Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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God Appointed Miracles
Terry R. Baughman
“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28).
While we may be quick to accept teachers in the church, even apostles and prophets, we may not recognize that miracles are also part of God’s gifts to the church. Actually, in the consecutive order Paul places miracles fourth after apostles, prophets, and teachers. Whether the placement is intentional or not it is noteworthy that miracles are appointed as gifts of God’s provision. Additionally, God appointed healings, helps, administration, and tongues. It seems that God is concerned with the practical as well as the spiritual, with the organization as much as the leadership, and with gifts of the diversity of tongues and healing, added to the working of miracles.
We readily acknowledge the place of leaders and ministers in the church, but we have not been as quick to expect spiritual gifts and miraculous signs that we cannot explain. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual entity; it is a supernatural force. Therefore, it follows that the gifts God has placed in the church are also spiritual. Though we think of the practical as separate and apart from the gifts of the Spirit, all things contribute to the spiritual leadership and growth of God’s Kingdom.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus when or where the kingdom of God would appear, He answered that, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation” (Luke 17:20). He further explained that the Kingdom of God is internal. It was not going to be a political force or a geographical authority. The disciples of Jesus asked a similar question after the resurrection, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). He redirected their focus on the intent of the Kingdom, the fulfillment of the commission that He had given them, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The disciples embraced the purpose of Christ and the pursuit of His mission. Signs and wonders, miracles, were seen in their ministry as they declared the resurrection of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews said, “God added his witness to theirs. He validated their ministry with signs, astonishing wonders, all kinds of powerful miracles, and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which he distributed as he desired” (Hebrews 2:4 The Passion Translation).
The gifts are God’s appointment. He distributes them as He desires! It is His plan to build up His Kingdom in the earth and it is realized through His church. We are the body and it is God’s purpose to perform miracles in us and through us. When we pray we can pray with the knowledge that God is working right here, right now. We never know when the Sovereign God might just choose to do a miraculous event in our midst.
We are not the ones to select the recipient or order the healing, yet we can be assured that God is with us and working in our ministries. When we pray for the sick, expect them to be healed. When we lead a person to repentance, expect the Holy Spirit to fill them and see them speak with tongues. When we pray for depression or addictions, know God is present to deliver and transform. Miracles are happening in our midst and we know that anything is possible with God.
God did not intend for miracles to be marginalized or minimized. Let us proclaim the power of God and the potential for the miraculous to be evident in any worship gathering or whenever the need is present. Know that God is working and expect the unusual and phenomenal performance of God’s miracles. God has placed spiritual gifts in the church and He has appointed … miracles!
“They stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3 NKJV).