Sunday, May 3, 2009

Healing and Mercy: Complementary Gifts

If we liken members of the Body to flavors of Ice Cream, then there will be NO plain vanilla! Everything would be exciting and fresh. Full of color and flavor. While there is nothing wrong with vanilla, there is so many other flavors to enjoy. We each have a place and a unique contribution to make in the Church, believe me! Unity in the midst of diversity.

Illustration: Doctors Have Faith in Faith
A survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows that ninety-nine percent of doctors believe a relationship exists between faith and physical healing. In the mid 1990’s, more than one thousand health-care professionals met at Harvard Medical School to examine the connection between spirituality and healing.

Doctors’ faith in faith was bolstered by a California study of the effect of prayer on recovery from heart problems. About two hundred heart patients were assigned to Christians, who prayed for them, while an equal number, a control group, received no known prayers. Neither group knew about the prayers, yet those who received prayer developed half the complications that were experienced by those in the control group.

A similar study by the Dartmouth Medical School examined the effect of prayer on healing when the patients prayed for themselves. The death rate six months after bypass surgery was 9 percent for the general population but 5 percent for those who prayed for their own healing. And none of the deeply religious patients died during the period of the study.

The Associated Press, quoted in “Religion in the News,” Signs of the Times, 03/97, p. 4

Healing contributes to WHOLENESS in the Body 癒し

Again, all the gifts support and add to the function of the Body of Christ in the World.
All the gifts add to the impact of the Gospel in the community.
All point to the Person of Jesus and should point away from the individual.

From the Book of Acts, we can see the New Church exercise this very visible gift, from Peter to Paul. Look at ACTS 3:1-12.

This gift of Healing is usually associated with the starting of the Work of God in a new area of mission. The new Believers just acted on, what it seems to be, impulse. But, we can see that it was a moving of God---all pointing to the Saving Grace of the God/Man, Jesus, the Christ.

In the proclamation of the Gospel, Jesus instructs us to preach the Word and heal people who need healing.
MATTHEW 10:1 He called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

And again, later in MATTHEW 10:7-8 as you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[diseases affecting the skin] drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

LUKE 6:17-19 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of His disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.

MARK 6:13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

JAMES 5:13-16 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

It is no wonder why the Church in Corinth had such a fascination with the gifts as they were very exciting and brought a great deal of attention to the growth of the Church. However, the teachings of the Lord and of the Apostles all was clear that any gift is to be used in a Godly manner and not to be lifted up above the rest.

We can understand these gifts in light of certain traits:
1. The ability to call on God to heal by supernatural means.
2. This was a special function to demonstrate the Power & Glory of God.
Careful not to seek personal glory…

Study how Jesus, Peter and Paul used it…

The goal, if there is a goal other than bringing Glory to God, is to restore the person to wholeness. To bring restoration to the sick and diseased. This can be done in the physical side of human experience or in the mind. In many places in the Old and New Testament, healing was used by God to bring an authentic message from God through this healing.

It was demonstrated by three ways:
A. Prayer
B. Touch
C. Word.

Jesus prayed and a girl was healed miles away (MATT 8:13) , blind man received sight buy His touch (MATT 9:26-28), and Peter spoke, the lame man is healed. (ACTS 3:1-17)

Back when Jesus touched the blind man, or the woman who was bleeding for many years touched Jesus, or when Jesus touched the dead youth, or healed the sick daughter, or set a demon filled youth free, or touched an old woman with a crippling growth in the Temple … all these showed the Power of God and lead many to seek the Person doing these healings. Some even went the other way and tried to discredit Jesus or even sought ways to kill him. Note that not all those who were touched showed signs of conversion after. There was a bigger picture: that of giving Glory to the King on kings and Lord of lords.

Read EPH 4:7-8, 11-13

MERCY Contributes CARE to the Body of Christ

ROM 12:8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Many times in the Gospels, people cry out to the Lord: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" MARK 10:47, MATT 15:22, 17:15.
In the teaching on the mountain found in MATTHEW 5:7 Jesus teaches: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

In both MATTHEW 9:13 HOSEA 6:6, mercy is more desirable than sacrifice.

In the Bible mercy is tied to an act of God in response to the giving of something that is not warranted, not deserved. God’s Mercy is given to lost people who deserve God’s wrath. Mercy is connected so many times with the giving of the GOSPEL.

In the book of ROMANS 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. It is part of our response to His response toward us. He gives mercy and we respond to it with our open hearts and with cheer.

Again, the Gospel is full of God’s Mercy, as is found in
TITUS 3:4-6 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.

HEBREWS 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

And again in JAMES 2:13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

One who has this gift, is one who without condemnation, understands hurt in people. They would console them deeply. They would offer comfort to those in pain, empathize (sympathize) with them, and provide support to them. They would tend to be people who could address the deep needs of the lonely and forgotten. They could express love, grace and dignity to those who face hardships and crisis.

They would serve in difficult and hard or unsightly circumstances and do so cheerfully. In that case, they would be concerning themselves with individual or social issues that oppress people. They would tend to be global in their scope and local in their actions.

In short, they would be characterized as being perceptive, consoling and non-judgmental. They would feel comfortable working in areas that would serve people, and contribute toward growth and healing in their lives. They would experience satisfaction from being able to offer another person care and show concern where the person needed it most.

On the down side, they might tend not to understand how to evaluate the intentions of others—being so trusting. They would then have a history of experiencing pain from being used. They will need to learn the balance of God’s Mercy and justice. They would feel very comfortable being around people who tend to show being ones who exhort others.

But in all things, if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Mercy and Healing bring the human practical side to needs of the people.

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Next week, May 10, we will look at the Spiritual gift of Miracles. On May 17, ICCS's Intern will be sharing from God's word in Japanese. The service will be followed by our Covered Dish. Please bring some food to share in this Love Feast!
See you next week at 10:30 AM.