Topical - Holy Spirit - Gift of Healings
I. The Nature of Miracles
A. The Meaning Of Miracles.
1. A Miracle is Something that is Humanly Impossible but Divinely Simple.
a) If We Can Not Believe In God, We Can Not Believe In Miracles
1) The First Miracle (Genesis 1:1)
2) Paul the Apostle Speaking to King Agrippa (Acts 26:8)
(a) It is no problem for God to raise the dead. It was God who breathed life into Adam when Adam was just inanimate matter, lifeless mud.
b) Historical Events or Natural Phenomena that Appear to Violate Natural Laws.
God operates according to laws higher than the laws of nature that we know and understand He supersedes the laws we know (Isaiah 55:8; Colossians 2:2-3). A valuable way of understanding the meaning of miracles is to examine the various terms for miracles used in the Bible.
1) Both the Old Testament and the New Testament use the word “sign” (Is. 7:11, 14; John 2:11) to denote a miracle that points to a deeper revelation.
2) “Wonder” (Joel 2:30; Mark 13:22) emphasizes the effect of the miracle, causing awe and even terror.
3) A “work” (Matt. 11:2) points to the presence of God in history, acting for mankind. The New Testament uses the word “power” (Mark 6:7) to emphasize God’s acting in strength. These terms often overlap in meaning (Acts 2:43). They are more specific than the more general term “miracle.”
2. Miracles in the Old Testament.
a) The Readers of the Old Testament Recognized that God is the Creator and Sustainer of All Life (Ex. 34:10; Ps. 33:6–7; Is. 40:26).
This assumption permitted the Israelites to comprehend the possibility of miracles. They thought of the world as God’s theater for displaying glory and love (Ps. 33:5; 65:6–13). Thus, the miracle was not so much a proof for God’s existence as a revelation to the faithful of God’s covenant love.
1) The Parting of the Waters & the Saving in Egypt.
When God parted the water for the Israelites, or when He saved Israel in Egypt through the Passover, God revealed His character; and the Israelites were convinced that God was working for their salvation (Exodus 12:13–14). Miracles were expressions of God’s saving love as well as His holy justice.
2) Miracles in the Old Testament Are Connected with the Great Events in Israel’s History.
(a) The call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3); the birth of Moses (Ex. 1:1–2:22)
(b) The Exodus from Egypt (Ex. 12:1–14:31); the giving of the Law (Ex. 19:1–20:26)
(c) The entry into the Promised Land (Josh. 3:1–4:7), etc. These miracles are for salvation, but God also acts in history for judgment (Gen. 11:1–9).
3) The Plagues of Exodus Showed God’s Sovereign Power in Judgment & Salvation (Ex. 7:3–5).
(a) In parting the water, God showed His love and protection for Israel as well as His judgment on Egypt for its failure to recognize God (Ex. 15:2, 4–10).
(b) During the wilderness journey, God demonstrated His love and protection in supplying the daily Manna (Ex. 16:1–36).
(c) Another critical period in Israel’s history was the time of Elijah, the champion of Israel. Elijah controlled the rain and successfully challenged the pagan priests of Baal (1 Kin. 17:1; 18:1–40). God revealed Himself as Lord, as Savior of Israel, and as punisher of the nation’s enemies.
(d) Miraculous wonders like these were not as frequent during the days of the writing prophets. But one unusual miracle was the recovery of Hezekiah (2 Kin. 20:1–21; Is. 38:1–21) as well as the miracles in Jonah and Daniel. Prophecy itself can even be interpreted as a miracle. God revealed Himself during this time through the spoken and written Word.
3. Miracles in the New Testament.
a) As with the O.T., the N.T. Miracles are Essentially Expressions of God’s Salvation and glory.
1) Why Did Jesus Perform Miracles? Jesus answered this question Himself.
(a) Matthew 11:3-5—When in prison, John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus to see if He was the “one to come”. Jesus told them to inform John of what He had done.
With these words,
(1) Jesus declared that His miracles were the fulfillment of the promises of the Messiah’s kingdom as foretold by Isaiah (24:18–19; 35:5–6; 61:1).
(2) Jesus’ miracles were signs of the presence of the kingdom of God (Matt. 12:39).
b) The Miracles Pointing to the Kingdom of God was Developed in John’s Gospel.
1) John Presented the Miracles of Jesus as “signs” On Seven Occasions:
(a) John 2:1–11; 4:46–54; 5:1–18; 6:1–15; 6:16–21; 9:1–41; 11:1–57.
(b) He thought of these miracles as pointing to deep spiritual truth, demanding obedient faith (John 2:11, 23–25).
(c) Thus, Jesus’ feeding miracle (6:1–15) was Jesus’ presentation of Himself as the True Manna, the one who gives life and sustenance.
c) The Miracles of Jesus.
1) His Miracles Were Evidences of the Presence of the Kingdom in His Ministry (Matt. 11:2–5; 12:28).
(a) Every miracle story was a sign that God’s salvation was present. But not only did the kingdom come; it came in great power, because the dead were raised (Is. 26:19; Luke 7:11–15) and Satan was bound (Mark 3:27).
2) Jesus’ Miracles Were Also Performed Upon the Most Unlikely People.
(a) He healed the lame (Matt. 9:1–8), the mute (Matt. 9:32–33), and lepers (Luke 17:11–19). Jesus brought the kingdom to all, regardless of their condition.
(b) But Jesus’ miracles were not theatrical sensations. He demanded faith of others (Matt. 9:2).
(1) The hemorrhaging woman was healed because of her faith (Matt. 9:18–26). Furthermore, Jesus expected the disciples to do miracles and rebuked them for their “little faith” and unbelief (Matt. 17:20).
3) Jesus’ Demand of Trust in Himself Led Regularly to Opposition by Jewish Leaders.
(a) John drew this out when he recorded Jesus’ healing of a man born blind.
(1) Jesus’ salvation comes even on the Sabbath, overturning Pharisaic legalism (John 9:16), and resulting in their blindness (John 9:39–41).
(2) Similarly, the Pharisees broke into a charge of blasphemy when Jesus healed the paralytic and pronounced him forgiven of sins (Mark 2:1–12).
(3) The miracles of Jesus, being God’s offer of salvation, demanded a decision. As a result, a division of the Pharisees occurred (Matt. 9:32–34).
4. The Book of Acts.
a) The Acts of the Apostles is A Book of Miracles.
1) These Miracles are a Continuation of Jesus Miracles, Through the Holy Spirit.
(a) The miracles of the apostles were done in the name of Jesus and were manifestations of God’s salvation (Acts 3:11).
(b) This thread of continuity is seen in Peter’s miracles, which paralleled those of Jesus (Luke 7:22; 5:18–26; 8:49–56; Acts 3:1–16; 9:32–35; 9:36–42).
(c) God began His church with a powerful display of miracles.
(1) At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came on the people with great power (Acts 2:1–13), leading to conversions (Acts 2:41).
(2) When Philip went to Samaria, the Spirit of God anointed him with power (Acts 8:4–40), and the same happened with Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10:1–48). These powerful wonders were designed to convince the apostles and the Palestinian church that other cultures were to be part of the church.
(3) To these were added the stunning act of God through Peter when Ananias and Sapphira acted in hypocrisy (Acts 4:32–5:11), the church’s power in prayer (Acts 4:23–31), and Paul’s transforming vision (Acts 16:6–10).
2) Miraculous Powers Were Also Present in the Apostles.
(a) Peter healed a lame man (Acts 3:1–6), a paralytic (Acts 9:32–35), and raised the dead (Acts 9:36–42).
(b) The apostles performed mighty miracles (Acts 5:12–16), and Peter was miraculously released from prison (Acts 12:1–11).
(c) Paul’s conversion was a startling incident (Acts 9:1–19).
(d) Ability to work miracles was taken as a sign for apostleship by Paul (Romans 15:18–19; 2 Cor. 12:12). Thus, this ability to work miracles is not only an expression of God’s salvation but also God’s way of authenticating His apostles.
(e) The lists of the gifts of the Spirit in the New Testament show that miracles were one of the means by which believers ministered to others (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:8–10, 28–30; Eph. 4:11–12).
B. Are Miracles for Today?
Does God work miracles today, or did all miracles cease with the last of the apostles? This is a question that has occupied theologians for many years. How about this question: “Is God dead?” a miracle is a supernatural happening. If God is still alive and still working, then there will be supernatural happenings, and thus, the days of miracles cannot be over.
1. Salvation is a Miracle.
a) The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:23-26)
If a miracle is achieving something humanly impossible, then salvation is a miracle because it is humanly impossible for man to save himself. So to say that the days of miracles are over would be to deny that people can be saved today. Thank God that the days of miracle are not over.
C. Does Anyone Have the Gift Today?
Has God ceased in bestowing this gift on His people today? I don’t believe He has, but, I believe it would be extremely difficult for anyone to possess this gift today, because, the pressure to prosper self would be tremendous.
1. Personal Benefit.
a) This is Basically What Satan Suggested to Jesus (Matthew 4:4)
2. Taking the Glory for Yourself.
a) People Often Want To Respond to the Instrument More than they Do God.
1) To Many Times People Want to Put You on a Pedestal. They are so grateful for what God has done, they want to reward the person God uses.
(a) Acts 3:1-16 God used Peter to heal the lame man.
(b) Acts 14:8-18 Through the Apostle, God healed a 40-year-old lame man.
(c) Illustration of paintbrush boasting in a picture the artist painted.
(d) Only Jesus is to get all the glory (Luke 4:14)
Unless a person has come to a place where he does not have personal ambition or personal desires for glory, one of the worst things in the world would be for God to give him the gift of working miracles. It could absolutely destroy him. Its not an easy gift to have.
II. Sickness and Healing.
A. Why the Lack of Healing Today?
1. Our General Disbelief.
a) The Failure of Mans Faith
1) Matthew 13:54-58 rejection in Nazareth.
2) Matthew 17:14-21 the disciples were unable to cast out a demon.
3) We Have a Tendency To Carry Over Our Limitations to God.
(a) what seems to be a simple thing for us, we figure is simple for God
(b) what seems to be a difficult thing for us, must be a little tough for God
(c) what is impossible for us, we imagine must be impossible for God.
2. Word of Faith Teachers
a) Scriptures Used by Word of Faith Teachers.
1) 1 Peter 2:24-25; Isaiah 53:4-7
Healing is provided for because the atonement brought release from the consequences of sin. However, healing is not guaranteed in the atonement until we receive the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8).
(a) Biblical Christianity—Divine Healing is a sovereign act of God -- not positively confessed. God responds to faith when we pray in accordance with God's Will (1John 5:14).
2) People Left Sick in the Bible
(a) Elisha 2 Kings 13:14
(b) Epaphroditus Philippians 2:26-27
(c) Timothy 1 Timothy 5:23
(d) Paul 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
(e) Trophimus 2 Timothy 4:20
3. Why Do Christians Get Sick?
a) We Live in a Cursed Creation Rom 8:18-22
b) Satan -- Job (given permission by God)
c) To glorify God -- God's Will
1) Ex. 4:11
2) The Man Born Blind -- Jn 9:2-3
d) Because of sin John 5:14
e) Taking Communion Unworthily -- 1 Cor. 11:30
B. The Gift of Healing.
If we are healed, we have received the gift of healing. Sometimes the gift of healing operates through us to heal someone else.
· There are diversities in the operation of the gift of healing. The gift does not work the same through everyone.
· We do not have to have the gift of healing to pray for someone to be healed. The believers should pray for one another (James 5:14)
· During the communion service, we are to appropriate the healing that Jesus purchased for us when He allowed His body to be broken (Luke 22:19 by the beating, 1Corinthians 11:30).