The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church

Course:  The Gifts of the Spirit

Lesson 5

Lesson Title: The Gifts of Healing

 

Text: '...to another the gifts of healing.' 1 Corinthians 12:9.

 

Introduction: Gifts of healing

  • To another of the same kind (allos)…. 

Faith., Working of Miracles, Gifts of Healings, Prophecy and Discerning of Spirits.

 

  • In the plural. 

It is not the gift of healing.  It is mentioned three times in 1 Corinthians 12, each time it is in the plural (9, 28, 30).   The significance of this is that one member of the body of Christ does not have the gift of healing but the Spirit gives gifts of healing 'as He will'.  1 Corinthians 12:11  'But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will'.

 

  • Supernatural.

Gifts of healing are entirely the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.  They provide supernatural healing of sickness and disease, either mental or physical.  It has nothing to do with healing by natural means.

Gifts of healing have nothing to do with the ability of surgeons or doctors to cure the sick.  This is natural and not supernatural.  We can pray for the Lord to enable this kind of operation to be successful but it is not the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Different ways through which the Holy Spirit provides supernatural healing.

 

1)  Prayer of faith

·        Individual prayer.  Is any sick? Let him or her pray.  When we are sick the first thing to do is to pray.  Sometimes this is enough.  But if we are not healed then we need to be strengthened in prayer by the body of Christ.

 

·        Corporate prayer.  Get others to pray.  Praying as a body for one another.  We need one another in the body of Christ.  The Bible says 'confess your faults one to another'.  This allows openness and prevents our prayers from being hindered.  If we are still not healed then we are given further provision.

 

·        Prayer of the elders.  There is provision for healing within the body of Christ by calling for the elders of the church. This provision removes the sin barrier and the lack of faith barrier.  Men who are strong in faith and prayer.  They are to anoint the sick with oil and pray the prayer of faith (James 5:14). If they have committed sins they will be forgiven.  If sin is the reason that the person is sick this prayer of faith will remove the hindrance.  The condition to retain healing is 'don't continue anymore in the same sin.

 

2)  But the gifts of healing provide another means of healing.

·        The Gifts of the Spirit operate '…as He will' (1 Corinthians 12:11).  'As He will' means the Holy Spirit is in control. Not everyone receives healing this way because gifts of healings, like the other gifts, are given 'according to the will of the Holy Spirit'.   It is 'if the Holy Spirit wills'.  Preachers are usually not comfortable preaching an 'if'.  But in this instance the 'if' is scriptural.  Some say that by associating an 'if' with God's provision of healing we are removing faith that people can hold on to.  No, we are not removing faith, but we are removing presumption.

 

·        What should we do then? Only believe, Mark 5:36.  We can trust the Lord Jesus Christ because He gave Himself for us. We can rest in His provision for us because He delights to show His power on our behalf.  If you are willing - I will.   Matthew 8:2-3  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

 

3)  How the gifts of healing are operated.  The Gifts may operate by the laying on of hands, by the authoritative word, or by prayer. In all cases the Holy Spirit is in control.  The believer acts in accordance with the moving of the Holy Spirit.

 

·        Laying hands on the sick by believers - Healing by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus (Mark 16:18). This is a promise given to those who believe.  Mark 16:17.    Paul was with Luke the doctor on the island of Malta, but it wasn't Luke who helped the sick with natural means, it was Paul who ministered to the sick through the laying on of hands and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Acts 28:1-10.

 

·        Speaking the Word.  Gifts of healing operate through the authority of the name of Jesus. (Psalm 107:20, Matt. 8:8).  It is not always necessary to speak the name but it is necessary to come in the name.

 

·        Prayer.  Gifts of healing provided through the prayers of another believer.  A person may be nearby or on the other side of the world and the Holy Spirit can call them to pray for someone at a particular time.  If they are sick and receive healing they have received one of the gifts of healing. 

 

·        Anointing with oil is associated with both the prayer of faith by the elders and healing through the gifts of the Spirit.  In Mark 6:13, Jesus' disciples also anointed the sick with oil and healed them. The disciples at this time were sent out with a delegated authority that enabled them to move in the gifts of the Spirit.  Their power came from their close association to the One who was empowered by the Spirit.  The comparison can be seen with Elisha and his servant.   The servant could not raise a dead child only the anointed prophet, Elisha, could do that.

 

 

Main Points

1.      The Operation of Gifts of Healing in Scripture

 

The Ministry of Jesus

'How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.'  (Acts 10:38),

The gifts of healing through the ministry of Jesus were demonstrations of the Holy Spirit

·        …that showed the purpose of His coming.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8  'He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.'

 

·        …that confirmed the truth of the words of Jesus,   “Say you ... You blaspheme; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works" (John 10:36-38).

 

·        …that gained the attention of the people drawing the people to Jesus,  "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased" (John 6:2).  

 

·        …that brought glory to the Lord, "They were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." "And all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him" (Mark 2:12; Luke 13:17).

 

 

Example of Jesus healing.

The pool of Bethesda. John 5:2-9.

There were many sick people at the pool of Bethesda, each one had faith for a miracle, but only one was healed by Jesus. 

Why?  Because it is as the Holy Spirit leads.

·        Jesus was led of the Holy Spirit - 'as He will'.

·        The man had to want to be healed, John 5:6.

·        He obeyed in faith the word of Jesus which was contrary to the teaching of the Jews, John 5:8.

·        He received his healing, John 5:9.

 

 

Acts of the Apostles

·        Gifts of healing confirm the preaching of the gospel. 'With great power gave the apostles witness' (Acts 4:33).  The preaching of Philip in Samaria was confirmed by the gifts of the Spirit, 'the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.'  (Acts 8:6).

 

·        Gifts of healings gain the attention of the people allowing the gospel to be preached, Acts 9:32-35 'And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.  And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.  And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.'

 

·        Gifts of healings empower believers to be bold witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.  'And now Lord, behold their threatenings," " and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy servant Jesus' (Acts 4:29, 30).

 

 

2.      Testimonies concerning the gifts of healing.

 

Healing Ministries in the 19th century.

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon prayed for the sick and preached on divine healing at Metropolitan Tabernacle but his healing ministry was primarily through pastoral visitation.  

Parishioners requested prayer for healing with great results.  It is stated thousands of people were healed.

There are many testimonies of divine healing through the ministry of Spurgeon.

Here is one account from ‘Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The World’s Greatest Preacher’ by Russell H Conwell (1892).

‘An incident is recalled of a child who was very sick with a contagious disease which was declared fatal by the doctor. Mr. Spurgeon visited the home at the request of the family, knelt with them in a circle around the bed, and offered up a prayer for the child's salvation and added a petition for her recovery, if it should be in accordance with the will of God. The father and mother both followed in prayer, and when they arose from their knees the child, just then becoming conscious, asked for water and said: "I feel very much better." From that point in the child's sickness there was no break in her continual recovery. She afterward stated to her mother that during the prayer she felt a "strange sensation running all over her, as though the fever began to decline at her head and gradually passed off at her feet."’ 

Examples of Gifts of healing - testimonies.

Philippines

It is not always possible to verify healings.
In the Philippines people often ask for prayer, but it is not known what is wrong.
One time I went with others to pray for a young woman. Her sickness was paralysing her body. She looked very sick and appeared to be dying. After we prayed for her the young woman got better and made a full recovery. I have no idea what she had but she appeared to be dying.

Another woman was seriously ill. Some people prayed for her. She made a full recovery and gave her life to Jesus.

People who always want proof will not be satisfied with these testimonies but Jesus said 'they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover', and this is exactly what happened.

 

 

3.  Why are Gifts of Healings necessary today?

Gifts of Healings are necessary today for the same reason they were necessary in the Gospels.

 

a)     What is the purpose for gifts of healings?

 

·        Gifts of healings are given as a confirmation of the preaching of the Gospel.  (Mark 16:15-18).  Sickness and sin have a common source ‘the fall of man’.  The same power that is able to forgive sins is able to heal. 

 

·        Gifts of healings reveal the character of God.  When people are healed it is an expression of the love of God; the grace of God; and the power of God.

 

b)     Who should operate in the gifts of healing?

 

·        Gifts of healing operate through the body of Christ.  If too much attention is put upon a particular healing evangelist then the nature of the church is easily misunderstood.  Instead of recognising the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the body of Christ; believers can be led away from a New Testament understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to an Old Testament understanding where only a limited number of people were anointed of the Holy Spirit for ministry. 
See Bible Teaching Program 'Introductory course' on the Holy Spirit.

 

·        Healing ministries operate through believers.  Signs follow believers (Mark 16:15-18).

 

·        The gifts are given 'as the Lord will.'  One person may be used of God in certain cases of sickness, but not necessarily in others.  No preacher has the 'gift of healing'.   One believer may see blind eyes opened, but a different believer is used for deaf ears to be opened.  One believer may see cancers healed, whereas other illnesses are healed through different believers.  The healing of broken bones may be seen through other believers.

 

c)     Why are some people not healed?

 

·        Gifts of healings are necessary because we have bodies that are corruptible and mortal.  Gifts of healings remove a particular problem caused by sickness or infirmity.  It does not remove the power of sickness and death from our bodies.  Healing is only temporary as our bodies will die.  The Bible says ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment’, (Hebrews 9:27). 

 

·        The power of sickness and death over our bodies will be removed when believers are resurrected.  Our corruptible body will be raised an incorruptible body. (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

 

Gifts of healings are primarily a declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord.

The person who receives the healing should rejoice that Jesus Christ is Lord and He has overcome the power of sin and death.

 

 

Summary: 

Gifts of healing is the supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

1)     The operation of gifts of healing in scripture fulfilled the purpose for which Jesus came, confirmed the words of Jesus, and drew the attention of the crowds to the preaching of the gospel.

2)     The modern day use of the gifts of healing fulfils the same purpose.  The gifts operate through believers, the body of Christ.  Modern day testimonies confirm the operation of the gifts of healing within the body.

3)     The Holy Spirit heals in different ways.  Gifts of healing may be appropriated through the laying on of hands, the authoritative word, or by prayer.

 

 

Questions related to healing in the body of Christ.

 

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