Preach from TRINITY Church 6.30 / 25th June 2017
based on John 9 and 1 Cor 12:9-10
The essential guide to healing – Bill Johnson and Randy Clark
Those controversial gifts – George Mallone
There is More – Randy Clark
Well here we are in our series on the gifts of the spirit (in our life and church) and today we are looking specifically at healing and miracles. Our main focus is still the passage from 1 Cor 12, and particularly today vs 9-10
to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers…
But I’ve also chosen the John 9 passage we just heard to take us a bit further than that.
My view point //
And I need to say I come at this from the view point that the spiritual gifts are for today and for now. I have seen them at work in my life and in the lives of others and I think we need to embrace them more, so I won’t apologise for being very enthusiastic about this subject!
However I will say that if you don’t agree with me or you have questions do come talk to me or to one of the leadership team, because we really want people to embrace this subject, but we also recognise it is a difficult one.
So healing is our focus today.
Did you know that out of nearly 4000 verses in the 4 gospels, 727 relate specifically to the healing of physical and mental illness and the resurrection of the dead – that’s 1/5th of the gospels.
Healing was a big part of what Jesus did and how he taught people about the kingdom of God.
So then if that’s how he taught, shouldn’t it be the same for us as we share about the kingdom of God?
We had a phrase at my last church and it was ‘there is more’ (from the RC book)
Because I believe there is so much more to life following Jesus than we are seeing right now.
We are only seeing a tiny fraction of the kingdom of heaven and what that means for us here on earth now. We really need the gifts of the spirit to step into the fullness of what God has for us. I was taught in that environment that we should always be seeking the more. And I have carried that with me ever since.
John 9 / doubts etc
Now I imagine some of you are still unsure about this kind of stuff and perhaps not ready to totally embrace it yet or step into it for yourself. So I chose this passage from John 9 because there is so much in it – there is of course the healing miracle, but there is also doubt and questions, and there is even humour too:
You can see later on the man who was once blind is obviously getting a little bit exasperated with the questions from the Pharisees and he says:
“I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
now that’s some banter right there. The pharisees are seriously important guys and our guy here is giving them some serious sass – it’s like a comedy routine almost!
But as well as humour there is also doubt and questions as well as the miracle of course.
All of which can help us relate to the idea of healing with our own questions.
Because questions are ok – I think we can grow in our faith by asking questions but let’s question intelligently – and let’s hold our doubts tension with the truth of who Jesus is, with what scripture says about him.
I want to show you a video clip now, this is of a man called Randy Clark who I believe has been given the spiritual gift of healing and has seen hundreds if not thousands of people healed. And here he is interviewing people who have been healed during one of his conferences:
>>>CLIP Randy Clark video 3 mins ish
Now, I’d be really interested to know what do you think when you see that? Anyone want to tell me – what is your immediate response to seeing that clip? Honestly.
Get responses… >>
perhaps you are inspired and in wonder at the power of God.
Or perhaps you find it really challenging. Did God really do that? Why? How? are they even telling the truth? Is this fake… it’s all pretty unbelievable right?
And that’s ok, it’s ok to have questions about stuff and especially when we don’t understand it or haven’t experienced it.
You know, I literally was writing this preach sat in the Royal Alex hospital this week with my son who broke his arm – ironic right ?! I was writing this surrounded by sick kids who needed healing.
That was really hard, I was like should I be going round offer to pray for healing?!
And here’s the thing he had lots of prayer for healing and the bone did not get healed,
So about now I could be thinking, well I know God has the power to heal and he hasn’t and why hasn’t he? But if I focused on that I would be missing the answers to prayer that we did experience.
When we left the hospital on the day he broke it, we were told he’d need surgery and to come in on Monday for the op. So we began praying he wouldn’t need surgery. Monday morning after he’s already fasting – nil by mouth – we get a phone call to say they are not going to operate after all, they’ve taken another look and can he come in the next day to have it manipulated instead. Praise God!
Plus his pain levels which were through the roof even maxed out on paracetamol and ibuprofen dropped hugely, meaning he could go to school in between hospital visits to finish his end of year exams.
So I can take comfort in the fact that God has been with us all even if he didn’t heal Elliott as we would have liked! So I can hold the question of why didn’t he get healed this time alongside what I know to be true that God loves him and wants the best for him.
And I can’t say it enough, it’s key that we recognise that it’s ok to have those questions, so long as they don’t take over. So long as we hold them alongside the truth.
Here, in our John 9 passage we see 2 different ways of dealing with questions.
Firstly you’ve got the Pharisees with all their rules and objections:
: But it’s the Sabbath
: He must be a sinner because he did this on the Sabbath
: But how can he be a sinner and have the power to heal?
And so on…
But they just end up tying themselves in knots with all their questions and seem to deny the truth which is right in front of them, that Jesus healed a man who was once blind.
And then you’ve got the man who was blind – our second example – he says it all when he says:
“Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
It’s as simple as that! He doesn’t care who or how or why, he just knows, he can see!!
But still the Pharisees question. In fact they end up where this passage started – the idea the disciples suggest in v1 when they say:
“You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!”
they just can’t get beyond their objections and questions to see the truth.
Let’s not get too bogged down in what we don’t understand, it will just cloud our vision…
So what are the gifts for?
So, we believe that these gifts are for today, well what are they for? Or Why are they there, why should we take notice?
Well I’ve got 3 reasons here but you might have others…
For the Common good
To bring Glory to God (Evangelism)
Jesus told us to
- For the Common good
In our 1 Corinthians passage v7 we see that the spiritual gifts are given for ‘the common good’
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
And that theme is picked up later on in the passage from verse 12-22 when it talks about us being one body with many parts
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable
We are in this together people!
We all have a part to play.
Just imagine as our passage says, one part of the body says to another, I don’t need you.
What happens? The body doesn’t function completely as it should.
So say the hands don’t work, well that would make life very difficult but the body would still be alive right – my son has only one working arm at the moment and it’s a challenge! But he’s still living, going to school, etc but it means his body is not functioning to it’s full potential.
So take that metaphor to the church. What happens if we say, well we don’t need that bit of the church, we don’t need that part of worship, or that part of belief. What happens?
>>The church doesn’t function to it’s full potential.
So if we do away with part of what God has for us, we are missing out big time. If we say well the spiritual gifts are not for now, or God doesn’t heal today, or that’s not for me, then we are not achieving our full potential as Christians or as a church.
2 For the glory of God
Paul says in Romans 15:
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God.
His service is all about bringing glory to God and look at how he notes that through these signs and wonders the HS is doing through him, he is leading gentiles – ie: non believers – to come to know the Lord
Do you know what happens when people get healed?
They are so full of joy and excitement they tell people about it. See our clip earlier – look how excited they were to tell about what had happened to them!
In our John passage, verse 3 Jesus says of the blind man:
“this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
When signs and wonders happen the glory is for God. And more than that – when God’s glory is displayed people want to know more.
There’s an example of this in Mark 5 when Jesus healed a demon possessed man. And afterwards it says:
20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
The miraculous power of God at work, inspires people to give glory to God and to share about who he is…
3) Jesus told us to
Ok , one of my favourite scriptures really speaks into this – it is from Matthew 10:8 when Jesus sends out he 12: and he says:
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
So he says: preach this – the kingdom of heaven has come near. And then the action is to – heal the sick, raise the dead etc. The two are connected.
Now I love that passage because of the message but more… this is as much for us all now too, that we should both proclaim the kingdom and act accordingly – and if you’re not convinced let’s look at Mathew 28:19, The Great Commission – Jesus tells the disciples to:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Ok so they are to make new disciples – ie: preach the kingdom of heaven – and then teach those new disciples to do what they are doing. Yes, get that? Ok so what did he tell them to do back in Mat 10?
Yep you got it:
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.
So this is as much for us now as it was for them then! Make sense?
Hard stuff //
Now before I finish I do want to touch upon the difficult stuff –
God doesn’t always answer our prayers, for healing or otherwise, in the way that we would like.
And that can be really difficult, I am sure there are people here who haven’t received healing through prayer or have had a bad experience with people praying for healing for them. And it can be quite damaging actually. We need to recognise that and be super sensitive when we are teaching about and praying for healing.
People can come up with all sorts of reasons people aren’t healed – just like the Pharisees saying well he must be a sinner that’s why he’s blind.
I’ve heard for example:
- well you haven’t got enough faith
- there’s something blocking your belief.
Well you know Jesus himself said in Luke 7:
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
A mustard seed – do you know how big a mustard seed is? tiny! I am pretty sure we could all muster up a mustard seed’s worth of faith!
(no pun intended)
Or you get those over zealous pray-ers – you know the type – people rock you around, pushing you over, or getting shouty, trying to force healing to happen… I’ve experienced plenty of that and it’s just really distracting, in fact I find it decreases my faith because I am just thinking ‘will you stop shouting in my ear you are spitting on me…’!
And those kind of experiences can just leave people with even more questions or with their faith damaged as a result
We have to remember it is not us that are the ones doing the healing, our role in praying for healing or anything else in prayer ministry is to bring that person closer to God, to help them to meet with the Lord in their situation. It is the Holy Spirit that does the work not us. They should be able to walk away from prayer feeling they have drawn closer to God whether healed or not.
And for some of us in those kind of situations, when being prayed for, trying to hold onto the truth of God, alongside what we are seeing in front of us can be really really tough.
If that’s you I’d recommend the book of Job, I have found it really helpful – in it there is a whole discussion going on between Job to whom terrible things have happened, and his friends who are trying to justify and answer and come up with reasons why all this has happened.
And then God shows up. And asks ‘where you there when I laid the earth’s foundation? Or when I made the clouds? Have you given orders to the morning, or seen the gates of death, or comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? And this goes on for some time!
And the answer is No, so how can you possibly understand!?
Because at the end of the day He is God and we are not.
Now I know some people think that is a cop out, they want to explore and argue and come up with answers to everything and I know because as a Christian I’ve been accused of being foolish, thick, naiive, brainwashed.
They think faith without proof is mumbo jumbo, a crux for the weak. But I say the opposite, wow I mean how much strength and courage and boldness does it take to believe in Jesus? It’s rarely easy!
The thing is he is God, He’s God! If we could fathom him out and answer all our questions then we’d have no need of him in the first place!
We have to get to a place where we can be comfortable with an element of mystery.
We don’t always know the answers, perhaps one day when we are up there we will, perhaps we won’t but for now :
What we don’t understand we hold alongside the truth.
So let’s finish with some truths…
Healing and the spiritual gifts are for now as much as in Jesus time.
They are for the common good
They glorify God and point people to Jesus
: Jesus IS the Son of God, he loves us and want to know us more and for us to know him more.
: He will be with us in any circumstance, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.
We are a church that wants to see lives transformed by the love of Christ.
The more we know Jesus in all his fullness, we more we get transformed, the more we see others lives transformed.
Randy Clark said this:
“God is not looking for the well financed, the well educated nor even the well experienced in “ministry.” He is simply looking for those who are willing to yield their hearts and lives to all He wants to do working through them. He is looking for those who are willing to believe for more, because there is more!” p.26 RC There is More
so my question today is – Do you want to see the more?
Lead into prayer…