1. Miracle Madness
- “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. (Matthew 16:4)
Miracle madness has invaded the church. Because the church is loaded down with sin and self, the unholy desire for miracles abounds. Miracles have become the proof of being blessed in God. Men mock prayers in the Bible and promises in Scriptures, and they study books to obtain blessings and miracles. Since men reject the offensive message of the cross, the only thing that seems to be understood is the “sign of Jonah,” that Jesus died because of our sins. But such a sign is not enough to save a man.
Today people think miracles are proof of God’s presence. Divine appointments create specific blessings and situations providing proof that God is with them. This deadly trap always leaves us with more and more dissatisfaction. For like a drug addict, greater miracles are needed to give people the high that they seek from God.
No wonder that the anti-Christ will achieve his worship by the use of a great miracle. For mankind will have become bored with all our small personal miracles and will hunger for something much greater. Soon all the miracle loving worshipers of Jesus will be “astonished” at a great miracle, and because they were not dead to self, will follow the beast.
- One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. (Revelation 13:3)
2. Do Not Rejoice
Only a return to the message of the cross that causes one to “suffer” in order to deal with sin will save us. Just look at the attitude of Jesus as He headed to Jerusalem to die on the cross. Consider that Jesus denounced most of the cities in which He performed miracles. Jesus felt frustrated that the people would not respond to the truth but loved His miracles instead.
- Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. (Matthew 11:20)
Jesus commanded us not to rejoice in the ability to do powerful miracles in His name. Yet today the church shouts, broadcasts, boasts, and uses such things to gain a larger and larger following.
- However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)
Jesus often sent others away before doing miracles. He always kept the people and miraculous events low key. Now, of course, with insanity the norm everyone talks about their miraculous filled lives.
- When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. (Luke 8:51)
Jesus often told people not to tell anyone about his miracles, but to go live a quiet, contemplative, holy life as a good witness to others.
- “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” (Mark 1:44)
Indeed, Paul further echoes the words of Jesus when he calls for us to make it our “ambition to lead a quiet life.”
- Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you. (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
Dreams and visions are just “straw” in the Lord compared to an obedient life. In fact, a crucified life is far more rare and important than all the miracles sweeping the world in the name of Jesus.
- “Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:28)
3. The Psalmists
Jesus reflected that we must first meditate on the Law and God’s commands before getting excited about the wonders of God.
- Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. (Psalms 119:27)
Pentecost was loud and came with fire, but ended in holy silence as each person thought about how to repent. It did not end in an emotional high or a manifestation of miracles, but everyone listening to a sermon. The sermon came as a result of God manifesting the miracle, not Peter preaching and calling for miracles.
Peter didn’t advertise, “Come get your miracle,” in order to fill the church.
- When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)
Like Peter, we must preach a message of repentance, not miracles. If God chooses to work some miracles, great, but we must not preach miracles. To do so is a sign of a wicked and adulterous generation. If we walk away from a sermon about Jesus remembering the miracles, we missed everything. Many, like the nine lepers after having received their miracle, may not come back and surrender all to Jesus. Let it not be our fault because we preached miracles rather than the message of the cross.
Look to Jesus. He did a miracle then calmed the crowds down. The current crop of miracle workers do the complete opposite. They work the crowds up emotionally and leave them charged up. It is the same spirit one can find at a sporting event or a motivational meeting. Jesus always left the people sober minded and quiet in spirit, He never worked people up in order to perform a miracle. Such methods of performing miracles result in the short term in-fluences of the mind over the body or demonic manifestations, not the power of God. The “horrible and shocking” part about this miracle madness is that not only are “lies” being preached but the church rules by its “own authority.” Sure the church boasts of its authority in Christ, but it is really its own authority supported by Satan, just as the beast will support the dragon.
- Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” (Revelation 13:4)
4. Shocking Deception
Step back for a moment, isn’t all this miracle madness “shocking?”
- A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:30–31)
What was “shocking” in the nation of Israel now happens on a worldwide scale. It is “horrible” to behold the prophecies, dreams, visions, and miracles invading the church which in reality are “lies.” Prideful preachers rule by their “own authority.” Man-made love, worship, and idolatry of miracles saturates multitudes of churches. Miracles, however, without going to Jerusalem to die, leave men open to false Christs and false prophets. They tell the people what their flesh wants to hear and confirm the lie with “signs and miracles.”
Nothing is more sinister in its deception than a lie nearest the truth. The most dangerous false Christ bears a remarkable resemblance to the true Christ. A false prophet who quotes Scripture word for word without the cross, makes the perfect “Christian” liar. There is nothing more deceptive to the church than a lying preacher who can quote the Bible and confirm it with a miracle.
These preachers want a Jesus without a cross or the crucified life. Just as in Jesus’ day, people will not welcome a Savior who preaches and lives the message of the cross. A Christianity where Jesus “resolutely set out for Jerusalem” will not be welcomed by the vast majority who have experienced His miracles. “Because he was heading for Jerusalem” the people wanted nothing to do with Jesus. A Jesus of the cross and with a cross simply is not welcome in most churches and ministries today. It was this way when Jesus walked the earth and truer today now that the tree is dry.
- As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51–53)
5. A False Christ
So it will be in the last days, those who follow Jesus to the cross to die will not be welcomed in very many places. Surprisingly people rejected Jesus in places where He performed most of His miracles. God allows this false Jesus, this anti-Jesus who is like Jesus in every way, except for the cross, to confirm his teaching with miracles. Their ministry territory expands, miracles happen, and blessings abound, but God’s judgment hides in it all.
- For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. (Matthew 24:24–25)
A false Christ is at work when ministries focus on miracles to “win souls to Christ.” A false prophet is at work when God’s blessings motivate people to come to church rather than the offense of the cross; when waves of miracles are confused and equated with the Holy Spirit; when there’s an implication that someone will be blessed if they come to God, and the blessings are worldly in nature; when those miracles are separate in nature and purpose from being crucified to self and hating one’s life.
Get your blessing! Receive your anointing! Have your dreams come true! Come see God working in miracles! is the voice of sin calling in our churches today—insanity’s seductive voice. The Powerful Delusion moves along with confirmation from miracles, signs, and won-ders. We promote it on TV, radio, and in print. God did not permit Paul to tell of the miraculous heavenly visions he experienced. But today we shout such things from the rooftops with all the gusto self can muster. We even make up miracles, dreams, and visions in our “Christian” novels and movies while Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from such pride. Many a church could use a God-sent demon to “torment” them to deal with their pride.
The effects and influence of the Powerful Delusion leaves no one safe. It is easy to see God’s wisdom in leaving many countries under authoritarian government controls. For those governments’ attempts to keep out Christianity serve to protect those countries from the Powerful Delusion that seizes free Christian nations. However, even that barrier begins to fall as these governments don’t mind letting in this false, crossless Christianity. Why do you think so many American ministries can expand their territory and influence? Obviously Satan has no reason to oppose them.
6. Increasing Miracles
Without the accompanying miracles, men would not so easily accept the false doctrines and twisting of God’s Word. One can look back over time and see that as the church ignored and twisted Scriptures the miracles increased in our generation. As teachers reduce the message of the cross to a simple salvation call, the weirdness of miracles and pleasing the flesh grew in in-tensity. Now instead of just being slain in the Spirit, people experience “holy laughter,” something unheard of years ago. A short time ago such behavior would have been equal with demon possession, yet today is considered a blessing from the Holy Ghost. The desire for greater and greater things that tantalize the flesh grows as men refuse the crucifying work of the cross. Instead of mourning in Jesus we now speak of “holy laughter.” One false doctrine and pleasing of self gives rise to another, just as in an insane asylum, where the madness of one inflames the madness in another.
The “false prophets” Jesus warned us about will perform “great signs and miracles.” So great in power, intensity, and variety these miracles would deceive even the elect if it were not for the grace of God. As we approach the end days, the power of those signs and miracles will continue to grow and only those filled with the true grace of God will escape.
We live in a time when this Powerful Delusion sweeps the world and floods the church that lays claim to Jesus. Men embrace the delusions of mental illness and reject the truth of the gospel. This delusion comes with fire, zeal, joy, noise, and great excitement. It overwhelms individuals with miracles, signs, and wonders. It comes quoting Scripture, but in the spirit of Satan. It puffs up religious men and lifts ministries very high in the church. Just as some mental patients think themselves invincible, so too the false church speaks of overcoming Satan while he pulls the strings.
7. Presence Of God Or Satan
They refuse to love the truth that calls for a man to lose and hate his life, wife, sons and daughters.⁶ A cross is preached but the offense of the cross removed. Satan rejoices in a cross that does not offend the flesh of man unto death⁷ and he gladly gives his support for messages that flatter religious self even as it points to Jesus.
As the false church prays for revival and the presence of God, a demon has met them. The demon speaks of Jesus and declares that their church proclaims the Truth, the way to be saved and they are flattered into apostasy. Remember, the beginning influence of the anti-Christ is found in flattery.
- With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (Daniel 11:32)
Let’s learn a lesson from the story in Acts about a demonic girl who met the disciples as they went to pray. Today’s church would label the fortune-telling ability of this girl as prophecy. As these individuals foretell the future, or have insight about things happening in lives, they falsely think God works the good. After the Powerful Delusion has done its job what these individuals foretell will very often take place. Since this spirit feeds our spiritual flesh we think God blesses us when really demons deceive us.
Just as the girl in Acts earned a “great deal of money,” so too the deluded church no longer knows how to hate and despise money. They have instead fallen in love with the bewitching spell that money casts. The way of the cross concerning money has been abandoned in order to fill the offering basket and their pockets. Satan all too happily attends such prayer meetings, for if the flattery works, though the message speaks of Jesus, it all comes back to Satan and self.
As you encounter this miracle of the slave girl, notice her truthful proclamation about Paul. “This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.’” That statement is the absolute truth, but from the wrong spirit. It does not have the spirit of the cross in it.
- The girl flattered Paul and he knew it. Unfortunately, many in the church today cannot discern the flattery and would hold this girl up as someone spiritual. Right now someone in your church probably flatters others with the Truth and everyone views him or her as a spiritual person. This is the work of the Powerful Delusion.
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” (Acts 16:16–17)
Are not many miracle services filled with shouting and noise? Though this girl was “shouting” that Paul preached the truth and declared the way to be saved, it all pointed back to self. How easily we are taken in by demons that flatter us and our ministries. One can only wonder and shudder at the possibility of how many demon-inspired individuals stand in the church telling others how to be saved. How deluded many remain as Satan sends demonic men and women to prayer meetings. The people in attendance really think that these individuals follow God. These ministries and churches remain happy to have someone building up their ministry and confirming it to others. The love of numbers and miracles that confirm us as spiritual, works its deluding influence. Since they preach themselves, they cannot see that the demonic girl was influenced by demons.
8. Misusing Scripture
Only those who know how to hate their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit will escape this very Powerful Delusion. For if there is one thing demons hate, it is the cross of Christ. Those performing miracles quote Scripture after Scripture about God’s miraculous power. Indeed, Satan himself quotes Scripture, but removes the cross so that we will jump to our damnation. He uses Scripture in context to preach a lie. Satan will quote Scripture word for word if the power of the cross is not present. We have forgotten that ink on paper is not the Truth, we must have the Holy Spirit to understand the Scriptures. And to have the Holy Spirit we must allow the Holy Spirit to crucify our flesh. Most are not willing to pay the price for such insight. This makes them easy pawns for Satan. For no matter how much Scripture Satan quotes, his spirit is always wrong which makes it all a lie. Remember, what Jesus said about the Truth?
- “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23–24)
In order to have the Truth, to honestly worship God, we must come to God in “spirit and truth.” To put this in worldly terms, the spirit of the law must match the letter of the law. For example, the law states that we drive the speed limit and the police use their authority to ensure people obey the law. What if a policeman pulled someone over for speeding and insisted on giving him or her a ticket even though they were taking someone to the hospital having a heart attack? If the person died, we would blame the policeman because he misused the spirit, or intent of the law. The policeman misused the law to assert his authority for his own satisfaction of power.
Again, no matter how much Scripture Satan quotes, his spirit is always wrong. For this reason Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for putting up with a “different spirit.” For the same reason Jesus would not let demons tell who He was—they were of the wrong spirit even if they spoke the truth.
- For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:4)
Certainly the Scriptures teach that God moves powerfully and miraculously in our lives, but Truth is not found in how logically a man can apply ink on paper, or what we call the Bible. Because of our bad hearts, we do not concern ourselves with the spirit in our logic, rather we equate logic with truth. And because we are unwilling to pay the price to have a good heart to understand the truth, we become ripe for the Powerful Delusion. Christians have not died to self to allow the Holy Spirit to speak the Truth of God’s miracles through the Bible. Without enlightenment from the Holy Spirit we cannot understand a single word in the Bible. Without the cross, we use Scripture for our own selfish ends and become Satan’s puppets as we go to our prayer meetings and miracle revivals. The false church fully embraces and loves the temptation of quoting Scripture apart from the cross. We fall for the temptation of being lifted up in the church just as the “devil” tried to tempt Jesus to perform a miracle apart from God.
- Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5–6)
Satan lifts up many churches and individuals in the “temple.” Satan takes ministers and churches to the “highest point” of spiritual works, miracles, prophecies, religious feelings, and quotes Scripture. Note well that the Scripture is in context, but Satan quotes it. In the same way, many who sit in our pews quote the Bible out of pride and self.
The Scripture Satan quoted speaks of God’s love, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and protection, “so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Satan whispers in our ears and shouts through false preachers that God will not punish us, nor send us to hell. The lie is being told over and over again and in the last days Satan will say “jump” and millions will obey.
Men love their opinions and insanity too much to die to self and be united in Christ. Many latch onto Scripture, laws, principles, miracles, and spiritual feelings thinking they can jump off the temple and be saved. Many will die and come to a surprise ending in hell, all because they refused to love the Spirit and Truth, the message of the cross that offends our flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. God permits Satan to do this work because the church has rejected the narrow road gospel.
9. Letting Go Of Self
Here’s one small example. What started out as the false doctrine of being slain in the Spirit has permitted the rise of huge false ministries. After all, in Scripture the only people slain in the Spirit were those who came to oppose Jesus.
- So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:3–6)
Scripture speaks of others overcome by the Spirit, crucified more to self, and left devastated by the weakness and sinfulness of the flesh. But notice that no where in Scripture does a man ever cause another man to fall down. Men in the Bible fell only when God came to them and caught them by surprise. As we saw in the first chapter, Paul never used such gimmicks to draw people to his ministry. For he did not preach himself, but Jesus, therefore he had no need for the spectacular. When we preach ourselves, the need for more and more theatrics, miracles, and outward manifestations increases. For not only are we in competition with others, but we need new assurances repeatedly that we preach the truth.
- For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)
If we expect to stop idolizing miracles and falling prey to the Powerful Delusion then we must stop preaching and being concerned about ourselves.
10. Miracles Denounce Truth
Since the church has become very sensual, people use miracles to test whether something is of God or not. Feelings have replaced the cross. Those who carry their cross are discredited by false dreams and visions.
Twenty years ago, when I first started preaching the message of the cross, the hostility mainly came out in indifference. People felt self-satisfied and self-righteous in the their walk with God. They were so self-assured they reacted coldly to any question of the lie they lived. Their attitude was, “That is ok for you, but I am fine.” They basically, with a little frustration, went their own way.
Not so today. The Powerful Delusion and insanity in the church has been so effective, the message of hating our lives meets only hostility. There has been a drastic, horrible change in the land and in the people claiming to know Jesus.
Now we meet people who have dreams and visions declaring the message of the cross to be wrong and a lie. Before we had met or they had much time to digest what we teach, great anger arises. False dreams and visions pour into the church. Since the cross that can test and reveal the truth about the dreams has been rejected, men are left to their own reasoning and feelings. And Satan all too happily declares in their ears that the dream is true.
Since men’s feelings, beliefs, opinions, and experiences have become the proof of a truth or lie, Satan has free reign. The false church has fast become a church that receives truth by what it experiences, rather than receiving Truth by dying to the flesh on the cross. People now often talk about getting a bad “feeling,” about a ministry as if those feelings were confirmation of truth. When reading my first book about the message of the cross, people almost universally say they get a bad feeling about it. Some persevere and find the freedom of the cross, while others reject the cross because they love themselves more than God.
Our flesh has been in charge for so long that any thought of crucifying the flesh makes us very nervous. In fact, the Garden of Eden had everything to do with feelings, how things looked and what was pleasing to the eye, so it is natural to look for churches that appeal to us. It comes natural to seek out a church that gives wisdom and makes the flesh feel comfortable. When the message of the cross is presented, the flesh feels threatened. Many do not get past this offense of the cross and allow the Truth to put them to death. At the same time, they don’t want to go to hell, but rebel against the help that God offers. Times have changed so much that people have passed from just finding a church where they feel comfortable, to outright rage at the message of the cross because their flesh has experienced something—dream, miracle, feeling—confirming a lie.
11. The Oracle Of The Lord
Man has been so lifted up and exalted in his opinions that everyone now feels something is of God just because they think it is so. And never has so much apostasy, twisting of Scripture, and using the Bible for selfish ends been so rampant. If anyone preaches by God’s Spirit today, he will warn everyone to shut up and be extremely careful before saying, “Thus says the Lord.” For we live in desperate times when every man’s opinion, commentary, and thoughts supposedly come from God. Liked-minded opinions form churches and since they all have the common element of self, soon these opinions come together as one opinion against the God who judges self. Jeremiah thoroughly rebuked this over-zealous love for prophecy and prophets, while in reality worshipping man’s opinions.
- But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the Lord’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God. This is what you keep saying to a prophet: ‘What is the Lord’s answer to you?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ Although you claim, ‘This is the oracle of the Lord,’ this is what the Lord says: You used the words, ‘This is the oracle of the Lord,’ even though I told you that you must not claim, ‘This is the oracle of the Lord.’ (Jeremiah 23:36–38)
12. Two Choices
If you are part of the true church you can expect more and more individuals to experience dreams, visions, and miracles about your false Jesus. These experiences and confirmations will increase to the point that you must choose one of two camps. Either you will be in the camp where you honestly love God, or the camp that hates those who love God. Soon there will be no gray area, no middle ground. It will soon come down to two kinds of people. Those who hate their own lives and love Jesus, and those who hate those who hate their own lives for Jesus. You will either be hated by everyone or hate those who are true Christians. Either you will have overcome the Powerful Delusion, or you will have been overcome by it.
What a deadly, hellish combination this will be. The pride in man will become inflamed with unbridled lust for power to do miraculous things—that only Jesus himself can overcome when He returns. Truly “all” men will “hate” true Christians because of Jesus.
- All men will hate you because of me. (Luke 21:17)
7. Miracle Madness
- 1 Peter 4:1
- Luke 23:31
- 2 Corinthians 12:4
- 2 Corinthians 12:7
- Ecclesiastes 7:2, Matthew 5:4
- Luke 14:26
- John 12:24
- Mark 1:23
- 2 Corinthians 3:3
- 1 Corinthians 2:11, John 6:63
- Ecclesiastes 5:1–2