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The dispute over when the gift's would necessarily cease comes from a portion of the Scripture, 1 Co 13, and it is these words that give some the idea that the gifts and ministries have ceased. 1 Co 13:10: But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. Some have taken this word "perfect" to mean the Bible. If that were true, we would also not need knowledge as it says in 1 Cor 13:8. When will knowledge be no longer needed? In fact when the Bible was completed the knowledge of God increased. The time when the cessation of gifts is the same time the end of knowledge happens. This time is the era that comes with the end of the world and the return of Christ. When we see Him face to face there will no longer be a need for such gifts because He will have perfected us for heaven after the resurrection. That time we will not to exercise faith because faith is the evidence of things not seen. The focal point of the gifts is not only the compilation of the Bible. It is the building of the Body of Christ and the evidence that Christ is with us always till the end of time. Till that time there will be people demonized that need the operation of the ministry of the gift of discerning of spirits and the gift of faith to command them out. Jesus said whoever shall ask shall receive, but some put limits on that asking by declaring that ministries of miracles have ceased with the completion of the Bible. There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible that says the gifts and ministries of miracles through the chosen in the Church have ceased. History records many revivals that prove otherwise. They happened in all true revivals recorded in History and they are happening today. The compassion of Christ is still operating through the Church and it was His great compassion for the sick that prompted Him to heal them. On Monday I was asked to pray for a woman whose child's heart had been diagnosed as failing, and they were going to advise the woman to have an abortion. I prayed with others in the fellowship together for a miracle healing of the heart, and we received news that the child's heart had been totally healed. I wept with joy immediately and bowed to worship Jesus for His great compassion to bring healing to that woman's child. Healing is flowing here like a river because Jesus still appoints His servants with tools for the edification of the Church and though it is an honor to be a channel for His merciful kindness, one never forgets their place or the misery from which they came so that all adoration is bestowed upon the Distributor of such gifts of grace, that is Jesus Christ. The best proof that Jesus is the same in ministry as well as personal presence, is demonstrated by the persons receiving such miracles as they come to Him repenting and becoming disciples, and filled with joy for that which they have received by Jesus Christ the Head of the Body of Christ, the Church. Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Jesus' had no intention for His ministry to cease, by throwing the Bible at the Church and halting the ministries of miracles and healing and tongues. They are fully operational now and whether or not Church history has recorded them or not, I have no doubt authentic ministries of such miracles have operated in every Generation since Jesus' feet left Terra Firma. Some Christians have moved into very dangerous ground by accusing authentic Holy Spirit inspired ministry as having another inspiration.
I am not a cessationalist, although I do find this subject confusing and frustrating. I find it confusing because it seems to me that those who believe in cessation more or less say "Here is the word of God, read it and accept it and walk it, but signs and wonders are not relevant today because we now have the complete word of God." Yet what is different from the time that Jesus walked the earth to world we live in today? Not much really, it's still a world full of sin, oppression, sadness, sickness and one without hope. Israel had the word of God, yet Jesus had to come to a broken world, a world full of sin, full of pain, full of sadness, full of oppression (worldly and demonic) and to show that he was from the Father he performed miracles, dealt with demonic oppression, healed people and walked in knowledge from the Father to do what he did. People started to believe. It does not seem to make sense that God would allow a period of about 100 years, where He moved in signs and wonders to prove to a broken world that he really loves them, then cut off signs and wonders after that. People flocked to Jesus. Why? Because he loved people, healed people, He did amazing stuff. In Jn 14:12-14 Jesus promised that we would do greater things than he did. Was that only promised to the twelve, and those for a period of time?
First, this is an important topic and I too praise God for the testimony of God's power in the primary answer on this. But for most cessationists, and yes I am one, it does not mean there are no signs and wonders, or else why pray for the sick? Of course God does miracles, and breaks into our world as He wills. Every time a person comes to faith in Christ God is breaking in, convicting of sin, placing faith in the heart of the person hearing the call of the gospel. It doesn’t mean God hasn’t done amazing things in mission work where missionaries are taking the gospel into new territory. I believe he has. And most of us do not place our conviction about this in the 1 Cor 13 passage, although I have heard that. J.D. made some excellent points. But I would not have used his opening statement re that passage. What I believe has ended is the revelatory gifts because we have all we need in scripture. We have the promise of God that He will give us wisdom, guide us, use us and empower us; we do not need new revelation. Also the giving of power gifts to individuals, I believe, has ceased. Not the powerful work of God in answer to our prayers and according to His own Sovereign will; He is God He will do wondrous things. Now of course, you don’t have to agree with me to be my brother and sister in Christ. I stand in need of greater understanding of the Bible everyday. But, if you are going to disagree, at least we should know where we are coming from. God bless.
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