1. Jesus taught disciples to desire God’s KINGDOM instead of God’s MIRACLES
Do you want God’s miracles, or do you want God’s kingdom? Many supposedly spiritual people chase after signs, wonders, and miracles for the purpose of living a respected, successful, happy life in this present world. They think the mark of a great spiritual person is gaining worldly benefits by receiving or doing miracles. Your fellowship leader may encourage you to get to what they call the ‘next supernatural level or realm’ to enjoy more and more of God’s miracles, but Jesus taught his disciples the opposite. In Luke 10:17-18, 20 it says, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he [Jesus] said unto them,… Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Jesus appointed 70 disciples to go ahead of him and spread the news that the kingdom of God is near, before Jesus himself went to preach the gospel. They were also given the power to heal the sick. When these 70 returned from their mission, they happily reported that even devils were under them by Jesus’s name. Jesus replies that, although he has given them this power, to not celebrate these miracles but instead celebrate their names being written in heaven. True disciples of Jesus seek eternity in God’s kingdom, rather than getting stuck on the temporary excitement of God’s miracles.

2. Purpose of God’s Miracles is CONFIRMING God’s MESSAGE to obey for Heaven
So, what is the purpose of God’s miraculous signs and wonders? In Mark 16:15, 19-20 it says, "And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature…So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they [the disciples] went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." The gospel of Jesus is what we must do, the commandments we must obey, to inherit the kingdom of heaven. After Jesus was raised from the dead, He instructed his disciples to go preach the gospel. After giving this commission, Jesus ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. His disciples obeyed this instruction, and Scripture says Lord Jesus Christ as God worked with them and confirmed the word with signs following. The purpose of God’s miracles was for people to know God is real, and confirm this gospel message of salvation to inherit Heaven, is from Him. Hebrews 2:3-4 says, "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?" The gospel message of what to do to be saved from sin for inheriting Heaven, was first preached by Jesus and then later his disciples. God bears witness that this message is from Him; He does this by confirming it with signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. God does not want us to chase His miracles, He wants us to repent and seek salvation from sin as Lord Jesus taught in his gospel. If you neglect God’s Word, and instead chase signs and wonders, you will not escape Hell.

The point of God’s miracles is to wake people up to know He is real, so, that they will seek Him by obeying His message, His word, His way to inherit His kingdom. But, instead of taking hold of God’s Word to drink it as milk and eat it as bread by obeying the gospel of Jesus to grow in spirit, many get stuck in seeking the excitement of more signs and more wonders. When my son was 2 years old, he received a toy car steering wheel. When he placed the key in the ignition and turned, the toy dashboard lit up, there was a rumbling sound of an engine revving up, and a vibration, as if starting a car. He loved it; he turned that key again and again for the excitement of the lights and sound. Many people are like this in terms of their spiritual life—it is as if they are turning the key ignition repeatedly for the excitement of starting their car, yet they do not move forward, they do not drive to the destination. They remain in the exact same spot, whether the car ignition turned on or off. When Christians wake up to the fact that God of the Bible is real, most want more signs and miracles to benefit them in this world. They are excited to just turn the ignition again and again. They are not seeking God, and they are not seeking His kingdom. The true evidence of seeking God is obeying the gospel Jesus preached, that is, doing the commandments Jesus taught to inherit Heaven.

3. Knowing God is Real & doing Miracles without obeying Him, will NOT take to Heaven
Knowing God is real without obeying His word, will not take you to Heaven. That level of belief in God, to know He is real and chase His miracles while continuing in sin, is the same level of belief as the devils. James 2:17,19-20 says, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" The devils know God of the Bible is real, and they even tremble, but they do not do the works of obeying God. Most churchgoers are worse than the devil, they claim God is real but do not even bother to tremble, and as children of the devil they do not do the work of obeying God. Scripture says this is a vain man—a useless, empty person who has the same dead faith of devils. Lord Jesus Christ will throw these people along with the devils into the Lake of Fire. They keep turning the ignition of the car to get miraculous signs from God, but they might as well have a toy car because in their life they are not driving forward to do works of obeying Jesus’s doctrine. Hebrews 4:1-2 says, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." The gospel message of Heaven does not profit those who hear it but do not move with living faith to obey it. Scripture warns us to obey God’s Word with reverential fear, otherwise we are in danger of falling short of entering the eternal rest of God’s kingdom.

Living faith in God to inherit His kingdom is seeking God by doing the work, deeds, fruit of obeying Jesus’s commandments. Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." True faith has two parts here— it is knowing God is real AND it is believing He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Seeking God is not chasing His miracles, it is carefully obeying His Word and doing His Will. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Jesus says even if you know God is real and do miraculous works in His name, if you continue to do sin and work iniquity, you will not enter His kingdom.

4. God’s miracles are HIS work; True servants do NOT claim credit for God’s miracles
Most preachers who claim to have healing and miracle ministries are liars and thieves; they shamelessly take money from suffering, sick, desperate people and do nothing for them in return. Even if God’s miracles manifest, it is important to know those are God’s work and not men’s work. True servants of God do not take credit, money, and glory for God’s miracles. Lord Jesus chose Apostle Peter as the rock to build his church on, so let us see his example. Acts 3:7-8, 11-12 says, "And he [Peter] took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God…And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" In this incident, a man who was lame since birth and had spent years begging outside the temple is healed. There are 2 key points here. First, when Peter took the man’s hand and lifted him up, Scripture says his feet and ankle bones received strength immediately—this is clearly a miraculous healing. Now there are plenty of fake healing and miracle crusades where sick people come and go in their same pitiful situation; and false workers spout nonsense of declaring them already healed or accuse them of lacking faith. Second, although the crowd is attracted and amazed by Peter and John, Peter straightaway directs them to not be impressed by them. He makes it clear the miracle has nothing to do with his power or his holiness or his spiritual greatness. Peter does not claim credit, money, or glory for the healing because he knows it is God’s work and not his. Now false workers want to claim rewards for God’s work.

5. Disciples seek ETERNAL reward of Kingdom, NOT temporary benefit of Miracles
Today it is popular for Christians to call themselves ‘disciples of Jesus,’ but they do not follow the pattern of those whom Jesus called as his disciples. Let’s see the example of Jesus calling Simon Peter to be his disciple. Luke 5:3-11 says, "And he [Jesus] entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him." In this incident, Jesus happens to choose Simon’s ship to sit and preach the gospel from, to keep a little distance between himself and a crowd that has gathered along the seashore. There are 3 key points here to be a disciple of Jesus.

First, when Jesus calls Simon to be his disciple and catch men, Simon forsakes all to follow Him. With this miracle he and his fishing partners have just gained 2 boatloads of fish so great their ships began to sink. Yet after they brought the ships to shore, Simon did not look to enjoy the temporary earthly benefits of the miracle by selling the fish or trying to get more boatloads of fish. He abandoned it all to obey the words of Jesus. Jesus’s disciple will forsake all to obey His gospel and inherit the eternal reward of God’s kingdom. Second, upon witnessing the miracle of instantly capturing an incredible load of fish, Simon’s reacts by recognizing he is an unworthy, sinful man and he tells Jesus to leave him. Now preachers who obtain earthly blessings boast it as a sign that they are specially chosen, and they claim God’s presence will never leave them. Jesus’s disciple does not claim self-glory for God’s miraculous works. Third, at the beginning of this incident, after Jesus taught God’s Word, he instructed Simon to take the ship out to sea and cast his net. Despite having already fished all night and gotten nothing, Simon immediately obeys because it is the command of Jesus—he says "…at thy word I will…" At this point Simon has not witnessed any sign, wonder or miracle, but he obeyed Jesus after hearing him preach the gospel. Jesus’s disciple loves the truth to implicitly obey God’s Word.

6. Miracles NOT necessary to Seek God; Disciples OBEY the words of Eternal Life
When Jesus did the famous miracle of feeding 5000 people from 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish, all the people seemed to enthusiastically pursue Jesus. But in John 6:26-27 Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you." Jesus notices people did not pursue Him because the miracle confirmed he was preaching God’s message on inheriting Heaven, rather people pursued him because the miracle gave them the temporary earthly benefit of full bellies. Now also Christians seem to enthusiastically pursue Jesus, but the majority want God’s miracles to live happy, respected lives in this present world, while very few seek to God’s kingdom.

Even among those who initially followed Jesus as his disciples, when Jesus taught them to gain the eternal profit of inheriting Heaven, they needed to obey His words to live the same holy, righteous life he lived, many found that teaching too hard and left him. In John 6:54, 63, 66-67 it says, "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.…It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life…From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." Jesus used symbolic language to tell his disciples they must live the same pure, obedient life that he lived and taught. This was too difficult even for many disciples who had already experienced God’s signs and wonders. One of the few true disciples who continued to follow Jesus was Simon Peter. But please remember, he did not begin to obey Jesus because of a miracle. Simon Peter began to obey Jesus because he taught the words of eternal life. And, as a true disciple, Peter continued to follow and obey Jesus, because He had living faith Jesus had the words of eternal life. May you obey the gospel of Jesus and have faith that He is the bread of everlasting life. May the glory of this world be as dust, and may you rejoice in the glory of heaven. May you also seek God’s kingdom rather than His miracles.