One Touch

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

As Jesus was on His way to the house of Jairus, a synagogue ruler, to heal his daughter who was on the verge of death, a crowd pressed in around Him.  The people had heard Jesus was on His way to do something supernatural, something miraculous and they wanted a ticket to that show, so a huge entourage followed Jesus as they hurried to Jairus’ house.  As Jesus and the multitude of people passed by, there was a woman who heard that Jesus, the healer she had heard opened blind eyes and made the lame to walk and the deaf to hear and she thought, if I can just get to Jesus and even touch Him, I will get the healing miracle I need.

This woman is nameless in scripture.  She is simply identified by her condition-the woman with the issue of blood. For 12 years this woman had been bleeding constantly.  I’m sure she was weak and anemic.  She had been to all the best doctors, the specialists who had made promises and given her hope only to leave her with no cure and no money because she had spent it all on the doctors.  Her hope had drained along with her money but then she heard that Jesus was passing by and new hope sprung up within her.  She knew she needed to get to Him.

But Jesus hadn’t come for her, He was on His way to heal someone else.  That didn’t stop her.  Jesus had a huge crowd of people around Him.  That didn’t stop her.  Jesus didn’t stop for her.  But that didn’t stop her.  Jesus didn’t even look her direction.  No, instead of waiting for Jesus to come to her, she went to Him.  She pressed through the crowd, all the while saying over and over, if I can just but touch the hem of his garment, I will be made whole.

Think of some of the obstacles she had to climb over to get to Jesus.  She had to climb over the religious obstacles.  The law said she couldn’t touch anyone but she climbed over the law and said if I can just touch Him.  She had to climb over her history. She had been to all the best doctors only to leave disappointed.  But she climbed over her history, saying if I can just touch Him.  She had to climb over the crowd that was pressing in around Jesus saying, if I can just touch Him.  And she got to Jesus and she simply touched the hem of His garment and healing power flowed from Jesus and the Bible says immediately she was healed.  Immediately.  She had been sick for 12 years but immediately she was healed.  It didn’t take 12 years for the condition to get better, the moment she touched the hem of Jesus garment, immediately she was made whole.

I don’t know what you might need from Jesus today and I don’t know how long you have needed it, but I believe like this woman, if you can just touch Him, you will be made whole.  You may have some obstacles to climb over.  You may have to climb over religion, past disappointment, people, or whatever it is that stands between you and Jesus but if you can just touch Him, you can be made whole-physically, relationally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, in any area of your life.  All you need to do is reach out and touch Him.  It doesn’t matter where you touch Him, only that you touch Him. All it takes is just one touch and you can be made whole.

One Touch

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

As Jesus was on His way to the house of Jairus, a synagogue ruler, to heal his daughter who was on the verge of death, a crowd pressed in around Him.  The people had heard Jesus was on His way to do something supernatural, something miraculous and they wanted a ticket to that show, so a huge entourage followed Jesus as they hurried to Jairus’ house.  As Jesus and the multitude of people passed by, there was a woman who heard that Jesus, the healer she had heard opened blind eyes and made the lame to walk and the deaf to hear and she thought, if I can just get to Jesus and even touch Him, I will get the healing miracle I need.  

This woman is nameless in scripture.  She is simply identified by her condition-the woman with the issue of blood. For 12 years this woman had been bleeding constantly.  I’m sure she was weak and anemic.  She had been to all the best doctors, the specialists who had made promises and given her hope only to leave her with no cure and no money because she had spent it all on the doctors.  Her hope had drained along with her money but then she heard that Jesus was passing by and new hope sprung up within her.  She knew she needed to get to Him.  

But Jesus hadn’t come for her, He was on His way to heal someone else.  That didn’t stop her.  Jesus had a huge crowd of people around Him.  That didn’t stop her.  Jesus didn’t stop for her.  But that didn’t stop her.  Jesus didn’t even look her direction.  No, instead of waiting for Jesus to come to her, she went to Him.  She pressed through the crowd, all the while saying over and over, if I can just but touch the hem of his garment, I will be made whole.  

Think of some of the obstacles she had to climb over to get to Jesus.  She had to climb over the religious obstacles.  The law said she couldn’t touch anyone but she climbed over the law and said if I can just touch Him.  She had to climb over her history. She had been to all the best doctors only to leave disappointed.  But she climbed over her history, saying if I can just touch Him.  She had to climb over the crowd that was pressing in around Jesus saying, if I can just touch Him.  And she got to Jesus and she simply touched the hem of His garment and healing power flowed from Jesus and the Bible says immediately she was healed.  Immediately.  She had been sick for 12 years but immediately she was healed.  It didn’t take 12 years for the condition to get better, the moment she touched the hem of Jesus garment, immediately she was made whole.

I don’t know what you might need from Jesus today and I don’t know how long you have needed it, but I believe like this woman, if you can just touch Him, you will be made whole.  You may have some obstacles to climb over.  You may have to climb over religion, past disappointment, people, or whatever it is that stands between you and Jesus but if you can just touch Him, you can be made whole-physically, relationally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, in any area of your life.  All you need to do is reach out and touch Him.  It doesn’t matter where you touch Him, only that you touch Him. All it takes is just one touch and you can be made whole.   

 

 

I have been dealing with this question a lot lately, as I have been preaching a message series on healing.  I believe it is always God’s will for someone to be healed.  Let me give you some reasons why I believe this to be true from Scripture.   

1.  Before sin entered the world, the earth existed as God intended for it to be.  Was there any sickness, pain, disease, decay or death? No.  That was God’s perfect will.  

2.  In the new heavens and new earth described in Revelation, will there be any sickness, pain, disease, decay or death?  No.  That’s God’s perfect will.  

3.  Jesus is perfect theology.  Jesus never embraced sickness as a friend.  He never turned away anyone wanting to be healed.  On several occasions the gospels indicated He healed all who came to Him for healing.  He never once said to anyone, “It is not God’s will for you to be healed. You are learning many valuable lessons through your sickness.”

4.  Jesus paid for our sickness with our sins.  Isaiah 53:4-5 says, Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Some want to say that only had to do with our spiritual healing from sin.  However, a careful reading of the gospels shows this is linked not just with spiritual healing but physical healing.  In Matthew 8:17 quoting from Isaiah 53:4 it says that the physically healing ministry of Jesus was fulfillment of this prophesy.  Jesus died for sickness and disease.  

You might wonder, if it is always God’s will to heal then why doesn’t everyone get healed?  To be honest, I don’t know.  I wish I could answer that question fully but I can’t.  But I do not believe the problem lies with healing not being God’s will.  How many know God’s will is not always done in this world?  Sin entered this world and things like sickness, pain, disease, decay and death came with it.  Jesus taught us to pray your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is heaven.   The very prayer itself indicates that God’s will is not always done or we would not have to pray for His will to be done.  God’s will is to heal.  We can’t lower the standard of scripture to our level of experience or maybe inexperience.  The Bible tells us to pray in faith.  How could we pray for healing in faith if we are not sure it is God’s will?  I have often heard the prayer for healing with the caveat, Lord if it be your will.  That sounds noble, that’s how I prayed for years, after all we wouldn’t want to act as though we are trying to force God to heal someone outside of His will.  But is that a prayer of faith?  If we know it’s God’s will to “forgive all our sins and heal our diseases” (Psalm 103:3) then we can pray with faith!

For more information on healing today check out my new book So Much More.  

A few days ago, I read a news story about Kim Kardashian tweeting that she was “praying for everyone in Israel.”  Now I don’t know much about Kim or if she even understood what she was saying but what amazed me was that in a matter of minutes she received so much backlash, name calling, even death threats that she ended up apologizing for the tweet and taking it down.  How sad that so many people stand so adamantly opposed to Israel.

What I have found as I’ve talked to believers about our need to support Israel is that there are those who shout “Amen!  Preach it brother!”  Those who believe that it is an ignorant position.  And those who simply want to ask , “Why?  Why should we stand with Israel?”

Let me give you some Biblical reasons why we must stand with Israel.

1.     Israel was a nation chosen and established by God Himself.

All other nations of the world were created as an act of man, but the Bible is clear that Israel was chosen and established as a nation by God.

Genesis 12:1-2a The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.“I will make you into a great nation… (NIV)

Additional passages Genesis 13:14-18, 15:1-21, 17:4-8, 22:15-18, 26:1-5 and Psalm 89:28-37

2.  God promises a special blessing to people or nations who bless Israel.

Gen 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (NIV)

History has proven this to be true time and again, that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God and the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.  There is argument among many as to whether America was established as a Christian nation or not, but one thing is for sure, America has been blessed by God and I think one of the major reasons is that this nation has stood firmly with Israel.  Pray that this will continue!

3.  Israel is a unique and special people to God.

Deuteronomy 14:2 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the people who are on the face of the earth. (NKJV)

Psalm 135:4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel as his peculiar treasure. (KJV)

4.  God has made declarations about the land of Israel that have never been rescinded.

There are many such promises in scripture but I believe one of the most powerful comes from Amos 9:14-15 Where God says, “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel,
And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them;
They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine,
And make gardens and eat their fruit.“I will also plant them on their land,
And they will not again be rooted out from their land
 which I have given them.  ”
Says the Lord your God.

Make no mistake about it, God himself has declared that Israel was to be planted in their land never again to be rooted out of it.  And notice it says God is the one who has given them this land!

5.  Because we owe the Jewish people a debt for what we have received through them.

Romans 9:4-5 says that to the Israelites “pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God and the promises, of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh Christ came who is over all, the eternally blessed God.  (NKJV)

The adoption:  God chose the seed of Abraham to adopt as His own special people.

The glory: Israel experienced the manifest presence of God as He revealed Himself through them.

The covenants:  The covenants God made with them through Abraham, Moses, and the New Covenant.

Jesus Christ:  The greatest gift came through Jesus-a Jew.  Even Jesus himself declared “Salvation is of the Jews.”

6.  We are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Psalm 122:6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  They shall prosper that love thee.”  (KJV)

7.   Christians have a common destiny with Israel.

We long for the promise to be fulfilled of the return of King Jesus to rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem in the Messianic kingdom.  If we truly believe the Bible that this will happen, then we must stand with Israel and believe in her future good.

Zechariah 14:16-19 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.  If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (NKJV)

Micah 4:1-2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills;
 And peoples shall flow to it.Many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob:  He will teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  (NKJV)

As I was just finishing this blog, I received a breaking news alert that a cease fire has been reached that should stop the bombing in Israel and Gaza.  That’s awesome!  But it does not change our need to pray for and stand with the people of Israel.

You Will Have What You Say

Posted: October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

There is a story recorded in the Bible that I can not seem to get off my mind lately. It is a familiar story, yet as I was rereading it not long ago, I noticed something that had never caught my attention before and it got me thinking.

The Israelites have been led by Moses out of slavery in Egypt. They were headed to a new land, a land God had promised was going to be theirs. Along the way, there had been no shortage of miracles to confirm God was in this. There had been the ten plagues that had released them from Egypt.  When they left Egypt and the Egyptian army chased after them, they came to the Red Sea with nowhere to go-God parted the sea and they crossed on dry land and then the waters closed back in drowning the Egyptian army behind them.  When they were hungry, God fed them-manna and quail. When they were thirsty, God brought water from a rock. God guided them with His own GPS, a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. So clearly the Israelites had both a promise from God to give them the land and miracle after miracle to confirm He was in this!

Now, the Israelites found themselves on the edge of the land God promised to give them. They sent twelve spies in to check out the land. They all saw the same things-an unbelievably lush and prosperous land.  But they also saw the land was occupied by these huge giants.  Compared to these guys they felt like grasshoppers just waiting to be stepped on. Yet, even though all twelve spies had the exact same report on their lips, the spies came to very different conclusions. Ten said, “The land is amazing but there are giants in the land who will crush us.  We can’t take the land.”  The other two also said, “The land is amazing and we will surely take the land because God has promised this to us.”

Now here is the part of the story that caught my attention. The people began to grumble and complain saying in effect, “We would be better off to die here in the wilderness than to die at the sword trying to take the land.”  God was very angry and said this in  Numbers 14:28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you SAY.  You say you would be better off to die in the wilderness?   I will do to you what I heard you say.  

As I have been processing this, I believe there are huge implications for us.  Israel had a promise from God.  We know it was God’s will to give them the land.  Did God keep His word?  Eventually-with the next generation.  But these people missed God’s best, God’s promise, God’s blessing and died in the wilderness because of what they said.

We have many promises from God in His word.  Promises for salvation, healing, deliverance, financial provision and much more.  We need to declare His word and stand on His word.  For instance, you read the Bible and see God says, “I am the Lord your God who heals all of your diseases.  By His stripes I am healed.”  And you declare that word over your life and you say, “God, I declare you are my healer.  I am trusting you for healing.  Thank you for healing me.”  But then you go to the doctor and the report is not good.  What do you do?  Do you start to grumble and repeat what hear and see?  Or do you by faith, continue to declare the promises of God?  Or you read in God’s word, I will provide all of your needs.  I am Jehovah Jireh-God who provides.  And you declare, “God I trust you!  You are my provider. Thank you in advance for meeting all of my needs.”  Then you receive an unexpected bill and find yourself overwhelmed to make ends meet.  Do you declare the word of God or start grumbling about how big the giants are?

The amazing thing is that we, like the Israelites just might be missing out on God’s best, God’s promises, God’s blessing because God says to us, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say.  The Bible tells us the righteous walk by faith and not sight.  Do you trust and declare the promises of God no matter what you see?  Or do you get overwhelmed by the giants and start to grumble and demonstrate a lack of faith?

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  Be careful what you say!  It demonstrates what you really believe in your heart and you just may miss out on God’s best for your life because like the Israelites, you will have what you say.

Charismatic not Charismaniac

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

As many of you who follow my blog know, this past year I left a nine year ministry in a large church that I loved and was very comfortable in to start a new church. Why? Because over the past few years, God slowly and lovingly began to change my theology concerning the Holy Spirit from one in which I really didn’t expect the Holy Spirit to work in the same way today He did in Bible times, to a new conviction through both study and personal experience, that indeed the Holy Spirit can and does want to still work to do supernatural stuff in our world today.

So I a new church-a charismatic church. What I have found is that with this new experience of leading a charismatic church have come some interesting conversations. People have some preconceived ideas either through stories they’ve heard, bad past personal experiences, or just ideas in their head about what to expect at “this kind of church.” I have repeatedly talked to friends and even family members who weren’t sure they wanted to visit because “I’m not a holy roller” or “that Holy Spirit stuff freaks me out” or “that’s not for me.”

However, what I have found as I have been able to get some of these people to set aside their preconceived ideas and let their defenses down and actually visit the church is that they inevitable will come back saying, “that wasn’t what I thought it would be like at all. That wasn’t weird at all. That was powerful. I really sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

And all this has gotten me thinking-what do people really expect? That we are going to be handling snakes, drinking poison, having a free for all where anyone and everyone who wants to stands up and prophesy or speak in tongues in the service can do so at the same time? And through conversations I have had on a deeper level I have found that is exactly what most of these people expected.

And honestly I get it because there are some churches out there where weird and whacked out stuff and utter chaos in a church service is attributed to the Holy Spirit. But we are not charismaniacs. We are charismatics. When the Holy Spirit is poured out on a church things happen that cannot be explained by human effort and ingenuity but only by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The supernatural becomes natural. But a true charismatic church is not weird or whacked out. Let me tell you want to expect at Freedom Fellowship.

  • A church that preaches Jesus as our Savior and Lord through His death burial and resurrection.
  • A church that believes that the same Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus, the same Holy Spirit that was poured out on the church on Pentecost, the same Holy Spirit who empowered the apostles in the book of Acts to do signs and wonders and miracles is still the same Holy Spirit available to do the same things in the church today.
  • A church that believes the baptism of the Holy Spirit is available to all believers.
  • A church that believes all the spiritual gifts available in Bible times are still active in the world today and we allow manifestations of these gifts to be part of our worship services in a “decent and orderly” way.
  • A church that seeks the presence of the Holy Spirit in our services as we worship exuberantly.
  • A church that prays with faith, anticipation and expectation that God will move in response to our prayers.

You will not see us…

  • Drinking poison
  • Handling snakes
  • Barking like dogs
  • Biting the heads off of chickens
  • Or allowing chaos in our worship services

We are charismatics not charismaniacs. Come check us out!

I was thinking today about some of the lessons I have been learning over the past few months since planting Freedom Fellowship. Thought I would share the top 10.
1. The book of Acts is the best blueprint for church planting that exists! I have read several books on church planting. Most focus on methods and strategy but the blueprint in the book of Acts is completely about what happens to a church when the Holy Spirit is in charge. I’m in!
2. Planting a church is much harder work than I thought. In fact, I am finding it to be much harder work than it was being a megachurch pastor.
3. I can’t let myself get too high or too low. Numbers are up, numbers are down. People come, people go. Successes happen and so do failures. I can’t let myself get too caught up in all that.
4. Spiritual warfare increased when I stepped out in faith to plant a church. The devil hates it when something significant is happening for the kingdom of God. I have seen more direct attacks in recent months than in many years of ministry.
5. God is always faithful. People aren’t always so faithful. Thank God He has given me a bunch of people who are!
6. My plans and programs can’t hold a candle to what happens when the Holy Spirit shows up and does His work.
7. Planting a church can sometimes make you feel isolated from other pastors and leaders.
8. Praying for the work and getting others praying for the work is not optional. Prayers really do make a difference!
9. People will surprise you. Many people I was confident would be part of supporting the work financially and/or be part of the church plant have said no; while others I didn’t know well or wasn’t so sure about have been incredibly supportive and involved.
10. Church planting is really fun! I am having a blast! It’s so exciting to see God build a new work.

Dreams

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

The following piece is not original with me.  A friend emailed it to me today but it so resonated with my heart and my dreams for our church at Freedom Fellowship that I just had to share it.  It is attributed to a man by the name of Jim Graham.  I do not know him but based on his dreams for the church, I am pretty sure I would like him.  I did revise it slightly but not significantly.

I dream of a church that is founded on a love for Jesus rather than meeting our personal needs and fulfilling our preconceived ideas and preferences. That’s my dream.

I dream of a church so filled with the Holy Spirit that it becomes an utterly attractive community of God’s presence and God’s power. That’s my dream.

I dream of a church where seekers find reality in an eternal relationship with God and His Christ. That’s my dream.

I dream of a church where the sick are healed morally, spiritually, mentally, physically, psychologically and relationally.

I dream of a church where the oppressed are liberated, where the broken are cared for and where they are mended for God’s eternal purposes. That’s my dream.

I dream of a church where the poor are helped and given a new perspective and hope.

I dream of a church where families are restored and God’s order gloriously and gratefully established.

I dream of a church where addicts are set free and stabilized with a loving Godly discipline.

I dream of a church where people are empowered to become all that God created them to be.

All I can say is wow!  He articulated so well the dreams God has placed on my heart for Freedom Fellowship.  I am praying that God will continue to pour His Spirit out on Freedom Fellowship and make it a church where all of these dreams become reality!

 

Limiting God

Posted: May 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

I have been wondering lately how much I/we miss out on that God wants to do in our lives, our families, our workplaces, our communities, our churches, our nation and even our world simply because we do not ask, we ask with wrong motives, we don’t really have a lot of expectation for the miraculous or we simply limit God by our unbelief.  Is that possible?  Can we really limit what God wants to do, how He wants to bless us, miracles that He wants to bring?  I believe so.

The Bible is full of scriptures that indicate what we receive from God is connected to how we ask, how we seek God, what we expect and how much faith we really have.

Here are some verses I am reflecting on and I invite you to join me.

When Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth it says this of His ministry there.. because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. (Mark 6:5 NLT). Notice it did not say Jesus WOULD not do many miracles there but rather He COULD not do do many miracles there. The Son of God was limited by the unbelief of the people.  I wonder how much they missed out on?  What Jesus wanted to do for them but couldn’t?  How many sick people would have been healed. But he could not do it because of their unbelief.

In Matthew 9 Jesus encountered a couple of blind men who cried out for mercy.  They were looking for Jesus to heal them.  Then notice what happens next.  It says, When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”“Yes, Lord,” they replied.Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”;  (Matthew 9:28-29 NIV) Jesus tells these men they are going to receive their sight.  Not because they are good, deserving, beg, plead, but simply because of their faith.  According to your faith it will done to you.

Sometimes, we limit God simply because we do not ask or if we do ask our motives are impure.  You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  (James 4:2-3 NIV)

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:21-22)  Now, I do not believe this means if we have faith God will always answer our prayers the way that we want.  We are not God-He is.  But He is a good dad who loves to pour out blessings upon His children.  He only wants to give us good gifts, not snakes or scorpions.  But again, if we ask and don’t really believe God choose to limit Himself by our unbelief.

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. ’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NASB) Could it be there is so much more God wants to show us, tell us, do for us, that can not be physically or mentally figured out by humans but the God of this universe wants to impart as knowledge to use that we miss out on, because we don’t really take time to call out to God and listen for His answer?

These are just a few of many, many verses that say the same thing, God wants to do amazing things, miraculous things, signs, wonders and miracles in our lives and in our churches but sometimes we put limits on what He can do.  In Habakkuk 1:5 God says this to His people, “Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.  Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He wants to do things that will blows us away, that we can’t even believe if He were to tell us.  Let’s not limit God!

The Whole Gospel

Posted: May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

A friend recently relayed this story to me.  Some people  approached Pastor Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA whose church is known for an emphasis on healing and critically said, “Pastor Bill, healing is not the whole gospel.”  Bill thought for a moment and then replied, “Neither is the gospel whole without healing.”  I have not been able to get that exchange off of my mind.

Is it true?  Is healing part of the good news that Jesus came to bring?  Because if it is, I have not been in many churches that seem to emphasize this aspect of the good news.

What does the Bible say?

Matthew 4:23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.  When Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom, it clearly included healing disease and sickness.

Matthew 10:1, 7 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness…. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘ The kingdom of heaven is at hand. ’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.  Not only did Jesus include healing in the gospel of the kingdom, when He sent His disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, He gave them authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast out demons.

Luke 9:6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.  Again, we see when the disciples were sent out to preach the gospel, healing was connected to it.

Luke 10:8-9 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘ The kingdom of God has come near to you. ’  Jesus is once again very clear.  When you preach the gospel, the good news of the kingdom, don’t separate it from a demonstration of the presence of the kingdom.  Heal the sick.

Matthew 8:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “ HE Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” The Old Testament prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah, Jesus, would take our infirmities and carry away our diseases.  Matthew records as Jesus healed, He fulfilled this prophecy.  In that same prophecy, Isaiah mentioned that He would take our sins and carry our iniquities.  No one would disagree that forgiveness of sins is part of the good news of the gospel, yet in the same prophecy, Isaiah says healing is also part of the gospel.

Mark 16:17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  Over and over again we see, the good news of the kingdom was not just a message of forgiveness, but a demonstration of the power of God through healing.  As you read through the book of Acts, you see over and over again as the good news was preached, people were healed.  Clearly the gospel is not whole without healing.

One more.  In Matthew 9, Jesus tells a lame man his sins are forgiven.  The scribes wonder, what is this all about.  And Jesus knowing their thoughts says this in Matthew 9:5-6  Which is easier, to say, ‘ Your sins are forgiven, ’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk ’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.   The man wanted healed.  He got healed but Jesus didn’t address the physical problem alone.  He forgave His sin.  Once again, Jesus connected the gospel with healing.  The two are inseparable.  A pastor friend of mine was preaching on this passage recently and he said something to this effect-if you are in a church that doesn’t believe they have been given authority to offer healing to the sick, how can you know they have been given authority to offer forgiveness to sinners?  Great question.

The New Testament strategy for evangelism always included healing.  I believe our strategy should as well.  You can not separate the words of the gospel from the works of the gospel.  Healing is definitely not the whole gospel.  But neither is the gospel whole without healing.