Revival is what happens when God's power explodes onto the scene, Heaven comes to earth, and people see God's Kingdom. Revival brings change. People repent and abandon their past sins. People who love God can bring Him into schools, churches, restaurants, malls, and homes. Whole cities and even countries can turn to God as people begin to see with faith. Peace, healing, and joy come and kick out the kingdom of darkness, hatred, sickness, and fear. God's Kingdom of light rules in a revival.
Signs and wonders help make revival happen as people see miracles. They get a firsthand look at God's presence and power, and suddenly, they can't ignore Him anymore.
Before you can get your driver's license, chances are you'll have to pass a test that proves you recognize all the different road signs and understand what they mean. Signs like these are everywhere in our world, and they're extremely helpful and important. Without them, no one would be safe on the roads.
Have you ever taken a road trip to somewhere awesome? Where did you go? If it was a long trip, maybe you remember the first time you saw a sign for your destination and knew you were close. "New York City: 60 miles," "Welcome to Disneyland"—pretty exciting, right? You might even whip out the camera and take a picture of the sign. But did you even think about stopping and staying at the sign? Not likely! Why? Because the sign wasn't the destination. It was pointing to something even better, and it was exciting, but if you decided to hang out by the sign itself, you'd miss out on all the fun!
When you think of a miraculous healing, or even someone being raised from the dead, did it ever occur to you that those signs, wonders, and miracles are just like that road sign? They help us get to our revival—they point the way to something even greater. But God's signs—even the most exciting ones—aren't the best part. What's the best part? Well, let's follow the signs and see where they take us.
1) Miracles Show What God Is Like
You are here to be a witness for God—that means you show what God is like, and that includes God's power. God isn't helpless and hopeless in the face of sickness, death, blind eyes, and deaf ears. Miracles show us what He's really like.
He's like sickness vanishing and leaving you feeling like a million bucks. He's like the deaf person being able to listen to music again, like the once-blind person now watching the sun rise. He's like life instead of death. Without miracles, people won't get to see this side of God. They will miss out on knowing that His powerful love can and will take care of them—because that's how much He cares.
2) Miracles Help People Choose Right or Wrong
Luke 5 tells the story of how Peter was recruited as Jesus' disciple. He had been fishing all night long without catching anything. Jesus stepped into his boat and asked him to row out a bit, giving Him a handy platform to preach from. After the message, He told Peter to throw out his net and give it one more shot. There were no fish around, so it seemed like a dumb idea, but Peter obeyed anyway. The next thing he knew, he had so many fish in his net that it nearly sank his boat.
Peter saw this as a sign of God's power and said, "Oh, Lord, please leave me—I'm too much of a sinner to be around You" (Luke 5:8). Jesus didn't have to tell Peter that. Miracles are just like a light that turns on and shows us what's in our hearts. In the face of signs and wonders, it's easy to see the sin in our lives and repent.
There are, however, some people who choose not to follow God, even when they see miracles. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, turned against the Hebrews when he saw the signs and wonders of the ten plagues. The Bible says his heart was hard. (Read Exodus 9:35.) The religious leaders also turned against Jesus even after they saw all of His great miracles. They refused to repent. When people see signs and wonders, they will make a choice—either to come to God's love or to reject Him.
3) Miracles Give Us Courage
It's hugely important that we tell others about the miracles God has done and is doing—these are our testimonies, and they're made for sharing. Why do we have to keep repeating stories we've already heard? Because our memories are short! Think about it—would you remember all your friends' birthdays without Facebook reminding you? Maybe, maybe not, but the reminder sure helps you plan the party or buy the present!
Sharing testimonies reminds us how amazing our heavenly Father is and how special we are as sons and daughters of the King. Remembering how God's power destroys the works of the devil gives us courage to bravely face down the enemy. In the Old Testament, there was a group of brave warriors—the sons of Ephraim. They were powerful fighters, but on the day the battle started, they panicked and ran. Why? The Bible says, "They did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by His instructions. They forgot what He had done—the great wonders He had shown them, the miracles He did for their ancestors" (Ps. 78:10-12). When the sons of Ephraim forgot how powerful their God was, they forgot who they were. They lost their courage to fight and win the battle.
4) Miracles Show God's Glory
In John 2, Jesus attended a wedding. Disaster struck when they ran out of wine. (Can you imagine a wedding reception with no cake? It was that much of a problem.) Jesus had not done any miracles yet, but His mother, Mary, knew who her Son was. Mary told Jesus:
"They have no more wine."
"Dear woman, that's not our problem," Jesus replied.
"My time has not yet come."
But His mother told the servants, "Do whatever He
tells you" (John 2:3-5).
Remember, Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing in Heaven. If He didn't turn the water into wine at first, it was because He didn't see His Father doing it. But when Mary used her faith and told everyone to do what her Son said, something happened in Heaven. Jesus took another look at His Father, and God was turning water into wine. Jesus saw what the Father was doing through the faith of His mother.
Now was the time for Jesus to be glorified. Jesus' first miracle happened because of His mom's faith, and when miracles happen, God gets the glory. His power pushes away satan's kingdom of darkness with the light of God's presence. The glory of God makes darkness disappear, and God's Kingdom of light takes its place. The Kingdom of Heaven rules—and you get to do this too! You can bring God's Kingdom of light and glory into the darkness.
5) Miracles Help People Give Glory to God
Matthew 9:8 says that when the people saw the man healed, they glorified God. The man in this story could not move—until Jesus met him and forgave his sins. Then He told the man to get up and walk, and he did. Seriously impressed, the people started to praise God and give Him glory.
When signs, wonders, and miracles happen, it gets people's attention. When they watch as God's power destroys the works of the devil, something happens inside of them. Their hearts open wide, and they start to praise! It's like the way you feel when your favorite sports team wins, only better! The more God stories you hear, the more your heart will praise and glorify your Father.
6) Miracles Reveal Jesus
Jesus was trying to tell the Jews that He was their Savior, but many did not believe Him. Then He said, "But if I do His work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don't believe Me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father" (John 10:38). Jesus knew that if people would just believe in the concrete signs of His miracles, they would find their way to Him. Miracles reveal who Jesus really is.
7) Miracles Help People Hear God's Voice
Most people in their everyday lives don't spend a lot of time thinking about Heaven. They have too many earthly things to worry about. But when people hear testimonies of God's power, their hearts turn toward Heaven. They start to take a serious look at God's invisible Kingdom, and Heaven starts to look a little more real and relevant. When Heaven looks and feels real, people realize that they need to repent and get serious with God.
8) Miracles Make People Hungry For God,
Signs and wonders show what a good God He truly is. People get hungry when they get a taste of God's goodness. They want more, the ears of their hearts open, and they start to listen. That's when they can finally hear what the Father has to say to them.
9) Miracles Reveal Jesus and His Church
The Bible says Jesus is the head, or leader, of the church. (Read Ephesians 5:23.) We are His followers. We are called His Body, the Church. (Read 1 Corinthians 12:27.) Your head doesn't have any plans to cut itself off and leave your body, right? Let's hope not! The head and the body stick together—things work out better that way for both of them. Jesus, as the Head of the Church, made a promise to you, His Body—He will never leave you. God's presence comforts us and brings us close to Him. His presence also gives us courage to show His great power and love.
Miracles prove that God Himself is with you. They help you complete your royal mission—to bring Heaven to earth. Signs and wonders are key. They point to something greater—God Himself! Signs help us get from where we are to the new places the Holy Spirit wants to take us. He has some crazy adventures for you in His Kingdom. His presence and power will lead you—just follow the signs.
The preceding article is an excerpt from When Heaven Invades Earth for Teens by Bill Johnson and Michael Seth. If you want to learn more about this topic or have a teenager who does, this book is available now at amazon.com, bn.com, cbd.com, FamilyChristian.com, and other fine bookstores.
Bill Johnson is a fifth-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the Holy Spirit. Together Bill and his wife serve a growing number of churches that have partnered for revival. Bill and Brenda (Beni) Johnson are the senior pastors of Bethel Church, Redding, California. You can learn more about him at: bjm.org or about Bethel Church at: ibethel.org
Michael Seth has pastored children who enter God's presence and flow in the gifts of the Spirit for over 30 years. As former Children's Director at Bethel Church in Redding, CA, and at Grace Center in Franklin, Tennessee, Mike and his wife, Marilyn, are committed to equipping children's minsters and producing teaching resources. You can find out more at: KidsInHisPresence.com
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