Today's Foundations Devotional: With accompanying signs

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Memory verse:

God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various

miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will.

(Hebrews 2:4)

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This week we shall examine one further important result produced by the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the preacher.

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (Heb. 2:3-4).

The writer here states three reasons why the gospel message should command the most careful attention of all who hear it:

1) because it was preached initially by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself

2) because the message was then transmitted and recorded by men who themselves heard and saw all that took place

3) because this message, so transmitted, was further supernaturally attested by the signs and wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit which accompanied the message.

From this we see that one main ministry of the Holy Spirit, in relation to the preaching of the gospel, is to bear supernatural testimony, through signs, wonders, miracles and gifts, to the divine authority and truth of the message preached.

This is in line with the commission Jesus gave to His disciples at the close of His earthly ministry.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

And these signs will follow [or accompany] those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18).

In these verses Jesus specifies five supernatural signs ordained by God to accompany the preaching of the gospel message and to bear divine testimony to its truth.

1. The ability to cast out demons.

2. The manifestation of speaking with new tongues (elsewhere called “other tongues”).

3. Immunity to harm from snakes.

4. Immunity to harm from poison in drink or food.

5. The ability to minister healing to the sick by laying hands on them in the name of Jesus.

The introductory phrase used by Jesus, “in My name,” applies to each of the five signs that are specified. Each of them is effective only through faith in the name of Jesus.

It should also be pointed out that these five supernatural signs are not limited to any special class or category of people. Jesus does not say, “These signs will follow apostles,” “These signs will follow preachers,” or “These signs will follow the early Church.” He says, “These signs will follow those who believe.” All true believers have a right to expect that these supernatural signs will accompany and confirm their testimony as, in obedience to Christ’s command, they seek to proclaim the good news of the gospel to all men.

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Prayer:

Lord Jesus, cleanse my mind of every thought that is not born of You.

And give me boldness to pray in Your name for the sick, and to pray by

faith with everyone who is sick in body, soul or spirit, in Your mighty

name! Amen.

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