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Query for the Month

of June 1999

Next up-date: July 1st 1999 (God willing).

 

What does it mean to "be led by the Spirit"?

 


Query:
Response:

In reply, let me quote another Scripture.

Acts 14:3-10

Long time therefore abode they [Paul and Barnabas] speaking boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony to the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, they were aware of it, and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the region that lies round about:

And there they preached the gospel.

And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: the same heard Paul speak: who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet. And he leaped and walked.

Here we have that power in action. Note what happened. Paul and Barnabas were doing their normal Christian work, preaching the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and that He only wants to heal people, first from their burden of sin, and then from the results of their sins.

As they are doing this, they were heard by the paralyzed man, who had never walked. The Spirit of God brought home to him the conviction that this message was for him. He believed and acted there and then on the spot. He accepted the gift of a new life from his Saviour and was immediately set free from the burden of his sin master.

While he was inwardly rejoicing in this fact the Spirit also spoke to Paul and told him that the man was ready for healing. Paul looked on the man and passed on to him the words the Spirit had just given him, "Stand up". Immediately, just as he had accepted forgiveness from Jesus, the man accepted healing from the Spirit and leapt into the air and bounded around the area.

There had been no miraculous giving of healing power to Paul at the time the disciples are said to have received theirs. He had not been there. (In fact, he was hardly ever in their presence.) But he received his gift the same way that they did. The word of God told him that he would be used to cast out devils and heal all manner of diseases, for all Christians have been given the same blessing, and he believed it.

Mark 16:15-18

And He said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

So any one of us is able to do just what the disciples and Paul did.

Which was?

While they were doing their work they were also listening intently to the Spirit's voice. He alone could know which of the listeners were actually responding to the gospel call, and who had accepted it. Therefore, it was His job to tell the preacher the good news and suggest the words to use for that person, if there was one there. Paul had been given the commission to heal years earlier. Now had come a time to use it. And this he did by listening to the voice of God and acting on it. He was accustomed to that voice for he prayed often each day, and listened longer.

The giving of the commission did not confer any supernatural power on Paul, or any other disciple for that matter. What it did do was make him aware of one of his jobs, which was to speak healing when told to. This is what he did, and this is what we all may do. If we are in tune with the Spirit we will know what to say and when.

Earlier, when another paralyzed man had been let down through the roof of Peter's house, Jesus had healed his conscience first also. Then, to demonstrate that fact to those who rejected His claim to be the Sent of God, He healed his body. Below is that story.

Mark 2:1-12

And again He entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door.

And He preached the word to them.

And they came to Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come near to Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the sick of the palsy, Son, your sins be forgiven you.

But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why does this Man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately when Jesus perceived in [or by] His Spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, He said to them, Why reason you these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and take up your bed, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (He said to the sick of the palsy,) I say to you, Arise, and take up your bed, and go your way into your house.

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

 

Conclusion:

The power of healing is in the word and not in the disciple. Their ability to be used as healers was revealed to them at the beginning of their ministry, and they were used when needed. It was the Spirit who supplied the power to bring about the fact, and it was He who said, "when" and to whom. It is NOT a once-given, always-given gift. It is a capability which depends on listening to the voice of God and then acting on it.


Spiritual Dictionary:

POWER TO HEAL:

Power to heal is not conferred on disciples at some point in their life, and then used when needed. It is a talent directly based on the word of God and therefore can only be exercised when the word is spoken. While teaching the gospel, it is possible to hear the Spirit say, "Heal this person" and there and then accept the power of that word and pass it on.


Next thought. To be discussed from July 1st 1999.

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