The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.”Luke 10:17-20
Imagine the scene: The seventy-two disciples return from their Judea-wide outreach and they are stoked. They’re high fiving and sharing stories of miraculous encounters, healings and the hard-to-top thrill of casting out demons in Jesus’ name.
They are pumped.
As they circled around Jesus, recounting story after story of demons getting expelled through the Holy Spirit power upon them, He gave them a little crash course in outreach priorities.
Allow me to paraphrase His response, “You think kicking demons out of people in my Name is cool? I watched Satan get kicked out of heaven and dashed to the earth like a lightning bolt hits the ground. Whoopity doo! You should be far more excited about your names, and the names of those you reached with the Gospel, being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life than any of the miracles you witnessed on this outreach. The salvation of the lost soul is the biggest miracle of all.”
SALVATION > MIRACLES
Far too many Christians are more excited about the sizzle of miracles than the steak of salvation. But, just like the sound of the sizzle of fajitas in a Chili’s gets your attention and causes you to tell your server, “I’ll have one of those please”, miracles were—and still are—intended to point people to the Gospel message.
They should never be the focus.
I’ve seen preachers on television slapping foreheads and throwing canes trying to conjure up the sizzle of Acts-like miracles. Often they don’t even mention the good news of the Gospel available to all those who put their faith in Christ and Him crucified (and risen again!).
They’ve exchanged the steak for the sizzle. They’ve grasped for the glitter and missed the gold
The biggest miracle is when a person hears and believes the Gospel and has their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in permanent ink.
Every other miracle that may happen is a bonus, but nothing compared to the salvation of a lost soul.
And if you really want to see excitement in your ministry, implement a strategy that not only puts the Gospel at the center of all you do, but also equips your people to share the message in their daily conversations. The 7 values outlined in my book Gospelize Your Youth Ministry give you a great place to start praying through a method for your whole church.