When I teach on Sunday mornings I have a particular point, or lesson, in mind. Case in point, this Sunday's teaching was concerning the need to test man's teaching for, as John says, there are antichrists among us who have come out from us. In stressing the point that we can identify false teachers by the examining of the gospel they present I used an example. I examined the gospel of Ricky Edwards who was the evangelist for the Kingman tent revival held a couple of months ago and supported by some churches in Kingman. Ricky holds that the Gospel message not only promises salvation but guarantees healing as well (the inference being made by using Psalm 103:3 as a proof text).
When I teach, with a particular point in mind, it can be easy for things said to be misconstrued especially if what I am teaching seems to go against a held belief. Case in point, I made the statement that one would be hard pressed to find scripture that guarantees healing for the Christian (much less it being a part of the Gospel message). What some may have heard me say was that Christians shouldn't believe that God heals.
It is important to me that what I teach be understood in proper context, and not false implications made. On Mondays I will be posting on my blog, and sending out a churchwide email, that will followup on the preceding Sunday's teaching. It will do one of two things. It will attempt to clear up any misunderstanding and/or give further thoughts concerning the subject.
Today I want to clear up a possible misunderstanding. Can physical healing be found in Jesus? The answer is, absolutely! But is physical healing guaranteed? Absolutely not! Jesus very obviously can heal. He did so while here on earth, and being in nature God, he has the power to heal today. In fact he does heal today. One cannot ignore the many miraculous healings that occur in this present age.
Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) there is no guarantee that God will heal, no matter how much faith on has despite the number of teachers who say so. Is it wrong to believe God can heal or to pray for healing? Absolutely not! Is it wrong to expect God to heal? I believe it is. Some might claim this is a lack of faith, but I claim it is greater faith. What is easier to believe? Is it easier to believe that God will heal, or is it easier to believe that God has a plan that brings glory in the midst of one's suffering? It is easier to believe in healing for the desire to be healed is a selfish desire. What I simply mean by this is that it is far easier to focus on one's self than it is to focus on what may benefit others. Therefore faith in God's ability to heal is easier than faith in God's ability to use one's suffering to help others. God may have a reason for physical suffering, and it may involve the salvation of others. Of course this is harder to accept because it means one may have to continue to suffer and not experience healing.
The fact is God can and often uses suffering to increase faith. As faith increases the concern for self decreases. The very nature of faith brings our fears and concerns about ourselves to cessation as we believe and understand that God will do and provide what we need. Faith enables us to focus on others as John says is the evidence of salvation.
Can God heal? Absolutely! Can we expect to be healed? Not always. What can we expect? God's will to be done in our lives when we submit and have faith in his perfect and divine nature.
Again, the point of Sunday's teaching is to examine man's teaching. Examine the Gospel message taught, and compare what is taught to the revealed scripture. By this we avoid slipping into error. We will be held accountable for what we accept as truth.
Another issue I would like to try and clear up is the correct understanding of prosperity. People mostly think in terms of financial and material prosperity. This is rather unfortunate (and reveals the continued contention with flesh and selfishness) for the prosperity of God surpasses such petty things as money and stuff. Even so, does God financially and materially prosper those who follow him? I believe he definitely can. I previously said as faith increases the concern for self decreases. So the question I must ask is, why would God financially prosper only to have the concern for self increase? I don't presume to completely understand God and his mind, but in general I don't believe he would do something that would take us further from him. As long as a person is concerned about self I don't think they should expect for God to prosper them in such a way, but if the concern is truly for others and not for self one would probably most likely be unaware of God's financial prosperity as the more they are given the more they give in loving others. In fact, what they most likely will be even more aware of is an increasing joy that only comes from loving others as Jesus loves (talk about prosperity!). Overall, I caution anyone in believing and expecting that God will prosper them financially and matetially (as I cautioned with the expectation of healing). What is at issue is God's will. We can stand firm on the promise of Jesus that our needs will be met. What more do we personally neec? Such a promise frees us from concern of self and allows us to focus on truly loving others. In this way God is free to work through us. If he prospers us financially and materially it is simply because he expects us to use it to love others.