Gary Carpenter Ministries
I believe in these last days the church is going to experience one of the greatest revivals in history. It is not because God is going to do a "new thing." It is because of the "revival" of what God has already done through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. We read of the mighty signs and wonders in the book of Acts and we marvel at the power of God that flowed through the first century believers. In our own generation, however, it seems we so rarely see genuine, supernatural manifestations of those same miracles. What is the reason? Has God changed? Was it His plan to only do signs and wonders to heal and bless the people of the first century? Did He love them more than He loves this generation? Did He have more compassion on the sick then than He has for the sick today? What is the reason for us seeing so little supernatural ministry in modern times? A major clue to the real reason is found in the following two verses:
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
The commandment of Jesus was for them to go into all the world and preach the "gospel." As they obeyed the commandment and preached the gospel everywhere, the Lord worked with them to supernaturally confirm the word (the gospel) that they preached. The Lord was confirming the "word" (the gospel) that He Himself had taught them. Somebody might say, "Well, Gary, we are preaching the gospel today and we don't see those same miracles." But I suggest the "gospel" being preached today from most pulpits has been seriously watered down from the pure gospel they preached in the first century. Let us examine this passage when Paul preached the gospel in the city of Lystra:
Act 14:7-10 And there they preached the gospel. 8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: 9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
The man at Lystra had been a cripple from his mother's womb. Sickness often comes and goes, but birth defects are normally permanent. It plainly says he had never walked. By the way, Lystra was not part of Israel. The people there knew nothing of the Jewish Law or of Christ. They worshipped Jupiter as their god. They had most certainly never heard the gospel before. But notice carefully that there Paul preached the "gospel." The lame man was in the audience and heard Paul speak. Eventually he had faith to be healed. He certainly didn't have that faith before hearing Paul preach so how did he get that faith? The bible tells us how faith comes:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith came into the man as he heard Paul preach the gospel. That lets us know without doubt that included in Paul's preaching of the pure gospel was the fact that crippled people could be healed. If such statements were not included in Paul's preaching, then how else could faith have come into the man? When Paul perceived that the man's faith had risen sufficiently to be healed he simply said, "Stand upright on thy feet" and immediately the man leaped and walked. Can you see in your mind what a miracle that was? This man had NEVER walked. His legs must have looked like "bird legs" because of the muscle atrophy from non-use over the years. In the natural it would be a miracle if he could just stand up. But to "leap" up had to have been supernatural in origin. This is another example of the "Lord confirming the word with signs following." It was the supernatural healing power of Jesus Christ that flowed through that man's body as he believed the gospel that Paul preached. Glory to God!
I don't think faith would have ever come into the man if he heard the type of "gospel" that is normally preached today. A lifelong birth defect causes serious thought patterns to become entrenched in a man. When a man has never walked, not once, in his whole life it becomes pretty much cemented in his thinking he will never walk. How strong was Paul's message in order to overcome such natural, human logic? I don't think words like these would have caused supernatural faith to arise in the man's heart: "Well, He might heal you and He might not. You just never know what God is going to do. We know that God could heal you, but we never know if he will heal you. It just might not be his will to heal you." Compare that with Jesus' commands when he sent out his minsters to preach the pure "gospel."
Mat 10:7-8 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is renewing our minds back to the purity of the gospel that was preached in the first century. The Lord does not confirm a watered down, man-made, humanistic gospel with signs following. He confirms the gospel that He gave His disciples to preach. With courage and faith we must all rise up today to believe the gospel that was delivered by our Lord Jesus Christ. God does not change. His Word does not change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He still confirms the word with signs following as we preach the pure gospel to our generation.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,