HEALING AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD
These are my teaching notes for the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, June 2, 2019. the Bible passage is Luke 8:32-48.
GOD IS GOOD
When I write to someone going through a hard time, I usually include the phrase: "God is good." I want them to know that God is good even when their circumstances aren't.
Sometimes people ask me, "If God is so good, why did he put me in this terrible situation?" I know why hurting people ask that question, but I think it's based on a fallacy. Why do we assume that God caused our pain? Why do we always blame God when life goes wrong? Listen to the psalmist speaking to the Lord:
(Psalm 119:68) "You are good, and what you do is good."
Disease isn't good. The devil isn't good. Evil people aren't good. Some of our choices aren't good. But God? God is good. All the time.
JESUS REVEALED GOD'S GOODNESS
The best way to see God's goodness is to look at Jesus. He reveals the Father to us:
In his being: (John 14:9) "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."
In his words: (John 12:49) I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.
In his works: (John 5:19) “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does."
When we look at Jesus, we receive a revelation of the Father's goodness.
(Acts 10:38) How 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."
GOD'S GOODNESS TO A HURTING WOMAN
The story of the woman with a hemorrhage reveals the goodness of God to us. Jesus healed her because God is good. There are five observations about God's goodness that I want to share with you:
God's goodness attracted crowds to Jesus - verse 42. The crowd "almost crushed him" because they needed healing and deliverance and they believed he wanted to help them. They saw Jesus and saw the Father's goodness.
God's goodness gave her courage to reach out to Jesus - verses 43-44. By law, this woman was ceremonially unclean because of her perpetual bleeding - Leviticus 15:25. As a result, for 12 years she was cut off from the religious and social life of her community, and she should never have touched Jesus. However, she was out of options - "no one could heal her" - with nothing to lose. She expected the goodness to flow from Jesus, so she reached out thinking:
(Mark 5:28) “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
God's goodness healed her instantly - verse 44, 46, 47. Her bleeding stopped "immediately." She told Jesus that she had been "instantly healed." She experienced God's goodness as Jesus felt "power go out from him."
(Luke 5:17) The power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.
(Luke 6:18-19) Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
God's goodness healed her physically and spiritually - verse 48. Jesus called her "daughter," which told her that she re-integrated into the community of God's people - "daughter of Abraham" (Luke 13:16). Jesus told her that her faith had "healed" her. That is literally the word "saved" or "delivered." Jesus healed her body, but he also restored her to God; that's physical and spiritual healing.
God's goodness responded to her simple faith - verse 48. She believed that Jesus was great enough and good enough to heal her. She reached out in simple faith and experienced his awesome, healing, power. She came to him "trembling" - verse 47 - maybe not in fear, maybe it was his electric power flowing in her.
GOD'S GOODNESS TO US
That was then, this is now. What can we expect today? Is God still good? Does he still heal broken hearted women? Can he meet you in your deepest need? The answer is yes. Five strands of biblical evidence give me confidence:
God is always good.
(Malachi 3:6) I the Lord do not change.
(Hebrews 13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Jesus healed us at the cross.
(1 Peter 2:24) “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
(Matthew 8:16-17) When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Jesus told us to heal the sick. The group known as the "seventy-two others" were "normal" followers of Jesus:
(Luke 10:8-9) “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'"
Jesus wants us to teach new believers to heal the sick. What Jesus "commanded" includes his lifestyle teachings AND his instructions on healing and deliverance.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV-WS) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The early Jesus-followers healed the sick.
(Acts 8:6-8) When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
(James 5:14-15) Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.
WHEN WE CAN'T SEE THE GOD'S GOODNESS
Let's be honest, there are times when we pray for healing and nothing happens. Right? What's going on? Randy Clark wrote a doctoral dissertation on healing today. It's called: "A study of the effects of the Christian prayers on pain or mobility restrictions from surgeries involving implanted materials." (2013)
Clark is a legitimate expert on supernatural healing. Clark is also a Jesus-follower who conducts healing services all over the world. He wrote today's featured book, Power to Heal. Clark has witnesses thousands of instant physical healings in his services but, as you might expect, he has wrestled with questions when people don't get well. This is how he resolves the conundrum:
"I have to admit that I cannot figure out why some people are healed and others are not." The Healing Breakthrough, p. 199.
He calls it a mystery. Then he encourages us to do three things (I'm paraphrasing): 1). trust God because he is always good, 2). pray for healing because God is willing and able, 3). praise God even when you cannot see any results because he is always worthy. Pastor Bill Johnson calls it a "sacrifice of praise" because we may not feel like giving it.
OUR RESPONSE TO GOD'S GOODNESS
I am so happy that we, as a church family, believe in supernatural healing. We pray for it and we expect it. However, lately, I have sensed the Lord asking me to emphasize it more. I believe the Lord wants us to show off his goodness to the Blue Water area. And I believe the people around us need to experience the goodness of God. The psalmist wrote, (Psalm 34:8) "Taste and see that the Lord is good." That's an invitation and an instruction. When people experience the Lord's goodness, they find faith to turn to Jesus as God and Savior.
There are at least five ways you and I can respond to today's teaching:
We can learn more. We can study the Bible, read books, ask questions, and connect with people like Randy Clark in order to know how to conduct an effective healing outreach. Let's be intentional about this. I feel called to lead the way, but I also feel that I have so much more to learn.
We can ask for more of the Holy Spirit's presence and power in our lives and in our times together because healing comes from the Lord, not us. I believe we need to seek a fresh baptism, an unmistakeable immersion in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
(Luke 11:13) "... How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Exodus 15:26) I am the Lord, who heals you. (See Psalm 103:3)
We can increase our boldness in prayer. Randy Clark wrote that he has never seen a supernatural healing happen in response to vague prayers. Be bold and risk embarrassment for the sake of making God's goodness known. Sharing Jesus and praying for healing are normal for every Jesus-follower. Let's be normal!
We can start an intentional healing ministry where people can make an appointment to be prayed for; for example on Sunday afternoons from 2-4 PM.
If you're sick and you've prayed for healing and you've seen nothing happen, don't give up yet. Keep asking, keep receiving prayer, keep trusting Jesus.