Amplified Signs
Outline Version
Jackson Snyder, April 24, 1994

 

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PREVIEW A Handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism Don Basham - helping self & others 

 

This is the second message that deals with the parting words of the risen Jesus. Last night we looked at "the great commission" in St. Matthew 28. This week we continue with St. Mark's witness (16:14-18) to the words of the risen Christ.

 

Mark 16:{14} "Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table"

Unlike in Matthew, where the disciples meet the risen Jesus on a mountain in Galilee, in Mark they are at table, breaking bread together. (The disciples whom Jesus walked with recognized him in the breaking of bread.)

2) {14b} "and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."

The risen Jesus rails at them for three reasons:

a) lack of faith (no allegiance in times of difficulty)

b) stubbornness (unwillingness to testify about Jesus)

c) had not believed witnesses who had seen him.

3) He admonishes them {15} "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation." (Remind about vocation and calling.)

4) Further, {16} "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned."

a) belief in Jesus is required for rescue from the day of wrath

b) so is baptism - the entry into the community of faith

Can one be a solitary Christian? Acc to US News poll, 80% feel that one can be a "good Christian" without going to church. Not likely.

c) God's judgment is for the rest - they are condemned

 

Mark 16:17-18 (NRSV) {17} And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; {18} they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

 

Signs accompany believers

1) Is a believer in Jesus still to be recognized by the unbeliever in this day and age? Yes - signs follow believers! Although respectable church people would like to have miraculous signs confined only to the by-gone days of the apostles, signs are more prevalent today than they ever have been in the history of Christ's church.

2) The purposes of signs are three

a) To present the gospel in power. (1 Cor 2:4-5) Paul "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." We want to be this kind of believers - not full of talk, but full of demonstrable power! Anybody can have a gift of gab, but the gospel is to be demonstrated in power!

b) To make a difference for good in the world (1 John 3:8b) "the Son of God was manifested for this purpose that he might destroy the works of the devil." There is radical suffering in this world beyond belief, yet we Christians feel so powerless to alleviate it. Yet causing intense suffering is the main work of the devil, and as the Son came to destroy the devil's works, we are to do the work of the Son in our world if we understand the signs literally, and work in them.

c) To protect believers from hindrances to their vocations as believers - how many times has your life been saved for the sake of Christ without you even knowing it? How many poisons have you absorbed into your body? (Heard County water.) How many potentially lethal injuries have you survived? How many times have angels rescued you from danger without your knowledge?

 

The signs are to be amplified and expanded outward, not inward

1) We look at these signs reported by Mark backwards through binoculars, seeing (understanding) them only in their most limited, literal form

In doing this, we limit the scope Jesus' ministry to mere magic and tricks, thus limiting our effectiveness as witnesses to the gospel in true power

We need to widen our understanding of what Jesus means in these signs that are to follow the believer, to include the greater depth of Jesus' mission. For example:

1) Casting out demons

literal casting the demons out of Stan the quadriplegic

amplified - unmasking, naming, and confronting the powers that work havoc in our families, our country, and our world

the spirit of murder - back to back on TV news - "Baby murdered" "ax murder" "teen murdered" - we should be unmasking the spirit of murder, naming it, then binding it and casting it into the pit

abortion - unmask that demon of murder from behind all the politically correct language, then, in the body of faith, confront it with all your faith and power. Have 10,000 believers do this, and that would be the end of abortion in our country. But we are too stubborn and distracted to do this.

racism - unmask that demon within yourself, confront it, cast it out in the name of Jesus, then confront the strong man that binds our country in racial strife.

2) Speaking in new tongues

literal understanding - Pentecost of Acts 2

amplified - undoing the confusion of the Tower of Babel, when Nimrod thought he would climb to the throne of heaven. Tongues means to overcome the pride of the world, and the idolatry of ungodly, and dehumanizing religious bondage. Tongues means to become free indeed, and free others up to worship God in spirit and truth; free from the bondages of legalism, self-humiliation, ignorance and error. Free to be in unity in the spirit as the family of God and true body of Christ.

3) Picking up snakes

literal - like Paul in Acts 28:3-6

amplified - "snakes" opheis (sly) - deal with the wickedly wise. (1 Cor 1:27) "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." We can match wits with anyone if we speak not from the mind but from the heart, because that is where the Holy Ghost dwells.

4) Drink deadly thing

literal - ingesting of poison

amplified - protection of the believer until the believer's vocation in mission is completed, until all things are fulfilled. Killer meal - we eat and drink poison every day, yet we are surviving to do the works of Jesus.

5) Lay hands on the sick

literal - faith healing - James 5:14-15 (the oil rubbed)

amplified - redeeming any work we put our hands to - taking the "mammon of this world," and through our sanctification, transform such base things into kingdom treasures. Alleviation the suffering of innocents - in every situation of the world - in Somalia, in Bosnia, in Rwanda, on the streets of Atlanta. We are to take back that which has been ill gotten by the devil, and redeem it unto the kingdom.

 

Creation is ruptured and groaning, Rom 8:22-23 tells us that a ruptured creation is groaning for the revelation of the children of God!

1) We are these children of God that ancient prophesy promised creation; it is our task to be conquerors of the evil one and redeemers of creation! Now is the hour when creation is in its final throws, its last days.

2) It was promised that in the last days the Spirit of God would be poured out upon us, young and old, male and female, high-born and low-born. Time is ripe for us to look beyond our own back yards, and into a world that desperately needs the signs that God has trusted us with. It is time to look for the signs!

 

We are believers, and signs follow us!

1) We DO cast out evil spirits through our prayers and supplication; but even greater sign is that we gather regularly for deep, serious prayer on the behalf of those who have been victimized by the evil one - we pray for their deliverance, and we pray against their spiritual oppressors.

2) We DO speak in new tongues as the Spirit gives utterance; but an even greater sign is that we as the people of God at ___ church show our world through our humility, that we stand united in faith and purpose, and will not be divided by pride, envy, or strife

3) We can handle snakes, if that is what we are called to do; but an even greater sign is that we can speak the truth in love, casting down even vain imagination that would rise up against our God, and tear down every stronghold of cunning words or lying tongues.

4) We have drunk of deadly things; but an even greater sign is that we have dedicated our lives and our possessions wholly to the name of our Lord Jesus, and we rely solely on him for our health and welfare.

5) We have laid hands on the sick, and they have recovered; but an even greater sign is that we have helped feed the poor in Atlanta, that we have helped clothe the naked in Brazil, that we have helped teach the Gospel in Burma, and that we have helped encourage some lost soul in our own backyard.

6) Has Jesus' promise come true concerning "signs following" in the life of this church. The answer is YES, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

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