THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO HEAL THE SICK

Mark 16:18 – . . . they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover

In the early church, the gifts of healing were displayed many years after the resurrection of Christ. Paul had power to heal through special miracles. “God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits went out” (Acts 19:11-12). It is recorded that Paul prayed for Publius’ father and then “laid his hands on him and healed him” (Acts 28:8).

Twenty-six years after the resurrection of Jesus, ordinary believers were still operating in the gifts of healing. Paul speaks of healing gifts in the plural in I Corinthians 12:9. In Galatians, Paul asked a question concerning the Spirit and miracles. “So then, does he who provides you with the Spirit, and work miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law or by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5)? James, many years after the earthly ministry of Jesus, gave direction for the Elders to pray for the sick, with a promise of healing and forgiveness (James 5:l4-16).

The Scriptures are filled with many divers operations of the gift of healing. I have listed a number of references which speak about this wonderful gift. Take time to study the Scriptures for yourself. Ask the Father to reveal His will to you concerning healing. Trust Him in faith that the Holy Spirit would give gifts of healing to you. Ask Him to use you to bring healing to those in need. Father, supply my life with Your gifts of healing as You would direct. There are many in need of God’s healing power. There is a great need for God’s people to allow the Holy Spirit to minister His gifts through their life.

Here are a few examples of the diversity of the healing gifts: Touch of a hand – Matthew 9:21; Sending the Word – Psalm 107:20; Peter’s shadow – Acts 5:15; Aprons and garments – Acts 19:12; Anointing with oil. – James 5:14; Laying on of hands – Mark 16:18; Prayer in Jesus’ Name – Acts 3:6; The Word of Knowledge – Acts 9:11.18 and 14:8.10; Through the means of special directions to the sick one: Mark 7:31-37 – Fingers in his ears and touching the tongue; Mark 8:22-26 – Saliva placed on the blind man’s eyes; Acts 20:9-10 – Paul embracing a dead man who revived; Action taken by the sick one to show faith. In John 5:1-9 is the example of the man at the pool of Bethesda picking up his bed and walking. Another time in Matthew 9:1-7, Jesus told the man to “pick up his bed and go home.” And he got up and went home. It was in Jesus’ healing ministry that, “the crowds were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men” (Matthew 9:8).

God has always been the healer of His people. He heals today as well. Won’t you receive His healing grace in your life and allow Him to use you to bring His healing power to others? Remember what Jesus said about those who believe on Him, “They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:18).

HEALING THE OPPRESSED AND HURTING

1 Corinthians 12:9 – To another is given gifts of healing

One of the most powerful verses of Scripture states, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Our Lord sets the standard for ministry. Jesus takes of His anointing and gives a portion to each believer.

One of the gifts of power is “healing.” Of the gifts of power, healing is the most widely distributed. The gifts of healing are for the supernatural healing of disease and infirmities without natural means of any sort. I must emphasize the entirely supernatural character of the “gifts of healing.” These gifts of healing must not be confused or mixed with medical science in any fashion. Healing through these gifts is brought about by the power of God in the name of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit who resides in believers. Please notice, Paul’s plural use of the word “gifts” as it relates to healing. One possible reason is there are so many different kinds of sickness and diseases which afflict the human race. Not all sickness is physical. Consider other needs such as emotional suffering, a wounded heart, sexual brokenness, and deliverance from all kinds of demonic inflicted bondage

The Lord still has compassion on the sick today; He still delivers from the power of the enemy. He is still healing people in the old fashioned way revealed in His Word. His way is a safe way, a painless way, and is free. It is a holy way because it is His Way. It is helpful to understand the working and purpose of these gifts of healing by considering their operation as revealed in the Scriptures. If you remove from Scripture all the references to healing, you would not have much of the Bible left.

Consider three reasons helpful in seeking God for the gifts of healing to be operating in and through our life in Christ. I suggest looking these Scriptures up and asking the Holy Spirit to give you a greater understanding of God’s will to heal.

THE GIFT OF FAITH CAN BE YOURS

1 Corinthians 12:9 – To another is given faith by the same Spirit.

Let us remember that through faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). We call this “saving faith.” The first work of the Spirit in our life is to lead us to faith in Christ. Faith that believes the Word of God which declares what the Lord has done for us through His death on the cross. This is faith that began to work in us before salvation actually takes place. Paul calls it “The faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

Faith is named in the fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22. This kind of faith can only be developed by the Spirit as we learn to walk in the Spirit. Fruit can only be grown, not made. This fruit of faith speaks of God creating us to be a faithful people. We begin in faith that saves us. Then we learn to walk in faith, learning to trust the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. At times, we may experience the gift of faith which the Holy Spirit gives at His will for special times of need.

The gift of faith is distinct from saving faith and the fruit of faith. The gift of faith is in the family of the power gifts. When one operates in this gift, they believe God in such a way that God honors their word as His own. He miraculously brings to pass those things spoken in faith. It is a supernatural endowment by the Spirit whereby what is uttered or desired by a person shall eventually come to pass. This faith utterance covers blessing, cursing, destruction, and is different from the gift of the working of miracles and the gifts of healing in that often its operation is not immediately or even generally observed.

The operation of Miracles is more of an act, as when the Red Sea was rolled back by Moses, while the operation of the gift of faith is more of a process. The Gift of Faith begins with a sudden surge or boost of faith given by the Holy Spirit, when needed, as seen in Joshua 10:12-13, Acts 9:40, and Acts 13:11. Peter is a great example of this operation of faith. He entreated the Lord to bid him to come as the Lord was walking on the water and approaching the disciples. The other disciples in the boat thought Peter had lost it for sure, but when he came back in the boat with Jesus, Peter was their hero of “faith.” You just have to know, each one of them wished they had done what Peter did!

Holy Spirit, there are times when only the “gift of faith” can bring us through to Your intended purpose. Make me a willing vessel to allow You to give me that gift to help me do Your will when my natural ability fails me.

THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE HELPS TO CONVINCE SINNERS

John 4:18 – You have had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband.

The woman at the well is an excellent example of how powerful this New Testament gift of knowledge can be. As Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman, He tells her life history with men. As we continue to read on in John 4:19 – 29, we learn how the whole city came to hear Jesus as a result of this one word of knowledge spoken to the women. That word helped to convince a sinner of her need of the Savior; she in turn was used to reach others by pointing them to Christ.

Acts 9:10-11 speaks of how the word of knowledge came through a vision and pointed out to Ananias a man in need. That man happened to be Saul of Tarsus, who later became the Apostle to the Gentiles. Notice how this word came in a vision to Ananias. He responded, “Here I am Lord”.

Peter received a word of knowledge about corruption in the church (Acts 5:3). The result was fatal for a man and his wife because they purposed in their heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. Today, it seems like many get away with lies and deception, but let me assure you, when this gift of knowledge begins to operate in the Lord’s Church at this level, judgment will also follow as it did in the days of the early apostles.

Please do not confuse this gift of knowledge with learning. The word of knowledge is a special supernatural revelation of facts given by the Holy Spirit. The examples are too numerous for all of them to be included. The “foretelling” of events to come is an operation of this blessed gift. To treat this gift as a vocal gift by suggesting that it is about preaching and teaching that came through studies, is to rob it entirely of its supernatural and miraculous character.

Holy Spirit, I am limited in what I know. I invite You to use me as often as it is pleasing to You through the gift of knowledge. Reveal to me what I need to know to encourage a child of God or help one to come to know the Savior. If You will, use me to point out sin that the one in bondage may be set free to experience Your love.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

1 Corinthians 12:8 – To another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.

The word of knowledge is a supernatural revelation given to believers by the Holy Spirit of certain facts in the Mind of God. God keeps ever before Him in the storehouse of His Mind all the facts of heaven and earth. He knows every person, place, and thing in existence. He has them ever before Him. That is a real knowledge base! The word of knowledge is a revelation to an individual by the Holy Spirit of some detail that would help them to know what to do or say. It is supernatural “knowledge” such as the existence, condition, or whereabouts of some person or object. It might be the place, location or occasion of some event. It is a gift of revelation, revealed to one’s spirit and mind. It is usually not vocal, but given as a thought, a picture, or some other type of impression.

The word of knowledge is not natural knowledge, but supernatural information. A few examples of the use of this gift in Scripture will help to make this clearer to us. In today’s lesson, we will consider a few Old Testament examples. In tomorrow’s lesson, we will look at a few from the New Testament.

In I Samuel 3:10-21, a word of knowledge was given to the child Samuel, who was to become the Prophet of Israel. God spoke to the child and said, “Behold, I am about to do a new thing in Israel” (1 Samuel 3:11). Even a child can hear the word of knowledge the Lord wants to give. In II Kings 6:8-12, the word of knowledge is used to warn a king of the enemy’s plan. A man of God sent a word to the king warning him where his enemy was about to attack. In 1 Kings 19:14-18, the word of knowledge was given to enlighten and encourage Elijah, a discouraged servant of the Lord. In II Kings 5:20-27 a word of knowledge was given to expose a hypocrite.

As one can see, the word of knowledge is not new to the New Testament. God has been giving this supernatural grace throughout His dealings with His people. The word of knowledge has been made available to any of God’s servants through the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have not already done so, begin to ask the Father, in Jesus’ name for the “word of knowledge” to be activated in your life. Yield your mind to the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to be free to give you words that only He has to give. Lord, please help me to speak for You, as Your servants did throughout the Old and New Testaments.

SEEK EARNESTLY GOD’S WISDOM

1 Corinthians 1:31 – Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.

Today, I want us to look further into this subject of wisdom. Throughout the Scriptures, wisdom is highlighted as a gift given by God. In Matthew 2:13, we read of a word of wisdom given to Joseph through a dream which instructed Joseph to take Mary and the babe to Egypt. Compare this with Matthew 2:20 when the angel instructed Joseph to return to Israel. In Acts 13:2, the command by the Spirit to separate Barnabas and Saul was a word of wisdom as to the timing of God’s will to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. This word of wisdom had a bearing upon their walk and experience. In Acts 15:5-27, a word of wisdom is given through James as to what commands should be placed on the converted Gentiles. In Acts 26, Paul is defending himself before King Agrippa and Festus. Festus thought Paul to be insane. Paul testifies of the wisdom from the Lord given to him at his conversion which directed his life in the message he carried as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

The above Scriptures are but a few examples of this wonderful gift the Spirit of God has made available to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:31, Paul warns us not to boast in ourselves, but in the Lord. In wisdom, he is quoting from the prophet Jeremiah. “Thus says the Lord, Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

I believe Jeremiah gives to us the sum total of the subject of wisdom. Paul establishes the need for us to pursue wisdom in our personal and corporate life. Today, receive God’s wonderful grace of wisdom. If you can identify times this grace has been released in your life, rejoice and thank the Lord continuously. Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Today, ask the Holy Spirit to give you this gift as needed. Open up yourself to receive a deposit of supernatural wisdom from God by asking for the gift of wisdom, especially when you are at the end of your own sufficiency. If you are anything like me, that would be quite often.