Last June, our church launched a new ministry called "Healing In The Streets."
There has been a lot of talk/blogging lately about whether God ever raises the dead.
It seems that recent months have produced a great deal of stories regarding miraculous health turnarounds, some in connection to the Florida Outpouring with Todd Bentley and others completely unconnected. While theologians and lay people debate whether these are genuine "resurrections" or not, local families are rejoicing at what certainly seems like a miracle to them.
Tonight, I encountered an account of a teen missionary team in Guatamala who prayed over a stillborn baby. While going door to door and offering to pray for people, they met a woman who had given birth to a stillborn child 27 hours earlier. They unwrapped the child’s head from the burial cloths and began to pray. Here are some quotes from the report, given by 14 year old Abby:
Here at our local church, we’ve launched a new ministry called "Healing In The Streets."
This outreach is meant to provide people with an opportunity to receive prayer if they, or someone they know, is sick or hurting. It is our hope that God would use it to draw people to Himself and help them discover or be renewed in a vibrant relationship with Him.
How does it work?
Does God raise the dead?
The AP is reporting a story of a woman with no brain function for over 17 hours. The family was preparing for organ donation while continuing to pray.
As the nurses were removing various tubes for the donation procedure…the woman woke up.
Here’s the video:
1. The Lord rewards those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 10:35-36; 11:6
A. One of the signs of Christian maturity is perseverance. James 1:2-4
B. Satan's desire is to get us to back down, give up and live in doubt and disappointment.
TEMPTATIONS FROM THE ENEMY INCLUDE:
– The option to relax and quit our fervent pursuit of God and His promises. The deceptive voice: "Oh forget this…it's too hard…too painful…you can't handle this right now…you just might as well quit." The sin: unbelief.
– The option to walk away from what the Lord has done in us for the sake of carnal desire. The deceptive voice: "It's time to indulge your flesh…You deserve this pleasure…it's not that big a deal anyway." The sin: rebellion.
C. To fall prey to either temptation is to throw away our confidence in God. The devil can't steal it; we choose to discard it. Hebrews 10:35-39
2. We have what it takes to persevere. Philippians 1:6
A. It's not about having big faith. It's about have a little faith in a big God. Luke 17:1-6
B. Perseverance depends on not letting go of our faith. Luke 8:11-15
REQUIREMENTS FOR A GROWING FAITH:
– Rich soil. We need to have a softened, receptive heart. This requires a humble mindset and a spirit of brokenness and repentance. Jeremiah 4:3-4
– Water. We need to soak in the living water of the Holy Spirit. We should passionately seek the continual infilling of the Spirit. Hebrews 6:7, Galatians 5:25, Ephesians 5:18
– Light. We must allow God's Word to shine on us. Just as a natural seed will not germinate without the long hours of daylight, so do we need extended time in His Word. Psalm 119:10
– Heat. Only warm soil can nurture life. Heat can come from fire and it can come from pressure. James 1:2-4
– Protection. The enemy wants to rob us of the harvest by sending birds, or little foxes, to steal away seeds from God. We should be on guard against apathy, temptation, distractions, entertainments, and discouragement. Luke 8:5,11; Song of Songs 2:15
3. We should invite faith to rise in us for each situation we face. Luke 17:6
A. Living in faith is more than just living with a positive mindset. It's about living in continual relationship with the Lord. Galations 2:20; Hebrews 10:38
B. When we really know the Lord Jesus, we have the confidence to persevere in seeking Him. Hebrews 4:14-16
1. The ability to minister healing to others was not a product of Jesus' divinity, but the overflow of His relationship with the Holy Spirit.
A. Jesus did not operate on earth from His divine attributes. Philippians 2:5-8, Luke 5:17
B. Jesus only began to operate in miracle ministry after being filled with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:13-17, 4:23-25; Mark 1:9-11, 21-28; Luke 3:21-22, 4:14-14, 31-37; John 1:32-34, 43-2:12
C. Being filled with the Holy Spirit was not merely a one-time experience for Jesus, but a lifestyle that He cultivated and nurtured. Luke 4:42, 5:15-16, 6:12-13, 9:18, 9:28-31, 10:17-24, 11:1, 18:1, 21:34-38, 22:39-41
2. The Lord wants His church to be full of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Acts1:8
A. We are called to continue the ministry of Jesus. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; John 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:20
B. Our lives are not meant to be our own, they belong to Him. 1 Corinthians 7:23, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Luke 9:23-24
C. The ability to bring healing to anyone's life comes from Him, not from us. So our heart cry must continually be, "More of You, Lord." Ephesians 5:18
3. It is possible to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit that mirrors what Christ had. Mark 9:23
A. We should approach God, not with arrogance, but with the confident expectation that He wants to fill us with the constant and continual flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Hebrews 10:19-23, Luke 11:9-13, John 7:37-39
B. We should learn to be fast repenters when we become aware of sins, behaviors and attitudes that grieve the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:21-5:18
C. We should make space in our lives for the Holy Spirit to come fill us anew. – Worship – Study – Soaking – Ministering – Fellowshipping
D. We should be quick to pass on to others what the Lord has done and is doing in us. Matthew 10:7-8
1. There are barriers that can get in the way of receiving Christ's healing touch.
SEVEN BARRIERS TO HEALING
A. Sin. Galatians. 6:8, John 5:14, Matthew 12:43-45
Where there is a willingness to embrace sin and leave it unconfronted in oneself, there is also an open invitation for the demonic to come and dwell with us, including every hardship associated with the fall of man. The sinful condition and sickness are inseparable. That's why both are redeemed in the one atoning work of Jesus.
B. A bitter, unforgiving, self-centered heart. Hebrews. 12:15, Acts 8:23
The sin of bitterness builds a wall between us and the Father. If we won't forgive others, God will not forgive us. Where there is no forgiveness, there is no avenue for blessing. Matthew 6:14-15 When we put ourselves and our own interests first, we invite sickness and death. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Bitterness is like a snake-like vine that wraps around us and chokes our life away. To defeat it, we have to cut it at the root. The axe that can do that has a two-part name: repentance and forgiveness.
C. Not understanding God's provision for healing. Luke 5:12-13
If we don't know that Jesus wants to bring healing, we'll never ask Him for it. We need to understand God’s will and God's heart, not specific doctrine to receive God's healing. Hosea 4:6
D. The undisciplined life. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20
It is inconsistent to engage in a lifestyle, eating pattern, or any other activity that works against God's healing power while at the same time asking for His healing.
E. Unbelief. Mark 6:1-6
We have to decide if we are going to believe the Word or believe the symptoms and causes that bring infirmity. All things are possible for those who believe. Mark 9:17-29 We can overcome unbelief by pursuing intimacy with the Father. Mark 9:29
F. Doubt. James 1:6-8, John 20:27, Mark 11:22-26
We need to live in a place of confidence in God's power, ability, and will for us. The double-minded person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Instead of languishing in a sea of doubt, we should find ways to embrace our faith and step out on the truth of God's Word. In light of what God's Word says about my condition, what should I do now? 2 Corinthians 5:7
G. A willingness to be sick. Luke 18:41
Many, weary from the battle, settle for illness instead of depending on the Lord for strength to contend in the fight of faith. Matthew 11:28-30, 1 Timothy 6:12 Rather than repent of the above listed barriers, we listen to the accusing voice of the enemy and begin to believe that a particular illness is our lot in life. Weariness is overcome by soaking in the presence of the Lord. John 15:9-11, Nehemiah 8:10, Isaiah 40:29-31
2. There are some false teachings that can get in the way of receiving Christ's healing touch.
A. FALSE TEACHING #1: God has caused this illness so that He can better produce His character in the one who is sick.
God is not the author of sickness. Sickness comes to us because of our specific sin, the general fallen state of the world we live in, or by the direct attack of the enemy. If we were to believe God authors disease, then any kind of healing treatment would be in direct opposition to the will of God. Such thinking is nonsense. Of the few instances in the Old Testament where it seems that God sent sickness, it was always the result of people's sinfulness and easily cured through true repentance. Jesus came to carry our sicknesses and remove our diseases. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Matt. 8:17, Mark 3:24-25 God does allow suffering, but this is not the same as sickness. It always has to do with persecution for the sake of the Gospel. Even then, the Lord promises deliverance and a crown of righteousness. Psalm 34:19, 1 Peter 5:10, 2 Timothy 4:8; Acts 5:41 Here is the correct view: God is not the author of all situations, but He will cause all things to work for good if we love Him and respond to His call on our lives. Romans 8:28
B. FALSE TEACHING #2: The only kind of healing that God brings is instantaneous.
If I am not instantaneously healed, then it must not be His will for me. This kind of statement says more about our lack of faith and personal commitment to the Lord than it does about the Lord’s healing power. The enemy uses this teaching to get us to settle for less than full recovery. The Bible commands us to keep seeking the Lord until the answer manifests. Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 18:1-8, 1 Thess. 5:16-18 It is always God's will to heal. [u]We must trust Him regarding the timing of the release of healing into our lives.[/u]
C. FALSE TEACHING #3: God may be a healer today, but He either can't, won't, or doesn't want to heal [u]me[/u].
Our personal situation is not the one exception to the truths of God's Word. This way of thinking demonstrates that we have not been renewed by the Word of God. We have learned to live according to our feelings and experiences. Romans 12:2 To elevate our problem above God's ability, will or desire is to lower and dishonor the Father. When we carry these kind of thoughts, we have aligned ourselves with the mission of Satan.
3. Repentance and renewal of the mind are the keys to removing the barriers and false teaching that block Christ's healing in and through our lives. 1 John 1:9, James 5:16
4. We should beware the act of condemnation that can come by applying sudden labels on others to explain why they have not experienced healing yet. Romans 8:1
A. Love believes the best. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
B. Love speaks the truth without heaping blame, going on the attack, or arrogantly making assumptions.
C. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us ruthlessly search our own hearts, and allow Him to search the hearts of others without our interference. Psalm 139:23-24
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20-21
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt,
not only can you do what was done to the fig tree,
but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,E’ and it will be done.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:14-16[/i]
NOTE: There are about 57 different discussions of healing in the New Testament (approximately 90 in the whole Bible), and faith is specifically connected to them 15 times. (More than 1 out of every four mentions and about a third of every healing account in the Gospels).
Definition: Faith is believing and expecting God to do what we know He has said in His Word He will do. It is choosing to step out based on the Word of God, regardless of what we feel or sense in the natural. No matter what, we choose to trust in His goodness.
Hebrews 11:1, 11:6
1. We are commanded to have faith in God.
A. God expects us to live in faith because He has put a measure of faith inside each of us. Luke 9:21; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Galatians 2:20
B. Faith is our whole basis of coming to God, of receiving anything from Him. Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:5-7, Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:4-5
C. When we live according to fear instead of faith, turning our face from the Lord, we block off the Lord’s provision from our lives. James 1:6-8
2. We should understand that faith is meant to grow in us. 2 Corinthians 10:15
A. Faith increases as we live out what we hear God’s Word says. Romans 4:19-21, Romans 10:17-21
B. If we don’t know the Word, we don’t know what to believe and how to live.
3. It is not the power of faith that produces healing, but rather the One in whom we place our faith.
A. Faith believes in the nature of God. Exodus 15:26; Hebrews 10:21-23
B. Faith believes in the Word of God. Isaiah 55:10-11
C. Faith perseveres because of hope in God. Colossians 1:23
D. Faith releases healings and miracles that God has already sent our way. Matthew 9:22; Matthew 15:28; Mark 10:52; Acts 3:16
4. There is an unbreakable connection between faith and faithfulness. Hebrews 11:13
A. Where there is faith, there is perseverance. 2 Kings 4:20-23, James 1:2-4
B. We must choose to contend for our faith. 1 Peter 5:8-9; Jude 1:3
C. We should never forget that we are in a spiritual battle and are called to fight the good fight of faith! 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Timothy 6:11-12
DEFINITION: “Healing”* – The divine impartation of wholeness to our lives, including:
Forgiveness of sin
Restoration from sickness
Breaking the hold of poverty and oppressive social structures
Deliverance from demonic powers and influence
Raising the dead.
* [i]NOTE: This five fold definition of healing is used by John Wimber in his book, Power Healing, p.38. [/i]
Therapeuo – “heal” – used 42 times in the NT – means to be completely cured. KEY VERSES: Matthew 4:23; Luke 4:40, 10:9
Iaomai – “heal” used 26 times in the NT – means to be restored. KEY VERSES: Matthew 15:28; Luke 6:18-19; 1 Peter 2:24
Sozo – “save” and “heal” – used 106 times in the NT – means to save, to rescue, to keep from harm, to preserve, to make whole. KEY VERSES: Matthew 9:21-22, Mark 16:16, Romans 10:9
[u]15 Reasons Why God Heals Today[/u]
1. God heals because of His love. Matthew 14:14
2. God heals because of His covenant. Galatians 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 28
3. God heals in response to faith. James 5:14-15
4. God heals because He wills it. Matthew 8:1-3
5. God heals where there is a healing anointing. Luke 5:17
6. God heals where there is repentance and a contrite heart. 2 Chronicles 7:14
7. God heals because of His goodness. Matthew 7:11
8. God heals so that people will believe in Him. John 20:30-31
9. God heals because the Gospel is preached; Healing is in the atoning work of Jesus. Romans 1:16, 15:18-19, Mark 16:19
10. God heals in order to reveal His glory. John 9:1-3
11. God heals to destroy the works of the devil. Acts 10:38, 1 John 3:8
12. God heals because it is in His nature. Exodus 15:26
13. God heals in response to Holy Spirit giftings. 1 Corinthians 12:9-10
14. God heals because of the authority of the name of Jesus. Acts 3:6, 16; Philippians 2:9-11
15. God heals where there is persistence, endurance and desperation. Matthew 15:27; Mark 5:25-34, 10:46-48