If it ain't broke don't fix it! This applies to many practical day to day life experiences we encounter -- the lawnmower, the fridge, the car etc. On the other hand if your car is sounding like a bloated cow then you may need to take notice and do something about it!
Professing Christianity has a problem. On the one hand it professes a "great commission" that includes signs and wonders yet when we look for these signed miracles we come up empty handed. Wouldn't it be more sensible to admit there is a problem and find out the root reason for the disparity between what is claimed by many to be "present truth" and "reality".
The problem we are facing is that we are not being REAL! We are ignoring the sound of a cow in pain, the pressure needs to be released or it will blow! Lets not pretend that people today can raise the dead. When did you last see someone come up from the grave? When did you see people in the blink of an eye be healed of a life long paralysis? When did you see someone cleansed of HIV after the touch of a disciple of Christ endued with the Spirit of God? Oh but it happens in Papua New Gunea, it happens in Africa! Yes it happens everywhere but where we can see it!
Lets stop the pretense, what we read in the gospels and Acts of the apostles concerning gifts, signs and wonders are not happenning today whether you want them to or not.
You may argue that the above statement is one of unbelief! Since the scriptures say in Mk 16:
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
(NB -- the idea that these verses are not a part of the canon of scripture has been well debunked)
You may argue even further -- the Romans and Corinthians spoke in tongues and had the gifts!!
Ro 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
And by virtue of being believers we should manifest even greater works
Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Well the Lord went back to the father and here we are you may argue. I can hear the refrain : "It is simply UNBELIEF to say that we should not have the gifts and see miracles performed by believers in the Lord."
These miracles were not protracted events, they were obviously miracles because they happenned so quickly! We can all fudge what happens through time, look at these real biblical miracles:
Mr 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Joh 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
Ac 9:34 And Peter said unto him, Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
Where are these miracles today? Surely a true faith will agree with reality. You can blame the absence of miracles on the lack of faith of the believer, but across the nation (regardless of where you abide) there should be some evidence of the above reality IF signs and wonders were happenning today. There are plenty that claim miracles are happenning, regretably these claims are all suspect.
Resurrect the Past
If you are arguing as I have suggested then you face an even greater problem, YOU KNOW IT IS NOT HAPPENNING! What do you really think of the scriptures? What effect will this continual denial of reality have on christians? Can you not see that the result of this discord between what is believed and taught from the Bible and reality is shipwrecked faith? Instead of attempting to resurrect the past age and pretend that what we read in the gospels and Acts is happenning today wouldn't it be better to believe the scriptures and with an attidude of faith look for Biblical answers?
The Beginning of the Answer
All of these gifts were primarily (not exclusively) for the work of the Spirit in relation to Israel. The Jews require a sign. The gentiles were unnaturally graft into the olive of Israel -- why? To provoke it to Jealousy:
Ro 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Indeed Paul magnified his office as it related to the Gentiles in order to provoke the Jews:
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
"If by any means" must imply the possibility of failure and indeed the ministry to provoke Israel failed in Acts 28:
Ac 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
The Answer: The Mystery
PAul from prison was given a new ministry after the demise of Israel. No signs or wonders since the primary function of these was to impress the one nation. What was part of the Acts economy comes directly out of the gospels which in turn comes directly out of the prophets whereas the Mystery was unprophesied and hid from ages Eph 3.
To understand what God has to say to us today we need to read the prison ministry of PAul. This is how Jesus is speaking to us in this age.
This website is devoted to explaining this distinctive ministry to all who have ears to hear.