PULPIT TODAY SERMONS
Robert D. Pace
If you opened the medicine cabinet of the average American you’d find it stuffed with pharmaceutics—everything from analgesics to nitroglycerin; from cough syrup to cancer drugs. Despite the medical breakthroughs of recent years disease and illness are still a tormenting part of life. Each year we Americans spend about one trillion dollars on health care.
The Bible teaches that sin cursed us with sickness and death and that means we’ll have to contend with them until Christ returns and “makes all things new.” That’s the hope of every Believer. In the meantime, I thank God for miracle-medicines that can expunge illness or suppress the pain of illness. I’m all for investing dollars into medical research to claim new cures. But while some illnesses can be eliminated with medication I still believe God’s healing power operates in miraculous ways! And I would prefer taking medication from God’s Word anytime. (It’s much cheaper!)
I’m not trying to lecture anyone on pharmaceutics because I use them as needed. But I’m convinced many come with hazards. Here’s why: Regardless of which way we turn in life we’re dealing with the law of reciprocity. That is, “whatever a man sows that shall he also reap.” And whatever medication we ingest repeatedly has a tendency to affect other internal organs. That’s why I want to offer a remedy without risk. That is, God’s divine healing power. He wants us to recognize His promise and willingness to intervene upon our infirmities. And there are ample Scriptures that help us understand this:
In Exodus 15:26 He told Israel: “I am the LORD, who heals you.”
David preached in Psalm 103:3 that God: “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”
Matthew 8:16-17 says Jesus: “healed all the sick. (17) This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.””
Matthew 9:35 says: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.”
Peter preached in Acts 10:38 that: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
In Mark 6:12 we see how Jesus commissioned His Apostles: “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” And that means Jesus Christ heals today!
The Scriptures couldn’t be clearer in affirming God’s willingness to heal. We have a God of goodness and love that offers not only to restore our souls but to restore our physical bodies. There are three ways God established His willingness to heal in the Bible; three ways we understand He’s a healing God:
1. First, God made a covenant of healing with Israel in Exodus 15:22-26.
2. Second, both the Old and New Testaments connected healing with Christ’s work of redemption. The Prophet Isaiah and the Apostle Peter said: “by His stripes we are healed.”
3. And third, Jesus united healing with the ministry of the Church. We see this when He commanded Believers to preach the Gospel to all creation and “lay hands on the sick.” Additionally, the Holy Spirit has distributed “gifts of healing” to members of the Church.
(Transition) If God employs divine healing then how does it happen? First, People are healed through the Name of Jesus. This is illustrated in Acts 3 after Christ’s resurrection when Peter and John approached the Temple to pray.
People are Healed Through the Name of Jesus
As they walked toward the gates a lame man stopped them. This forty-year-old had been crippled from birth and derived his living from begging. Everything he knew about survival was limited to what resources he could fit into that tiny cup he extended.
(Illustration) Years ago I was asked to participate in the wedding of a college roommate. I traveled hundreds of miles to be in his wedding and he showed me his gratitude by giving me a copper cup. How many here would travel 1000 miles to get a copper cup? . . . That’s what I thought! Anyway, I imagine that lame man’s cup was about the size of a coffee cup. This past week I estimated how much money a cup would hold if it were filled with coins. On its best day it would hold about $75.00. That would be mostly half-dollar and dollar coins. Now get the picture: the entire scope of this man’s provision was limited to a cup! When Peter and John approached him he didn’t have a clue he would be healed. He chose to beg at the Temple because he knew he could get compassion there not because he expected a miracle. He just wanted a donation.
Somebody says: “Wait a minute. You’re being too hard on this guy. Should he have really been looking for a miracle?” Yes! Jesus had just worked miracles in and around Jerusalem for three and a half years. And Jesus had commissioned seventy disciples with gifts of healing and it stands to reason their power to heal was widely circulated. Besides that the supernatural outpouring of Pentecost had just flooded the Temple courts a few days earlier. This lame man should have known these things and looked for an apostle of healing because he was a fixture at the Temple gate. Acts 3:2 says: “he was put [there] every day to beg.”
Here was his problem: Despite knowing supernatural power was available he accepted his lot in life without trying anything more than begging. He accepted existing rather than thriving. It took two faith-filled, Spirit-empowered Apostles to refocus this man’s vision from his cup to Jesus! Turn to Acts 3 and let’s read.
Acts 3:1-10 (Read)
This man was healed when he lifted his vision from his tiny cup to an awesome God! The fact is, when we maintain a small vision it prevents God from intervening in a greater way! We hinder giant-size breakthroughs from God because our faith can be measured by cup! That’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 9:29 when He said: “According to your faith will it be done to you.” If we’ll focus our vision and faith on the supreme and unequalled name of Jesus we’ll see those giant-size breakthroughs! Because that Name can’t be contained to a cup, a pool, a lake, or even an ocean!
Jesus said in Mark 16:17: “In my name they will drive out demons . . . speak in new tongues (18) . . . pick up snakes . . . drink deadly poison . . . [and] place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” The Name of Jesus has miracle-working power!
Why the Name “Jesus” Heals
Why the Name of Jesus? What makes the Name Jesus so powerful and gives it authority to change circumstances? Because Jesus is God’s only begotten Son that perfectly pleased the Father even to the point of dying for our sins at Calvary. He never mis-stepped, misspoke, or even entertained an impure thought. And because of that Philippians 2:9 says: “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
That’s why the Name of Jesus triumphs over paralysis, cancer, migraines, and every form of illness and disease. And I’m praying that God will give this church such faith in God’s healing power that we will develop a reputation of being a place for miracles! And why not? If God’s healing power was available for Bible Believers it’s available to us! I know the world doesn’t know what to do with the Name of Jesus and this healing power we’re discussing today but they didn’t know how to handle it in the First Century. When Peter and John healed that lame man it so threatened the religionists that they beat the Apostles and commanded them to never again invoke it. But I love the prayer the Church prayed after the Apostles reported their persecution. Acts 4:29 says the Church prayed this: “Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. (30) Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Saints of God, let’s pray and believe for that unchanging Name of Jesus to seize authority in this place and through our lives. 2000 years haven’t diminished one fraction of its strength It’s pulsating with as much transforming power today as it displayed before Lazarus’s corpse!
(Transition) We need to learn how to properly employ it. I know we’ve used it without seeing the results we anticipated. But the fault isn’t in the Name it’s in our technique.
Speaking the Name of Jesus with Power
I believe there are three factors associated with people that release healing power through Christ’s Name: Faith; a right-relationship with God; and devotion to prayer. And Jesus perfectly exemplifies this:
He never displayed fear or doubt in any aspect of His life or ministry.
He perfectly pleased the Father.
And He constantly prayed. He went from one place of prayer to another and in between worked miracles of healing. And Jesus is our Example!
When you study divine healing and miracles throughout Scripture these verities become evident: (1) Miracles are a natural consequence of those that believe; (2) they naturally follow those that live in right-relationship with the Father; and they follow those that are devoted to prayer. This is what 3 John 2 reveals when John wrote: “Beloved, I pray that in all things you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” I know this Scripture has been maligned and misused but give me a chance to exegete it. God doesn’t mind us prospering so long as our soul prospers. And the only way our soul prospers is by being in right relationship with God. And right-relationship requires faith in God and spending time in prayer.
I know I’ve emphasized three dynamics that release God’s healing power but let me describe the effect of devoted prayer.
(Example) I like the way Yonggi Cho describes the power of prayer. In essence he said this: “The power of God is like a gun that is shot. Where does the gun get its power? Not from the trigger because it doesn’t matter if a child or an Olympian pulls it. The power isn’t in the bullet either. The power is in the powder. If the bullet is properly packed with powder there’s a forceful blast if not, there’s a puny blast. And so it is with God’s release of God’s power in our lives. Puny in prayer, puny in God’s blast. Powerful in prayer then powerful in God’s blast.
Awhile back a study was conducted on heart-surgery patients. What’s amazing is, those saying they relied on God for comfort were three times more likely to survive than those who didn’t. The conclusion is evident: trusting in God’s healing power benefits your wellbeing.