Why is it that you don't have faith healers from prior generations alive and with us today? Why don't you have faith healers that are 120, 140, 160 years old? Because they died.
That's why. Thanks for joining us on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. And today Don continues teaching God's people God's Word as he moves further into the series The Holy Spirit Today and part two of a message titled A Look at Healing. I'm Bill Wright and last time Don explored the nature of biblical healing. We saw that when Jesus or the apostles healed someone, the person being healed had a lifelong disability well known to all in attendance.
There could be no doubt. Today Don will cover the limitations of biblical healing before turning to the dangers of over fascination with signs. So have your Bible open and ready as we join our teacher now in the Truth Pulpit. Point number two, we saw the nature of biblical healing.
Point number one. Point number two, the limitation of biblical healing. First of all, what we find is that the apostle Paul himself suffered a bodily illness during his own ministry. Look at Galatians chapter four. Galatians chapter four. In Galatians chapter four, verse 12, Paul says, Paul says, I beg of you brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong, but, look at this in verse 13, but you know that it was because of a bodily illness, weakness of the flesh, it could literally be translated, it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time, and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition.
You did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus himself. Here is the apostle Paul describing a bodily infirmity that was attending him, that was with him, that was afflicting him, even in the midst of his ministry. If anybody would have had the faith to receive healing in that condition, it would have been the apostle Paul, wouldn't it? And yet, he went on, he did his ministry suffering from the bodily affliction without any hint of suggestion here that that bodily illness was contrary to the will of God for his life. This was just part of what happened in the early years of his ministry. As you go on and as you read Paul's letters, you'll find that Paul did not perform healings even on close associates in his ministry.
He did not perform healings on close associates in his ministry without exception. Look at 1 Timothy 5, verse 23, as he gives what some would consider to be, by modern standards, most unspiritual earthly advice. In 1 Timothy 5, verse 23, he says, No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. Now, how could it be, if it is always God's will for a man to be healed, and that it's somehow sinful if you're not healed, how could Paul give such standard ordinary advice, take wine and its medicinal purposes for your stomach, because Timothy, I know you have frequent ailments. This is a pattern of life for you, Timothy.
Well, if this was an indication of sin, Paul should have been rebuking him for his sin and calling him to faith and repentance. He doesn't do anything like that. He says, Timothy, in effect, take a little medicine for your stomach so that you'll feel better and be able to do what you need to do. You say, that's so ordinary. Well, yeah, you see, it seems ordinary to us only when we view it from the false and mistaken presuppositions of the charismatic movement that would tell people that you should never be sick, you should always be healed. You know, your healing is just waiting for you.
You're right on the verge of it if you'll just have enough faith. I love the way they always place conditions on it. The conditions on the sick people so that they've always gotten out. Like, you know, you could have had healing, but you just didn't have enough faith. In my flesh, I wish for the return of Jesus bodily just long enough to go into places like that and for a third time overturn tables. In rejection of those abominations and the cruel spiritual affliction that it puts on people who are suffering through no sin of their own. In 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 20, 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 20, these verses that we sometimes consider to be so incidental. Why is that in Scripture even?
And then you start to realize there's something important here that's embedded in the Word. 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 20, Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. Paul, you left him sick? I thought it was God's will for everyone to be healed. Why didn't you just say the Word and heal him? Why didn't you just make him better so that he could join you in ministry? Well, it's because there was a limitation on the biblical healings. They were not indiscriminately practiced.
It obviously wasn't always God's will for everybody to be healed instantly from every affliction that they ever came, so that we just simply lived in the midst of utter, complete, perfect health indefinitely forever and ever. Amen. Now, going further, expanding out a little bit to talk about signs a little bit more broadly speaking. Even in the words of Jesus, the ministry of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, the signs were not indiscriminately practiced in biblical days, and Jesus made a point of pointing that out. Look at Matthew chapter 12.
We're building a collective case, and we're not even into the total fullness of it yet. Matthew chapter 12 verse 38. In Matthew chapter 12 verse 38, some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, Teacher, we want to see a sign from you. But he answered and said to them, an evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.
You want a sign? The answer is no. I'm not giving it to you. Now, how can you explain that if the idea is that we just have healing on demand whenever we have enough faith? It's nonsense. It's a wicked distortion of Scripture that leads to even greater deception as we'll see in a few more moments. Look at the Gospel of Luke chapter 4. Luke 4 verse 23. Jesus said to them, No doubt you will quote this proverb to me, Physician, heal yourself.
Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well. And he said, Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you, verse 25, I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land, and yet Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon to a woman who was a widow. Here was pressing need distributed throughout the land because a famine had fallen on the land three years and six months and there is a prophet of God. Jesus says he only got sent to one, not to everyone indiscriminately. Somehow it was God's will in the outworking of his purposes for his nation at that time for everyone save one to experience the onslaught and the difficulty and the suffering of that famine. You can't explain that with an attitude that says everybody should be healed, everybody should be healthy, everybody should be prosperous. Jesus says it in his own words, points to biblical history and affirms it as the will of God. To the contrary.
Now, we could look at other things. Should I remind you that God actually authorized affliction for his servant Job? Satan came and demanded permission, God gave him permission and said, you go afflict Job, just spare his life. And for 35 chapters of that 42 chapter book, 37 chapters, you find people wrestling with the suffering that Job was afflicted with.
So much so that he lost 10 children, he lost his health, lost his fortune. Let's think about it, let's bring it down and apply the vice to the faith healers today. Do I need to remind you that even the charismatic faith healers today age? Look at these older guys that have been doing the faith healing stuff for 30, 40, 50, 60 years. Look at the wrinkles in their face.
Look at the evident process of aging that is taking hold on them. Why don't they reverse it? Why don't they command their sagging face to become fresh like a baby's bottom? You know why they don't do it? Listen, it's not because they wouldn't. It's not because they don't want to.
These vain men would love nothing more than to carry around the look of vigor that belongs to a 20 year old man. They don't do it because they can't. Why do some of them wear eyeglasses?
You can find pictures of Benny Hinn wearing eyeglasses. Why not just wave your hand over yourself and heal your eyes so you have perfect 20-20 vision? Why don't you do that?
It's because you can't. Why is it that you don't have faith healers from prior generations alive and with us today? Why don't you have faith healers that are 120, 140, 160 years old? Because they died. That's why. Well, why did they die?
Apparently some disease took hold of them of some kind or another. Google the names of Kathryn Kuhlman or Smith Wigglesworth, Kenneth Hagen or Oral Roberts and you will find the location of where they are buried. Just after a short synopsis of their faith healing ministry. It's self refuting. Indeed, scripture says it is appointed for all men to die. They're all going to die. And so sooner or later, all of these promises of healing run out. You see it in the pages of scripture that not everyone was healed. You see it in the pages of history today of these men who claim to have the gift of healing that are now dead and buried.
You wait around 5, 10, 20 years, there will be a lot more to add to that list. Because scripture says, and the scriptures cannot be broken, that it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. Just work it out to its logical end. Even if you did get healed today, something's going to take you tomorrow.
Apparently there's some limitation on it, even in their experience. And look, what I'm about to say, I say knowing that there are people suffering in the room, grievously suffering from physical affliction. And I say this to support you, to help you, to encourage you, to strengthen you in Christ. As I make this polemic against those who would come and criticize your lack of faith.
It is ignorant. No, it is cruel for these faith healers to tell people that God wills their healing. Scripture gives us no such promise. May we ask God for healing in the midst of our affliction in prayer? Yes, we may. Can we guarantee, can we promise it in advance?
No, we may not. We pray to him with a sense of submission and dependence. God, not my will but thine be done. God, help me in my affliction, but nevertheless not my will but thine be done. Whatever Paul's affliction was in 2 Corinthians 12, he asked three times for the Lord to take it away from him. And three times the Lord said no.
What are we to make of this? Are we suddenly men of greater faith than Paul? Was it Paul's failing? Was it Paul's lack of faith that the Lord responded that way?
No, quite to the contrary. And what God said to Paul is the same thing, the same comforting words that he would breathe to those in the midst of dire affliction today, that he would speak to you even in the midst of your affliction now. Not a promise of earthly bodily healing immediately, but rather the promise my grace is sufficient for you.
I'll perfect my power in your weakness. And so we see the limitations on biblical healing from the life of Paul, from the life of those around him, in the words of Jesus. We see the limitations on it even in the realm of those who practice and proclaim these things. Now thirdly, this gets even more compelling, even more compelling, as I want to take just a few moments to talk about number three, the present danger of miracles. The present danger, the danger of miracles, the danger of it.
First of all, let's ask this question. Do signs help people to believe? Do they help people to genuinely believe? Well, Matthew 24, verse 24, listen as I read. False Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Jesus says, Behold, I have told you in advance. Whoa!
Whoa! You mean to tell me that since the close of the canon that we should view signs and wonders as a possibility of that which brings deception, not truth, to us? And Jesus says, Well, I told you in advance, I warned you about this. If that was the only verse, maybe I wouldn't even make the point.
But signs, the desire for signs, oh, oh, this takes my breath away. The desire for signs and visible wonders now that Scripture is completed is contrasted with the true preaching of the cross. Look at 1 Corinthians chapter 1 with me. 1 Corinthians chapter 1. 1 Corinthians chapter 1. Paul is describing his ministry, the word of the cross. He says in verse 21, Since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. He appointed preaching that seems foolish to the world as being the instrument by which the gospel is brought and souls are saved from sin. And he goes on in verse 22 and he says, Indeed, Jews ask for what?
Answer me. What does it say? Jews are asking for signs.
They wanted the same thing then that people want today. Show us a sign. Greek search for wisdom. Paul says, verse 23, But, by contrast, we preach Christ crucified to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
You know what? Born-again believers like many of you in here, you don't need signs. You're not attracted to signs because you understand that in Christ crucified, proclaimed from the Scriptures, you have what you need.
You have what God has truly given and it satisfies your soul to know that your sins are forgiven and you have a hope of an eternal life. All I want you to see here is that Paul contrasted his ministry of apostolic preaching of Christ with what the Jews wanted, which was signs. The Bible warns us against the coming Antichrist. Look at 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. And what we're starting to see here is that signs, now that Scripture is completed, are not a reliable indication of the true God being at work.
In fact, they are indications of deception. Now this passage is looking toward the end of time. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 9. Paul talking about the coming Antichrist. He says, verse 9, That is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan. What's that going to be accompanied by? All power and signs and false wonders.
Are you kidding me? And with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false in order that they may all be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.
The coming Antichrist is going to be marked by miraculous signs, things that seem supernatural and people will follow. Saying, look at that, that's proof that this is a man to be followed, and Scripture says the exact opposite. That is a mark of delusion. That is a mark of not loving the truth that people hunker and hanker after that.
It's not a good sign, it's a danger sign. With eternal consequence. I'm not trying to win an argument here. I'm pleading for the help of souls. These things lead people to deception to make them think that they are saved when they are not and in the end they will go to hell shocked at the fact that the Lord did not receive them.
And the common theme is signs and wonders today after the completion of the canon. Today, Scripture teaches that the pursuit of signs only invites deception with great eternal consequence as a result. The charismatic movement today, hundreds of millions of people, maybe a billion, I don't know what the current numbers are. The charismatic movement today is not healthy.
It is a cause for grief and it grieves my heart to have to say that. We realize that there are some who are within the realm of that who don't know any better, who need to be taught, instructed, they'll come out of it if they're genuinely saved. The Word will lead them out of it.
We're not talking about ordinary individual believers that are kind of sucked into that and what we're talking about is the movement, the theology that drives it, the primary teachers that bring disciples around them. And we would say this. We don't think much. We don't think much of the men and women who take advantage of sick and desperate people making false promises to them in exchange for money.
We don't think much of so-called people who proclaim to be Christians, who proclaim to be leaders, who have big television shows with big, poofy hair, male and female alike, who offer false promises of hope to parents with suffering children who just desperately want their child to be well and to leverage their desperation to your financial gain against the Word of God. Their judgment will be just. But that leaves us with a question as we close. You're not going to like the fact that I'm closing with this, that I'm closing with it. That leaves a question as I work my way all the way through it.
That leaves a really important question, a fair question to be asked of a guy like me after you've said all these things. Okay, what do we say to sick and desperate people? What do we say to those with irreversible conditions like cerebral palsy or dementia or terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis or a thousand others?
What would we say to a weeping parent at the side of their child as they watch the life of that loved little one slip away? What would we say to them if we don't offer them promises of healing? What do we say to you when your healing doesn't come? And for some of you, having suffered like the woman in the Gospels, having suffered at the hands of physicians for many a year, what would we say to you? We'll try to answer the question when the healing doesn't come.
Thanks for that, and I hope you can be with us. Indeed, as Pastor Don Green has just asked, what happens when the healing doesn't come? That'll be our focus next time as we continue our series, The Holy Spirit Today. Be sure to join us then here on The Truth Pulpit.
But, Don, whether healings come or don't, trials in this life are a virtual certainty. How about some pastoral encouragement for anyone facing one now? Well, you know, my friend, one of the things that is a special blessing to me in pastoral ministry is the opportunity to talk with people that may be at a hospital bedside or when they're discouraged going through really difficult life trials. Let me speak to you somewhat as a pastor.
I know it's through radio and not in a personal relationship like we normally think about that. But let me just encourage you that even though you are going through a dark valley now, perhaps, that Jesus Christ is with you in the valley, and even though you may be afraid of what the next doctor's report has for you or where the next mortgage payment is going to come from and you don't know and there's a lot of pressure on your life, let me just remind those of you who are Christians of a wonderful passage from Psalm 23. David could say, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
Do you know Christ? Then, my friend, there's no cause for fear. He will keep you. And you'll find in the end that goodness and loving kindness have followed you all the days of your life.
Look to your gracious Savior for help, for comfort, and, my friend, I know that He'll prove Himself faithful to you in the end. Thank you, Don. And friend, I'm Bill Wright. We invite you back next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word here on the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-19 14:53:50 / 2023-05-19 15:02:47 / 9