22nd Jul 2012
Does God have power to heal today?
By Steve Bones
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The title for today’s sermon is ‘Does God have power to heal today?’. Firstly, let’s agree what we mean by ‘heal’. When I go to the doctors? Hospital for an operation/treatment? Take the medicine? I think we mean – Does God have the power to do miraculous healings today?’
I assume for most people here the answer is a no-brainer – Yes, God has the power to miraculously heal today. A better question perhaps is ‘Does God heal miraculously today?’ Again, for some this could be a no-brainer – Yes, God does heal miraculously today.
Let’s refine it further – Do I believe God can heal me miraculously today? This is where the rubber hits the road!
Remember the man who walked with a wheelbarrow across a tightrope across Niagara Falls – would you ride in the wheelbarrow?
I stand before you as a diabetic for about 15 years, so I am challenging myself!
‘ Even a church with a strong theoretical belief in divine healing can actually be filled with unbelief when it comes to the practical business of praying for its sick members.’ (Dr John Deere, ‘Surprised by the power of the Spirit’, page 158)
Old Testament verses
Ex 15:26 and said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you." NKJV
Ex 23:25-26 "So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. NKJV
Ps 103:2-3 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, NKJV
Ps 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. NKJV
Isa 53:4-5 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (from New International Version)
Prov 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. NKJV
Prov 4:20-22 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. NKJV
There is a pattern here – if we obey God and walk in His ways, he will guard our health, both physical and mental.
Now God doesn’t change!
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV)
So let’s look at the New Testament! Has the conditions for healing changed in the NT?
New Testament verses
Matt 8:16-17 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses." NKJV
1 Peter 2:23-24 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed. NKJV
Just the 12?!?!?
Matt 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. NKJV
Luke 9:1-2 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. NKJV
Mark 6:7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. NKJV
The 12 disciples. Mark 6:12-13 So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them. NKJV
But what about the 72 Jesus sent out?
Luke 10:9-10 And heal the sick there, and say to them,'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' NKJV
To the 11 disciples, Jesus spoke. Mark 16:14-18 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 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." NKJV
Not one of the disciples!
Acts 8:4-8 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. NKJV
1 Cor 12:4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. NKJV
1 Cor 12:28-31 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. NKJV
James 5:13-16 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. NKJV
DID JESUS AND THE APOSTLES HEAL EVERYONE?
Paul to Timothy.
1 Tim 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities. NKJV
Jesus had to pray twice! Be persistent in prayer (e.g. prayer and fasting sometimes!)
Mark 8:22-26 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking." Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. NKJV
Matt 9:23-25 When Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, "Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping." And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. NKJV
At times Jesus healed everyone!
Luke 5:17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. (NIV)
At other times He did not!
John 5:2-9 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. NKJV
WANT PREVENTS US SEEING HEALINGS?
Mark 6:1-2 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
Mark 6:4-6 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (NIV) [unbelief in NAS]
2 Tim 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. NKJV
James 5:15-16 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. NKJV
Unconfessed sin! Idolatry, immorality, greed, wrong doctrine (e.g. liberal theology)
Isa 29:13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (NIV) In another translation, ‘their reverence for me consists of tradition learned by rote’.
Lukewarm faith & legalism!
1 Cor 11:29-31 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. (NIV)
Persistent and widespread disunity in the church, unbelief in the body of believers inhibit individual healings.
We need to know how to pray, so need the gifts of discernment and knowledge (Bob Gordon).