First, the miracles (works) that Jesus performed were His witness that God sent Him. Jesus said, “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” John 5:36. They proved that He is the Christ. Jesus said, “Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me….If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. John 10:24, 25, 37, 38.
How do YOU know that Jesus is God’s Son? Jesus said to the apostles, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:13. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:30-31. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into ALL truth. The miracles were written, so WE might believe that Jesus is God. Why were these miracles written (recorded) in the New Testament if miracles are still being performed today?
Second, miracles (signs) were a witness to the teachings of the apostles. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” Hebrews 2:1-4. The apostles were guided into ALL TRUTH by the Holy Spirit, and the miracles were visible proofs to this fact. “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” Acts 2:43. “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” Acts 15:12.
What proof would we have that Jesus is God and that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, without the recorded miracles? In the first century, believers were immersed/baptized to have their sins washed away (forgiven). Acts 2:14-42; 8:5-13; 8:30-39; 9:17-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-18; 10:34-48; 16:13-15; 16:25-34; 18:8; 19:1-7. You can know that you have been saved by obeying what Jesus said. Believe, John 8:24; Repent, Luke 13:3; Confess, Matthew 10:32, 33, and be immersed (baptized) Mark 16:16.
Third, to prove that an apostle was an apostle of the Christ. In Acts 6:5-6 we are introduced to a man by the name of Philip. Through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, Philip received the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles. In Acts 8:4-24, we find Philip going to Samaria where he preached Christ unto the people. These folks “gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.” Philip was able to perform miracles. However, he could not pass them to anyone else.
Philip continued to do miracles and signs while “preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” Many folks obeyed the Gospel of Christ by being immersed (baptized) including a man named Simon. Peter and John who were in Jerusalem, “heard that Samaria had received the word of God.” They go to Samaria. Peter and John prayed for those who had been immersed (baptized) that “they might receive the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit had not “fallen upon none of them.” The Word of God says, “Then laid they [Peter and John] their hands on them [those who were immersed (baptized)], and they received the Holy Spirit.” Simon “saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” Simon observed that it was only through the laying on of the apostles’ hands that they received the power of the Holy Spirit. He wanted the same power that the apostles had.
If the power of the Holy Spirit was given only by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, what happened to this power and the miracles when all of the apostles died? Jesus said to the apostles, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:18-19. He also said, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8. In Acts 2:5-11, there were Jews from different nations who spoke diverse languages (tongues). Each one of these Jews heard the apostles in his own language or tongue. The apostles had the ability to speak in tongues so that these people could hear the Gospel of Christ in their own languages. The apostles did not speak in languages (tongues) that no one could understand.
What is “the more excellent way” that the apostles would show them? 1 Corinthians 12:31. When one reads 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 and 14:1-12, they see that loving one another is more important than speaking in tongues (language). A bugle producing an indistinct sound is like a language being spoken that hearers cannot understand. Speaking in a tongue (language) that cannot be understood is like talking to the wind! In 1 Corinthians 14:16-19, 26-28 one learns that five words that the listener can understand is more important than ten thousand words that cannot be understood. Everything that is done in the church assembly is to be done for the edification of all who are present. When the church was assembled, speaking in tongues (languages) was limited to two or, at the most, three. If there was no interpreter present, it was not permissible to speak in a tongue (language) that the assembly could not understand.
When one reads 1 Corinthians 14:20-23, they see that tongues (language) were a sign for unbelievers. Speaking in “another tongue” (language) was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, Isaiah 28:11. Hearing the Gospel of Christ spoken in their native language would gain the immediate attention of unbelievers.
When one reads 1 Corinthians 14:31-38, they learn that God “is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” Further, the Godhead (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) informs us, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” Also the Godhead states, “I will therefore that men [males] pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man [males] but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Some denominational churches permit women to be the speaker while men are present and allow them to take leadership roles in their public assemblies. This is contrary to what the Bible teaches!
When one reads 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 14:18-20, they are informed that the Godhead says that the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge were ending. The spiritual gifts were to help the church to grow during her infancy and were, therefore, temporary. When the Word of God was confirmed there was no longer a need for miraculous gifts. The “perfect” complete Word of God had been given. See 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Revelation 22:18, 19. This is “the more excellent way” that the apostles showed them.
In the first century, they heard, believed, repented of their sins, confessed Jesus as the Son of God and were immersed/baptized to have their sins washed away (forgiven). Acts 2:14-42; 8:5-13; 8:30-39; 9:17-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-18; 10:34-48; 16:13-15; 16:25-34; 18:8; 19:1-7. We must do the same today!