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March 12, 2024

THE BODY OF CHRIST - PART 6

 

Well - we’re still in this series about The Body of Christ.  We’ve been looking at what occurred in the lives of Christians in the Bible after the Day of Pentecost and looking at what all is available in our everyday lives after receiving The Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Those early Christian’s lives were remarkably changed in all kinds of ways and we’ve been seeing what all is available to us in our lives.  These wonderful and miraculous things they experienced are available to us also - BUT GOD WILL NOT WHOOSH DOWN AND OVERRIDE OUR FREE WILL!  WE MUST YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TO HIM AND BE WILLING TO RECEIVE FROM HIM.  WE DO THAT BY DEVELOPING A CLOSE COMMUNICATION WITH HIM - AND OPENING UP FOR HIM TO GUIDE US, HELP US, REVEAL TO US, ENLIGHTEN US - AND ON AND ON AND ON!

 

So - today we’re going to tackle a subject that is necessary for each one of us but is also very misunderstood.  We-re going to talk about HEALING!!!!

 

Like I’ve said many times before, we’re going to get down to the NITTY GRITTY!!!  It’s a pretty delicate and very personal subject.  Now - let me say, I haven’t done if all perfectly all the time - BUT - through the years (86) I’ve learned some things and the Lord has asked me to share what I’ve learned with you.

 

First, let me say this.  The Lord spoke to me and told me this.  “Those New Testament Christians were given many, many things to do - like, preach the Gospel, love the brethren, forgive everyone of everything, raise the dead, HEAL THE SICK, and on and on and on.  But how could they (OR WE CHRISTIANS OF TODAY) heal the sick if we can’t receive healing for our own bodies?”  

 

In other words, we have been reading in story after story, about those early Christians doing all that healing, and all kinds of miracles, after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and lots of Christians would love to be used by God in this realm - but they have not been able to receive their own healing.  So how can they help others get healed?

 

So - that’s what we’re talking about today.  Now - it’s rather delicate.  

 

I’m going to start off by sharing a personal testimony with you.  As I’ve said before, I’ve learned that we all learn a lot from each others’ testimonies.

 

This was about 20 years ago.  My husband had moved to Heaven and I was living in a little area just outside Kansas City, Missouri.  I was on the staff of a church that some precious friends of mine had started.  I began to have some awful pain in my lower back.  It just kept getting worse and worse.  Of course, I was praying and praying.  I was having to be wheeled around in a wheelchair.  After several weeks had gone by, my son, Mark, took me to the hospital (Truman Medical Center) and we spent practically the whole day there - with all kinds of tests.  The end result was that they hadn’t been able to exactly tell what was wrong - they wanted to do some further tests on another day - but they wanted to prepare me for this - THAT I WOULD PROBABLY BE IN A WHEELCHAIR FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!  They gave me a prescription for some pain medicine.  My son took me home - we got the prescription filled on the way -  and we were both a little discouraged.

 

The following Sunday, when I was at church, some dear friends of mine gave me a little tape series from Andrew Wommack that they had listened to and said that they wanted me to listen to it.  It was called, “What To Do When It Looks Like You’re Not Healed.”  I took it home with me and, Monday morning, I determined to listen to it all.  I turned my phone off and set up the tape player  in the living room close to my comfy chair.  I was determined not to be interrupted - and to give full attention to Andy’s teaching.  (Of course, I had been listening to him for years.)  

 

I STARTED LISTENING!  A lot of it was, of course, things I already knew, but I had made up my mind that I was going to center in with all my heart - so I did.  I began to really get a revelation on the fact that I had to see myself as already healed - instead of  concentrating on the pain (or the problem).  There were many other things also - but I was discovering that centering in on the pain, instead of the promise of God, was the thing that was hindering me.  I listened, and listened, and listened.

 

It was from one of his conferences, and, when he got to the end, the people at the conference were all shouting and praising the Lord and I just jumped up out of chair and was praising with them!!!!!!  THEN - ALL OF A SUDDEN, I REALIZED THAT I DIDN’T HAVE ANY PAIN!!!!!!!!!  YOU TALK ABOUT PRAISING THE LORD - I WAS DANCING AROUND THE ROOM AS I PRAISED THE LORD!  I WAS ABSOLUTELY PAIN FREE!!   I went and picked up the bottle of pain medicine and went and threw it in the trash!  I WAS FREE FROM PAIN.

 

What a wonderful day that was!!!!!  

 

Now I want to share a verse from that teaching - it’s one that you are all probably familiar with.  It’s 1 Peter 2:24 - “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by Whose stripes YOU WERE HEALED.”

 

Now I’m going to deal with the truth of what this verse is saying.  Many, many Christians are begging God to heal them.  Many are trying to talk God into healing them.  Many pray for healing for a little while and are very discouraged when the pain is still there.  I know - because I’ve been there!!!!!  Many Christians think that, if they just pray long enough, or pray the right way with the right words, they’ll get their healing.  Many think that God is waiting for them to do something a certain way, or say something a certain way - they’ll finally get their healing.   Many just give up and figure that in this present day world we live in, with all the medical knowledge that is available (which didn’t use to be available 2,000 years ago) - that God will just use the doctors to get healing to us.

 

There are all kinds of thinking in this realm.  Now - this is what I have learned.  2,000 years ago, when Jesus died on that cross, in that most horrible pain and suffering -  He died to take, within Himself, all the sin and bad stuff into His own being - and pay the price for us that we couldn’t pay.  He was sinless - and only a sinless person could take on and pay for all the sin of the human race.  He took everything that goes along with that sin - and that included sickness of every kind.  

 

Now - this is what I learned!  If He could take away my sin into His own being, He could also take all sickness and pain.  Therefore, if I could believe that He paid for my sin so that I didn’t have to, He could also take all my sickness of any kind into His own being - BUT I HAD TO BELIEVE THAT THE SAME WAY I BELIEVED THAT HE HAD TAKEN MY SIN!  

 

Now - back there in that verse, it says, “BY WHOSE STRIPES YOU WERE HEALED.”  Not, you’re going to be - Not maybe you’ll be - YOU WERE HEALED!

 

I began to realize that, that Scripture had to be as real to me as those Scriptures which tell about Jesus taking all my sin!  

 

Now - I want to bring up something else here which has helped me greatly in this area.  We are all familiar with the word, “HOPE.”  It is mentioned many times in the Word of God.  It is pretty well known as, “a positive expectation.”  Well, I have learned that that ‘hope’ is closely related to ‘imagination’.  I have learned that, if I can’t imagine it, I’m not really hoping for it.  Now I want to read this verse - Hebrews 11:1 - “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Now - this verse really changed my attitude about healing.  Because I began to see that, if I couldn’t imagine myself healed, then faith didn’t have anything to give  substance to!!!!!!!  

 

Now - this is the thing that hindered me for many years.  I found it very difficult to imagine myself healed, when the pain was screaming at me.  But, you know what?!!  I also believed that God wouldn’t ever tell me to do something that was impossible for me to do.  So I began to make a determined effort to imagine myself without that pain - to the point that it became more real to me than the pain.  That took getting alone with the Lord, and closing my eyes, and learning to see myself with no pain in my body.

 

Now, I know you see me walk with a walker.  Well, I want to explain that.  I have fallen 3 times since 2017.  In 2017 (we still lived in Port St. Lucie) and one morning I went out on our screened-in patio, and I tripped and fell on our cement floor.  I was taken to the hospital and my right hip was broken.  I had to have surgery, and then rehab.  Then, 3 days before we were moving to this area, I was with my daughter and we were at my primary care doctor’s office for a normal check-up.  We were in the waiting room, and had just been called in and, as I was walking in, I tripped over something that was on the floor, and fell.  The doctor examined me and sent me for ex-rays to make sure all was okay.  It was painful for a bit - but I had a book-signing the next day - and then we moved here.  Then, several months ago, I was going from our Florida room (where my computer, my desk, and my tv is, and I fell, as I went across the metal on the floor, which is for the sliding door.  My daughter and son-in-law were right there - and the end result was that I was okay.

 

My family is more peaceful if I walk with a walker - and to tell you the truth, as I get closer to 90, it really does just make sense to me, to use what is available to me to stay as healthy as possible.

Now - there are many ways to receive healing - and a lot of that has to do with the situation you are in.  

 

Many people have been healed by others laying hands upon them.  I’m going to read this verse - James 5:14 - “Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”  A person can be so sick that they just plain need help.  But, did you get that it said, “LET HIM CALL FOR THE ELDERS”!  That means that the person, himself, is using his faith to be helped with the healing.  

 

Then, there are many instances in the New Testament of people who are near death, in a coma, unable to exercise their own faith - and someone else has to call for help.  

 

All of those different ways are available - but the normal - day-to-day way for us to live - is to get used to believing the Word of God and receiving from the Lord without having hands laid upon us.  Don’t get me wrong - there’s nothing wrong with getting help - but it isn’t always necessary.

 

Now - I want to discuss another thing I have learned about this whole healing subject.  You have all probably read the story in Mark - Chapter 11 - about Jesus speaking to the fig tree - and the fig tree dying.  Well, there is a very important truth in that whole story - it’s not just about speaking to a fig tree.    I’m going to read the words of Jesus in Mark 11:23 - “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  Jesus was explaining how His faith worked on the fig tree - to explain how faith works in all the different areas of our lives - including healing.  Now - let me say here - SICKNESS AND PAIN ARE MOUNTAINS!!!!  This verse says that we are to speak to the MOUNTAIN!  Faith is exercised by speaking with authority out of our mouths.

 

I have personally learned that it isn’t about me begging and pleading with God to heal me - because He has already paid the price - and it’s a done deal - “BY HIS STRIPES I WAS HEALED.”  Therefore, it’s about me using the authority that I was given by the King of the Universe over the devil, and over every problem (or mountain) that is hindering my health.  BUT I HAVE TO BEIEVE IT AND SPEAK IT!

 

Our words are very powerful while we are here on this earth.  So many Christians are trying to say the right words in a prayer - but then, they moan and complain and tell everybody how bad everything is.  THEY ARE BEING HUNG BY THEIR TONGUE!  In other words, they may be speaking some nice words when they are praying - but true HEART UNBELIEF is being spoken out of their mouths.

 

Everything in the Christian life works through believing in our hearts and speaking that belief out of our mouths.  It’s the way we are born again!  In other words, if we are praying for healing, and yet moaning and groaning about our pain or weakness (THE PROBLEM), it is hindering our healing.

 

This is a very important truth - listen - FAITH IS RELEASED BY SPEAKING WORDS!

 

Now - there are some other topics in this realm to personally deal with.  We are all unique - none of us are just like someone else.  Our uniqueness is one of the things that fascinates me - the Lord God Almighty knows exactly every detail about every single one of us - our family background - how we were raised - what we’ve been through in our lives - the good and the bad - our heritage - what we’ve learned - the difficulties we’ve faced and on and on and on.  

 

So - let’s talk about the medical world for a minute.  They’re certainly not our enemies - but, at the same time, our Lord knows more than they do.  As a child, I developed a relationship with the doctors.  I’ve told you my story - I had a terrible fever at 18 months old and the end result was that my left eye was crossed.  I had to start wearing glasses when I was 3 years old.  I was made fun of, and teased terribly by other little kids my age.  They were too young to know better.  I became an extreme introvert - but I do remember that the doctors I went to were kind and loving to me - so I didn’t mind going to appointments with them.

 

My own personal attitude about the medical world at this time in my life is that I’m glad they are available, if I need them.  I’m really glad that I could have that surgery when I broke my hip.  But, on a regular daily schedule, I usually only go to the doctors for scheduled appointments to keep my records in order, for insurance purposes, and it’s helpful for the family - as we all get older.  I talk daily to my BEST FRIEND IN ALL THE WORLD - MY HEAVENLY DOCTOR.

 

Another area, which is also very delicate, is just personally taking good care of our bodies.  I personally think that it is important to be smart about how we eat, sleep, and live our daily lives.  I’m not going to go into a lot of details about eating, etc.  I will just say that I have learned that eating healthily, for the most part, is very important for our bodies.  I’m not saying that we should never eat chocolate brownies, or something similar - laughing - but we should do the smart thing to keep us healthy!  

 

I’ll just tell you something funny.  My family knows that I eat pretty healthy - but they also know that at certain times, I will allow myself to eat something CHOCOLATE!  So - it has become a custom that, on my birthday, we go to Outback Steakhouse - and I am allowed to order a dessert called, “Chocolate Thunder From Down Under.”  Oh-h-h-h-h So-o-o GOOD!!!!! It’s a very big single dessert - and we all just laugh as they watch me eat the whole thing!

 

But - on a day-to-day basis, I’m pretty careful about what, and how much, I eat.  I’m not saying that I am a perfect example - but sometimes we just need to share stuff like this with one another.  After all, isn’t that what was taking place with those first Christians.  They were becoming so close to each other that they saw themselves as a big family - knowing each other, helping each other - being honest with each other - and on and on and on!

 

So - brothers and sisters - God wants us well!  And - yes - we are all getting older every day!  But, we have to see ourselves as HIS CHILDREN, WHOM HE LOVES.  Because He loves us so much, He wants us to be able to live well while we’re still in our bodies.  

 

I love the stories I’ve read about previous Christians who continued to live well clear up to the time that the Lord took them to Heaven.

 

Now - I want to talk here for a moment about one of the things that hinders us the most in receiving healing, as well as everything else we are dealing with in our Christian lives - AND THAT IS LEARNING TO OPERATE IN FAITH AND BEING RID OF DOUBT AND UNBELIEF!  I’ve mentioned this before but I want to deal with it more directly for a bit.  I know that we all know the story about Jesus walking on the water.  Now I know that story has nothing to do with healing.  But I want to read this portion of Scripture to you and it will help us learn something about FAITH.  It’s Matthew 14:22 - 32 - “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side while He sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.  Now when evening came, He was alone there.  But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, say, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’  And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’  So He said, ‘Come.’  And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying ‘Lord save me!’  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”

 

Now - I have been to Israel two times.  I’ve been in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  As I sat in that boat, I remember, imagining what it would have been like to see Jesus come toward me, walking on the water.  So I could see that Peter really had to be operating in REAL, PURE FAITH to walk on that water.  BUT THEN - AS HE LOOKED AT THE WIND AND THE WAVES, HIS ATTENTION WAS TAKEN OFF JESUS - AND DOUBT, FEAR, AND UNBELIEF BEGAN TO OVERTAKE HIS MIND.  This is a perfect example of what happens to all of us in our FAITH LIVES when we focus our attention on the problem - and not on Jesus and His promises - in every area of life.  It is a huge problem in the realm of healing.  Remember that verse I quoted earlier - Hebrews 11:1 - “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”  FAITH is absolutely, completely believing in God - His Love - His promises - His Word - to the point that it overwhelms the problem.  In other words, in the realm of healing, even though the pain is still there, the promise is more real than the problem.  AND THAT’S WHERE IMAGINATION (OR HOPE) PLAYS A BIG ROLE.  IT’S SEEING DEEP WITHIN YOU THE END RESULT  - BEFORE YOU SEE IT WITH YOUR PHYSICAL EYES!  IT’S SEEING IT ON THE INSIDE BEFORE YOU SEE IT ON THE OUTSIDE.  

 

THEN FAITH HAS SOMETHING TO GIVE SUBSTANCE TO!

 

I really believe this is one of the biggest hindrances to people receiving their healing.  Your attention must be focused on God and His Word - more than on the problem.  Peter got distracted by the winds and the waves.  We get distracted by the pain - which is the problem.

 

Now - many of the first New Testament Christians had seen Jesus - heard Him preach - and seen Him do miracles.  But - then, most of those that they led to the Lord, had not been with Jesus.  Receiving healing was just as much a matter of faith for them as it is for us today.  Brothers and sisters - we have to get ahold of the the TRUTH of this and operate in it in all our own lives, like those Christians were doing - then we are more USABLE!  Yes - we need healing ourselves but we also need to believe it and receive it in our own bodies - then we are more able to bring it into the lives of those around us.  Over and over again, Jesus said to all His followers - “Go do what I do.”  We’ve read many of those verses over and over.

 

We are THE BODY OF CHRIST!  Therefore, we have to learn to operate in faith in every realm of life but I do believe that getting our own healing for our physical bodies is one of our most difficult areas.  It also becomes embarrassing to us.  Brothers and sisters - in every realm of our day-to-day living, ESPECIALLY HEALING - WE HAVE TO LEARN TO BELIEVE HIS PROMISES, SPEAK HIS PROMISES OUT OUR MOUTHS SO THAT OUR OWN EARS CAN HEAR - AND WE MUST STAY FOCUSED ON THE LORD AND HIS WORD TO THE POINT THAT IT IS MORE REAL TO US THAN THE PAIN, AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN OUR BODIES THAT GIVES US PROBLEMS.

 

“BY HIS STRIPES WE WERE HEALED!”

There is one other area, in this realm of healing that we need to conquer - and that is this.  WE NEED TO USE THE AUTHORITY THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN BY THE LORD, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, OVER OUR ENEMY - THE DEVIL.  We all have heard this taught and we have heard it and heard it and heard it.  However, through the years, lots of Christians just view this as some fairy tale kind of thinking and they just think it’s silly to talk to the devil.  Satan is his name!  It is real - it was taught by Jesus and operated in by the early Christians.  

 

We have to see ourselves as having authority over the one who has been trying to wipe us out for 2000 years.  He, and his demons use all kinds of ways to keep us in fear, doubt, unbelief, and every other thing that keeps us from receiving in our lives what the Lord has already provided for us.  We just have to believe the Word and use the authority we have been given.  

 

SO - BROTHERS AND SISTERS - I SUGGEST YOU LOOK UP THESE SCRIPTURES FROM TODAY AND READ THEM.  THE WORD HAS TO BECOME MORE REAL TO US THAN ANY SICKNESS, PAIN, OR PROBLEM THAT THIS WORLD TRIES TO TAKE US OUT WITH.    “BY HIS STRIPES WE WERE HEALED!”

 

Scriptures for this lesson

1 Peter 2:24

Hebrews 11:1

James 5:14

Mark 11:23

Matthew 14:22-32

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