipient, but almost certainly led the recipient to faith, along with many others. Again, the hucksters require money and faith in advance to get your miracle, God does miracles that lead people to faith. Maybe it is faith itself that is the greatest miracle of all
May I clarify that the age of miracles has never ceased. God is immutable. Creation was a miracle, and ever since, God has broken through the natural order of things with supernatural gifts of healing and other help. The coming apocalypse, rapture and new heaven and earth will be the miracle to end all miracles. Miracles happened, are happening, and will happen because God does not change.
God does not change, but people and procedures do. There has always been a need for God's miracles, but miracle workers have been few and far between. When they appeared, like Peter and John on this stage, it was to promote faith in God. And, faith in God is the greatest miracle of all.
Faith does not result in miracles. Miracles result in faith. It is the miracle of the incarnation, the virgin birth, the sinless life, the substitutionary atonement, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ which brings people into a saving and eternal relationship with God. The miracle of grace produces the miracle of faith, which makes saving faith in Christ the greatest modern miracle of all.
Of course, grace has means, and the means of grace in certain epochs has been a miracle. But in every age grace rides on the wings of prayer, preaching, witnessing, God's word, and the sacraments of the church. Therefore, the greatest miracle of all, saving faith, does require miracle workers.
If faith in Christ is the greatest miracle of all, who are the greatest miracle workers of them all? Any true Christian, boldly and lovingly sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost person, is the greatest miracle worker of our day.
Lost people are lame, they cannot walk with God. Lost people are blind and deaf, they cannot see or hear God. Lost people are dead, spiritually, and are unable to live for and with the Lord. That is unless they receive the miracle of faith.
When Atticus Finch was impressing upon the jury to acquit Tom Robinson and set him free, he laid out the facts and then implored the jury, "In the name of God, do your duty." Christians, we are miracle workers. We have the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus, let us do our duty, live for Christ, and share the gospel with others so that they may obtain this miracle of faith.
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church, 5963 Central Ave. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]