Monthly Archives: April 2013

Where did the gift of healing go? – 3 John 1:2

We have been studying the spiritual gifts in Sunday School the past couple months as we try to finish a 2-year study of 1 Corinthians. The more I study the gifts, the more I have become convinced that the signs and wonders gifts (healing, tongues, and miracles) all ceased during the apostolic age. For example, the apostle John writes the following in his last letter:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul (3 John 1:2).

If the gift of healing was still around, why would John pray that his friend, Gaius, may be in good health? If I knew the gift of healing still existed today, I would write and tell my friends and family to go to the people with this gift so they could be healed. Instead, when I write I state that I hope the letter finds them in good health. It seems that even the apostle John realized that the gift had already ceased during his lifetime.

Now I realize this verse alone is not rock-solid proof that the gift of healing had ceased. But it is one of the many pieces of evidence from Scripture that seem to point that way.

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Grumbling against God – Numbers 17:10-13

And the LORD said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so he did. And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?”(Numbers 17:10-13).

I read this and am reminded of how thankful I should be. Thankful that I have direct access to the Lord. I do not have to go through an intermediary like the priesthood of the Old Testament. The very God of the universe listens to my prayers. The very God of the universe has made my sinful flesh his dwelling place. Yet, I grumble. If the Israelite were concerned about being consumed by God because of their grumbling, how much more concerned should I be?

While this all reminds me of what a wretched, ungrateful sinner I am, it also reminds me of how great my Savior is. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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False prophet of just false prophecy? – Mark 13:22

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect (Mark 13:22).

The Christian world today is flooded with people getting supposed new revelation from God. Yet, they readily admit that modern prophecy can be in error. For example, here how John Piper describes modern revelation:

It is a Spirit-prompted, Spirit-sustained, utterance that is rooted in a true revelation, but is fallible because the prophet’s perception of the revelation, and thinking about the revelation, and report of the revelation are all fallible (John Piper, The New Testament Gift of Prophecy).

Now, I have a great deal of respect for Dr.  Piper which is why I picked a quote from him. We know from Scripture that false prophets will arise in the church today to lead people astray. So, how are we supposed to recognize them if it is not by seeing that their prophecy is false? In the Old Testament, the test for a false prophet was pretty cut and dried:

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

Why in the New Testament age, when we have both the Scriptures and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit has it begun so difficult to determine who is and who is not a false prophet?

This topic deserves some more posts in the future, but I have work to do today. In the meantime, be in the Lord’s house this Sunday studying God’s word and worshiping him with other believers.

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Conformed to the image of Jesus – Romans 8:29

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).

This process of being conformed into the image of Jesus is painful and slow and, most often, it feels like nothing is happening. My sin continues to stalk me. My ungratefulness towards God continues to plague me. It is only my absolute trust the God is doing this work, and, therefore, he will accomplish it that gives me any hope.


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Growing in Christ

Christianity can never outgrow Christ, but it grows in Christ; theology cannot go beyond the word of God, but it must ever progress in the understanding and application of the word of God (History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff, l. 3742).

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David is still dead – Acts 2:29

In Acts 2:29, the apostle Peter said

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

He was referring to Kind David who was dead and contrasting him with Jesus who is alive. We Christians are blessed to serve a God who is alive as opposed to a dead prophet.

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For the sake of your goodness – Psalm 25:7

Psalm 25 records a lament of David in which he cries out:

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Psalm 25:7).

Like King David, my only hope is in God’s goodness. Thankfully, God is very good and he is mighty to save!


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