Once upon a time there was a boy named Roy. He liked to read his Bible, especially stories about Jesus and the miracles he did. He read it like a child and believed every word. One day he was sitting under a tree, reading the passage in John where Jesus said, “He who believes in me will do the same things I do, and greater things.” Roy got all excited.
“Maybe God could use me to heal people too,” he said excitedly. “I could even open blind eyes, and raise the dead.” There seemed to be no limit to the miracles God could do through him if he believed.
Unknown to Roy, two men in black suits were standing by a fence nearby, listening to him talk and plotting. They sneaked up on him with a balloon and popped it in his face.
Roy was so startled, he dropped his Bible. “What’s going on?” he said.
“You’re taking the Bible too literally,” they replied. “God doesn’t do miracles anymore, so stop acting like a fanatic before we really make you jump.”
“How? With more balloons?” asked Roy, shocked beyond belief.
“No, but as God’s thought police, we’re here to correct you,” said the first man. “God frowns on having fun, you know. To follow Christ, you must take up your cross.”
“You mean, like, ‘Nose to the grindstone’?” asked Roy.
“Yes, you have to strain your brain to do God’s will,” said the second man. “Don’t expect to be suddenly empowered by some unknown tongue or prophecy from above. God dispensed with things like that a long time ago. Today He’s given us much more mysterious ways to His will, through mind-boggling inventions such as television, telephones and the Internet.”
“Raw human intellect is His current tool for reaching the masses,” added the first man. “He doesn’t need to use signs and wonders anymore.”
Roy hung his head. He felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. To think that God didn’t do miracles anymore made him so depressed, he stopped reading his Bible. Soon he found himself attending the balloon poppers’ church, which had many rules for pleasing God. You had to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and if they happened to stop by your house you had to entertain them while they inspected every room. Any hint of dust or clutter earned you a sharp rebuke. Strict obedience to one’s “shepherd” was required. Any hint of rebellion was a sign that you weren’t saved. To “honor those who reign over you in the LORD” was the main law. To attend a different kind of church was to be branded a heretic, and to promote the free exercise of spiritual gifts earned you the title of “false prophet.”
That was why Roy was so afraid to leave the church. He feared that if he did, he’d go to hell, but he couldn’t stand to stay because the regulations were killing him. Then he remembered a book he’d read one time about praising God amid the worst of circumstances. Desperate to reconnect with God, he began to do just that. As he was searching for things to rejoice over, he happened to find his Bible. He opened it up and found himself staring at the passage in Matthew 7:15, which warns believers to beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, “but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
The next verse said, “You will know them by their fruits” (meaning the results of their teaching). Roy cross-referenced that verse with the passage in Galatians 5:19-22, which compares the works of the flesh to the works of the Spirit.
According to verse 22, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, peace, and joy.”
Roy realized he hadn’t experienced much love, joy, or peace in a very long time. All he felt in his church was fear, but Jesus promised comfort to his followers through Holy Spirit whom He said would teach them “all things.” (John 14:26).
The fruit of his church’s teaching, which was that spiritual gifts were no longer relevant, had made Roy very sad, but he knew God didn’t want him to be sad.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full,” Jesus told his disciples in John 15:11.
To the lukewarm church in Revelation 3:14-21, Jesus said in verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
In other words, it was all about having a personal relationship with Him, not about obeying man. Roy also read the scripture in Hebrews 13:8, which says that Jesus Christ “is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”
If so, then He hadn’t changed His mind when it came to doing miracles, Roy decided.
His original disciples took Jesus at His Word and bore good fruit. The wonders they did in His name caused many people to be saved.
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (I Corinthians 2:5)
The moral of this story is that, when in doubt about any sort of teaching or statement, you should examine it in light of God’s word and look at the results (fruit) of it. For example, if you have been taught that God doesn’t do signs and wonders anymore, then ask yourself what has been the result of that teaching in your own life. For many of us, such teaching has been extremely discouraging, but when we discovered that God still does those things our faith was built up and our confidence in Him was restored.