Initiating Gospel Encounters With Signs And Wonders
Signs and wonders are a powerful tool that we can use to demonstrate God’s goodness to people and to explain the gospel. Scripture speaks of God confirming his word through signs and wonders.
Acts 14:3 (NIV) So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.
Not only can signs and wonders confirm God’s Word to people, but they can also initiate sharing the Gospel. Here’s one sign that I’ve used many times to share the Gospel message with people. I used to have such difficulty sharing the Gospel, and signs like this made it so much easier.
Weight On The Hands
Eight years ago, a person prayed for me and I tangibly felt God’s presence as a weight in the palms of my hands. This manifestation took on a lot of significance to me when I though about it in the light of my Bible studies.
The word for “glory” in the Old Testament comes from a word meaning “to be heavy.” When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God showed Moses his goodness and character. And the New Testament teaches us that God has revealed his glory to us through Jesus.
1 John 1:1 (NRSV) We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
The Word of Life that John was talking about is Jesus. Because Jesus came in the flesh, we can touch God. John touched God’s Word with his hands, because he touched Jesus.
God is no longer an intangible theory. Jesus has made him real to us.
God’s glory is his goodness and nature that is so tangible that we can touch it. It has weight. It has substance.
I want to touch God right now. I want you to touch God. And we can touch God, because Jesus came in the flesh. We can touch God if we come to him through Jesus, because Jesus took all our sin on himself and removed everything that separated us from God’s presence.
Ever since that person prayed for me, I’ve prayed for many other people to experience the same thing. When I do this, most people feel something. Some people feel weight, others tingling or heat, or something touching them.
Demonstrating The Weight Of God’s Glory To A Connoisseur Of Religions
I met a lady who was into all different kinds of religions on my last trip to the United States. People who know her told me that she figures she might as well have a little of every religion, “just to be safe.” I had met her briefly before, at an event where I prayed for people, but I didn’t get a chance to pray for her before she left.
Then later, I met her on the street. I asked her to hold out her hands, saying “Let me show you something.”
She felt the weight of God’s glory in her hands. She said “Wow! You really have a lot of power! Many people must have been healed when you prayed for them the other night.”
I said “What you are feeling is God’s goodness. It’s not just a theory, but it’s tangible. The reason you feel this when I pray for you, is that I come to God through Jesus. Jesus dealt with my sin and guilt when he died, and now there is nothing to come between me and God. I have full access to God’s presence, and I have access to everything in heaven, because of what Jesus did for me. The Bible teaches that when we put our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we die with Jesus to sin and then we are resurrected with him, so that we have a new life and new heart. That’s why I can do the works that Jesus did. I can come to God just like Jesus does.”
She replied “I’m working on improving my works of righteousness…”
I responded “Did you know that the Bible says our own righteous acts are like filthy rags? If we are trying to do righteous works to get closer to God, it never works. What we need to do is to receive God’s free gift of righteousness, which only comes by putting faith in Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for our sins. Then we do works of righteousness as the fruit of righteousness, and not as a way to try to get closer to God. We already have complete access to him if we receive God’s righteousness!”
The Difference Between The Truth And Every Other Religion
I’ve heard it said that the difference between Christianity and every other religion is that that we don’t earn our salvation or access to God by our own works, but by faith in Jesus’ sacrifice. This conversation was a classic example of that.
This lady was very religious and believed in the supernatural and the spiritual realm. She incorporated aspects of many religions into her beliefs. She thought she could have a little bit of everything, as if even though some religions might end up being wrong, she would be safe because one of the other religions she drew from must be right. But by trying to advance through her own works of self-righteousness, she didn’t turn to God and receive his righteousness and transformation.
I often talk to people who are very religious and have spiritual beliefs. They talk about lots of nice things. They talk about spiritual principles. But they don’t understand Jesus is the only way to the Father. Only God’s free gift of righteousness will ever be sufficient. Only God’s free gift of righteousness through Christ is able to transform the human heart and make us participants in his divine nature!
You Can Do It Too!
All of the “gifts of the Spirit,” including “sign gifts” work through faith. The gifts of the Spirit have helped me to initiate sharing the gospel more than anything else. I hope this story encourages you and inspires you by demonstrating how exercising spiritual gifts can lead into sharing the gospel.
Would you like to try the same thing? Hold out your hands with your palms up, and thank God for the weight of his presence that rests on you. Thank him that you have full access to his glory (the weight of his goodness) because Jesus has made the way for you to approach him.
Many people, when they try this the first time, feel weight, tingling, or something else in their hands. Others don’t feel it the first time. If you don’t, keep going for it! Remember, we don’t base our faith on what we feel or don’t feel, or on signs such as these. Experiencing the physical sensation isn’t a measure of your righteousness or closeness to God, either. Rather, the feeling and the sign are a manifestation of what we already know to be true. The sign is useful for demonstrating truth to others.
As you begin to physically sense the Lord’s presence, you can grow in faith to demonstrate the same thing to other people by having them hold out their hands and praying that they would tangibly feel the Lord’s glory resting on them! If you find it difficult sometimes to share the gospel, maybe this sign will help you as much as it helped me to explain the way of salvation to people.
For a story of how healing ministry helped me to share the gospel with someone, check out Healing And Salvation In The Middle Of The World.