An Anti-Christ Agenda: Acts 4:14-20
“14) And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15) But when they had ordered them to go outside of the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16) saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17) But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18) And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19) But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20) for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”” Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭17‬-‭20‬ ‭
The healing of the lame beggar was so complete and noteworthy that not even the critics could deny its authenticity. “They had nothing to say in reply.”
All of Gods works are that way! Creation is a great example. The deeper you dive into what God created the more order, design and beautify unfolds. From the microscopic the telescopic, everything points to Gods superior intelligence, power and glory. The Laws of Physics adorn the character and nature of the Creator.
So it was with the healing of this lame beggar. A noteworthy miracle had taken place. You would think the Council would yield to this sign from God. It was undeniable! Instead, what they did was very clever. They simply rejected the premise that it was done in the name of Jesus Christ or added any validity to the claim of His resurrection. They defended their anti-Christ bias.
Let me make a strong observation from the text. The Council had no problem with the miracle; they simply refused to connect it to faith in Jesus Christ. They rejected the gospel. They believed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob performed miracles. The Old Testament is full of them. They were objecting to Peter and John tying the miracle to Jesus Christ and the gospel.
Let me underline this in your thinking one more time! In the New Testament, God performed signs and wonders for the sole purpose of validating Jesus Christ and the gospel. (Study Hebrews 2:1-4 to punctuate this point)
Do you doubt me? Let’s examine the nature of the threat by the Council against Peter and John. Ironically, they did not command them to stop healing or performing miracles. Instead, they commanded them to stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus Christ. They wanted them to stop sharing the gospel. Beware of any ministry that minimizes the importance of sharing of the gospel.
This story punctuates my deep conviction that the primary purpose of healings and miracles in the early church was to undergird the preaching of the gospel! Satan has no problem with signs and wonders as long as Jesus Christ and the gospel are set aside.
In fact, in the end times, Satan is going to give all kinds of false signs and wonders to mislead people. Just take a moment and study 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10. The anti-Christ agenda is getting people fixated on signs and wonders apart from any focus on Jesus Christ and the gospel. This translates to deception and confusion.
Some of my Charismatic and Pentecostal friends accuse me of limiting the power of God because I do not embrace a doctrine of universal healing. I simply observe that God did not heal everyone in the New Testament.
However, we do see that signs, wonders and healings were deeply connected to the exaltation of Jesus Christ and the spread of the gospel. Even the context of Acts 5:16 is connected to the exhalation of Jesus Christ and the spread of the gospel.
I refuse to put God in any box or within parameter’s that the Bible does not clearly establish. One example is found in James 1:13 where it says; “God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” We also know that God does not lie. These are biblical parameters God puts around Himself.
When it comes to miracles, signs and wonders, the Bible drops us off at the sovereignty and providence of God. It is equally as erroneous to say; “God does not do miracles today”, as it is to say; “Gods will is to heal everyone.” Neither view is taught or illustrated in the Bible.
However, there is one truth that seems constant in the New Testament. When God did perform signs, wonders or miracles, they consistently exalted Jesus Christ or were used to spread the gospel. Again, this is the punch line of Hebrews 2:1-4.
So let’s come back to our text. I stress again that the Council did not dispute the miracle. What they objected to was tying the miracle to Jesus Christ and the gospel.
We learn from this text that miracles are not about miracles. Healing is not about healing. They are given for two reasons. First, they validate the identity of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Second, they open doors for the gospel and underline the importance of faith in Jesus Christ. They are powerful and amazing affirmations from God to glorify Jesus Christ and advance the gospel.
We need to adopt this New Testament standard today. It is prudent to stand aloft from any ministry that focuses on signs and wonders but totally ignores Jesus Christ and the gospel. As shown earlier, this agenda is the end time scheme of the anti-Christ.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global