February 29 “Confirmation”

Confirming Signs

Every four years we add a day to the Month of February.  On this bonus day, let us pause to consider the signs which followed those who followed Jesus.  He commanded them–and us!–to go into all the world to preach His Gospel everywhere.  He promised believers the resident power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  He, the Spirit of God,–He is not an “it!”–adds divine power to human effort.  We call this “the anointing” of the Spirit, a supernatural touch on our natural gifts.  How will we know when we have passed from human effort alone to divinely assisted work?  By the “signs following.”

“And these signs will follow 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.”

Some modern translations of the Bible omit these verses because of their absence in recently discovered ancient manuscripts.  Absence is not enough of an indictment for me to exclude them.  My evidence? All of these signs are recorded in the Book of Acts!  They happened!–so why shouldn’t we consider the prophecy of Jesus concerning them?  Why not?–We should consider them!

We who believe, should expect the supernatural.
Everything we believe about Jesus is supernatural:

  • The ancient prophecies fulfilled,
  • His virgin birth,
  • His sinless life,
  • His miracles,
  • His amazing words,
  • His choice of ordinary people to follow Him,
  • His mastery of His opposition,
  • His trials in the courts of men,
  • His atoning death,
  • His astounding victory over death,
  • His return to heaven’s throne, and
  • His gift of His Spirit sent to reside in us.

After all this supernatural record, would we expect to follow Him with only natural abilities?  That would be inconsistent with everything He said and did as an example for us.  We who believe in Him should routinely operate in a supernatural realm beyond our five senses.  There is a supernatural element to the Christian life–signs follow us, confirming the reality of the Lord’s presence in our lives.  Want some details?

  • Angels guard our every step.
  • The Holy Spirit abides in our hearts.
  • We shine as stars in the black sky, holding out the Word of Life.
  • Each of us is a lighted candle against the darkness of these days.
  • Together we are a shining city on a hill which cannot be ignored.
  • In this dark age, we walk in pools of Light. (Isaiah 60:1-3)
  • We are living epistles, known and read of all people.
  • By the power of His Spirit we are witnesses to His presence in the world.
  • When we pray, heaven listens.
  • When we worship, the Lord Himself is enthroned on our praise.
  • Through His anointing, each of is a force for good in this world.
  • His healing flows through us, our words, our touch, our silences, our integrity.
  • We overcome the wicked one by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

These signs follow us without effort on our part–we simply follow the Lord, answering the call of Jesus to the fishermen, “Follow me.”

When the Signs of Confirmation aren’t there.
What about believers who do not cast out demons, or pray in angel-tongues, or are snake-bit, or stricken by the poisons of this world?  There is an old Pentecostal saying for them: “They are living beneath their privileges.”  Faith is the deliberate expectation of the supernatural.  If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  We will walk in the supernatural with signs following!

Scripture:
Mark 16:14-20
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow 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.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Isaiah 60:1-3 NKJV
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Phil 2:14-18 NKJV
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Gal 5:16-26 NKJV
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Prayer
(from “7 Days of Prayer”)
Lord Jesus, You have broken the chains.
Phil. 2:13-18 NKJ (Adapted SRP)
Lord Jesus, You have broken the chains. You are at work in me both “to will and to act according to Your good purpose.” I will not complain. I will not argue. I will be blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation. I shine like a star in the black sky. I hold out the Word of Life.  I labor for Your reward. Though I am poured out like a drink-offering for the sacrifice and service of Your church, I will be glad and rejoice with Your church. Your church will be glad and rejoice with me. The substance, image and reflection of my life shall be one in the same. And this tree will sprout leaves today.

Song
Spirit of the Living God
Traditional

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me!
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me!
Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me!
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2020 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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