For church information contact Marv Walker ~ 706 468-6990

The 2 Or More Prayer Agreement Promise
Matthew 18:19

There is a passage in the Bible that I hear preachers often quote about prayer exhorting others to pray with them for some request of God...

18 "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:18-20 NKJV)

Actually they usually only quote verse 19 as they reassure the listeners that since they are in prayer agreement the request "concerning anything" will be "done for them" by God in Heaven.

The first thought that comes to my mind is, "What if two groups of prayer agreers are asking God for opposite results? Which one does He grant?"

Here's another passage I often hear "claimed in Jesus name" to examine...

So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ĎBe removed and be cast into the sea,í it will be done. (Matthew 21:21 NKJV)

I'm sure, given the wide range of human belief, that there are many who really believe and have absolute faith in what they believe, they do not doubt, yet there are no mountains splashing into any sea.

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18 NKJV)

If anyone picks up a venomous snake you can be sure they believe and have faith or they are ignorant of the consequences. Snake handling in churches is very rare, it usually occurs in impoverished areas. A significant number of religious snake handlers have died from snake bites. Some of those who died from bites had a long history of snake handling and snake bites.

Contact with a venomous snake does not always result in a bite. When bites from venomous snakes do occur they are not always fatal or even serious, some bite inject little or no venom.

Now then, what do all three of the passages above, Matthew 18:19, Matthew 21:21, and Mark 16:17-18, have in common?

What they have in common is who is being told what. The answer is found in the passages.

In Matthew 18, it's Jesus' disciples, verse 1. In Matthew 21, it's Jesus' disciples, verse 20. In Mark 16, it's Jesus' disciples, verse 14.

All that existed in the first century was Old Testament Scripture. The Old Testament message was "Someone Is Coming!" The four Gospels told the message, "Someone Is Here!" When Jesus gave the Great Commission to his apostles in Mark 16:15-16 there was no New Testament Scripture. It hadn't been written yet.

15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV)

One could compare what was happening, the fulfillment of prophecy, to the Old Testament scripture and verify its validity. Since there was no New Testament scripture there was nothing to prove the gospel message they were commanded to preach actually came from God.

When we read on from the Great Commission we see Jesus telling them what the proof of their gospel preaching would be...

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. (Mark 16:17-20 NKJV)

Verse 20 says what the purpose of those signs would be - "confirming the word," the preaching.

Through out the Book Of Acts from the empowering of the Apostles in chapter 2 to chapter 28 we read time after time how the Apostles confirmed the word by the things mentioned in Mark 16:17-20.

One of the powers of the Apostles was the ability to pass on the power to use signs to confirm the word by the laying on of hands.

18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostlesí hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit." (Acts 8:18-19 NKJV)

Here the Bible explicitly says that the Holy Spirit, and its resulting powers, was given by the laying on of hands of the Apostles. Once the Apostles died the giving of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands would end.

There are many passages where the Apostles used the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles could heal the sick, cause people to go blind, raise the dead, even withstand poisonous snake bites. They had the power to literally do whatever they wanted to do. They could send mountains into the sea, pretty much anything, but they only used the amount of Holy Spirit given power needed to confirm the word and never for their own personal gain.

Consider the words of Paul who could heal all sickness and raise people from the dead...

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christís sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.. (II Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV)

To save myself some typing let me quote from an article by Apologetics Press...

Many people today believe that God is still working miracles like He did in the first century. Many people say that they can speak in tongues or heal the sick, or that they know people who can. But the Bible does not teach this idea. A miracle in the Bible was a supernatural act. It was an event that was beyond the usual course of natureólike restoring sight to a man blind from birth, or raising a dead person (like Lazarus) from the grave. The Bible teaches that miracles happened in Bible times for a very specific purpose: to confirm the Word (Mark 16:20; Acts 8:6; Hebrews 2:3-4).

20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. (Mark 16:20 NKJV)

6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (Acts 8:6 NKJV)

3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (Hebrews 2:3-4 NKJV)

How did miracles "confirm the Word"?

When an inspired speaker stepped forward to declare Godís Word, God confirmed His Word by having the speaker perform a miracle to show that he was from God. The miracle showed the hearers that God was behind the speakerís remarks. Miracles authenticated the spoken word as Godís Word. Miracles verified the teaching of Godís messengers, as over against the many false teachers.

2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." (John 3:2 NKJV)

Paul stated that miracles would cease and be done away when the "perfect" (or completed Word of God) had been revealed.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10 NKJV)

25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25 NKJV)

Those things that were incomplete and partial (miraculous gifts) would be replaced by the total and complete (the fully revealed Word of God). Once God revealed all of the information that He wished to make available to people, the need for miracles to confirm the oral Word came to an end. Now, people can sit down with a New Testament, the written Word of God, and, with honest and diligent study, conclude that it is Godís Word. We have absolutely no need for miracles. Since there are no apostles living today, and since Holy Spirit baptism was unique to the apostles (Acts 2) and the first Gentile converts (Acts 10), there is no Holy Spirit baptism today. Likewise, there is no miraculous healing today. All those on whom the apostles had laid their hands are also dead (Acts 8:18). Once the last apostle died, the ability to perform miracles could not be passed on to others.

The Bible teaches that miracles are no longer necessary since we have everything we need to function in this life, to be pleasing to God, and to survive spiritually.

3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 1:21 NKJV)

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For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 468-6990
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