"One unmistakable sign that the kingdom has ceased to be manifested among God's people is the failure to confront directly the power of evil by setting sinners free from the bondage of sin and the demoniac." - The Full Life Study Bible, pg.127
"The impression which Christ's miracles made upon all that beheld them... They were all amazed at the mighty power of God, which they could not but see in all the miracles Christ wrought...The works of God's almighty power are amazing, especially those that are wrought by the hand of the Lord Jesus, for He is the power of God, and His name is Wonderful." - Matthew Henry
In the following Scriptures, notice the reaction of the crowds -
Matthew 9:33 says - "And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel."
Matthew 12:22-23 says - "Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David?"
Matthew 15:30-31 says - "And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and He healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel."
Mark 1:27 says - "And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him."
Mark 7:37 says - "And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."
What was their general reaction?
The multitudes - "marveled," "were amazed." "wondered," "were beyond measure astonished," and "glorified the God of Israel."
The Scriptures go on to tell us in Luke 4:36 that the people were rendered immovable when they saw a demonstration of Christ's power over devils and evil forces - "And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out."
In Luke 9:43, awe gripped the crowds as they saw the greatness, majesty, or mightiness of God - "And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God..."
In John 5:20, the Lord Jesus spoke of the "greater works" - far more awesome miracles - that the Father would appoint and direct Him to do to their utter amazement - "For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."
Nonetheless, some would argue - yes, these were the amazing miracles of Jesus in healing the sick and casting out devils.
But how does that relate to us as the Church?
Just as the Gospels relate the wonderful works of the Lord Jesus, the Book of Acts tells us of the amazing feats of the disciples when endued with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:7 says - "And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?"
What was the cause for astonishment? These disciples of the Lord Jesus were "Galileans" - speaking the refined languages of the people.
We have to understand that the term "Galilean" carried with it a certain connotation - that of being ignorant, rude, uneducated, uncivilized, grotesque, despicable, and from whom nothing learned nor polite could ever be expected. Their dialect was considered to be barbarous and corrupt.
As we can see, the term "Galilean" was an expression of the deepest reproach and contempt. To hear them now speaking in the refined languages of the people was supernatural - indeed a sign from heaven.
Acts 2:12 adds - "And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?"
This was the overall reaction of the Hellenists who were visiting Jerusalem from all other parts of the world. They found themselves at a loss to understand or explain what was happening. They "were in doubt" - anxious or wavering - as a traveler would be who was ignorant of the way and hesitant about which road to take. They viewed this event - the disciples speaking in other tongues - as nothing short of miraculous.
Acts 3:11 relates - "And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering."
As we move forward in the Book of Acts, we come across this event where a man - lame from his mother's womb - was found walking, leaping, and praising God after being totally healed. The eyewitnesses of this miracle were in ecstasy - filled with wonder, excitement, and amazement.
The question we must all ask ourselves is this - In our weekly church meetings or even in our every day lives, are we leaving the crowds in utter amazement or "greatly wondering" after they witness a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit in our midst?
The Holy Spirit has not died.
But have we?
What about this quote mentioned at the beginning of this message - "One unmistakable sign that the kingdom has ceased to be manifested among God's people is the failure to confront directly the power of evil by setting sinners free from the bondage of sin and the demoniac."
In our Christian walk, are we experiencing the kingdom of God whereby demoniacs are being set free in our midst by the power of the Holy Spirit?
If not, why not?
God hasn't changed.
The Book of Acts is still being written.
The only problem is - is your church or individual life contributing to its pages?
We close with the words of the well-known chorus -
"You won't leave the way you came in Jesus' Name
Bound, depressed, discouraged, sick, or lame,
For the Holy Ghost of Acts is still the same
You won't leave the way you came in Jesus' Name."
Is this your church's testimony?
Can you say this to the multitudes in your midst?