Five Reasons to Love and Study the Book of Acts (Part 5)

Five Reasons to Love and Study the Book of Acts (Part 5)

Reasons abound for knowing and loving the book of Acts. The list could go on and on. We have seen that from the book of Acts we can learn about (1) how to become a Christian, (2) the power of the gospel (3) the establishment of the church, and (4) the importance and urgency of evangelism. Let’s add only one more. We need to study this book to learn about the nature and imparting of miraculous gifts.

As God on this earth (John 1:1, 14), Jesus performed “miracles, wonders and signs” that only God could do (Acts 2:22; John 3:2). When He left this earth, “He poured out” on the apostles the measure of the Spirit by which they could do miracles themselves (and more, as we will see) (2:1-4, 33). There is much that we can learn from the book of Acts about the nature of these miracles and how they were imparted.

Miracles were not just really good tricks. In Acts 8, Simon the Sorcerer was doing magic tricks, which “astonished the people” (8:9- 11). But when the multitudes in Samaria saw “the miracles which [Philip] did,” they “heeded the things spoken by Philip” (8:6). Even Simon recognized the difference between his tricks and “the miracles and signs” of Philip (8:13).

Miracles were not done to draw attention to the miracle-worker but to draw attention to the God of the miracle, and more specifically, to the Word being spoken that was given by the God of the miracle. In Acts 2, “the multitude came together” and “were all amazed” when they witnessed the miracle of the apostles speaking in their own language (2:5-8). The purpose was to get them to pay attention to the words spoken by the apostles about Christ (2:14-36). In Acts 8, the Samaritans “heeded the things spoken” when they saw “the miracles” (8:6). That was the purpose of the miracles. When Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, “many believed” the Word preached (10:42). That was the purpose.

The measure of the Spirit for miraculous, spiritual gifts was imparted to Christians through the apostles’ hands. The apostles “laid hands” on the seven men in Acts 6:6. Why? Then they laid hands on the Christians in Samaria in Acts 8:17. Why? Paul “laid hands on” twelve Christians in Ephesus in Acts 19:6. Why? “Through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given” (8:18), to have “power” to do miracles.

What do we learn? Only certain people could do miracles. Miracles were obvious signs of the power of God. Miracles were designed to confirm the Word being preached (cf. Mark 16:20). Only the apostles could impart to Christians the ability to do miracles. Thus, from Acts, we learn that miracles were limited for a time with a specific purpose and are no longer available or needed today (1 Cor. 13:8- 13; Eph. 4:8-14).


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