12 months…12 ministries HEALING 1 (#8)
By Peter Biggs
• DISCIPLESHIP • WORSHIP • PREACHING • EVANGELISM • PASTORAL CARE
• SERVING THE POOR • DELIVERANCE • H E A L I N G 1 • HEALING 2
• CHILDREN & YOUTH Ministries • SENIORS Ministry • MENS & WOMENS Ministries
Every person’s reality involves life ‘going wrong’. It’s usually painful and often confusing. Perhaps it’s an n this series we are examining the unique ways God uses the local church in an individuals life.
Every part of creation was affected by ‘the fall’ (Genesis 3) just as every part of our being can go wrong. Our body has amazing capacity for healing itself, but we all get sick.
We thank God for medications, doctors and various therapists, largely because of such things life expectancy has greatly increased. Do these things negate the need for God’s direct healing as is described over and over in the Bible?
Is the Body of Christ still called and gifted to minister healing today?
healing – in the gospels
‘When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’
But it wasn’t just the Twelve:
‘After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.’ Luke 10,
And verse 9 — this was his command to them:
‘Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God is near you.”’
healing – in the early church
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues… v30 Do all possess gifts of healing?
Ken Polsley of christianhealingmin.org encapsulates this ministry:
‘The disciples continued to do what they were trained to do after Jesus ascended to the Father. The healings through the disciples in the book of Acts, like the healings of Jesus in the gospels, should be considered ‘the highlights’ that contributed to the strategic advance of Jesus’ mission.
The healing through Peter and John of the paralytic beggar at the temple gate opened Jerusalem to the good news of the Kingdom. Peter preached to the crowd and many people were added to the faith.
The report about Philip in a Samaritan city (a surprising place for a Jew to minister) was amazing!
“When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:6-8).
This is how the message of the Kingdom and the demonstration of the Kingdom worked together to open up new regions to Jesus.
In Lydda on the coast of Israel, Peter healed a man who had been bedridden for eight years. All those in Lydda and Sharon saw the formerly sick man and they turned to the Lord (Acts 9:32-35).
In Joppa, still on the coast, Peter was used to resuscitate from death a believer named Tabitha. This news spread throughout Joppa and many in that city believed (Acts 9:36-43).
Paul is used to heal a man with crippled feet in Lystra in what is now Southeastern Turkey. As a result they were able to share the good news of Jesus throughout that whole region and planted churches.
The disciples did what Jesus trained them to do.’
Interestingly, we see these same kinds of strategic healings happening throughout the ‘majority world’ today in Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. New cities and regions are being opened up to the good news of Jesus.’
The ALPHA Course has been effective in presenting Christianity to millions of people and is endorsed by an unprecedented number of denominations. One of the subjects handled is ‘Does God Heal Today?’
Christian roots to modern healing
Rosie Knowles of Christian Medical Fellowship writes:
‘Before Christianity, there were several hospital like centres in Buddhist regions. The ancient Greeks practised a very simple form of medicine. The Romans are believed to have established some military hospitals. However, by their radically different outlook, it was Christians who began to change society’s attitude towards the sick, disabled and dying…’
‘In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution led to a drift towards the inner cities, with intense social needs among the poor. A nationwide movement of Christian missions to help the poor was founded. Huge sums of money were raised and volunteers went to slum areas to offer practical help. The Salvation Army, founded by William Booth in 1865, provided much-needed medical care in impoverished inner city areas…’
‘In the 19th century, ‘modern nursing’ was born, in no small measure due to the work of Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale. Fry was deeply influenced by a small Christian hospital at Kaiserswerth in Germany, run by ‘deaconesses’, a group of Protestant women. Their response to biblical commands to care for the sick and educate neglected children provided the template for modern daily hospital nursing…’
healing & mental Illness
As in all things there are degrees of affliction. Depression and anxiety may be temporary, a natural response to loss, or it may be a severe disability a requiring psychiatric help and medication. God uses such skills and medications.
Traci Pedersen of PsychCentral.com adds,
‘Researchers from Baylor University found that people who pray to a loving and protective God are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders — worry, fear, self-consciousness, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviour
“For many people, God is a source of comfort and strength,” says researcher Matt Bradshaw, Ph.D; “and through prayer, they enter into an intimate relationship with Him and begin to feel a secure attachment. When this is the case, prayer offers emotional comfort, resulting in fewer symptoms of anxiety disorders.’”
one church’s experience
The Light spoke to to Pastor Joel Conti of Northside Church in Coquitlam. Every Friday 10am – 2 pm the church has prayers for healing offered. Monthly on Sunday evenings they hold meetings open to the wider community named ‘Ring of Fire’. This is a time many receive prayers for healing. “So far this year we’ve seen around 20 healings,” Conti says. “I train people in hearing God speak. We see different types of healing. Worship is key – he inhabits the praises of His people!” Asked to recount one healing, he responds; “Let me tell you about Molly…
Two years previously she had a detached ankle ligament and walked with discomfort and a marked limp. That morning (actually whist in the shower!) out of the blue I received this thought about a person with a left ankle injury. As the service was ending I shared this ‘word of knowledge’. This lady responded, and was immediately and totally healed! “She walked and jumped about with no pain or limp!” Pastor Joel Conti
Conti also mentioned that physical pain can be connected to trauma in childhood. “We seek to understand the heart of the Father – his compassion.”
In researching this article, it was hard to find churches that regularly pray for the sick to be healed. “When it comes to healing. we are knowledge saturated, and experience deficiant. People don’t pray directly for healing because of fear… ‘it won’t work’ and be humiliated by ‘failure’, “ Conti says.
The late John Wimber – founder of the Vineyard used to say, “When we prayed for no one, no one was healed. Now we pray for lots of people, not everyone’s healed, but some are.”
This is a difficult issue. Healing, whether our own or a loved one involves our whole being. Our thought life is absorbed, there is confusion (where is God?!), and frustration – often endless questions as to prognosis.
Into this space we come to God… having faith has a component of ‘hope’. To allow hope is dangerous. What if, after asking… God does not heal? Then I’ll have the additional problem of belief in God. Do I really want to take that risk?
the final healing…
Of course, no human being can ultimately avoid death. Our bodies are decaying, and at some point it might be right to prepare a person for death rather than to pray for healing. Thank God for the hospice movement — the hospice movement, you know, gives dignity to the terminally ill and is another outworking of Jesus’ commission to take care of the sick.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14
Next month: HEALING 2