The Pattern of Miracles

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[Jesus said] “I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father!” – John 14:12 TPT

One of my favourite books in the Bible right up there with Genesis is the Book of Acts. It’s the beginning of the miracles Jesus promised as God poured His Spirit out on the Day of Pentecost. Along with the birth of the church, we see documented miracles and “acts” that followed as believers shared this great news of Jesus’ resurrection everywhere they went.

As we look deeper into this book, we begin to see repeated patterns emerge. It’s a lot like viewing a stereogram[1] or magic eye image. Take a look at the stereogram below as if you are looking through it and tell me if this doesn’t look cool:

Once our eyes adjust, the image transforms into 3D and the colour patterns become richer and more vivid. This is what it’s like when we choose to go deeper in our study of scripture. In fact, going deeper lets us to see things we would never pick up on with just a quick scan.

Look into this next image and see if you notice anything:

The leafy green picture looks pretty amazing when we finally see the 3D butterfly! In the same way, a close look at the Book of Acts reveals an amazing cycle that repeats not only throughout the life of early Christians, but forms a pattern for us in the 21st century as well.

Now let’s look at the cycle of five distinct patterns I’ve noticed in the Book of Acts (Shout out to my Wednesday night E-Life Group for helping me come up with the “P’s” to describe these patterns):

  1. The Pattern of Prayer
    Acts is full of key events where believers are in united prayer. In Acts chapter 1 they are praying in the upper room. In Acts 2 they meet and pray daily in the temple and house to house. In Acts 4 they pray together for boldness to share Christ and for miracles. In Acts 12 when James was killed and Peter was thrown in prison, they gathered for prayer. In Acts 13 they fast and pray before sending Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip. It’s like each time believers prayed, the doors seemed to open for this next pattern.
  1. The Pattern of Power
    Almost immediately after these times of prayer, we see breakthroughs of God’s power and the Holy Spirit moving and working with believers. In Acts 2 they are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin speaking in other tongues. After prayer in Acts 4 their meeting place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. While praying in Acts 11, Peter fell into a vision and saw God’s plan to bring Jesus to every nation, not just the Jews. In Acts 22, Paul describes how after praying in Jerusalem, the Lord visited him in a vision and warned him to leave the city, sending him to the Gentile nations. Watch for the Holy Spirit moving, guiding, leading and empowering his people as you read the Book of Acts!
  1. The Pattern of Preaching
    In Acts, the message of Jesus goes viral! It’s like an explosion of heavenly content as God anoints Peter, Stephen, Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, Phillip along with his four daughters and many others to boldly share the gospel. In Acts 2 believers devote themselves to studying the Apostle’s teaching. In Acts 5:42 we see how “every day in the temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah”. Acts 2, 12 and 19 all describe how the preaching continued to spread and have profound impact, with many new believers coming to Christ. I think some of the best sermons ever preached are in the Book of Acts!
  1. The Pattern of Proofs
    It’s as if the two are married. In Acts we see this repeated pattern where preaching is accompanied by miracles. Mark 16:20 says “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.” In Acts we have dozens of testimonies of miracles, ranging from various healings, dead being raised, people set free from demonic forces and even miraculous prison escapes. This same Lord is working with us today to confirm His Word as we share our faith with others!
  1. The Pattern of Pushback
    Expect resistance. Whenever the church in Acts made advances where the gospel was preached with power and miracles, and many came to Christ, they would inevitably experience demonic pushback. Already in Acts 4, we see the first of many Christians being arrested and dragged off to prison. Stephen in Acts 7 is martyred by stoning. Persecution breaks out in Acts 8 and scatters believers throughout Judea and Samaria. The church in Acts endured beatings, angry mobs, betrayals, and even bitter disagreements and division from within as unseen demonic forces tried in vain to stop the spread of the gospel.
  1. Repeat
    Whenever I’ve experienced spiritual attack I think of how Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that He would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The church in Acts proved to be unstoppable. Regardless of the opposition, it just kept going back to the Prayer, the Power, the Preaching and the Proofs over and over again. As we focus together on the Book of Acts during our Summer of Miracles series, look for these patterns to emerge and be inspired to repeat! Be inspired also to join the online Going Deeper series each Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM as Pastor Dave complements the Book of Acts and teaches on The Gifts of the Spirit. Visit https://live.coastalchurch.org/

[1] Stereogram: a diagram or computer-generated image giving a three-dimensional representation of a solid object or surface