Are missions today REALLY just like missions in Acts? Why not?


Today we hear from missionaries and servants of God in gospel-resistant countries that miracles like miraculous healings do in fact take place. But do they reflect the impressive pattern recorded in Acts where early disciples like Philip, Peter, and Paul brought multitudes of souls into the kingdom of God when indisputable evidence for the message of the gospel was given in the form of extraordinary and consistent miraculous healings?

The answer is no. Such great miracles today are limited to the ministries of a handful of elite superstar evangelists. Is this what Jesus meant when he promised that those who believe in him would do the miraculous works that he did as evidence to the world that he is One with the Father?

John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing…

In missions and evangelism today however the miraculous works that we see in the gospels and Acts are but occasional, and often far less impressive. We of course rejoice when they do take place resulting in the salvation of souls, but the pattern today is a very poor reflection of what is recorded in the New Testament—and what was solemnly promised by Jesus Christ himself in John 14:12 above.

Take what is happening in countries dominated by Islam, for example. Muslims here and there are occasionally given dramatic dreams where they meet our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result those who have such dreams turn to him as their Lord and Savior. However, these dreams are not given to many, and thus result only in a relative few who turn to the Lord. Such dreams are almost always mentioned by missionaries and servants of God as how God is reaching Muslims today. Do we see this same recurring pattern in Acts, that is, God reaching the lost through dreams?

No.

In Acts we see the recurring pattern of the early disciples healing the sick and casting out demons in Jesus’ name, bringing many souls to Jesus Christ. In Acts dreams are certainly not the primary means by which souls entered the kingdom of God. Why is it so different today?

The answer is simple.

Today we are no longer healing the sick and casting out demons exactly as the disciples did in Acts as evidence of the message they preached. Today missionaries and servants of God are instead ministering to the sick according to the traditions they have received. Evangelicals will pray to God for the sick and leave the results up to Him. Charismatics, like their evangelical counterparts, will also pray to God in various ways but they will also throw into the mix some authoritative commands, some praises like “hallelujah thank you Jesus,” and possibly some prophetic words declaring the healing and the blood of Jesus and so forth.

But that is not how Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons in the gospels; it is not what he taught and commanded his disciples when he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost. And that is why missionaries and servants of God today only occasionally witness miraculous healings if at all. We are not healing the sick as Jesus did and as he commanded.

“Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you'” (Luke 10:9).

And that is why God Himself is now giving supernatural dreams to Muslims to draw them to Jesus Christ. Since we are no longer obeying Jesus’ command to heal the sick as evidence of the gospel to Muslims, God is so to speak “forced” to provide the evidence Himself by revealing His Son in supernatural dreams to a relative few. But once every disciple today begins to heal the sick as Jesus did and as he taught and commanded his disciples in the gospels, there will be many, many miracles for Muslims to witness as evidence that Isa is the one and only Messiah. There will be a mass movement of Muslims to Isa as Al-Masih.

As Jesus promised in John 14:12, Acts will be restored in present-day missions to Muslims as well as to other gospel-resistant people groups.


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