The God Who Heals
(2 Chron. 7:13-16; Acts 9:1-9, 17-18; Mark 5:25-34;
Mark 2:1-12; Matt. 6:25-34)
“The movie Simon Birch follows a boy with stunted growth who has a clear sense that God has an important plan for his life. Little Simon is often met with obstacles and opposition, but he plods on through life until he really does become a hero.
Simon and his friend Joe do everything together, even though they are an odd pair. The unlikely Simon is always talking about the great plans God has for his life, but Joe is always doubtful. Joe has been deeply wounded by growing up without a father, and simply cannot move from cynicism to true faith.
Early in the movie, Simon and Joe are heading home from the swimming hole. As Simon and Joe wander through a field of wildflowers, they turn to discussing destiny and the role of faith.
Simon: But things will be different…once God makes me a hero.
Joe: You know, you shouldn't talk about this hero stuff, Simon.
Simon: Why not?
Joe: Because it's weird. The other kids tease you enough as it is.
Simon: I don't care. It's the truth.
Joe: But you don't have any proof.
Simon: I don't need proof, I have faith. Your problem is that you have no faith.
Joe: I got faith. I just want proof to back it up.
In the end, Simon does become a great hero, even though it leads to his death. Many years later, as Joe reflects on Simon's life, he can't help but finally move to a place of faith as well.
Elapsed time: DVD scene 6, 00:17:13–00:17:43. Rated PG
Simon Birch (Buena Vista 1998), written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson; submitted by Bill White, Paramount, California.
Our natural desire is to have proof of God’s existence or to have Him speak to us before we’ll take a step of faith
Often times, but not always, God is waiting for us to take the step of faith toward Him, before He does the miraculous or speaks to us
In the midst of difficulties, it can be hard to have faith in God’s ability to heal spiritually, physically, and financially
As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to take the necessary steps of faith, toward God, even when we have spiritual doubts, physical illness, and financial struggles. Our natural desire will be to demand signs from God before we move in faith. Now more than every we need to remember that . . .
BIG IDEA – God has the power to heal every area of our lives.
Today’s message is going to be done in a way that is different than usual. We are going to look at healing in three areas: spiritual, physical, and financial. As we complete each area, we are going to spend time praying through the Scriptures we’ve looked at and then responding in worship.
Spiritual Healing (Acts 9:1-19; 2 Chronicles 7:13-16)
There are certainly many passages of Scripture we could use to talk about spiritual healing
I’ve only chosen two passages
One will focus on spiritual healing for those who have never believed in Jesus
The second passage focuses on believers who have turned away from the Lord
Unsaved (Acts 9:1-19)
Read Acts 9:1-19
We are all familiar with this story of Saul’s conversion (we know Saul by his Greek name, Paul)
He was zealous for God and the Jewish way of religion, but Jesus’ arrival on earth had transformed religion to a relationship with Jesus
Change came hard for the religious leaders (chief priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees)
They continued to try to stop the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and Saul was the ring leader
But everything changed on the road to Damascus
Saul had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus
Jesus arrested him and stopped him in his tracks
We see the glory of God surrounding Saul, and Jesus questioning him
God’s glory temporarily blinded Saul – that’s how magnificent His glory is
PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s glory is beyond compare (magnificent)!
Ananias used by God
God used a follower of Jesus Christ to restore Saul’s sight
God used Ananias to bring physically healing to Saul’s eyes
God has the power to heal every area of our lives
This is an important principle for us to understand
PRINCIPLE #2 – God uses His people to help others come to Jesus.
We learn from this interaction that Saul was God’s chosen instrument to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the Gentiles and their kings
Saul was transformed
We see Saul praying, basically for three days’ straight
I’m guessing that his prayers were different now
After having his sight restored, Saul gets baptized
This was an outward expression of an inward decision
He was showing those, who were traveling with him and the believers in Damascus, that he had changed
He was now going to experience being on the other side of persecution
Salvation – the Good News
With Saul, we see a complete 180 degree turn from trying to kill followers of Jesus Christ to sharing with everyone about Jesus Christ
That is what repentance is – a 180 degree turn away from sin and running to Jesus
We’ve all sinned – lying, stealing, blasphemer, adulterer and murderer in our hearts (Romans 3:23)
Punishment for sin is eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23)
God is loving and just
Loving (Romans 5:8)
Just – He has to punish sin
Ecclesiastes 3:17, I thought in my heart, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” (NIV)
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice
His death, burial, and resurrection opened the way for us to be in a right relationship with God
Read Hebrews 10:13-24
Being spiritually healed
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I encourage you to take that step of faith today into spiritual healing
Prayer for salvation (encourage anyone who has never believed to pray after me)
We looked at being spiritually healed for the first time, but we also need to look at being spiritually healed as believers (it’s different concept)
Saved (2 Chronicles 7:13-16)
Read 2 Chronicles 7:13-16
The Lord spoke to Solomon after he had completed the temple and the royal palace
God was basically telling Solomon that the Israelites would turn away from worshiping Him
God gave Solomon a picture of what the discipline of His children would look like
There would be droughts (no rain)
Locusts (bugs) would eat up their produce and grain
Plague among His people
God also shared what steps the Israelites would need to take to stop His discipline of them
Identifies those He is talking to (God’s people, called by His name)
What they would need to do
Humble themselves (put away pride and selfishness)
Pray – talking to God
Seek my face – turning to God instead of anything else
Turn from their wicked ways (repentance)
He will see and hear from heaven
He will forgive their sins
1 John 1:9
We see here the spiritual healing that takes place
He will heal their land
This passage really addresses all three areas of healing
When God says He will heal their land, we have to go back to see what His discipline entailed – the drought and locusts would have devastated their economy/finances – and God promises to bring healing to their finances
The plague would have affected their physical health and God promises to bring physical healing
God has the power to heal every area of our lives
The physical and financial healing will be developed more in the next two points
For now, we need to focus on the spiritual healing aspect
Prayer Prompter: “Lord, thank You that Your glory is reflected in/through . . .” (Acts 9:3)
Prayer Prompter: “Almighty God, thank You that You have the power to . . .” (2 Chronicles 7:13)
Prayer Prompter: “Dear Lord, I confess that I have persecuted You when . . .” (Acts 9:4)
Prayer Prompter: “Righteous Father, I confess that I have not ________ (humbled, prayed, sought Your face, or turn from my wicked ways), please forgive me.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Prayer Prompter: “Gracious God, please help me to hear Your voice and obey Your leading with . . .” (Acts 9:17)
Prayer Prompter: “Loving Lord, I am committing today to __________ (seek humility, pray, seek Your face, repent of my wickedness) so that I can experience Your promise(s) of healing ___________ (spiritually, physically, financially).” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Prayer Prompter: “Precious Savior, help me to obediently take the next step of faith by . . .” (Acts 9:18)
Prayer Prompter: “Faithful Father, thank You that Your eyes are open and Your ears are attentive when I cry out to You about . . .” (2 Chronicles 7:15)
SONG: Jesus Messiah
Physical Healing (Mark 5:25-34; Mark 2:1-12)
I believe that as we take the step of faith into spiritual healing that God promises to sustain and provide for us physically and financially
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching a prosperity gospel
Jesus never promised us that following Him would be easy, spiritually, physically, or financially – you won’t find that in Scripture
But, we know that the all-powerful, Creator of the universe is now our Heavenly Father and He watches over His children and promises to sustain us and provide for us through difficult times
“In my experience, signs follow decisions. The way you overcome spiritual inertia and produce spiritual momentum is by making tough decisions. And the tougher the decision, the more potential momentum it will produce. The primary reason most of us don't see God moving is simply because we aren't moving. If you want to see God move, you need to make a move!
I cannot promise that signs will follow your faith in three minutes or three hours or three days. But when you take a step of faith, signs will follow. God will sanctify your expectations, and you will begin to live your life with holy anticipation. You won't be able to wait to see what God is going to do next.”
Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase (Multnomah, 2008), pp. 32-33
PRINCIPLE #3 – God is pleased when His people step out in faith.
Individual Faith (Mark 5:25-34)
Read Mark 5:25-34
The woman’s ailment
We know that this woman had been dealing with a bleeding issue for 12 years
She had probably sought out the best physicians of the day
None of them were able to help, but she kept getting worse
She was out of options and money
The woman’s faith
Notice that the woman isn’t seeking recognition, but simply expresses her faith in thought
She knows who Jesus is and His reputation of having healing power
She believes that simply touching His cloak will release His healing power to her
She is correct!
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she knew it physically
I really appreciate her incredible faith in Jesus’ healing power
God has the power to heal every area of our lives
Jesus realized that healing power had left His body and so He asked who touched His clothes
The disciples didn’t understand, because many people probably touched His clothes since they were crowding around Him
When the woman fearfully identifies herself, Jesus affirms her faith, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
I like that this potentially shy and reserved woman could quietly express her faith by simply touching Jesus’ cloak
Mark also records another physical healing that Jesus performed, but the entrance was much more dramatic
Corporate Faith (Mark 2:1-12)
Read Mark 2:1-12
People heard that Jesus had returned home and they wanted to be around Him
He was preaching to a packed house, so much so, that this group of friends couldn’t get their paralyzed friend to Jesus
So, they went up on the roof, dug a hole in the roof, and lowered their paralyzed friend right in front of Jesus
Jesus recognized the faith of the group of friends and the paralytic, so He told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven (spiritual healing!)
That didn’t sit well with some teachers of the law, but that didn’t matter to Jesus
He then tells the paralytic to get up, take his mat, and go home, which he does
Jesus told the man to get up, take his mat, and go home, so that the people would understand that He was God and had the authority on earth to forgive sins
God has the power to heal every area of our lives
Prayer Prompter: “Jesus, thank You for revealing Your omnipotence (all-powerful) in my life by/through . . .”
Prayer Prompter: “Jesus, please forgive me for doubting Your ability to know everything, especially when it comes to ________ in my life.” [Mark 5:31]
Prayer Prompter: “Precious Savior, I confess that I am currently skeptical about Your power to forgive the sins of __________ (name the person specifically).” [Mark 2:10]
Prayer Prompter: “Dear Lord, help me to have faith in Your healing power as I struggle with . . .”
Prayer Prompter: “Lord, thank You that You promise to give me peace as I step out in faith concerning . . .” [Mark 5:34]
Financial Healing (Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:6-12; 2 Chronicles 7:13-16)
Financial struggles, especially with COVID-1 (Coronavirus pandemic)
I think we would all be kidding ourselves if we said that we weren’t concerned about our financial future with state and federal “stay-at-home” orders.
God’s part (Matthew 6:25-32)
Read Matthew 6:25-32
God’s provision of food
He takes care of the food needs for birds, who don’t sow, reap, or store food away in barns
He says that we are more valuable than birds, which means that He will provide for us
We may not know how it will happen, but it will
Upper Adams Food Pantry, Gettysburg Soup Kitchen, New Hope Mobile Food Pantry
Generosity of family, neighbors, or friends from church
God’s provision of clothing
God provides beautiful dressings for the fields through flowers
The dressing of the fields is temporary and He says that He will clothe us even more
As God’s children He says that we are valuable to Him and He will provide for us
Discipline of His children (2 Chron. 7:13; Malachi 3:6-9)
As His children, He will also discipline us, just like a parent with their child(ren)
As we already saw in 2 Chronicles 7:13, He will bring about droughts, and devouring bugs, and plagues as a way to get the attention of His children, so they will turn back to Him
Read Malachi 3:6-9
In Malachi 3:6-9 we see that we are under a curse for turning away from the Lord and robbing Him by not giving our tithes and offerings
God’s part is to provide and discipline, but we have a part to play also
Our part (Matthew 6:33a; Malachi 3:10; 2 Chronicles 7:14a)
Seek God’s kingdom first
Seek God’s righteousness first
What has first place in your life above God’s kingdom and righteousness?
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse
For the Israelites this was the first fruits of all their labors (field and flock/grain and animal)
To what or whom are you giving your first fruits instead of giving it to God?
2 Chronicles 7:14a
Seek God’s face
Turn from our wicked ways
When we obediently do our part, God promises us certain things
God’s promises (Matthew 6:33b; Malachi 3:11-12; 2 Chronicles 7:14b)
All these things will be given to you as well
God promises to provide our every need (food & clothing)
God will prevent pests from devouring their crops (livelihood)
God will make sure that nothing is wasted
Other nations will call them blessed
2 Chronicles 7:14b
God will hear and see from heaven
God will forgive our sins
God will heal our land
God has the power to heal every area of our lives
Prayer Prompter: “Lord, since You never change, I worship You because/for . . .” [Malachi 3:6]
Prayer Prompter: “Heavenly Father, thank You that you value me more than . . .” [Matthew 6:26, 30]
Prayer Prompter: “Precious Savior, I confess that I seek ________ first instead of Your kingdom and righteousness.” [Matthew 6:33]
Prayer Prompter: “Lord, please forgive me for using my first fruits on _________ instead of giving them to You as a tithe and offering.” [Malachi 3:8-9]
Prayer Prompter: “God, will You please help my faith to grow through _________ (difficult situation), so I will trust You more.” [Matthew 6:30]
Prayer Prompter: “Lord, help me to take the step of faith to test You concerning robbing You of ________ (time, talents, or resources),” [Malachi 3:10]
Prayer Prompter: “Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing me and providing for me through . . .”
SONG: God Will Take Care Of You
My Next Step Today Is To:
Believe in Jesus and receive God’s gift of eternal life (spiritual healing)
Step out in faith and trust God to heal me physically (physical healing)
Trust God to provide for my every need, even during difficult times (financial healing)
“Every other Tuesday, Maria Lopez would come to clean my house.
Maria always arrived like a bubble of energy determined to restore order to my universe, scrubbing as though it were an act of worship.
As we became acquainted, I learned that Maria was a pastor's daughter from Peru who had no family in the United States. I had only been a Christian a few years and appreciated Maria's enthusiastic faith. She prayed out loud while she cleaned, and sang praise songs in Spanish while she scrubbed. She praised Jesus everywhere she went.
One Tuesday, Maria didn't show up for work. I anticipated seeing her cheery face the following day. But no one came.
When she didn't arrive the next day, I called. No one answered the phone.
This is so unlike her, I thought. She's so reliable. There must be a good reason.
On the third day, a nurse called to say Maria was at the hospital. Alarmed, I cut some flowers and drove to Northridge Hospital to find out what was wrong. I found Maria sitting up in bed, rocking back and forth with her head encased in a heavy iron cage resting on her shoulders. Her eyes were closed, and tears streamed down her cheeks. Touching her arm gently, I held out the flowers. She clutched them to her chest.
"What's that around your head, Maria?"
"Oooh, Meessus," she moaned, touching the iron contraption, "it is the torture of Satan."
Puzzled, I turned to the nurse. She explained, "It's called a halo. It's screwed and bolted directly into the skull in four different places. It isn't pleasant."
"How long must you wear it?" I asked Maria.
"Five months, my doctor say, maybe. But Meessus, you tell him, Maria, she no live five months with thees in her head. She die. You tell him, yes?"
"I'll talk to him, Maria. Anything else I can do for you?"
"Yes, Meessus. My Bible." She pointed to the bedside table. "Please, you read to me."
I started reading John 14. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."
Out in the corridor, I found Maria's doctor. "Why is she wearing that hideous device?" I asked him.
"Because, to put it simply, if she didn't," he said, "her head would fall off. Maria has cancer. Her neck bones have degenerated to the point where they can no longer support her head."
"Can they be repaired? Or regenerated?" He shook his head gravely.
"It means we can't ever take it off. Maria will have to get used to living with it."
Every week when I visited, Maria asked me to pray with her and read from the Bible. She always requested the same chapter from the New Testament: John 14. Weeks turned into months. The heavy metal halo was crippling.
During one visit, months after being admitted to the hospital, Maria clutched my hands and whispered, "God tells Maria it won't be long. Soon, he say, we take this off."
Before I left the hospital, I stopped at the nurses' desk to ask how much longer Maria would be there. A nurse said they were preparing papers to release [her]. Maria doesn't have insurance or enough money to stay in the hospital. That's why they're releasing her.
Maria panicked when the doctor told her she must leave. "No! You take new x-ray." Touching the halo she cried, "You take this torture from me! I no leave with this!"
"There is really no point," he insisted. "Nothing has changed."
When I returned to the hospital two days later to pick up Maria, I was surprised to find her sitting in a chair, beaming ear to ear. "I no leave today," she said.
"Why not, Maria? Have you had your x-ray?"
"Yes. But I stay until they take this off." She rolled her eyes toward the halo.
Hasn't anyone told Maria what will happen when they take the halo off? It was my turn to panic. I can't tell her. Her despair will be overwhelming.
I cornered the doctor. "She won't leave until you take the halo off. What do we do?"
"We'll take it off," he replied.
"You said her head will roll off without it!"
Suddenly, Maria's doctor began acting strangely. He looked left and right, then muttered in low tones, "It won't roll. The x-ray we took this morning indicated her neck bones have regenerated."
"You said that was impossible."
"It is impossible."
I shook my head, confused. "Were the original x-rays a mistake?"
"Not at all. They're here for anyone to see."
Before answering, the doctor sighed. "So there are things I can't explain. Her bones have regenerated, and they are strong enough to hold her head. That's all I know."
"Doctor! Is this a miracle?"
"I don't know about miracles, that's Maria's department. She tells me Jesus healed her."
Adapted from Barbara Royce Extract, "Maria and the Halo," Christian Reader (Jul/Aug 2001), p. 63.