Monday, March 26, 2012

Redemption from the Curse of Sickness

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us....
—Galatians 3:13

DEUTERONOMY 28:15-22,27-29,35,58-61

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
21 The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish....

27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, 
and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:
29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee ....

35 The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head....
58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

We can readily see from these Scriptures that sickness is a curse of the law. The dreadful diseases enumerated here—in fact, every sickness and every disease, according to the 61st verse—are part of the punishment for breaking God's law.

The King James Version of these Scriptures would lead us to believe that God Himself puts sickness and afflictions upon His people, for it reads, "The Lord shall smite thee...."

Dr. Robert Young, author of Hints to Bible Interpretation, points out that in the original Hebrew, the verb is in the permissive rather than the causative sense. Actually, it should have been translated something like this: "The Lord will allow you to be smitten ... The Lord will allow these plagues to be brought upon you ...."

Many other verbs were translated in the causative sense in the King James Version. For example, Isaiah 45:7 reads, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." Does God create evil? No. That would make God a devil. God may permit evil, but He does not create it.

Amos 3:6 in the King James Version declares, "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" If God commits evil, then He has no right whatsoever to judge man for sinning. But God has not done evil; He only permits evil. There is a vast difference between commission and permission.

When King Saul backslid, First Samuel 16:14 says, "the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."

What actually happened was that Saul's sin broke fellowship with God, and God permitted the evil spirit from the devil to trouble him.

The original Hebrew of these Scriptures was in the permissive tense, but because the English language has no corresponding permissive tense, the verbs were translated in the causative.

No, God does not send plagues and sickness upon His people as these verses seem to indicate. God's Word does not teach that these things come directly from God.

When God's people broke His commandments, they no longer were under His divine protection. All He could do was permit the devil to bring those afflictions upon them. Their sin and wrongdoing brought those dreadful plagues upon them.

Deuteronomy 28 lists several diseases in the curse of the broken law. Among them are: pestilence, consumption (tuberculosis), fever (including all types, such as typhus, scarlet, typhoid, smallpox and all other eruptive fevers), inflammation, extreme burning, the botch of Egypt, emerods, scab (all skin diseases), itch, madness, and blindness.

According to verse 60, we can add to this list "all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of." And verse 61 makes it all-inclusive: "Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law."

We can conclude from these Scriptures that sickness and disease are a part of the curse of the law—and they should come upon us. But praise God, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law" (Gal. 3:13).

Sickness: Blessing or Curse?

Is sickness a blessing or a curse? God's Word declares it is a curse. Some people would have you believe God "blesses" His children with sickness and disease. (If He does, I would prefer to let someone else have that "blessing.") But, according to God's Word, sickness is a curse, and health is a blessing!

Disease is broken ease. Sickness is pain and suffering. It makes slaves of family and friends who must care for sick loved ones. Disease and sickness are enemies of mankind.

Sickness is a thief and a robber. It has robbed many a young mother of her health, beauty, and joy. It has robbed her husband of his wife, and has deprived her children of their mother, for she is no longer able to fulfill the duties of a wife and mother.

Disease has robbed many young men, coming upon them in the midst of young manhood, filling them with anxiety and fear, robbing them of faith.

Sickness and disease rob people of happiness, health, and money which is needed for other things.

Sickness: Is It God's Will?

Sickness and disease are not the will of God for His people. He does not want a curse to be upon His children because of their disobedience; He wants to bless them with health.
"Oh, yes," some people have said to me, "I believe God was Israel's Healer under the Old Covenant, and He wanted the children of Israel to have health, but we're not living under that covenant."

That's true. But if the Old Covenant provided for healing and the New Covenant (or Testament) does not, I wonder if the New Covenant is as good as the old? Thank God, the Bible says that the New Covenant is better:

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a BETTER covenant, which was established upon BETTER promises.

Let me remind you that our text is from the New Testament:
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13).
It is not the will of God that we be sick. In Bible days, it was not God's will for the children of Israel to be sick, and they were God's servants. Today, we are God's children. If it was not His will for even His servants to be sick, it could not be His will for His children to be sick! Sickness and disease are not of love. God is love.

In Luke 13, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. A woman came in who was bent over. She could have had arthritis or something of that nature, because her body was bent in a stationary position. Jesus called her to Him and said, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity" (v. 12).

When the ruler of the synagogue became angry because Christ healed the sick woman, Jesus said, "Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" (v. 16). Jesus said it was Satan who had bound this woman.

In preaching to Cornelius' household, Peter said:

ACTS 10:38
38 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.

This Scripture makes it clear that the people Jesus healed were oppressed by the devil.
Some people today would have you believe that God sends sickness upon people to bless them. They'll tell you, "Stay away from those meetings where they pray for the sick to be healed. That's of the devil."

If they are right, then God and the devil must have swapped jobs lately! Two thousand years ago, Satan was oppressing people and Jesus was healing them.

The Bible tells us, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). Jesus never changes! From the beginning to the end of His public ministry, Christ was combating Satan. His battle was not with men, but with demons who indwelt men.

Don't ever tell anyone sickness is the will of God for us. It isn't! Healing and health are the will of God for mankind. If sickness were the will of God, heaven would be filled with sickness and disease.

Remember, Jesus in His earth walk was the will of God in action. He came to unveil the Father to us. He is the Word of God. He is God speaking to us. (See John 1:14; Heb. 1:1,2.) If you want to know what God thinks about sickness, look at Jesus! He went about healing the sick!

ISAIAH 53:4,5
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs [sicknesses], and carried our sorrows [diseases]: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Redemption from the Curse of Sickness 21
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Matthew quotes a portion of these Scriptures:

17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

The Holy Spirit, looking back at Calvary, wrote in the past tense through Peter:

1 PETER 2:24
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

I read from the pen of Dr. John Alexander Dowie about how he received light on the subject of divine healing. Dr. Dowie was pastor of a Congregational church in Newtown, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, when the bubonic plague struck there around 1875. People were dying like flies. Dr. Dowie buried 40 members of his congregation in less than a month. Four more died and were yet to be buried, and many more were stricken with the plague. There was no cure.
After visiting the many sick members of his flock one day, Dr. Dowie returned home and sat in his study, his arms folded upon his desk, his head upon his arms, weeping before God.
"God, is everybody going to die?" he cried. "Are You going to take everybody? Where did this plague come from? Are You the author of this?" He was heartsick at the thought of the families that would be torn apart by the plague; at the children who would be left orphans.
"Then the words of the Holy Ghost inspired in Acts 10:38 stood before me all radiant with light, revealing Satan as the Defiler, and Christ as the Healer," Dr. Dowie wrote many years later. "My tears were wiped away," Dr. Dowie said, "my heart was strong. I saw the way of healing, and the door thereto was opened wide, so I said, 'God help me now to preach the Word to all the dying around, and tell them how 'tis Satan still defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for "He is just the same today."'"

He did not have long to wait. Within minutes, two young men burst into his study, pleading breathlessly, "Oh, come at once. Mary is dying!" Dr. Dowie ran down the street after them, not even pausing to take his hat. He was furious that Satan should have attacked this innocent young member of his flock.

Dr. Dowie entered Mary's room and found her in convulsions. Her medical doctor, having given up on her, was preparing to leave. He turned to Dr. Dowie and remarked, "Sir, are not God's ways mysterious?"

The revelation Dr. Dowie had just received from the Word of God was burning in his heart. "God's way!" he thundered. "How dare you call that God's way! No, sir, that is the devil's work!"

He challenged the physician, who was a member of his congregation, "Can you pray the prayer of faith that saves the sick?"

The doctor replied, "You are much too excited, sir, 'tis best to say God's will be done," and he left.

"Excited! The word was quite inadequate for I was almost frenzied with Divinely imparted anger and hatred of that foul destroyer, Disease, which was doing Satan's will," Dowie wrote.
"'It is not so,' I exclaimed, 'no will of God sends such cruelty, and I shall never say "God's will be done" to Satan's works, which God's own Son came to destroy, and this is one of them.'Oh, how the Word of God was burning in my heart....'"

Furious at Satan's attack, Dr. Dowie prayed the prayer of faith for Mary. Years later, he said he prayed something like this:

"Our Father, help! and Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray.
Plead thou for us, oh, Jesus, Saviour, Healer, Friend, our Advocate with God the Father. Hear and heal, Eternal One! From all disease and death deliver this sweet child of Thine. I rest upon the Word. We claim the promise now. The Word is true, 'I am the Lord that healeth thee.' Then heal her now. The Word is true, 'I am the Lord, I change not.' Unchanging God, Then prove Thyself the Healer now. The Word is true, 'These signs shall follow them that believe. In My Name, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.' And I believe, and I lay hands in Jesus' Name on her, and claim this promise now. Thy Word is true. 'The prayer of faith shall save the sick.' Trusting in Thee alone, I cry, oh, save her now, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

The girl's convulsions ceased immediately, and she fell into such a deep sleep that her mother feared she had died. "She isn't dead," the triumphant Dr. Dowie assured them. "I saw that Christ had heard and that once more, as long ago in Peter's house, 'He touched her and the fever left her.'"

After several minutes, Dr. Dowie awakened Mary. She turned to her mother and exclaimed, "Mother, I feel so well!"

Remembering how Jesus had ministered to the little girl He had raised from the dead in Bible days, Dr. Dowie asked, "And you're hungry?"
"Oh, yes," she agreed. "I'm so hungry."

Dr. Dowie instructed Mary's nurse to fix her a cup of cocoa and some bread and butter. Quietly thanking God, he went into the next room, where her brother and sister lay sick with the same plague. After prayer, they, too, instantly recovered.

"As I went away from the home where Christ as the Healer had been victorious," Dr. Dowie recalled, "I could not but have somewhat in my heart of the triumphant song that rang through Heaven, and yet I was not a little amazed at my own strange doings, and still more at my discovery that HE IS JUST THE SAME TODAY."

From that day on, Dr. Dowie ministered to his flock on divine healing and prayed for their healing. He never lost another member to the plague.

But isn't it strange that the doctor, who was a member of Dowie's church, would treat people and give them medicine, but when they got beyond the aid of medical science, he called it the will of God?

It puzzles me that people will take medicines and do everything they can to get well, but if you suggest they have someone pray for their healing, they'll say, "It may not be God's will to heal me."

Why didn't they question the will of God in the first place? If it isn't God's will for them to be well, they shouldn't take any medicine or treatment. They would be out of God's will trying to get well!

I do not mean to discredit the medical profession. Doctors are fighting the same devil we are. I merely want to point out that this is human reasoning and wrong thinking, and it has robbed many people of the blessings of healing and health.

Dr. Lilian B. Yeomans was a doctor who practiced medicine and surgery many years ago in one of New York City's largest hospitals. She began to take small amounts of dope to steady her nerves and help her sleep when she felt exhausted from overwork. Eventually she became so dependent on drugs— especially morphine—that she became an addict. She daily took 50 times the normal dose of morphine normally prescribed for an adult male plus other drugs.

Although Dr. Yeomans took all of the celebrated cures of her day and desperately tried to stop taking drugs, she steadily grew worse. A nurse described her as "a skeleton with a devil inside." Her friends considered her case hopeless.

Dr. Yeomans had been saved as a young woman, but had backslid. When she found herself at death's door, she immersed herself in her long-neglected Bible, got back into fellowship with God, and was healed in 1898 of the terrible drug habit that had almost claimed her life.

After receiving this healing, Dr. Yeomans preached the Gospel for 40 some years. When she and her sister inherited some property, they turned it into a "faith home," taking in people beyond medical help who were seeking healing for their bodies.

Dr. Yeomans said they got nearly all of these people healed by working with them until they got enough faith built up in their hearts (spirits) to receive healing from God. In one of her books she gave the following example of building faith in a patient.

One day a woman in the last stages of tuberculosis was brought to the home. Doctors had given her up as beyond medical aid. When the ambulance brought the woman in, Dr. Yeomans knew she was dying. Had she still been practicing medicine, Dr. Yeomans would have begun to administer strong drugs immediately.

Instead, the woman was carried to an upstairs room, and Dr. Yeomans began reading the Bible to her. She spent about two hours reading Scriptures concerning divine healing; especially from Deuteronomy 28 and Galatians 3:13.

Then she instructed the dying woman to repeat to herself every waking moment, "According to Deuteronomy 28:22, consumption (or tuberculosis) is a curse of the law. But according to Galatians 3:13, Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Therefore, I no longer have tuberculosis."

The next morning, Dr. Yeomans asked the woman if she had been repeating what she'd instructed her to say. She answered that it seemed as if she'd said it 10,000 times, but she couldn't understand what it meant. Dr. Yeomans read more Scriptures to her and asked her to continue repeating the same words.

The next day the story was the same. On the third morning, the woman still did not understand. Dr. Yeomans had not even prayed with her yet, even though she'd been in her "faith home" three nights. (I think sometimes we pray for people too quickly. We should instruct them more in the Word first.)

On the afternoon of the third day, Dr. Yeomans and her sister were helping prepare the evening meal when they heard a commotion upstairs. Their new patient came rushing down the stairs, shouting at the top of her voice, "Sister Yeomans—did you know? Christ has redeemed me, and I no longer have tuberculosis! It's gone now!"

You see, Dr. Yeomans realized that the way into the heart is through the mind. She knew if the woman would say to herself often enough, "According to Deuteronomy 28:22, consumption is a curse of the law. But according to Galatians 3:13, Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law. Therefore, I no longer have tuberculosis," the truth eventually would register on her heart.

I challenge you to take those Scriptures and insert in place of consumption the name of any disease you or a loved one desire to be healed from, because Deuteronomy 28:61 says every sickness is a curse of the law. It will work for you, too.

Just before her death, Dr. Yeomans published a book of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs called Gold of Ophir. These were the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16) the Spirit of God gave to her sister.

Dr. Yeomans said that when she and her sister prayed, her sister would sing songs or psalms in tongues and then sing the interpretation. Sometimes she would sing them out in prophecy. Dr. Yeomans wrote them down and collected them into this book. One of those spiritual songs given by the Spirit of God to Dr. Yeomans' sister was based on Galatians 3:13:
Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law, As He hung on that shameful tree, And all that is worse is contained in the curse, And Jesus has set me free.
Not under the curse, not under the curse, Jesus has set me free;
For sickness, I've health; for poverty, wealth, Since Jesus has ransomed me.
(By Kenneth E. Hagin)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Do we really understand the meaning of the bread in communion?

"Bread" is referred to as our daily provision in Matthew 6:11, but could this provision be more than food?

Matthew 6:11
Give us today our daily bread.

In Matthew 15 below we are given a clue to what the bread further symbolises:

Matthew 15:21-28
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

 21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Divine healing is undoubtedly an integral part of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Article by Dr. Charles S. Price)

Next time you meet around that sacred table with your brethren who form the body of your church--which is the Body of Christ--I want you to ask yourselves solemnly and sincerely a few very important questions. 

Question 1: Why did Jesus differentiate between the wine and the bread? 
Question 2: Why did He say, “This is My blood” and then again, “This is My body”? 
Question 3: If the blood was shed for the remission of sins was there any need for the body to be broken for the same cause?

It was a statement of Jesus that the blood was shed for them, and in addition to that, the body was broken for them.

The word that is in the very heart and core of the meaning of the atonement is the word substitutional

From Genesis to Revelation the Bible rings in type and anti-type with the declaration of this glorious truth. 

Question: Why is it that I shall live eternally?
Answer: Because Jesus died my death. 

Question: Why is it that I can walk in holiness before Him?
Answer: Because He took all of my sins. 

Question: Why is it that I am redeemed and saved from the guilt of iniquity?
Answer: Because Jesus not only bore my guilt and carried my sins in the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate, but He carried them before the tribunals of God.

Question: Why is it that we are instructed in the Word by the apostle Paul to rejoice in the Lord?
Answer: Because Jesus carried all of our grief. 

Question: Why is it that we are instructed not to be anxious about the things of the present?
Answer: Because He lifted our anxiety and gave us His promises for the future.

As He took my sin, He gave me His sinlessness. When He assumed my guilt He gave me His holiness. 
Beloved, the whole super-structure of the doctrine of the atonement would crumble if you took out of the foundation those two glorious words substitutional and vicarious

Meaning of substitutional: 
The act of substituting or putting one person or thing in the place of another; as, the substitution of an agent, attorney, or representative to act for one in his absense; the substitution of bank notes for gold and silver as a circulating medium. 

Meaning of vicarious: 
performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another: vicarious punishment.
taking the place of another person or thing; acting or serving as a substitute.
felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others: a vicarious thrill.
Physiology noting or pertaining to a situation in which onorgan performs part of the functions normally performed by another.

It must of necessity follow then that if substitution is a cardinal doctrine of the atonement as regards deliverance from sin, it must also be an essential doctrine with regard to deliverance from disease. In other words--if it is true that Jesus carried our sins in atoning for them, then He must of necessity have carried our sicknesses too, if He was going to atone for them in the same way.

One thing is very sure--if healing is not in the atonement then the Christian can only pray for it as a privilege; but if it is in the atonement he can claim it as a heritage. If it is not in the atonement the question of healing becomes a matter of intercession. If it is in the atonement it becomes a matter of appropriation. 

Question: How can anybody appropriate without faith? 
Answer: By no stretch of the imagination would it be possible for anybody to become the recipient of the blessing except by faith. 

Paul in writing to the Corinthian Church very clearly and distinctly differentiates between the shed blood and the broken body of the Lord Jesus. 

The Corinthians were in grievous error regarding the celebration of the Lord's Supper. They were undoubtedly eating and drinking to excess. They were eating to satisfy their hunger and drinking to quench their thirst. Paul called them to shame when he declared, “What? have ye no houses to eat and drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?” He also declared that they had missed the mark. He told them that they did not understand why the Lord's Supper was ever instituted. 

In First Corinthians 11:24 he declares that Jesus said, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.”

Up to this time there had been no mention whatever of the bread. He did not join these two together and say, “These things do in remembrance of Me,” but he segregated and separated them. He said “This do in remembrance of Me.” By all the rules of logic this could only mean one thing. The body meant one thing and the blood meant another.

In First Corinthians 11:29-30 we find Paul's position with regard to the meaning of the broken body. He declared that some of the Corinthians were weak and sick and others were asleep. That meant that they were dead before their time. 

He emphatically declares that the reason was that they did not discern the Lord's body. In plain twentieth-century language this is what is meant, “Many of you members in the church at Corinth are sick and weak in your bodies and many of your members have died because you have not believed or understood that Jesus Christ bore your sicknesses.”

What that church should have done was to have spent the same amount of energy in drawing near unto the Lord as they did in quarreling about the virtues of their various leaders and indulging in the sin of sectarianism that was dividing the Body of Christ. They could have been healed, but they discerned not the truth. Some who were dead could have been alive if they had only availed themselves of the privilege of the atonement. 

The prophet of the captivity, Isaiah, turned the telescope down the vista of the years and foretold with minute accuracy the physical events regarding the atoning work of Jesus. He foresaw and foretold the spiritual application regarding His suffering and death. He declared that He was bruised for our iniquities. 
What is that but substitution? He states that He was wounded for our transgression. It is the statement of the vicarious nature of His atoning work. When the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, that was substitutional. Then he declares with emphasis that with His stripes we are healed.

He did not use the future tense--he did not use adjectives that befog the clear and plain statement of fact. Could anything be shorter, plainer, more forceful, easier to understand-- than these words, “By His stripes we are healed”?
Matthew chapter 8 completely knocks the props out of the argument of the man who declares that means spiritual healing. It means nothing of the sort. It relates only to physical healing. It is undoubtedly tied up with the healing of the soul and the forgiveness of sins, because both are in the heart of the atonement. Matthew 8 records the healing of Peter's wife's mother, many who were possessed with devils, and all the sick that were brought to Jesus. Then it declares that these things occurred that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah when he said, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (Mt. 8:17).

Many opponents of divine healing have written to me and declared that Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled then. What happened the next day and the next year, they inferred, could never be associated with the statement of the prophet. That argument is false because he was talking about one atoning work. There are not two atonements. There is only one. Half of the atonement cannot fall and the other half stand.

To me, friends, the glorious and eternal truth remains, in spite of everything that has been done and said against it, your healing has been paid for. Yes, paid for, by the Son of the living God Himself.

Why did they whip Him at the cruel post of scourging? Why did they bare His back and allow that Roman lash to descend upon Him? What stripes was it that Isaiah beheld through the lens of his telescope, and that make him declare under the power of the Spirit that with those stripes we are healed? Would a loving Father, beholding the culmination of the purpose for which He sent His Son into the world, permit Him to undergo agony and pain such as that if it were not for some purpose? The answer is obvious to every man and woman who will read the Scriptures with an open and unbiased mind.

Question: By what authority did the disciples heal subsequent to the ascension of Jesus? 
Question: Have you ever noticed the type of faith that they possessed when they came in contact with devils and with sickness? 

When they saw the man who was at the beautiful gate of the temple, they did not start to cry in sorrow and then lead him off to some place to intercede for God to have mercy upon him and bring healing to his body. To me they acted as if they knew the mind of the Lord in the matter. To me they acted like men who had come from direct contact with God in the power house of the upper room and they were sure that God Himself had power over sickness.

It was not intercession. It was faith. They did not claim that it was done by their power. They certainly acted like men who believed that Jesus had already done it. Using the name that is above every name they simply told him to get up and walk. That is just what the man did.

In plain words the thing that impresses me when I read the account--and the same truth is impressed upon me when I read every account of divine healing subsequent to the ascension of Jesus--is that they acted as if they believed and knew that healing was in the atonement. 

Question: Now what has all this to do with faith? 
It has a great deal to do with the subject of faith because it is upon this great truth that faith must stand when it operates in appropriating healing for the body.

There is a great deal of difference between the prayer of supplication and the victorious shout of faith. One leads to the other undoubtedly. Supplication might cry out of its need without being aware of any promises on which to stand, but faith knows its ground and reaches up to receive.

Are you sick in body, my friend? Do you need the deliverance that only God can give? Have faith in God. Have faith in His Word. Faith is the victory!

Remember that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Walk hand in hand with the Spirit down the corridors of revealed truth as you turn over the pages of the inspired Word. There is no force under Heaven that can so quickly drive out the enemies of unbelief like the reading of the Word of God. Like Philip in the chariot of the eunuch helping the man to understand is the Holy Spirit who always accompanies the Word itself and unfolds it to the mind of the man who reads. As you read, the Word will grow on you-- the promises will stand out--and you will begin to cry, “It is mine.”

As the sinner appropriates salvation by faith, so the sick will appropriate their healing. God cannot lie. He must vindicate His own Word. He must abide by the thing He has promised to do. Heaven and earth may pass away, but the Word of the Lord will remain forever. When even the rocks and the mountains melt in fervent heat, the Rock of Ages that was cleft for me will still be seen in its manifested impregnability gracing and beautifying eternity. Could you ask for a more sure foundation than that?

When the prayer of intercession is over--when the tears of supplication have been shed-- stand upon the promises and hold God to His Word. Your weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning.
As Job traveled from the old burning house to the new one he did not make the journey with a hop, skip, and jump. Just what time elapsed we do not know. But we do know that it was faith that held him steady through every experience of the test.

As one who can say in humility that I have seen thousands of people restored in body by the miraculous and marvelous healing power of God, I beseech you who are suffering to turn your eyes from yourself and the beggarly things of time. Lift them toward the face of One who has not only the nail prints in His hands but with whose stripes you are healed.

If you are tested, if you are being tried--keep turning over the pages of the treasure book of the Bible and as you read the promises of God keep saying within your heart, “Jesus never fails.”

There is healing for you because Jesus purchased it. Remember the promise--yours-- yours--Jesus purchased it. Remember the promise is yours--your promise--yours--yours. Commence to rejoice in it, praise God for it, hold that Bible to your heart--and sing, and sing again, “Jesus never fails!” 

How to increase your faith

Extract from the article "The meaning of Faith" written in 1936 by Dr. Charles S. Price

It must not be forgotten that while the quality of faith might not be changed, it is certainly possible in the economy of God to increase the quantity.
The reason that the quality of faith cannot be changed is because it is one thing that allows no alloy. Faith mixed with doubt ceases to be faith, and when impregnated by fear very soon loses its potency.

There may be a great many doubts and fears in the human life, but when a man cries out to God in the midst of them, there is faith--some faith, at any rate--endeavoring to reach through. You cannot mingle and merge faith and doubt any more than you can dissolve oil and water. They refuse to cling to each other; one of them will predominate; one or the other is certain to gain the mastery.

The little faith you have today will become the greater faith that will dispel doubt tomorrow if you use it, and refuse to be separated from it. Faith has to be the stronger because God is the author of faith, and the devil and yourself are the authors of doubt and fear. We know that God is stronger than the frailties of humanity and that He is more powerful than all the forces of hell and the devil!

The only way in which faith can grow is to develop it by use. This is a fundamental law in God's economy for the development and growth of spiritual life.
Take for instance, walking in the light. A man cannot walk in the light unless he has contacted the revealed will of God. It might come to him through the voice of the Spirit-- understanding through hearing some Holy Ghost sermon--or the unfolding of the riches of the divine Word. To walk in obedience according to the revealed will of God is what we mean when we say that we are walking in the light.

It is generally acknowledged that some men have more light than others. The reason that they have become the recipients of more light is because they have learned the lesson of walking in all the light of the present, so that more light might be given them in the future. 
If a man refuses to walk in the light today he will discover that tomorrow will be growing dark. If a man will walk in all the light he has today, he will find he will have more light in which to walk tomorrow.

Man must always cooperate with God in the development of his Christian character and in the enrichment of his experience. Light is light in essence and in quality, whether it is great or small. The quantity of faith and the power of it can be increased with each succeeding day.
So it is with faith. To be possessed with an ever-increasing faith one must make constant use of the faith that they have. It is not enough to sit idly by--rocking in a rocking chair, or even supplicating on one's knees for more faith. To use the faith you have will honor the Lord Himself and necessitate your keeping very close to God.

It is far better to cry out when doubts and fears are battling what little faith you have, “Lord, I believe, but help Thou mine unbelief.” You remember the man in the Bible who said that. There was faith there--not very much, it is true--but still it was there. There was also unbelief there. Unbelief that the man despised, hated, and did not want--but it was still there.
He might have quit and wrung his hands in abject misery and said, “It is no use.” Had he done so he would have been defeated. There never would have come to him the victory that must have made him shout for joy when he beheld the power of the Lord. Instead, while acknowledging a load of unbelief he exclaimed, “Faith, get to work. Little faith, get hold of God. Little faith, hear His voice. Reach out and touch Him. Do not let Him go.

Little faith becomes great faith when he commences to use his muscles. Never forget that faith is imparted for a purpose, and refusal to use it for the purpose for which it is given will mean that it will be withdrawn. The man who has lost faith has lost it because he refused to use it.
Like a coward he may blame it upon environment, or upon circumstances. Sometimes I have known men to blame it upon heredity. But Christ is greater than environment--more than a match for every circumstance. Even the chains of heredity are broken by the God of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The man who cries around that he has lost his faith has nobody but himself to blame. Remember that God never expects the impossible from any man, and never demands more than a man's capabilities will allow him to render. He will not suffer us to be tempted, or as the Greek says “tested more than we are able to bear.” There might not be 50 avenues of escape, but the promise of the Lord is that there will always be one.

To the dear people, who through lack of understanding have been sitting around for years waiting for “sufficient faith,” I would say without hesitation, “Use the faith you have.” It might not be very big, but remember that a little David killed a big Goliath. A little stone of faith from the brook of God's flowing grace can do more than a broadsword of the finest steel forged on the anvils of hell. A little boy carrying a dinner pail with some faith in his heart can accomplish more for God than a whole army who pattern their armor after the fashion of Saul.

How do you know that your faith is not sufficient? Have you tried to find out? What if it does not bring you the answer in as quick a time as your prayer ascended to God? Has it ever occurred to you that if God always answered as quickly as you asked, that your faith would have so little exercise it would never have a chance to grow? You may feel a little pained at the delay, but perhaps they will be growing pains. Keep on keeping on, and you will feel better by and by.
The Word of the Lord is the pasture in which faith can feed and grow. Faith comes through the Word and it grows and increases by feeding upon the Word. The effect of many a good sermon has been lost and has not acted as an inspiration to faith because people have refused to eat the food of the Word. That assimilated word might have produced faith.

We get too busy with the affairs of the world. Home life and numerous problems manifest themselves and we find very little time for the study of the Word of the Lord. I told you in a preceding chapter that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord. To spend a lot of time on our knees praying for faith will not do us much good unless we also go to the place of nourishment--the Word of God. A man would be foolish to pray for physical strength if he did not give some attention to his diet, but insisted on living on nothing but ice cream and pastry.

Reading the Word also brings you in direct and vital contact with the promises of God. The heart becomes persuaded that the promises are true. The Holy Spirit commences to impart faith and the manifestation and exercise of faith makes the promise real.

Reading the Word of God necessarily means that we keep our eyes constantly upon Jesus. How many Christians make the mistake of living on the experiences of yesterday. Even a minute can make a difference; Peter found that out while walking on the sea.

The grace of yesterday will not suffice for the problems of today. The power by which we overcame in the days gone by is not the power that is used in obtaining the victory of tomorrow. The stream of water flows fast--your faith is gone. The water that rippled over the pebbles at the bottom of your yesterday is today lost in the vastness of the sea. God's grace is not a stagnant lake. It is a flowing river. The man that David declared was God's blessed man was the man who was like a tree planted by the rivers of water who would give forth fruit in his season.

It is a very common but pernicious habit to excuse our lack of victory today by the testimony of the triumphs of yesterday. There should be an increase of faith, an increase of spiritual power, a deepening of the experience, and a multiplying or an enrichment of Christian virtues in the human life.

I know the storm clouds lower; I know the problems arise; I know that circumstances harass; I know that the environment is sometimes conducive to fear--but lift up your head, 0 child of God. Wait not for an army of soldiers of faith to march across the fields of your life; use what faith you have. Shout the victory even though the noise of the storm seems to drown your voice and throw it back in your face. The Christ that heard the cries of the man on the Jericho road above the din and noise of the throng has not lost His power to hear. He hears that cry.
You will stand some day in wonderment at the impregnability of the divine Word and the immutability of the eternal promises of God. God cannot lie--God will not withdraw His oath--God will vindicate His Word; and no power on earth or in hell can prevent Him from obeying and fulfilling His own promises.

The best way to increase your faith is to use what faith you have. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Scripture verses in the New Testament on suffering

(It is plain to see that suffering for the sake of the Gospel has nothing to do with sickness)

John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage - I have conquered the world.

Romans 5:3- Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not dissapoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:18 - For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us.

Romans 12:12- Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.

2Corinthians1:5- For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow towards us, so also our comfort and salvation; If we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. And our hope is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our own strength, so that we despaired even of living. Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He delivered us from so great a risk of death, and He will deliver us. We have set our hope on Him that He will deliver us yet again, as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many.

2Corinthians4:17- For our momentary light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison because we are not looking at what can be seen but what cannot be seen. For what can be seen in temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

2Corinthians6:4- But as God’s servants, we have commended ourselves in every way, with great endurance, in persecutions, in difficulties, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in troubles, in sleepless nights, in hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by benevolence, by the Holy Spirit, by genuine love, by truthful teaching, by the power of God, with weapons of righteousness both for the right hand and for the left, through glory and dishonor, through slander and praise, regarded as impostors and yet true; as unknown and yet well known, as dying and yet see! we continue to live, as those scourged and yet not executed, as sorrowful, but always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

Paul speaking:
2Corinthians11:23 ....with far more imprisonments, more severe beatings, facing death many times, fives I received from the Jews forty lashes less one, three times I was beating with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, in hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and hot without enough clothing. Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern for all the churches.

2Corinthians8:1- Now we make known to you, brothers and sisters, the grace of God given to the churches of Macedonia, that during a severe ordeal of suffering, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in the wealth of their generosity.

Pauls thorn
2 Corinthians12:1- It is necessary to go on boasting. Though it is not profitable, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such an individual I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. For even if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I would be telling the truth, but I refrain from this so that no one may regard me beyond what he sees in my or what he hears from me, even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of satan to trouble me so that I would not become arrogant. I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. But He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.” Therefore I am content with weakness, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Phillipians 3:10 My aim is to know Him, to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in in His sufferings, and to be like Him in death, and so, somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body - for the sake of His body, the church - what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

1Thessalonians1:5 This is evidence of God’s righteous judgement, to make you worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering.

2Timothy1:8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for His sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the Gospel.

2Timothy1:11-12 For this Gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher. Because of this fact, I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that He is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day.

2Timothy2:3 Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

2Timothy2:8-12 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David; such is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but God’s message is not imprisoned! So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy: if we died with Him, we will also live with Him. If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.

2Timothy3:10- You, however, have followed my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, as well as the persecutions and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra. I endured these persecutions and the Lord delivered me from them all. Know in fact all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

 Hebrews10:32- But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way. For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainly had a better and lasting possession. So do not throw away your confidence, because it has great reward. For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised. For just a little longer and He who is coming will arrive and not delay. But My Righteous One will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I take no pleasure in him. But we are not among those who shrink back and thus perish, but are among those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Hebrews 12:6- For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son He accepts. Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but He does so for our benefit, that we may share His holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.

James 5:10- As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name. Think how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. And above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or earth or by any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, so that you may not fall into judgement. Is anyone among your suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you ill? He should summon the elders of the church and they should pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

1Peter2:19-21For this finds God’s favor, if because of conscience towards God, someone endures hardships in suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and so endure, this finds favor with God. For this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps.

1Peter3:13- For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But in fact if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit. In it He went and preached to the spirits in prison, after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed.

1Peter4:1- So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.

1Peter4:12- Dear friends do not be astonished that trial by fire is occurring among you as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when His glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of Glory Who is the Spirit of God, rests on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, glorify God that you bear such a name. For it is time for judgement to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the Gospel of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly sinners? So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful creator as they do good.

1Peter5:1- So as your fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings and as one who shares in the glory that will be revealed, I urge the elders among you: Give a shepherds’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit, but eagerly. And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock. Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away. In the same way you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under His mighty hand by casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him belongs the power forever. Amen.

Revelation2:9- I know the distress you are suffering and your poverty (but you are rich). I also know the slander against you by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but are a synagogue of satan. Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself. The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will in no way be harmed by the second death.

Revelation 2:18- To the angel of the church in Thyatira write the following: This is the solemn pronouncement of the Son of God, the one who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like polished bronze: I know your deeds: your love, faith, service, and steadfast endurance. In fact, your more recents deeds are greater than your earlier ones. But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and by her teaching deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent, but she is not willing to repent of her sexual immorality. Look I am throwing her onto a bed of violent illness, and those who commit adultery with her into terrible suffering, unless they repent of her deeds. Further more I will strike her followers with a deadly disease, and then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches the minds and hearts. I will repay each one of you what your deeds deserve.