Posted on 03/14/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
Please pray for me as i live with physical and learning disabilities
My name is Kourosh and I would like to request a prayer for myself. I have an interview on March 30th 2010 and this interview is for my Geen Card acceptance. This interview can determine my life and state for staying in the USA. If this interview does not succeed I could lose my job, house and everything. Please I beg for you to pray for me to get through this interview and the difficult time I have been encountering due to the stress of this situation. I have put my total faith in God and all I can do is to pray day and night. Please pray for blessing on that day and success on my behalf. Please pray for the officer who is going to interview me on that day to have compassion and mercy.
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
HE IS THE KING
He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
O, He is the King!
His name is Jesus, Jesus
sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prison door
And He's able to deliver evermore!
EVEN THE MOUNTAINS
We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high
Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name
I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above
I STAND IN AWE
You are beautiful beyond description
too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
majesty enthroned above
I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about living a life of faith. We talked about how important it is that you and I carefully watch over our heart, for our life springs forth from it. We talked about how we should "arrest" thoughts that do not agree with God's Word, and replace them with speaking the Holy Scriptures over every area of our lives.
Today, I'd like for us to spend just a few minutes talking about the other side of that coin. We've already talked about what WE can do. Now it's time to talk about what ONLY GOD can do!
Maybe you've tried everything known to man to find healing for your body or mind. Maybe you've tried every trick in the book to overcome some sort of fear. And maybe you're like countless people today who struggle with your faith because you see people WITHOUT Jesus displaying the same power, or sometimes more, than you see in the Church.
Well, pay attention for the next 15 minutes or so, because we're going to look at some things together in the Word of God that will hopefully shine some light on these issues.
Holy Spirit, I ask that you would give us ears to hear your Word, and that you would teach us today, in Jesus' name.
The title of today's message is "Our Healer," but we're going to talk about more than just healing. We're going to talk about provision, influence, fulfillment; and actually, these are things that need healing in our lives.
Maybe your finances need to be healed; there are a lot of sick pocketbooks out there today. Maybe your relationships need healing, or your sense of direction, or your faith. Well, I'm not here to talk about the healing techniques of man. Today, I'm going to point to a source of healing that no meditation, no affirmation, no visualization, and no "white light" can bring.
While there may not be anything wrong with these things in and of themselves, we as born again Christians have been given access to a power that is higher than anything those without Christ can possibly access or know.
Now, sometimes God uses doctors, or medicine, or natural remedies, or exercise; sometimes God uses affirmations, certainly confessing His Word is something we should all do, and it can transform our lives; sometimes God uses things that seem strange, and even things that the world uses with great success. After all, the world can observe and take good advantage of the physical and mental laws God wrote which govern all of His creation.
But today, let's put all these things aside. Let's take our focus off of what WE can do, all our great potential as beings created in the image and likeness of God. And instead, let's put our eyes on something even greater than this.
First, let's consider the greatest miracle in history. It's something that we too often dismiss as just an experience, and it's something that is very often faked.
Salvation. Do you know what it is? Salvation. You and I and the whole human race is still-born. We are born under the curse of sin. We are born spiritually dead.
In Genesis 2:16-17 (NKJV), we read this about the beginning of the death of the whole human race. Genesis chapter 2, starting with verse 16:
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Of course many of us have struggled with this, just like any child who begins to question his or her parents' rules. Why did God put the tree there? Well, we could go into that, but I don't want to get off track. God's a whole lot smarter and wiser than we are, and besides, he's God. It's his creation. WE are his creation. He invented "good," and everything he does is good, even if we don't understand it.
But there was a serious price attached to not heeding God's command concerning the forbidden fruit. He said, "In the day you eat of it, you shall surely die." And satan went straight for that warning in the next chapter, verse three. Let's start with verse one of Genesis 3:
Genesis 3:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die."
Of course we could look back upon what happened and could think that the serpent was right. Not only did they live, but they lived for hundreds of years. Maybe the serpent was right. Maybe God was just trying to scare them.
Or was he?
Perhaps the problem back then, just as today, was that mankind depended upon his own understanding instead of upon what God had said. To his natural eyes, they didn't die. They had children and grandchild and great grandchildren and lived to be almost a thousand years old. Wow, that's 25% of the time span of the whole Old Testament -- At least Adam lived a quarter of creation's history before Christ! That's pretty amazing when you think about it. Wasn't he supposed to die 930 years ago? That's what God said.
Well, since God said it, that's exactly what happened. Oh, Adam didn't die physically. That much is obvious. But we notice that before that day he died in the garden, he would walk with God every day. But after the moment he tasted the fruit and he had that last known encounter with God, we don't see anything else about him walking and talking with God.
Adam and Eve did indeed die that day. Their spirits died. They physical bodies and their souls, which many today confuse with the spirit, these lived on. But their spirits were dead.
As Ephesians 2:1 (NKJV) says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
Today, people have what they refer to as "spiritual experiences." They might leave their bodies and talk supposedly with dead loved ones, or travel to places and pick up information they couldn't possibly know if they weren't really leaving their physical bodies. And so they believe it's their spirit.
But unless they have been born again by the Spirit of God, their spirits are dead. They have been cut off from God by the sins we all commit, the nature of sin with which we are born.
And, because we just don't understand God's ways, and our understanding is crippled even more because we don't believe God's Holy Word, we are left with so many false ideas.
Sure, someone having a supposedly spiritual experience such as this can interact with spirits, because spirits can interact with the realm of the soul. But the unbeliever's SPIRIT is dead. And unless they repent of their sins and submit to Jesus as their Lord, they have a very different afterlife waiting for them than their soul journeys have led them to believe.
If you die outside of Jesus, not forgiven for your sins and not spiritually alive, you will face what's called "the second death." The Bible describes that place as being filled with "weeping and gnashing of teeth." It's a pretty extreme fate. But the price Jesus paid to bring us spiritual life is pretty extreme too.
Now, I've said all this to paint a picture, to lay a foundation. People can do some pretty amazing things, and they have what they believe are spiritual experiences that seem to diminish the credibility of spirituality as we see it in the pages of the Holy Bible. Just about anything can be explained away by similar experiences of the soul. But hopefully we now have a better idea of what is REALLY going on in these Christless experiences -- not necessarily witchcraft or something evil, although that is often the case, but these are all things that fall short of the realm in which God is, and we can neither truly replicate or connect with God only by operating in such a pseudo-spiritual environment with our dead spirits.
Our Healer. When Jesus was walking this earth during the 33 years after he was laid in a manger, the last three years before was nailed to the cross, he healed countless people, and even raised the dead back to life.
He didn't wait until the sick people had repeated enough positive affirmations, or until they had changed their diets or exercised. He didn't make them earn their healing. He didn't even make them come to the altar and say a sinner's prayer first.
Instead, those who came to him for help, he healed. Many of them had tried everything else imaginable, and outside of Jesus, they had no hope.
Consider the ten lepers Jesus cleansed. They knew there was no cure at that time for leprosy. But they heard that Jesus was passing by.
Let's read what happened in Luke 17:11-19 (NKJV)
11 Now it happened as Jesus went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
13 And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?
18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"
19 And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."
They didn't all show thanks. They didn't all come worship Jesus. But all ten of them were healed. The common denominator wasn't their demonstrations of thanks and praise, but rather it was their need, and the One they were asking for help.
Notice here that when one of them came and thanked Jesus, he said, "Your faith has made you well." That's something Jesus said on quite a few occasions.
Take for example the lady who had internal bleeding for many years, and who came to Jesus for help.
Let's read her story in Luke 8:42-48 (NKJV)
42b But as Jesus went, the multitudes thronged Him.
43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,
44 came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
45 And Jesus said, "Who touched Me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'"
46 But Jesus said, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me."
47 Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.
48 And He said to her, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
There are those words again, "Your faith has made you well." Have you heard these words of Jesus used to promote faith? I know I have. And that's exactly what he was doing. But not necessarily the type of faith we might think.
This says the woman was hemoraging for twelve years, and she had spent everything she had on doctors, but none of them could help her.
Do you supposed she had at least a little bit of faith in the doctors? She spent every penny she had on them, so surely she thought they could help. And who knows what their treatments were -- perhaps some of them used things that really didn't work in themselves, but the placebo effect caused some people to get better. Who knows. But the placebo effect didn't work for her. No, her problem was beyond the reach of the methods of the world, and her healing was beyond the power of faith alone.
Faith in the doctors didn't heal her. Faith in the medicines and treatments didn't heal her. It was not just a generic faith in healers or their methods. Her faith in men and methods failed her time and time again.
But then she came to Jesus. And she said in her heart, "If I can only touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed." If I can only touch the hem. Her hopes of being healed didn't help her before. But this was the first time her hope and her faith were in Jesus.
And so she touched the hem of his garment. And what happened next? Did she draw energy from the universal powers and heal herself? Or did something quite different happen?
The passage we just read says that power went out from Jesus. Notice that he was thronged by the multitude. He and his disciples probably moved along VERY slowly, because of the great crowd. They were pressing up against him, as the people from further out tried their hardest to get to him.
And then a funny thing happens. Jesus says, "Who touched me?" Even the disciples thought this was strange, because they said, "The multitudes throng and press up against you, and you say, 'who touched me?'" But it says that everyone denied it! Even the ones who were pressed up against him. "No, I didn't do it!" That's pretty funny. Our first reaction to thinking we might be accused of doing something is to say we didn't do it, even if we did.
But the point is that, with all these people thronging him, Jesus knew this lady has simply touched the hem of his garment. And how did he know this? Because power went out from him.
It didn't slow him down any, because immediately after this, he raised someone from the dead, and that at a distance. But power went out, and it went out FROM HIM.
You see, this lady didn't have faith in doctors, this lady didn't have faith in some human healer, this lady didn't have faith in herself or in her own faith; rather, this lady had faith IN JESUS.
And who healed her? Was it herself? Was it her belief? Or was it Jesus?
Her hand touched Jesus' clothes, but her faith touched Jesus' power. And by saying, "Your faith has healed you," Jesus was explaining to this woman that she really touched him by her faith in Jesus -- that and that alone was what resulted in her being healed that day.
And she broke the traditions and rituals we depend upon today.
Did she call upon the elders of the church and have them lay hands upon her? Well, the Bible says this works, but that's not what she did.
Did she ask Jesus to heal her like we see people do time and time again? Well, those people got healed, but that's not what she did.
Did her friends open up the thatched roof and lower her down to where Jesus was? Well, the man whose friends did that was healed, but that's not what she did.
She reached out by faith; and not just ANY faith, but faith in JESUS. She knew the doctors had failed her. She knew medicines and treatments had failed her. She was out of money, and had no hope. No hope, that is, except for Jesus.
Just like the lepers, she had no options. Instead, she had her disease. And she knew where Jesus was.
Do you know where Jesus is today? And are you putting all your hope in him?
Let's take a look at two more healings before we get ready to close today.
First, we remember the man who was born blind. The disciples asked whose sins rendered this man blind, his parents' or his; and Jesus said neither, but that this was to show the glory of God.
Let's pick this up in John 9:6-7 (NKJV)
6 When Jesus had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.
7 And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
We might do well to notice one very important detail here. Most of the people Jesus healed were healed at his touch or at his word. But this man had to do something. The man wasn't healed when the clay touched his eyes. And he wasn't healed when Jesus told him to go and wash. Rather, he was healed after he obeyed the Word of the Lord.
He could have wiped off the clay and went his way blind. He could have stopped somewhere closer and washed his eyes, and he would have returned blind.
But Jesus had something else in mind. And one thing this story tells us is that, while he wasn't made blind because of sin, he WAS HEALED because of OBEDIENCE.
Maybe you've already put all your hope in Jesus, and you have faith in him to heal you. But have you obeyed him? And have you obeyed his Holy Word?
I think sometimes we're a bit more like Naaman. He had leprosy. Horrible and, at that time, incurable. So he went to the man of God. And the prophet Elisha sent a messenger to answer the door. And instead of inviting this man inside, the messenger told Naaman to go wash himself in the Jordan river seven times.
Let's pick this up in 2 Kings 5:11-15a (NKJV)
11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.'
12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage.
13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"
14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, "Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel."
Naaman was expecting something he was used to. But he was met with a word from the Lord. And it made him angry. Why was this supposed man of God not just waving his hand and praying? Why instead did the prophet send someone else to the door, telling Naaman to go to a muddy river in Israel and actually get in that nasty water and bathe? Not just once, but seven times?
If you can see the overhead, you should see a picture of the Jordan river. It doesn't exactly look inviting, to say the least. There could be snakes, leaches, or any number of nasty things in there. Not to mention, after dipping your whole body under THAT water, you're bound to come up more dirty each time.
But if Naaman had washed in any other water, he would not have been healed. He had to swallow down his religious pride, and wade out into this nasty pool of mud and go down under this water seven times.
The first time, he still had leprosy. The second time, he still had leprosy. The third time, he was still not healed. I dare say there was not even any change whatsoever.
Sounds like the children of Israel as they marched around the walls of Jericho seven days, and on the last day, seven times. It made no sense. It didn't fit their traditions and religious rituals. There was absolutely no rhymn or reason. And, even as they finished the very last time around the walls, there was absolutely no change whatsoever.
But that just points us back to faith -- and not faith in a ritual or tradition, or even in faith itself, but faith in God, in Jesus Christ, in Our Healer.
He might just lay his hand on you or speak the word, and a miracle could happen. Or maybe you'll see something amazing take place when you reach out to him by faith. Or he might be waiting for you to obey him before you see things happen.
The point is that your faith cannot be in Jesus doing something the way you expect; your faith cannot be in "touching the hem of his garment" because it worked for the woman; your faith cannot be in doing some ritual like dipping in muddy water or marching around city walls seven times.
Instead, your faith must be in Jesus himself, and the rest will take care of itself. Do you have faith in Jesus alone? Then you'll wash in a muddy river if he says; regardless of where he leads or what he does or doesn't do or how he does it, your faith isn't in his methods, but in HIM.
The hem of his garment isn't the healer, HE is. The pool of Siloam isn't the healer, HE is. Your obedience isn't the healer, HE is.
And let's face it, we all need healing of one kind or another. We can spend all our time and energy looking in place after place, or we can put all our faith in Jesus.
Sure, he might lead us to go see a doctor, or do this or that; but even when other things seem to help, our faith still is not in them, but in the one who created the universe and who wrote all its laws. And so many times, all the methods in the world simply won't work. But God is our Healer, as he says in Exodus 15:26, "I Am the LORD who heals you."
I'd like anyone here today who's on the ministry team to please come stand at the front.
Some of you have carried around the weight of heavy burdens for years. Well, I believe the Holy Spirit is here today, and right there in the place where you are, ready to confirm his Word with signs following.
Cry out to Jesus. Reach out for him. And do whatever he says.
*** listen to the audio for the rest of the altar call and closing remarks ***