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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: How relevant is Mark 16:17 in a believers’ life today?

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# 07595 :  How relevant is Mark 16:17 in a believers’ life today?

The word of God never becomes irrelevant. Prophecies and promises may become historical truths once they are fulfilled. There are varied opinions about the relevance of Mk 16:17. Some of them are quoted hereunder.

A quote from http://billmuehlenberg.com/2012/06/02/difficult-bible-passages-mark-1617-18/

Consider this very recent news story: “A ‘serpent-handling’ West Virginia pastor died after his rattlesnake bit him during a church ritual, just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before…”

 “To say all this of course is not to deny that God can and does heal. In any time of crisis, we pray and seek God’s healing power. But we are not to major in minors, nor spend our time playing with snakes when much more pressing needs, challenges and callings exist.”

A quote from http://www.awmi.net/bible/mar_16_17

“Note 10 at Mr 16:17: Some people have tried to get around these verses by saying that they were not found in some of the oldest manuscripts. The only reason that people desire to explain these scriptures away is because their lives don't match up with them. Instead of changing themselves, they would rather change the scriptures.”

A quote from http://www.cnview.com/on_line_resources/who_are_the_believers_followed_by_signs.htm

 “I am very sure that they are the same people, exactly and exclusively! In other words, the believers of verse 17, who were to be followed by signs, were not all recipients of the Gospel, but those particular persons to whom the message of verse 15 was committed. Simply moving back to verse 14 will help to solidify this idea.

EIGHTY-THREE MEN
In Matthew 10:1-8 and Luke 9:1-6 we find twelve men called and given supernatural (Apostolic) powers. Please read the Scripture and understand. In Luke 10:1-9 we find seventy others being given similar powers. We then find the Apostle Paul being designated the Apostle to the Gentiles and given these powers.

This is a total of eighty-three men. There is good Bible evidence, it you care to study through the book of Acts that Matthias, Philip, Stephen, Barnabas and Silas were all among this seventy. You will never find a single record of any man in the New Testament performing a miracle except Jesus and men which Bible evidence would put within this eighty-three.”

The scripture says "And these signs will follw those who believe: ..." The question is "Is this true in the case of present day believers? What does these signs stand to represent? Are the signs essential signs of a genuine believer?

I invite comments from the readers. Readers are invited to give direct answers.  (No counter questions please!) 

P.A.Paulose

Post by : palatty  View Profile    since : 29 Jul 2014


Reply by : james22   View Profile   Since : 30 Jul 2014 6:58:22 AM Close

 Mark 16: 18 - "they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them;.."

Does Christ challenge us by drinking any deadly poison' and yet live?  I do not think so. This specific sign was a remarkable manifestation of the validity and authentication for the original disciples and apostles. If this has to happen now, any child of God  should be able to do this.

 

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Reply by : palatty   View Profile   Since : 19 Aug 2014 7:30:02 AM Close

Christ never challenges us to doubt or modify the Scriptures either. In my opinion, whatever is said in Mark 16:17 is not something specific for a remarkable manifestation of the validity and authentication for the original disciples and apostles. These signs are equally applicable to the present day believers as it was in the time of the Apostles. Mar 16:17-18 “ And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” The signs mentioned in the verses represent the manifestation of the Power of the Holy Spirit in a true believer. They signify the Gifts and the Charisms (Special Gifts) of the Holy Spirit in action in a believer.

The Charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit empower a believer to bear fruit abundantly. We read about the fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Gal 5:22-23 “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

People are attracted towards those who bear fruit of the Holy Spirit in abundance. As a result, many are lead to faith in Christ and thus these signs are manifested in the believers today to serve the purpose of the furtherance of the Kingdom of God on earth. No doubt there are false witnesses, frauds and pretending believers. That doesn't make any of the scriptures time-barred. The argument that "If this has to happen now, any child of God should be able to do this." is very much valid but many a times the signs are not manifested for two reasons. 1. It is the Holy Spirit and not the child of God who is in control of the signs. 2. Many a time, the authenticity of the believer as a true child of God is in doubt.

P.A.Paulose

   

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Reply by : raphaelgomez   View Profile   Since : 20 Aug 2014 12:46:47 PM Close

No one has every fruit of the Holy Spirit. Some may have some qualities fully developed, and some may not. No one claim to have like that, even some in these forums who keep speaking about it. Secondly, it came from Paul's mouth not Christ's mouth.

The basic minimum criteria for being a christian is faith in Jesus Christ. One of the fruits of the Holy spirit is FAITH.

All human beings have gentleness, peaeceful, being kind etc build into them by God when He created all human beings. The Holy Spirit's presence helps to enhance it.

However, Jesus also took a whip and beat money lenders out of the temple. So righteous wrath against corruption and wicked people also has been displayed by God and His prophets.

God does not change (Malachi 3:6)

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Reply by : raphaelgomez   View Profile   Since : 20 Aug 2014 12:48:35 PM Close

Many Middle Eastern Christians have qualities of love, and other nice qualities, but it has not brought 1 billion Muslims to faith yet. It is not the "fruits" of the Holy Spirit that brings people to faith, it is each person's decision to believe in Christ, and influenced by the Holy Spirit that brings them to faith.

"qualities" do not bring anyone to faith. Even Buddhist monks have good qualities. Even there are very good Hindus and Sikhs that show such great qualities.

Jesus alone can bring a person to faith. Not qualities.

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Reply by : raphaelgomez   View Profile   Since : 20 Aug 2014 12:50:50 PM Close

Only God decides who is a true child of God or not. Not man. That is why, we have a day of judgement.

 

However, whoever confesses Jesus has come in the Flesh is of the Holy Spirit, and whosoever believes in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is a Christain and a child of God. Wether he is perfectly living to the letter or not, is another topic.

No one in modern day world lives 100% to the word of God. Everyone lacks some qualities or the other, life is a progressive journey to perfection.
 

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Reply by : guide   View Profile   Since : 20 Aug 2014 8:06:39 PM Close

Dear Palose,

Can you try this and come back to the forum to prove what you said "2. Many a time, the authenticity of the believer as a true child of God is in doubt".

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Reply by : palatty   View Profile   Since : 21 Aug 2014 11:50:06 AM Close

 Reply by : palatty      Since : 21 Aug 2014 11:45:23Close

I need to respond to another important aspect of Mr. Raphelgomez’s opinion. God will judge the genuineness of each one’s faith. We are not to sit in judgment. I fully agree with this opinion: Our Lord said in Luk_6:37: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” At the same time God has given us the gift of discernment which we should employ to the core so that we are not deceived by the pretenders. Mr. Raphelgomez also opined that “No one in modern day world lives 100% to the word of God. Everyone lacks some qualities or the other, life is a progressive journey to perfection.” That can’t be an excuse to dilute gravity or God's Righteousnes to facilitate a permissive life that suits the worldly standards. Neither can this excuse be used to treat the Scriptures time-barred nor can the modern day life standard be a yard stick for the God’s Righteousness to be adjusted to. If I am not living 100% in consistence with the word of God, I must strive to identify my shortcomings and trust in the Lord to lead me to perfection. Mat 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Since the Lord who lives in us has called us to be perfect, He is faithful enough to accomplish it in us. I Trust in Him; not in my own ability. I reject outright every suggestion that is to the contrary.

Mark 16:17 says “And these signs shall follow them that believe;...". The signs are specified. Every true believer is exhibiting those signs several times in his everyday life. Many are unable to identify and acknowledge this truth because of their 1. Unbelief  2. Lack of wisdom.

P.A.Paulose

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Reply by : palatty   View Profile   Since : 21 Aug 2014 11:54:38 AM Close

No doubt, we are saved only by grace through faith. Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 As was prophesied, God gave His only Son so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life. Therefore, Rom 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Thus there is no denial of the fact that faith in Jesus Christ, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, is the full and sufficient criteria for Salvation. I don’t consider faith in Christ as the basic minimum criteria  for salvation because I don’t find any other requirements prescribed to be added to it for salvation.

Salvation is not the topic of the discussion. However, if it is your purpose to establish that the “qualities” or the fruit of the Holy Spirit do not bring anyone to faith, I fully agree with you. I had stated in my post “People are attracted towards those who bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in abundance. As a result, many are led to faith in Christ and thus these signs are manifested in the believers today for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God on earth.” I don’t know how you have understood this statement but what I have said is a bare fact. When the believers display the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their life, they become good witnesses and thus their exemplary life becomes useful for others to be led to Christ through them. Bad qualities or the works of the flesh if found in the so called believers (qualities as enumerated in Gal 5:19-21) make people to abhor them and the seekers of truth are driven away from Christ and Christians.

Our Father has appointed us to be the light of the world. (Mt5:14). Exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit is the display of the light in a believer. It is the true sign of one’s faith in Christ Jesus. It is a fact that believers display the presence of the Holy Spirit in them through the fruit they bear. The converse is not true; i.e. it does not mean that anyone who has good qualities is a believer-saved through faith in Christ because faith in Jesus Christ alone is the essence of Salvation, not the good works/qualities.

P.A.Paulose

 

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Reply by : sambudhanoor   View Profile   Since : 27 Aug 2014 7:06:08 AM Close

Mark 16: 17 -18

One of the best Explanation I could see is as follows:

“QUOTE

Mark-16:17, 18   Jesus here describes certain miracles that would accompany those who believe the gospel. As we read the verses, the obvious question is, “Do these signs exist today?” We believe that these signs were intended primarily for the apostolic age, before the complete Bible was available in written form. Most of these signs are found in the Book of Acts:

1.  Cast out demons (Act_8:7; Act_16:18; Act_19:11-16).

2.  New tongues (Act_2:4-11; Act_10:46; Act_19:6).

3.  Handle serpents (Act_28:5).

4.  Drink poison without harmful effects-not recorded in Acts but attributed to John and Barnabas by the church historian Eusebius.

5.  Lay hands on the sick for healing (Act_3:7; Act_19:11; Act_28:8-9).

What was the purpose of these miracles? We believe the answer is found in Heb_2:3-4. Before the NT was available in completed form, men would ask the apostles and others for proof that the gospel was divine. To confirm the preaching, God bore witness with signs and wonders and various gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The need for these signs is gone today. We have the complete Bible. If men won't believe that, they wouldn't believe anyway. Mark did not say that the miracles would continue. The words “to the end of the age” are not found here as they are in Mat_28:18-20.

However, Martin Luther suggested that “the signs here spoken of are to be used according to need. When the need arises, and the Gospel is hard pressed, then we must definitely do these signs, before we allow the Gospel to be maligned and knocked down.” (END OF QUOTE)

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Reply by : raphaelgomez   View Profile   Since : 30 Aug 2014 2:49:03 AM Close

EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD LIVE by the values set by God , Jesus Himself said, "be perfect as my father in heaven is perfect"  Matthew 5:48.

However, NO ONE in this forum, lives 100% by those values. That you can be sure.  Having signs and wonders, does not mean you are living 100% by God's values. Gifts and callings are wihout repentance (Romans 11:29), God can give gifts to whomever he wants, that does not mean that person is going to live 100%.

Some live 80%, some live 60%, some live 30%, in the end God will judge each person's works , if it comes refined through fire.

At the end of the day who lived obidient or not, we have a day of Judgement to decide that.

If Kerala Christians indeed had lived by even 80% of the teachings of Christ, they would have evangelized India 100% by now. Given the fact India is only less than 3% Christian, the whole thing is a question mark.  If you are no good to the wider community in spreading Christ's values and evangelization, then you are of no use to God either. Every day, seeing 80% of the people pray to rats, snakes, idols, devils, for the past 2000 years is a clear proof the great "St Thomas people", obviously blew it somewhere. Easy to boast about St Thomas in a land where  80% of the people pray to snakes, 2000 years after Thomas arrived.

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Reply by : palatty   View Profile   Since : 31 Aug 2014 12:04:25 PM Close

Thanks brother Sam, that you have made an effort to search explanations for the quoted verses. Explanations come in different hue and cry. Explanations depend upon not only on what the author of the opinion believes and favors, but also on his vested interests. The word of God is everlasting. You have quoted Martin Luther saying “Martin Luther suggested that “the signs here spoken of are to be used according to need. When the need arises, and the Gospel is hard pressed, then we must definitely do these signs, before we allow the Gospel to be maligned and knocked down.”  Good, but Martin Luther has not realized that the decision to work signs is not vested in the hands of the believer; it is the Holy Spirit and none other than the Holy Spirit can ever decide when to work these signs.It is also abundantly clear that Martin Luther has not understood what these signs really demonstrate. The Holy Spirit is continuously manifesting the signs in every believer’s life. Consider the following:

Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe;

 In my name shall they cast out devils;

This is grossly misunderstood to mean that every true believer got to be an Exorcist or a Sorcerer. That is not true. Devils do tremble before the Lord Jesus Christ. They fall prostrate before Him. Devils are cast out by the Power and on account of the presence of the Lord in a believer. So the sign is only an affirmation of the Presence of the Lord in a believer.

they shall speak with new tongues;

The new tongue doesn’t mean a different language or an unknown language or some meaningless unclear utterance. It simply means that the Holy Spirit will reveal the mind of God to the believer enabling him pray in accordance with the Will of God and also rightly divide the word of God. It doesn’t make him a futurologist or a fortune teller or a special emissary of God or a prophet.

Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents;

This sign is a sign of Strengthand Courage constantly provided to the believer. Serpents signify Satan and his associates. A true believer is constantly and eternally strengthened in their warfare, enabling him to take on the enemy with an assurance of victory.

and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them;

This sign is indicative of the protection that the believer is assured of. A true believer is protected from falling into any and all machinations of the enemy. Deadly things are those that can kill the soul or quench the spirit.

 they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

It doesn’t mean that every believer will be an exraordinary super-specialist physician. A believer will intercede for the sick in the name of the Lord and the Lord God who has the authority to forgive sins, may remove the root cause of the sickness i.e. the sin by granting forgiveness of sin which in turn will result in healing of the sick.

You also said “Mark did not say that the miracles would continue. The words “to the end of the age” are not found here as they are in Mat_28:18-20.” Matthew was speaking the assurance given to the disciples that the Lord shall be with them to strengthen them in their work unto the end when He said “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” That has no relevance to the signs that manifest in a believer. The believer in the days of the Apostles is in no way different from the believer today or in the days to come.

P.A.Paulose

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