Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Bleeb I'b Eeled (Part 3)

The last two posts on this subject emphasize a couple important points in the mysterious area of healing. Cessationists say God doesn’t heal today. Non-cessationists say he does, yet many times struggle with the difference between their experiences and their understanding of Scripture.

Two important things we’ve covered in the area of healing are: 1) Listen to what God is saying about the physical affliction – then you can pray in faith in response to what he is directing. 2) Scripture also tells us in the book of James to call the elders of the church to have them pray for us when we are sick. Sometimes this simple act of faith is a huge mountain-mover in healing.

One Final Thought
Although there are many things yet to be discovered as to the ways of God in healing, I will close these posts with one more principle I became convinced of nearly five years ago. There is a connection between “authority in Christ” and healing.

• In Genesis, God begins by placing mankind in authority over every living thing on the earth. (Side notes: Are viruses and bacterial infections living things? Was Satan a living thing on the earth at that time?)
• David reiterates that this authority was not lost through the Fall – Psalm 8.
• The centurion recognized the connection between authority and healing in Matthew 8:5-13.
• The crowd were awed that God had given authority to men (not just Jesus) to forgive sins and to heal – Matthew 9:2-8.
• Jesus gave his disciples and the seventy authority over sickness and disease and over demons, and commanded them to heal and cast out demons – Matthew 10, Mark 6, Luke 9, Luke 10:1-20. Jesus told them, “Freely you have received, freely give.” What had they just received? Authority.
• Jesus has given his authority to every believer (Matthew 18:19-20, 28:18-20, Mark 16:17, John 14:12-14, 15:16, 16:23-26).

Praying in Jesus’ Name
I don’t suppose any Christian would argue that we are instructed to pray in Jesus’ name. Most of the times we finish a prayer like this: “... in Jesus’ name, Amen.” Jesus instructed us to pray and ask in his name. But do we realize that “in Jesus’ name” means “in Jesus’ authority”? In the Greek, name also means “authority”.

You’ve probably heard a similar phrase to this one: “Open up in the name of the king!” This means all the king’s authority is backing up the officer of the law.

Jesus authorizes us to represent him, to act, pray, and move in his name, in his “authority”. This is what Paul is referring to when he calls us ambassadors. Ambassadors have to right and privilege and responsibility to speak on behalf of the one whom they represent.

So we pray in Jesus’ name, Jesus’ authority. We bless our food in Jesus’ name, in his authority. This is not something trite that we do, it actually means something to bless our food in Jesus’ name, or to pray in his name. And we are instructed to heal in his authority.

The question isn’t whether or not we are endowed with his authority. The question is whether we believe it. Mark 16:17 might be better translated, “These signs will accompany those who believe in My name: they will...” (notice the placement of the colon, versus modern translations). Many times we “believe”, but how often do we expressly believe in his authority?

Peter Said So Himself
In Acts 3, when God used Peter to heal the lame man, Peter declared that the man was healed “on the basis of faith in His name” and the “name of Jesus has strengthened this man”. Peter not only saw the connection between Christ’s authority, but he believed in Christ’s authority in him. He said, “What I have, I give to you.” Then he said the man was made well on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, Jesus’ authority. Peter believed in Christ’s authority; he believed in his name.

Present Day Examples
After talking about this one Sunday morning, I encouraged people to test this out in their homes. One family in our church have a son who ended up with a spot on his lung that showed up on an X-Ray. They prayed for him in the authority of Jesus. When they went later that week for another X-Ray, the spot had disappeared.

Another example was at a prayer meeting where there was a woman who suffered with chronic back pain for years. A friend and prayed for her, and after waiting and listening to the Lord, we prayed for her back in the authority of Jesus. That night at 10:30, she called me and told me that the pain was completely gone.

We are Commanded to Believe in His Name
“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ...” 1 John 3:23a.

The centurion believed in the authority of Christ to heal. And Jesus remarked that he had not seen such great faith in all of Israel. This is perhaps some of the greatest faith we could walk in.

We are not instructed to believe that if we have enough faith, someone will be healed. This is presumption. We are not instructed to pray, “Lord, if it is your will” – we are to prove what his will is (Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:9, 1 John 5:14,15). We are not instructed to believe in healing.

We are commanded to walk in his authority, to believe in his authority, and to pray in his authority. Are you convinced that Christ’s authority resides in you?

If you would like to read four more testimonies from people in our church, click on this link: Four Testimonies of Healing

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