All though I attend a reformed baptist church I don't believe that the gifts (healing and tongues) have ceased at all. There are still healings in the world. The apostles clearly teach that those who are of the church and are sick are to go to the elders of the church and they will pray for you and anoint your head with oil and God will forgive you.
Now I understand the teaching of cessationism because of the counterfeit signs of today that have entered into the world so I can see why someone may react in this way...there is so much deception in the charismatic scene that, I believe, that the cessationism is a reaction against this...but we have to be careful to not throw out the other words of the bible.
Paul clearly teaches of the gifts in 1 corinthians 12 and he also clearly teaches that gifts of tongues and healings will only end at the second coming of Christ (see 1 cor 13). Those who are adamant about cessationism will insist that 1 corinthians 13 is talking about the end of the gifts but the context clearly states at the second coming of Christ...The Holy Spirit guides you here if you honestly read this text with an open heart.
Lets take an honest look into this - These are gifts and gifts are given. And these gifts are spiritual gifts given by a spiritual head - in this case the Holy Spirit who is the third head of the trinity - God. So if a church does not have particular gifts then why does it not have them? Lets look.
- Do we ask for them?
The bible clearly teaches that we should ask God. John 15:7 - If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask and it shall be given. That is a teaching of Jesus Christ the night before His crucifixion. Paul also says at the end of 1cor12 to desire the gifts (but to seek love above all). When you do ask are you fulfilling the condition given in john 15:7 (remain in me and my words remain in you). If not then you may receive gifts but not those of the Holy Spirit!
Another reason we may not have other gifts is that God may not see that we need them. We give something that is not required.
And finally, more importantly carrying on from John 15:7 - here is a problem with many western churches if not all I have seen today. We do not remain in the word of God...we believe tradition over the word of God - this is a MASSIVE problem of today. For example - we have removed head coverings (people say it isn't important but Paul teaches it alongside the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup). Many men and women teach that this was just cultural to which I ask is it cultural then to break the bread and drink the cup? We allow women pastors to have authority of the men in clear defiance of the apostles doctrine.
We place a lack of importance on what we teach today as the minor commands of the apostles doctrine...Baptism is not seen as so important anymore, the breaking of bread only happens say 12 times a year instead of when we meet together. The fear of God is not taught as "the fear of God" but only the reverence and awe of God. This goes on and on and on...can we clearly say (without no problem or conviction from the Holy Spirit) that this is remaining in Christ and that His word is remaining in us??? No we cannot...so why should the church be honored with these gifts...Do we lose our salvation because of this - No we don't because our salvation is outside of anything we can do...but...the Lord chastises those he loves...why should He give us the gifts when we clearly ignore so much of His teachings? If your son or daughter did continually wrong...you would still love them and provide those things they needed to live but you wouldn't be so open to reward them with extra gifts for disobedience...so why should we expect any different from our Holy Father in Heaven? This, in my opinion and I also think I have the Holy Spirit, is the reason for the lack of the moving of the Holy Spirit in power in todays churches.
Now let me draw this to a conclusion. Just because the roaring lion of the devil circles the bride and the bride may seem powerless to the outside world...it doesn't mean that the Lord Jesus Christ will leave it like this...Zion will roar and He is zealous for His bride...so we must be as the bride in these last days.
Honor all men, love the brothers and sisters in Christ, seek to cover sin against us and instead love those who hate, bless them who curse us and pray that the Lord will forgive them. Do good works, question nothing if it is for the benefit of a man and not his harm. Praise the Lord always. Ask for his forgiveness, always.
and finally (finally) - It is not miracles that save you - it is the blood of Jesus Christ...What does this mean? Jesus Christ is called "the fulfillment of the Law" for He alone fulfills the requirements of the Law...lets look at this.
God says that all sin must be atoned for by blood. The priests of God would offer atonement for sin upon the alter through a blood sacrifice - required by the Law of God.
READ leviticus 17:11. It is repeated in the mouth of two and more witnesses in Hebrews 9:22.
So all sin must be atoned for. But the blood of goats and bulls could never once and for all cover all sin (hebrews 10:4). So the sin offering offered in the law was a foreshadowing of "THE SIN OFFERING" for sin. When the angel of death came over egypt God told the people to take a perfect lamb without blemish and to sacrifice him and roast him on fire...his blood was to be put above your door and then the lamb was to be eaten after roasting with fire. This lamb is the foreshadowing of Christ.
- The lamb was innocent and perfect without blemish. Christ sinned against no man and walked perfect before God.
- The lamb was slain for the sin of the people. Christ was offered upon the cross for our sin.
- The lamb was roasted with fire and eaten. Jesus Christ instituted the true meaning of the passover feast - The bread broken is His body broken for us. The wine drank represents His blood of the new covernent - which is everlasting life for the life is in the blood (leviticus 17:11 again) and eternal life is in the blood of Christ.
- This was the final act of the angel of death that moved through Egypt before the people left Egypt. God saved them from the angel of death which came before they left. The judgement of God was passed over them who had the blood. When we trust in Christ to forgive our sins then we apply the blood.
- God brought them out: Christ died for us and he will bring us out of Spiritual Egypt...this current world...we are pilgrims (strangers in a strange land) - this is not our world but we look to the new heaven and the new earth promised by Christ Jesus (Revelation 21:1-5)
So then - seeing miracles cannot save you but trusting in the blood of Christ is what saves you...How do I apply the blood of Christ and trust in Him?
- Believe you are a sinner...if you don't believe that you are a sinner before a Holy God then you will not see a need for a Saviour.
- Believe that the only one who can save you from your sin is Jesus Christ for HE is the fulfillment of the law (a perfect lamb is the only one who can be offered for sin). We have all broken the law - we have lied, stolen and cheated at times in our lives because sin is in us...but he that has no sin became a sin offering for us and took the curse...dieing for our sins (1cor15:3-4)
Now if you believe with all your heart that you are a sinner needing forgiveness and that Christ died for your sins then you will evidence this with a life change...the first thing you must do...is confess Christ.
You will get baptised (this doesn't save you but it confirms that you have turned to Christ and it is an act of faith that you believe that Christ is your Saviour. James teaches in the book of James that (I will show you my faith through my works)...notice that he doesn't say (I will show you my salvation through my works...he evidences his faith through his works)...The first work of outward faith in Christ is baptism.
Now you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and He will begin to sanctify you. This means that He (not you) will convict you of sin and you will begin to confess your sins to brothers and sisters and you will begin to repent of all sin. This is the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. This will product good fruit in your life and the bad fruit will be removed. You become a tree of life and not a dead tree with no root...A tree planted by living waters cannot die (Psalm 1)...it can only bring forth fruit and healing.
Jesus Christ clearly taught that you know them by their fruit. No fruit then the tree is bad and uprooted...good fruit...(a new heart that has truly turned to the Lord) will be seen (you works of faith will evidence your new heart that has been given to you by the Lord...REMEMBER THIS...you cannot do good work to get into heaven but the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in you evidencing that you have turned to Christ...Those who are trying to live good lives without turning to Christ are still lost...because their sins have not been washed in the blood of the lamb - Christ Jesus.
That is it in short...Turn to God from you sin and believe in Jesus Christ
John 3:16-18 God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. The Son came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. All those who believe in the son have eternal life but those who reject the son are already condemned because they have not believed in the only begotten Son of the Father.
That is the word of God - Jesus Christ - who is the word of God who was with the Father at the beginning - John 1: In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God...So when God spoke into existence all of the words it was Jesus who moved forth and created through the eternal Spirit. The trinity...three in one and one in three. one God in three persons.
Anyone who tells you that Jesus is not God is a false prophet and anyone who is teaching about a Jesus that is not God (like Islam who believe He was just a prophet) is teaching a different Jesus...Jesus is fully God and fully man because man cannot save himself only God can save man...Look at the names given to Jesus by the angel.
"You shall call His name JESUS because He shall save His people from their sins"
Immanuel - meaning "God with us"
When Thomas saw Jesus Christ after he was resurrected he said "My Lord and My God"
This is how you know a false spirit in this world - they deny that Jesus is the Christ - fully God and fully man. JWs, Christadelphins, Islam...buddists...etc...etc all talk about a different Christ but a true church will say - Jesus is God and man, and they will believe in the trinity of God. If anyone denys that Christ came as a man (God walked in the flesh) then that is antichrist and you are to turn away from them...You see if Christ didn't walk as a man then you could never have a perfect lamb for a sacrifice to redeem us...it means that Christ never died and that the gospel would not be true...that is why the devil does not want you to believe that Jesus is "The Christ - fully God and fully man" - Christ is the ladder between this world and Heaven...without Him we cannot enter heaven...we could never even attain heaven...only He bridges the gap (and that gulf is vast and we can never attain to it). But the gospel is true - Christ died for our sins and on the third day He rose from the dead and if He rose from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit then He will resurrect us when he comes again - do you believe this? Because if you do then you will be saved...that is the gospel -
Romans 10:9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.
Not through works unless any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9) but by the power of God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ Who redeems us.
If you don't apply the blood of Christ to your life...then you are calling God a liar...and if the first time you get to know Christ is at the Judgment seat then words cannot describe this condition...but that day is not today...confess Christ now and turn to Him.
And know this - trust in the word of God...The bible was written by God through the Spirit which worked through God fearing men to pen it down for us to read until the end of time.
God bless you and I pray that this convicts you of your sin...turn to Christ Jesus and be saved...stop looking for miracles...only an unbelieving adulterous generation seeks miracles...Take a good look at the earth you live in...look into the eyes of your children (who are fearfully and wonderfully made by God) and say to yourself...what more miracles do I need to know that there is a Holy God who loves me and sent His son to die for me so that my sins can be washed and I can be redeemed...turn to Him and He will save you.
God bless you.