Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reclaiming Biblical Healing (Part 2)

One of the keys in reclaiming biblical healing in the church is a biblical understanding of the meaning of save or salvation and it usage in the Greek language of Jesus’ day. The New Testament was initially written in Koine (meaning common) Greek. Jesus and his followers were multi-lingual, speaking Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. In the 2,000 years or so since the New Testament was written, the church has misplaced nuances of word meanings it chose to no longer use or those meanings were gradually lost during the Dark Ages.

For most believers, to save or salvation means the forgiveness or redemption of sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Savior. Few Christians, regardless of their particular flavor, would argue against this meaning. And if that were all that it meant it would certainly be enough. Forgiveness of sin is the ultimate miracle of God. But I believe, based on its multiple meaning and the example of Jesus that God meant so much more.

The Greek word to save is sozo and it carried a three-fold meaning in the Jesus’ day. First it meant to redeem or forgive and in our case spiritually speaking, payment of the sin debt. Secondly, it denoted a deliverance from torment. And finally, it was used to indicate healing from disease. It is a word rich in meaning, but sadly the vast majority of the church has never embraced the last two meanings. We have often taken the revelation of God, translated it, and interpreted it through the foggy lens of later theologies rather than through the theology Jesus demonstrated. Jesus is, after all, perfect theology. If we want to know who God is or what God thinks—all we have to do is look at Jesus.

Jesus came to redeem humanity from the effects of sin, and those decimating consequences of sin effect humanity in totality—spirit, soul, and body. Jesus did not die to give us a partial salvation. No, he died to save us completely from the carnage of sin. His work on the cross was complete—in spirit, soul, and body. Now, you may struggle with that. This may not mesh with what you have been taught, but please consider what Jesus said and did.

Twenty percent of the Gospels are given to the healing and deliverance ministry of the Savior. It is fairly evident from a reading of them that Jesus healed (sozo) the sick, the diseased, the blind, the lame, the deaf, and the afflicted. And it is clear that he brought deliverance (sozo) to those who were tormented by demonic spirits. The gospel of the kingdom—the good news that the King’s domain was present (heaven touched earth in those moments)—was demonstrated through this benevolent, yet militant invasion of the kingdom of darkness. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil—of which sickness, demonization, and ultimately sin are all a part.

Therefore, the salvation Jesus bought and paid for purchased forgiveness of sin, healing of the body, and deliverance from the torment of mind and soul. It was a complete salvation, not a partial one.

Jesus said we would do the works he did and even greater ones. That can only happen when we reclaim the full meaning of his words and incorporated those actions as a part of our the ministry in the church.

Reclaiming Biblical Healing (Part 1)

The ability to reclaim something carries with it an acute awareness that something has been lost that once belonged to the person or group searching for it. If we don’t realize or recognize something is missing we will most certainly never reclaim it. Tragically this is the case for healing in the New Testament Church. Though it was demonstrated and authorized by Jesus, given as a gift of the Holy Spirit, and practiced by the early church, biblical healing has been lost for the most part, buried in the soil of neglect and unbelief.

For the first four hundred years of the church healing was a normal part of the ministry of the body of Christ. It was one of the signs that accompanied the early believers according to both the Scriptures (“…They will lay hands of the sick and they will recover” Mark 16:18c) and the testimony of church history. Contrary to what some systems of theology or certain denominations teach, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit did not cease with the death of the last apostle or with the canonization of the Holy Scriptures. These gifts, including healing, were given to empower the church in her commission to make fully-formed disciples in the likeness of Jesus Christ, while continuing his destruction of the devil’s works.

Somewhere along the way the healing ministry of the church was fumbled and lost. And today, most believers see little or no use for it. In fact, those who do contend and search it out are often ridiculed as uneducated, ignorant, or biblically illiterate. The devil has done a jam-up job in confusing the issue and creating chaos whenever this subject arises.

Many Christians believe that God can heal if he wants to—that he has the power, but that it might or might not be his will in any given situation. Others believe that sickness comes from God and by enduring its suffering he will make you a better Christian. Some believe sickness is the result of the ravages of sin. Still others see the body as a disposable item cursed by sin they soon will throw off in their quest for heaven’s pearly gates. None of these options are fully biblical nor are they evidenced in the teaching or actions of Jesus.

Perhaps the time has come to reclaim what Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated during his ministry instead of the powerless and poison garbage the enemy has infected and introduced into the dogma and doctrines of the modern church. Perhaps the time has come to reclaim biblical healing as our heritage and our destiny. Perhaps the time has come to recapture the purity of that first generation of believers and minister from the source of power they tapped into—that power source generated by love, faith and the Holy Spirit that turned the world upside down in less than three hundred years.

God has called his body to be a house of healing where people experience the fullness of Jesus Christ and the fullness of what he purchase through the passion of his crucifixion. The time has come for Jesus to get the full return on what he paid for in his atonement. This means we must reclaim biblical healing as a part of the total salvation Jesus purchased at Calvary.

Over the next several weeks, I will be blogging on reclaiming biblical healing by digging into the Old and New Testaments, the Gospel accounts of Jesus, and the history of the church. Join me as we make this journey and blow the dust off a vital ministry of the church.

Revival Fire

 

Bonfire

 

Revival takes place when the fire of God falls upon the people of God. Revival is not an evangelistic meeting where the lost come to Christ—that is one of the daily mandates of the church. No, revival takes place when the body of Christ is renewed, reinvigorated, and returned from the brink of extinction through repentance. Revival is a sovereign work by a sovereign God. He sends revival when and where he chooses. And yet, the body of Christ (both individual and corporate) is responsible for repairing the altar and providing fuel in anticipation of that divine fire. We are called to be living and holy sacrifices, which are to be offered daily to Christ (Romans 12:1-2). Our preparation does not compel God to send revival, but rather it invites him to come with revival.

Two things are required for fire to burn—oxygen and fuel. And endless supply of one without the other will result in the fire being extinguished. The Holy Spirit is God’s oxygen and the body of Christ is God’s fuel. The body of Christ is you and I. God provides the Holy Spirit without measure, but will you and I be the fuel? When God’s fire comes will there be enough fuel to sustain the flame long enough to create a blaze and attract others to it?

When the fire of revival comes it will do what fire always does. First, revival fire consumes the fuel. Hebrews 12:29 clearly declares, “Our God is a consuming fire.” In true revival, we are consumed by God. As a fire burns, it totally saturates every part of the fuel. Duncan Campbell, who preached in the great revival on the isle of Lewis off the west coast of Scotland in 1949, defined revival as “a community totally saturated with God.” Are you prepared to be saturated—to be consumed—by God?

Revival fire will also change the fuel. The essence of the fuel is transformed into energy that creates heat and light. Heat refines and purifies. Light destroys darkness through its illumination and provides guidance. Will we allow God’s fire to change us into what he desires?

As the fire consumes and changes the essence of the fuel, it always spreads. The more it spreads—the hotter it gets. When revival fire jumps the altar and spreads to new fuel—the lost will get saved and those in bondage will be set free. This fire will get hotter and more intense as it spreads!

God provides the fire. The Holy Spirit provides the oxygen. The question is: “Am I willing to be the fuel that ignites?”