Study Guide: Mystery of the Miraculous

Sunday September 28, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

In this week's sermon, we discuss the supernatural gifts of faith, healing, and miracles Christians receive from the Holy Spirit. We describe what each of these gifts are, as well as how we can ask for them and use them in our lives today.

Extended Summary:

Over the last several weeks we have been taking a closer look at the section of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in regards to the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. The gifts the Apostle Paul speaks about in this chapter only reflect a small number of the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit, but they are also the gifts that tend to have the most controversy surrounding them. Since here at Woodland Hills we have always ascribed to the belief that the gifts are still for today, we have been examining these gifts more closely so to better understand them. The gifts we will be looking at this week are the gifts of supernatural faith, healings, and miracles. As with all the other gifts of the Spirit, these gifts should be done as acts of love that have the ability to further the Kingdom of God.

The first gift we look at this week is the supernatural gift of faith. Often the idea of faith is understood as a certainty that something will occur. This is an incorrect definition of faith. A person who has the gift of faith will still have times of doubt, in fact biblical faith presupposes doubt. Instead faith should be seen as a covenantal concept, in which a person has been given a supernatural empowering to be persistent, beyond their natural capacities, to press on working for something that has been revealed to them to be God’s will. A person’s level of certainty is irrelevant in regards to having faith, rather it is how persistent a person is in going after God’s will.

The next two gifts discussed in this week’s sermon were those of healing and miracles. The gift of healing is as straightforward as it sounds–it is a supernatural ability to pray for someone with an ailment which leads to them being healed. Similar to this gift is that of miracles. The gift of the miraculous is an ability to cause supernatural manifestations. Both of these gifts are used by Jesus throughout his ministry. Since Jesus was the incarnated Kingdom, it is logically that we would see healings and miracles in his life. And we do! Jesus was healing people all the time. Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, turned water into wine, and multiplied the loaves and fishes. In and through each of these acts we find the kingdom of darkness being pushed back and the Kingdom of God being usher in.

Our job isn’t to understand but to keep pushing towards the revealing of God’s Kingdom on earth through our actions and prayers. We should seek to possess and then use these gifts in our ministries. We should be asking God what it is that he would have us do and then be persistent in our going after that calling. We should also be aware that our calling from God can change over time and continued prayer and guidance is a needed aspect of our ministry.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Can you think of something that you persisted towards through action and prayer despite doubts, uncertainty, or intervening events in such a way that a supernatural empowering must have been involved?
  2. What do you believe God has been calling for you to seek persistently in your life or in the lives of those in your community right now? Are you being faithful to his calling?
  3. What holds you back from praying for healing of the sick or injured? How can you overcome these hindrances?
  4. Besides the miracles that were named in the sermon, what other miracle stories are there in the Bible? (Think of those in the life of Jesus, the early church, and in the Old Testament)
  5. Have you ever been witness to a healing or miracle? How did that event change your life or the lives of those who were also witness to it?