All right, Mars Hill, if you’ve got a Bible, go to Acts 3:1–10. It’s our sixth sermon as we enjoy the book of Acts. As you’re finding that place, let me give you a little bit of an update, a family update for Mars Hill. The kids recently got out of school, and we had a big family meeting at our house on the couch. “Hey, what did you learn this year? “What do we have coming for the summer? Here’s what to look forward to.” So, welcome to our couch, and here’s what we’ve got coming up this summer, Mars Hill, for our church family.
We are finishing our fiscal year here at the end of June, and so our fiscal year begins in July, and then it runs through June, and so that’s where we find ourselves. And we’re hoping, trusting, and praying, by God’s grace and your generosity, to help us to finish this fiscal year well. Here’s where we have been most recently. Over nine thousand adults a week, over two thousand kids a week. If children are a blessing, that’s a lot of blessings, amen? How many of you are happy to see little people running around Mars Hill Church? I sure am. Five of them have the name Driscoll, so I really like those the best.
So, we praise God for all the people that are part of Mars Hill Church, but I would point out that number for you as well. Be in prayer as we’re seeing lots and lots and lots and lots of kids get born, and we want to be a great church that has our facilities and our leadership structures and our families set up so that we’re more than just a one-generation phenomenon. Really, what we’re doing now is we’re developing not only our present, but we’re developing the present in light of our future. And so be praying for the kids as well.
As far as those who are giving any amount, it’s about 34 percent, so about one in three. So, for those of you who are giving financially, thank you. For the rest of you who are Christians and call Mars Hill home and are not giving, it’s a good time to start and you can help us finish the fiscal year very well.
The truth is, we’re about even between our giving and our expenses. The good news is that over this past year, we’ve actually underspent our expectations, and so we set our budget and we’ve really kept a close eye on our expenses. So we have underspent. But the bad news is that our giving has been even lower than we were anticipating, so we do have a deficit to make up, and we’re hoping to do that right here at the end of the month. And our expenses, most recently, are about even to our giving.
So if you would be generous in the next few weeks and help us finish strong, we’d be in a very healthy place. We’re within striking distance, but we do need your generosity to finish this fiscal year well. The ways you can participate, you can give. There’s an offering envelope, you can mail it in. The easiest way, and the way the Driscoll nation does it, is online at marshill.com/give. That’s the easiest way to go ahead and give, and that might be the best way for you. You can also set it up through a recurring account at marshill.com that way. It may be like some of you do with your other things you contribute to or bills that you pay. You go ahead and set that up so that’s it’s automatic every single month.
One thing I’d give to you that we’ve set as a goal of ours as a family every year since I got saved is, every year we try to give more than we did the year before. That’s been our constant goal for Gracie and me since we got married some twenty years ago now. And by God’s grace, we’ve been able to do that and he’s answered that prayer faithfully every year for twelve years. So, we’re always trying to figure out how could we be more generous, and it’s been a great joy to see what Jesus has done.
Here’s what’s coming up this summer: We’re finishing new curriculum for the kids, so be in prayer for that. We love children at Mars Hill, and in addition to the parents sharing Jesus with them, we want to teach them as a church family. Mars Hill Students is off to a great start. We officially kicked off Mars Hill Students this year. We’ve been having more than four hundred students a week joining us in student ministry, including my own kids who love Adam Ramsey very, very much. We recently had our big kick-off in the Pacific Northwest, at least. There were over four hundred kids out for that.
We’ve got summer retreats coming up for junior high and high school kids, and the students are excited about that. My kids are registered; I pray yours would as well. And be in prayer for those students. Some of you remember back in your own life that God spoke to you in a specific way at a student ministry event or camp. It’s a very important season for us, and so be praying for those retreats.
Coming up in the fall, we’re going to go through the Ten Commandments together, starting in September.
November 5th and 6th, we’ve got the national Resurgence Conference. We’ve got Rick Warren and Greg Laurie and Matt Chandler and Crawford Loritts and James MacDonald and Judah Smith and Bob Coy and Levi Lusko. We’ve got a whole bunch of Bible teachers who will be with us, and we’re going to be simulcasting from Downtown Seattle to Bellevue as well as to Reno as well as to Orlando as well as to Mars Hill Albuquerque. So, I’m praying for four or five thousand people for that conference, and you’re welcome to join us.
And here’s what we got coming up this summer: Best Sermon Ever.[Looking at series poster] It looks like Otter Pops, doesn’t it? That was my first thought. Nothing says summer like a box of Otter Pops. So, here’s our summer sermon series. I’m going to be taking five weeks out of the pulpit. I’m going to get a little time with the family, and also I’ve got two books that are due to the publisher, and we’re going to give some of the lead pastors their break as well, and so we’re bringing in some Bible teachers. We don’t want to take the summer off; we want to give you the very best we can, so we’ve got Paul Tripp, Bruce Ware, Wayne Grudem, my favorite living theologian, Larry Osborne, who’s been a great source of counsel and friendship, and also Pastor Eric Mason will be joining us over those five weeks. You’re going to love these guys. We brought in some of the best Bible teachers, and they’re all doctors, so they’re more educated than I am. So you’ll get really good Bible teaching while I’m gone, and then I’ll have to up my game when I come back. So, that’s where we find ourselves.
Today we find ourselves in Acts. Love you, appreciate you, really excited to teach you today. Let me pray and we’ll launch into Acts 3.
Father God, thank you for the great year that it’s been at Mars Hill Church. As we end our fiscal year, I thank you for those who have really helped us keep our expenses down and to be good stewards of the resources which you have entrusted to us. I pray we would all be generous and finish the fiscal year strong so that we could make up the deficit and we could be in a good, healthy place as we prepare for our future. Lord God, today I pray in particular for those who are battling illness and/or injury.
And Lord God, I thank you that I have an opportunity today to open the Bible and to talk about suffering and to do so, Lord God, in a world that is filled with suffering, and that I get to talk about a God who has experienced suffering and understands. So, Holy Spirit, please help me to teach the Bible and help us to learn about Jesus, in whose name we pray, amen.
Let me start with this. Here’s what I did right before this sermon: I texted my son Zac. He’s thirteen years of age. He’s my oldest son. He’s our second oldest child. I love him with all my heart. I call him Buddy Zac. He’s almost got a bald spot right here because I kiss him here so much. You know how 13-year-old boys are, you go to kiss them and they lean away a little bit. What they really mean is, “Thank you for kissing me on the head, Dad—just don’t do it in front of my friends.”
So, I love Buddy Zac. We get along really good. And I have spent I don’t know how many hundreds of hours in my life doing this with Zac [mimics playing catch] OK, what am I doing with Zac? Playing catch, right? This is how we spend much of our life together, right? Playing catch. He’s been a baseball player since he was a little boy. As soon as he could stand up, he grabbed a bat and went for the tee. He’s been that kid. All three of my boys play ball. They love playing ball. Zac loves playing ball the most. Last year, he had a triple header, came home and played Wiffle ball for two hours. That’s Zac. He plays ball all the time.
The reason I texted him this morning is he’s got an injury and I can’t be with him today. He’s a few hours away. When you’ve got three boys playing ball and they’re in select, All Stars, and tournaments, they go separate directions. And you’ve only got two parents, and so we’re trying to figure out how to love and serve and encourage everybody. And I don’t know if you know this, Sunday’s kind of a work day for me, so with tournaments being on the weekends, it gets a little bit complicated. Well, this time last year, Zac’s team made it to Cooperstown, which is the Baseball Hall of Fame, OK? Made it to the national tournament. If they made it to the semi-finals, they were gonna play, I think it was, on ESPN2.
If you’re a 12-year-old boy, true or false, that’s a big deal? Oh, that’s a big deal, right? Like, Muslim kids are like, “We’re going to Mecca.” My kids are like, “Hey, we’re going to Cooperstown.” Like, this is a big trip for them, OK?
Now, Zac, his arm started giving him trouble before the tournament and I had to pull him out off the team. He could not make the nationally ranked tournament that he qualified for with an All-Star team, a select team that was playing out of California. He made an out-of-state select team that made it to nationals, and at the last minute, he couldn’t go. He was really—I mean, he was very devastated. He’d worked so hard and trained so long.
So, we had to rest him for six months. He couldn’t throw a ball for six months. Imagine being a boy, can’t use your—he’s a lefty—your left arm for six months. We took him into specialists, we rested him, we prayed over him, we slowly brought him back once the doctor said it was OK. We thought everything was fine. The last few weeks, I’ve started catching him at home. He’s not yet pitching. He’s playing center field for a select team. And yesterday they were playing out of town a couple hours away. Grace and I were unable to be with him because we were over at another son’s tournament and I had to come back to work.
And I got a call from Zac last night and he’s all choked up. “Dad, my arm hurts again in the exact same spot. I can’t play. What do I do?” So, this morning, I’m texting with Zac. He’s worried. He’s thirteen and like, “Do I have something permanently wrong? Am I going to be able to play again? As we’re progressing toward more advanced tournaments, is it yet another season that I need to quit early?”
PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING
How many of you, right now, raise your hand if you’re battling an injury or an illness. You’re feeling like Buddy Zac today. You’re battling—OK, keep your hand up. How many of you love somebody, know somebody who’s battling an injury or an illness? Raise your hand. OK, pretty much all the hands are going to go up, right? All the hands are going to go up. We are either battling an injury or an illness or we love someone who is.
Some of you are feeling like Buddy Zac today, like, “Not again, what does this mean?” And I know he doesn’t have cancer, and I know it’s not the end of the world, and I want to keep it in perspective, but when you’re a thirteen-year-old boy, it’s kind of a big deal. And when you’re the thirteen-year-old boy’s dad, he’s a big deal, so it’s a big deal to you.
And some of you are in the position that I am. There’s somebody you know and love, and man, you just wish they got good news and you wish they were OK. Well, this is the world that we live in. Seventy percent of Americans are on some sort of prescription medication for an injury or an illness. Over half of Americans are on at least two medications for an illness or an injury. Since sin entered the world, people are suffering, and they’re sick, and they’re struggling.
The promise, given seven hundred years before Jesus was born, was that his ministry would be two things: that he would forgive sins spiritually and that he would heal bodies physically. I’ll read this great promise to you about Jesus’ cross in Isaiah 53:4–5. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace”—and here’s the key phrase—“and with his wounds we are healed.” We are healed.
See, sin affects our immaterial soul and our physical body. And Jesus comes to forgive our sin and to heal our soul but also to heal our body. So, the people of God, were awaiting the coming of Jesus. “When will this One come, who will die in our place for our sins, that he will heal our spiritual soul and he will heal our physical body?” Well, then we know that the Lord Jesus did come and he did practice healing. If you’re at all familiar with the what’s called the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—they’re sketches of Jesus’ life on earth. They don’t record everything he taught or everyone he healed. It’s a summary.
But even in that—I was doing some work this week—there are twenty-seven individuals that Jesus heals in the gospels. Twenty-seven people that are named or explained that Jesus healed. And then there are at least ten groups of people, the size of which we don’t know, but he just healed a whole group of people physically. Physically.
DO WE HAVE ANY ACCESS TO JESUS NOW?
Now, we know that then Jesus died on the cross in our place for our sins. Three days later, he was healed. His broken body was healed. His dead body was resurrected. Over the course of forty days, we read early in Acts 1 that he went around evidencing his resurrection. And then he ascended into heaven.
The question then was, “Do we have any access to Jesus now? When he was here, we could walk up to him and ask him a question, or if we were sick, we could go up to him and ask for healing. But now that he has left, what does that mean for us? Are we abandoned? Are we orphaned? Are we alone? Can we have access to Jesus? Will he forgive us? Will he heal us? What relationship does Jesus have with us now?”
Then the Holy Spirit is sent to connect Jesus’ people to Jesus so that we could still talk to Jesus as if he were here among us, that we could still inquire of Jesus for healing as if he were still present as he was when he walked the earth.
THE FIRST HEALING RECORDED BY JESUS’ PEOPLE
We read, then, of what Jesus’ followers started doing by the power of the Holy Spirit. And one of the things that they did was healing. So, we’ll read in Acts 3:1–10. What you’re going to see here is that in the book of Acts, according to my reading this week, there are fourteen occurrences of healing—divine physical healing.
So, here’s the first healing that is recorded by Jesus’ people about the power of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. You ready? Let’s read it. “Now Peter and John”—all right, it’s like Batman and Robin in the Bible, right? These guys are a big deal. “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” That’s about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. “And a man lame from”—when? “Birth”—so this is a life condition—”was being carried.” So, he is not functional under normal capacity. “Whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that “is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.” He’s asking them for charity. “And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’”
Can you imagine you’re driving down the road, there’s a guy on the shoulder of the road with a sign on a mat, “Crippled from birth.” You get out at the red light, and he says, “How much are you going to give me?” You say, “I’ve got nothing, but how about you just get up and walk home?” And he does. That’s what’s happening. “And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up”—this guy’s never stood—“And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement”—that’s language for worship—“at what had happened to him.”
Again, this is the first of fourteen physical healings recorded in the book of Acts. There are twenty-eight chapters in the book of Acts. Twelve of the twenty-eight chapters speak of somebody being physically healed supernaturally by Jesus’ power through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
HEALED FOR GOD’S GLORY
So, what I want to do today is I want to look at this particular healing, and then I want to look at the broad category of healing. And this’ll be a sermon that we refer back to as we continue our study in the years to come in the book of Acts.
So, let’s start with this man. Well, here’s what we know about him. He was, it says, lame from birth. He was born with a situation where he was unable to live a normal life. This is a man who had never stood up on his own two feet. This is a man who had never taken a step. He’d never gone for a walk. This is a man who while growing up would watch the other kids get up and play, but he couldn’t. The other kids go out for recess or sports or hiking or whatever the case may be. He never got to do that. He’s the kid who’s sitting there watching the other kids climb the tree during the summertime, and he never has that opportunity.
What this means as well is he’s probably never going to marry because he has no income. He was no way of providing for his family. And so he is subjected to a life of poverty. They didn’t have the kind of disability or safety net that might exist for some in our day, and so he would throw himself on the generosity of God’s people. He would sit outside of the temple is where he was positioned, and his friends would have to carry him there day after day, after day, after day.
This is for a man—you men get this, right?—true or false, this is very difficult for a man? He can’t take himself anywhere. He can’t provide for himself. He can’t tend to himself. He can’t defend himself. He’s completely at the mercy of others, literally.
So, his friends take him as they have for years. We don’t know how old he is, but think every day for years. You’re living in poverty. You’re hoping that your friends or family love you enough to pick you up and carry you and leave you in front of all of God’s people as they go into worship, and you’re just hoping, trusting, and praying that God’s people would have mercy on you and give you some money so that you can exist and not starve to death. This man’s in a dire situation.
Along come Peter and John, and he says, you know, “Would you like to give?” And they say, “Silver and gold we do not have.” So, these guys are not prosperity teachers, amen? Sometimes you hear, “Oh yeah, yeah, the apostles were all rich.” “Silver and gold I do not have.” OK, that’s poverty, that’s not prosperity. So, they look at the man. They say, “Look at me,” so he looks at them. He says, “Look, I’ve got no money for you. “How about healing? How about healing? “That we can do, by God’s grace. So, stand up, arise, walk, be well.” God heals the man. And sometimes in the Bible you’ll see people healed slowly over time, and that is a divine healing, but here it says “immediately,” right? He got up right away.
This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 35:6, “Then shall the lame man leap like a deer.” The promise was given: when Jesus comes, a lame man would walk like a deer, and here he is seven hundred years later.
One other thing about this story is it’s all in the name of Jesus. You get that? “In that name of Jesus of Nazareth,” right? Now, the name of Jesus is not like a pagan mantra, but it’s inviting the living Jesus into that moment, OK? That’s what he’s doing. What he’s doing is he’s saying, “Jesus is still alive.” You could talk to him when he was on the earth; you could still talk to him. You could go to him when he was on the earth; you could still go to him. “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Mars Hill, I need you to know the strength of the name of Jesus of Nazareth. There’s a reason why people will, when they take the Lord’s name in vain, take Jesus’ name in vain. That’s the name of power, that’s the name of authority, that’s the name of deity, right? Philippians tells us that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, both on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. There’s something unique and special about the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
This is inviting the living Jesus into that moment so that we see that, ultimately, who is it that healed this man? Was it Peter and John? Yes or no? No, it was Jesus from heaven. Well, this is very encouraging because again, Jesus healed when he was on the earth, and now he’s ascended into heaven. Can he still heal? Yes, because he’s still alive, and now he’s ruling and reigning as sovereign Lord, and we can come to him, and he will hear us and answer us, and he can actually heal from his heavenly throne.
And then the result is that God is worshiped. So, this man goes into the temple—and this would have been the first time in his life that he was able to go into the temple. There was a restriction on those with physical disability, that they were not allowed into the temple. He’s now able to go into the temple, and here’s what we see: As soon as he is healed, he does not turn his back on God and walk away. He sets his face toward God. He goes into the temple that he might worship, he might worship, and praise and celebrate the goodness of God, and the other people are astounded and they do the same.
The ultimate goal is not healing; healing is the penultimate goal; it’s the secondary goal. The primary goal is the glory of God. And so God is glorified and then people rejoice with singing and song and celebration. That’s this particular story.
SOME REASONS FOR WHY THERE’S SICKNESS AND SUFFERING
That being said, as we’ve investigated this healing, let me answer for you now a whole bunch of questions about healing. How many of you, at this point, have questions about healing? You’re like, “Hey, if we’re into healing, I’ve got questions.” In the history of Mars Hill, seventeen years, I don’t know if I’ve ever dealt fully and thoroughly in one sermon with healing, so let me do that today.
I know as you see this, some of you will say, “Well, does God still do that? “And I have these questions. And what about me? “And what about my friend? “And why are certain people healed and not other people healed?” All of these questions erupt, so here’s what I want to do. I want to take some time and I want to answer them for you because I’m your pastor, because I love you, because we’re a Bible-believing church and the Bible talks a lot about healing. So, let’s work through some questions together.
First question, why is there sickness? Why is there sickness? I can still remember when my Grandpa George died. I’ve told you stories about him. I love Grandpa George with all my heart. He and I were really close. I was around the age of ten when Grandpa George died, never forget it. We were at the funeral, and the religious leader got up front and said something to the effect of, “Well, you know, sickness and death, it’s just part of life.” I remember sitting there as a ten-year-old kid going, “That doesn’t sound right. I don’t think that Grandpa George should be in a box. I don’t think that Grandpa George should have gotten sick. I don’t think that Grandpa George should have died. This doesn’t seem normal. In fact, this seems radically abnormal to me.”
1. SIN AND THE FALL
Well, the Bible tells us that sin and death are radically abnormal, that when God made the world, Genesis 1:31, he said that everything was very good. Everything was alive. There was no death. Romans 5:12 talks about the fall, the result of sin. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
The first reason why there is sickness and suffering is because of sin. God is the living God, that everything God made was perfect and good, and there was no death. And in rebellion against God, we chose to turn our back on God, and as a result, we chose death over life. The result is now that sin has infected and affected everyone and everything. Romans 8 talks about the fact that all creation is groaning. It’s under this weight and bondage of sin, and it’s yearning for its deliverance back into its intended state.
Friends, there are things that happen that simply—there is not a causal effect between this caused that, that this caused their cancer, that this caused their ailment, that this caused their miscarriage, that this caused their leukemia. There’s not always a causal connection to where we could say, “This caused this.” What we can do is go all the way back to Genesis 3 where sin first entered the world and say, well, since sin entered the world, everything is infected and affected. Sin and sickness and suffering and death have entered into the human equation, and as a result, things are not as God intended. And we just need to accept that sometimes we don’t have a close causal connection, but the connection goes all the way back to Genesis 3.
I had this occasion some years ago with a friend of ours, Grace and me, a family friend, beautiful couple at Mars Hill. She miscarried again, and I don’t know the number of miscarriages, but they had endured a very long, painful list of miscarriages, and this is a beautiful couple and a wonderful family, literally the kind of place you would want a child to be raised.
And so we got word of this. We were on summer vacation with the kids and I called her up to check in. “How are you? How can we pray for you? How are you doing?” And her question was this, “Pastor Mark, why does God keep killing my babies?” That’s how she felt in the moment. And I said, “You know what?” I mean, I was teared up literally. “Sweetheart, look, the Bible says that sin entered the world and that everything is infected and affected, and nothing is the way God intended, and nothing is the way that it should be.”
When the Bible says, “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” we’re not supposed to raise our hand and say, “I do.” It’s a rhetorical question. I said, “So, I’m not going to pretend to know and explain all of this to you. I know the Bible says that now we see in part, then we shall see in full. All your questions will be answered in the kingdom of God. Here’s what I can tell you right now: God does not kill the babies in the womb of the Christian mom who’s looking forward to welcoming the child into the world. What I can tell you is that sin has infected and affected everything, and that nothing is the way that it was supposed to be.”
2. PERSONAL SIN
Second cause for sickness is personal sin. 1 Corinthians 11:30, “This is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” Now, sometimes there’s a direct causal result, right? You’re drinking and driving, you get in a wreck, and you break your body. You say, “Well, there’s cause and effect.” Personal sin and then personal suffering. You could see that. All right, you ate very, very, very poorly, and you got diabetes, or you became obese. Or you drank too much and you damaged your liver, right? There are certain things you can say—“Well, I made a choice, and it had some effect on my health and well-being.” But sometimes, it’s not just even physically causal, it’s spiritually causal.
So, the situation in Corinthians is this: These people are getting drunk, they’re having lots of sex, they’re rebelling against God, they’re disobeying Paul. They claim to be believers, but they’re living open, defiant, rebellious lives, and they’re coming to the Communion Table, the Lord’s Supper, which we’ll practice in a little bit. They’re not repenting of their sin; they’re not acknowledging their sin. They’re basically spitting in the face of Jesus. “You died for my sin so I get to sin all that I want. I don’t need to put my sin to death. I can sin that grace may abound. I can do whatever I please, and you’re obligated to forgive me.”
So he says, “That is why many of you”—it’s not a little list: there’s a lot of funerals at the church at Corinth—“are weak and ill, and some have died.” Sometimes it’s spiritual and you need to not go see a doctor because ultimately, the problem is spiritual. You need to repent of your sin, and it’s God’s judgment on you for your rebellion against him. Is that you?
3. DEMONIC FORCES
Third category for sickness is demonic. And we hear of this many times in the Bible, but I’ll give you one from the ministry of Jesus. Matthew 8:16, “That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons”—unclean spirits.
Mars Hill, know this: not all spirits are holy and good. There are unholy and unclean spirits called demons. They’re in rebellion against God. If you just open the door and say, “I want to be a spiritual person,” you’re saying, “I want to invite demons,” so we need to be discerning, right? First John tells us not to accept or believe every spirit but to test the spirits because not all the spirits are from the Lord. “They brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word.” We’re not talking about some crazy exorcism, holy water, and some cross. It’s just the authority of the truth of the Bible. “And he healed all who were sick.” Why were they sick, Mars Hill? Demonic oppression.
Some of you will ask, “Can a believer be demon-possessed?” No, an unbeliever can be demon-possessed, owned, controlled, overtaken. A believer in Jesus cannot be controlled or overtaken by a demon, but they can be oppressed by a demon. And sometimes that is with physical illness or injury. It’s torment, to use the language of the Bible. It’s torment.
So by commanding in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the strong name of Jesus of Nazareth, those unclean spirits away, people will be spiritually delivered from demonic oppression, and sometimes also physically healed as the spirit takes with them that injury or illness that they were causing.
So, one of my prayers when I pray over people all the time is I pray against the enemy, his servants, their works and effects, and when I command them away in the strong name of Jesus, I command that they take their works and effects with them: illness and injury, torment and oppression. Those are the three primary categories for why people become sick. And seven times that I found in the Gospels, Jesus heals someone by commanding an unclean spirit away from them.
SOME COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT HEALING
DOES HEALING REPLACE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE?
Do you have any more questions? We’ve probably only begun. “Does healing replace traditional medicine?” Now, there was a case in the news recently where there was a faith-healing couple that did not take their child in for medical treatment and the child died. Their second child got sick, they did not take the child in for medical treatment, and the second child died.
Mars Hill, is that what we believe? No. No. We believe in natural medicine and supernatural prayer. We believe in both. The healing that is recorded in Acts 3, as well as the remainder of physical healings in Acts are written by a man named Luke who’s a doctor. Anytime the doctor’s teaching you about healing, he’s probably not anti-doctors, amen? Can you go out on the end of that limb with me? Can we do that together? Here’s Luke, the author of Acts. He is called “Luke the beloved physician.” So, who’s telling us about the healing? The doctor. The doctor.
See, the Bible does not speak in a negative or a pejorative way against those who are in medicine. It doesn’t. For those of you who work in the hospice, for those of you who are nurses, for those of you who are doctors, for those of you who are dentists, for those of you who are physical therapists, for those of you who are EMTs, we say, “Praise be to God.” Praise be to God that you would study the body that God made and that you would, with discernment and wisdom, love and serve people and try to bring healing in any way you can. So, no. Because the Bible is for prayer, it’s not against medicine. It’s for both.
So our encouragement, our exhortation, would be if you are suffering from illness or injury, someone you know or love is suffering from illness or injury, pray for them and encourage them to get the best medical care that they can. Let’s do both, amen? Let’s do both. It’s not an either/or for us at all.
My own experience is my medical doctor is also an evangelical Christian. Every time I meet with him, he prays for me. It’s like that. It’s like that. He says, “OK, here’s your bloodwork, and here’s where you’re at, and here’s your tests, and you know, here’s what we see. So, here’s what you need to do with your diet and your supplements, and here’s what I’m recommending. OK, now let me pray for you.” It’s all of that. It’s all of that. We don’t believe in just treating the soul. We don’t believe in just treating the body. We believe in loving and serving the person.
But let me say this: if you are healed through “natural means” or “supernatural means,” it’s still the grace of God. Because let’s say you’re healed through naturopathic medicine and changing your diet and eating healthy, and the body starts to recover and heal. Well, that’s from all that God created, so that’s still a gift from God. Let’s say it’s a medical doctor who has gone to school, and they’ve been given a brilliant mind and an education, and they maybe even understand certain medications or procedures or surgeries, that’s still from general revelation and common grace. That’s still, ultimately, a gift from God.
Let’s say it’s supernatural healing that, through prayer, God just shows up as the Great Physician and does something extraordinary. That, too, is from the Lord. God will use different means—like prayer, like medicine, like nutrition, and whatever he would use—it ultimately is his way of healing us so that ultimately we praise him. That’s what we believe.
IS ALL HEALING FROM GOD?
Here’s the next question, and this one is important: is all healing from God? How many of you, maybe you’ve been here—I want to be careful with this. When people are suffering, they can become panicked, right? You could become panicked to where anything that might heal you, you’re going to avail yourself to, particularly if you have chronic pain, chronic suffering. You just want it to be over.
The result is that then some people will start chasing all kinds of other supernatural, spiritual means by which to be healed. Sometimes this might mean participating in another religion or praying with someone from another faith or going to see someone who says they have a healing gift but they’re not a Christian, getting involved in what we would call new age or integrative spirituality or some sort of eastern, non-Christian, non-biblical spiritual activities to be healed. It’s a big deal for us in places like Albuquerque, where there’s a medicine man and a shaman. I mean, sometimes it gets very formalized. Matthew 24:24 says that “For false christs and false prophets “will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”
Here’s the point: Satan is willing to heal you—Satan is willing to heal you so that he can condemn you. Satan is willing to alleviate your momentary suffering in exchange for your eternal suffering. So be careful, all right? Pray to Jesus of Nazareth. Invite God the Holy Spirit, not just any spirit. Seek counsel and prayer from those who love Jesus, not just those who say they can heal.
If you read the Bible, you will see that there are certain people who are empowered to do miraculous feats, right? In the days of Moses, when he’s coming up against the Pharaoh, the Pharaoh’s magicians do some pretty amazing, supernatural things. There are those who have supernatural power, but it’s demonic in origin, and it can deceive people into thinking that God is the one who healed them, when, in fact, it was Satan who healed them, and it’s leading them away from God.
Our goal is not necessarily healing. Our goal is to love Jesus. And so if we go to Jesus and he heals us, we receive that. If we go to Jesus and he chooses not to heal us or not to heal us yet, we still love Jesus. We don’t abandon Jesus because healing is now above Jesus in our priorities. Do you understand that?
I want to warn some of you, because again, when you’re struggling, when you’re sick, when you’re hurting, when you’ve exhausted your options, when you’re panicked, you’re just thinking, “Well, if they can heal me, then that’s—I’ll go to them.” No, no, no, no, be careful you don’t chase demonic sources of potential healing.
WHY DOES GOD HEAL?
Why does God heal? Well, there’s a long list, but I’ll give you five, and we can take all of these from Acts 3 in our case study.
1. IT’S AN ACT OF LOVE AND MERCY TO THE PERSON WHO’S SUFFERING
Number one, it’s an act of love and mercy to the person who’s suffering. I mean, you look at this guy, right? We kind of get a picture of him in your mind. That God would love and heal him, what a great act of mercy. For the rest of his life, this man is a trophy of God’s grace. As he walks around, everybody’s like, “Hey, do you know who that is? “God really loved that guy, and had mercy on him “and healed him. Look at that. Isn’t that amazing? Look at what God did.”
How loved do you think that man felt when he stood up for the first time, and he knew he was loved, because where did he go? He walked right into the temple. He was walking toward the presence of God where it had previously dwelt on the earth, and he’s going in to praise God. It’s a sign of love, it’s a sign of mercy, it’s a sign of affection, it’s a sign of compassion for the afflicted person. God does love people.
2. IT VALIDATES GOD’S SERVANT
Number two, it validates God’s servant, OK? True or false, do you think as a result of this, Peter and John sort of got a little more credibility? “Who are Peter and John?” “Oh, they’re those guys who healed that other guy.” “Oh, I heard about that.” Sometimes God will allow a supernatural healing to come through one of his servants to validate their spiritual authority—they are representatives of Jesus. You’re going to see that in the book of Acts. You’re going to see God work through his servants and then their credibility is established because of God’s authority at work through them.
3. IT REVEALS THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Number three, it reveals the kingdom of God. Here’s what I need you to know: God will heal everyone eventually in the kingdom. And the kingdom of God is not yet fully unveiled, but it has breakthroughs, right? It has occurrences where the kingdom of God intersects with the kingdoms of men, and the kingdom of God makes these cameo appearances and shows up and shows us what’s to come and shows us what Jesus ultimately has planned for us, and it causes our hearts to yearn and long for his perfect kingdom.
And so, these are little previews of the kingdom of God. You know, it’s not the same, but we’re in that summer season of the blockbusters, and before the big movie comes out, they run the trailers, right? “Here’s what’s coming.” You’re like, “Oh, that’s going to be amazing!” These are like the trailers, all right? “The kingdom of God is coming, and people are going to get healed like this,” but it’s even better than a film. A guy’s walking around who was lame from birth. And God’s people—”Whoa, OK, the kingdom of God must be something amazing!” And they start longing for the coming of the kingdom, which is ultimately the coming of the King, the Lord Jesus.
4. IT EVANGELIZES TO NON-CHRISTIANS
Number four, it evangelizes to non-Christians. If someone is suffering and God heals them, the non-Christians tend to ask, right? Now, let me say this: oftentimes, non-Christians don’t ask a lot of questions about Christians or to Christians, but if one of them gets healed, that changes, amen? You got a co-worker, oh, they’ve been given two months to live. No, they’re healed! They’re all better! No deductible! All right, the non-Christian co-workers would be like, “What happened?” You say, “Let me tell you about Jesus. At my church, they prayed over me, and God healed me, and I’m all better.” It evangelizes, right? All of a sudden, non-Christians are curious about Jesus because they’re seeing him at work in someone’s life in a powerful way.
5. IT MOTIVATES CHRISTIANS TO WORSHIP
And number five, it motivates Christians to worship. OK, what it says is that when this man was healed, he praised God, and he went into the temple, and others were filled with amazement, and they’re all praising God. It increases the worship of God’s people. “Oh, God does love us. God is good. “God is alive. God is powerful. His name is Jesus of Nazareth.” Those are the reasons why God heals.
CAN EVERYONE RECEIVE HEALING IN THIS LIFE?
There’s a lot that is happening in the healing. I’m sure it leads to more questions. Can everyone receive healing in this life? How many of you have seen a false teaching that says, “Everyone can be healed, and you need to have faith, and if you have enough faith, you can be healed, which means if you’re not healed, it’s because you’ve failed and you don’t have enough faith”?
As a pastor, might I submit to you that that is horrific. It’s the way that a false teacher says, “If it doesn’t work, it’s your fault, not mine.” I want you to believe that you can be healed. I want you to ask for healing, but I want you to know that not every one of you will be healed. Now, I don’t know who will be healed, so we’re going to pray and see. But it’s a horrible thing to tell people one of two things: “God used to heal. He doesn’t heal anymore. Don’t get your hopes up.” Or “God has to heal. He heals everyone, and if he doesn’t heal you, it’s your fault. You don’t have enough faith. God’s in heaven, and if you just had enough faith to move his hand, his hand would rest upon you. And if his hand does not rest upon you, it’s because your faith is too weak.” What a demonic thing to tell a pregnant mom with cancer, as if she doesn’t have enough burden.
I’ll give you two examples from the Bible. Second Timothy 4:20, Paul says, “I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.” OK, he’s traveling with a guy and he leaves the guy because the guy is sick. Do you think Paul had faith? He wrote thirteen, maybe fourteen books of the New Testament. If you keep reading the book of Acts, he’s in there a lot, including with some healings. But he couldn’t heal that guy, so you know what he did? Dropped him off to be tended to.
How about Paul himself? Second Corinthians 12:7–9, “A thorn was given me in the flesh.” Nobody knows what this is. Everybody’s debated it forever. When we get to heaven, we’ll ask Paul. Until then, we’ll just put it in the “I don’t know” bucket, OK? “A thorn was given me in the flesh, “a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this.” Did he pray about it? Yeah. “That it should leave me”—he wanted to be healed—“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Paul said, “I have an injury or an illness. I asked Jesus to heal me. He said, ‘You’ll be fine. Suck it up. Go with it.’” That’s my translation of the Greek.
OK, did Paul lack faith? No. Did Paul not believe in healing? He believed in healing. Was Paul used of others to heal them? Yeah. Did he heal himself? No. He says, “You know what? It kept me from being conceited.” That would do it. It’s very humbling. All right, here’s the faith healer with the flu, right? Everybody’s like, “Really? How come you can’t heal yourself?” “It keeps me humble.”
Sometimes God won’t heal us for our good. Sometimes God won’t heal us because he loves us. Sometimes God won’t heal us because even though it might be good for our body, it may not be good for our soul, and that’s what Paul says. He says, “You know, if everything was great and I was always fine, I might just become a really arrogant guy, and this really keeps me humble and dependent on the Lord and his grace.” So no, not everybody will be healed in this life.
WHEN WILL ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE RECEIVE HEALING?
When will all of God’s people receive healing? Here’s what we do believe: all of God’s people will receive healing. The question is, when? When will this happen? Well, in the kingdom of God, friends. See, just as Jesus suffered and he died and was buried, so God’s people will suffer, will die, and be buried. And just as Jesus rose, conquering sin and death, so Jesus’ people will rise in victory over sin and death. We’ll get a glorified resurrected body.
You can read in 1 Corinthians 15. It details this. And this resurrected body will be as God intended, and the new heaven, the new earth, the new Jerusalem will be as God created, and there will be no more curse and no more sickness and no more sin and no more Satan and no more demons and no more death.
Revelation 21:4 says when that day comes, “He”—who’s he? Jesus. I want you to get this picture: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Have you ever done a hospital visit? If not, you should. Have you ever been to a children’s hospital? You need to go. Have you ever been with someone when they died? It’s a gift to be there.
As someone is suffering, it’s a wonderful gift to be able to literally just put your hands on their face, tell them you love them, and wipe the tears from their eyes. I got to do this with my kids and my wife Grace. My wife’s father died a few months ago, and we were all at his deathbed as he was suffering and dying. I got to put my hands on my wife’s face and wipe the tears from her eyes, and I got to put the hands on my kid’s face and wipe the tears from their eyes. As I was doing that, the Holy Spirit brought to mind this verse that one day Jesus is gonna do that for us. He’s going to put his hands on our face like a dad who loves his kid, like a husband who loves his wife, and he’s going to wipe the tears from our eyes.
And you know when we’ll cry again? Never. Those will be the last tears we ever cry. That’s the kingdom of God. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be”—what, Mars Hill? It’s over. “Neither shall there be mourning.” No more funerals, no more crying, no more CaringBridge blog posts, no more prayer meetings, no more prayer chains. We need it all, but one day it’ll be over, and we’ll be fine with that. “Nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” It won’t be like that forever. For the Christian, this is as close to hell as we get. For the non-Christian, this is as close to heaven as they get. The kingdom of God is a beautiful thing, and God’s people will be there together, resurrected forever.
HOW SHOULD WE MINISTER TO THE SICK?
In the meantime, friends, here’s the last question: how should we minister to the sick? If Jesus were alive on the earth today and you were sick, would you try to get to him? Would you? How many of you would be like, “I would book that flight and I would stand in that line”? How many of you, if it was somebody you really loved, and Jesus was alive on the earth today, you’d say, “You know what? I’m taking them with me. I’m healthy, I’m going to do like Acts 3. This guy’s buddies would bring him to the temple. I’m going to be one of those buddies who takes somebody to Jesus”? How many of you would do that right now, and even as I say this, you could think of somebody, like, right now, you would grab your phone, book the flight, and you’d leave early because you would go see Jesus right now?
Here’s the good news: you can go see Jesus and you can take your friends to go see Jesus because he’s alive and he’s not confined to one place: he’s sovereign and can work in every place. That’s the big idea of Acts 3.
So, what do we do in the meantime? How do we minister to those who are sick?
1. PRAY FROM A DISTANCE
Number one, you can pray from a distance. I saw in the gospels at least three times that Jesus didn’t go to someone who was sick, he just prayed from a distance and healed them. How many of you, you can’t be with the person, but you can pray from a distance? With my son Zac last night with his arm trouble, he’s hours away and I had to get up and go to work today, so I have to pray from a distance for Buddy Zac. His name’s not Buddy, that’s just what I call him. He’s my buddy. But you can pray from a distance.
This means as well, in the age of technology, this is where social media posts and blog posts and CaringBridge sites and prayer chains and phone calls and texts, they really matter, right suffering people? Even if somebody’s far away and they’re praying for you, that’s a real gift, amen?
2. LAY HANDS ON AND PRAY
Number two, you can lay hands on somebody and pray for them. We see this repeatedly in Jesus’ ministry and in the ministry of the early Christians, where they lay hands on somebody. The Holy Spirit lives in the person, and the Holy Spirit’s going to work through that person and is going to hear and answer that prayer for the person who is sick. And here’s what it also does: it shows affection and companionship.
What’s worse than suffering is suffering alone. What’s worse than suffering is suffering alone. I mean, sometimes if you go do a hospital visit and somebody’s there, the only people that have touched them are doctors. And the doctors and the nurses are doing their job and we praise God for them, but it’s not affection, it’s not warmth, it’s not a kiss on the head, it’s not an embrace, it’s not that life-giving, personal touch because they’re in a professional role, which is good and godly, but that’s different than a personal role or a pastoral role. And so physically touching someone is an act of identifying with them and having compassion on them and love for them and being there for them and friendship toward them.
3. ANOINT WITH OIL
Number three, we can anoint people with oil. There are times in the Bible when Jesus anoints people with oil. Mark 6:14 is one occasion. He takes oil, anoints somebody, prays for them, and they’re healed. You’re going to read of this. I think it’s in James 5:14 where it says, “If any of you are sick, “let them go to the elders of the church “and let them be anointed with oil and pray in faith and confess their sins, and God can heal them.”
Some people think, “Oh, so the oil has some magical component.” No, it doesn’t. The oil is a symbol in the Bible of the Holy Spirit. All right, when oil is poured out, it’s symbolic of the Holy Spirit being poured out. When oil is placed on someone, it’s an indication that the Holy Spirit has been placed on them. Sometimes God will use physical symbols to reveal spiritual truths, and he does that with oil. And it’s usually olive oil probably in the Bible.
So when we anoint someone with oil, what we’re doing is we’re welcoming, we’re inviting the Holy Spirit. We’re saying, “Holy Spirit, I love this person, “and they are suffering, and Holy Spirit, “we welcome you to come and be with them, to comfort them, and if you choose, to heal them.”
And some people don’t use oil, and I would say it’s because they sometimes lack faith that the Holy Spirit will actually want to show up. And sometimes faith is an inward conviction; sometimes it’s an outward action. And by anointing with oil or laying hands and praying on someone, it is an act of faith. It’s an outward demonstration of an inward commitment, a belief.
4. MINISTER IN FAITH
And lastly, you can minister in faith. And it often is said in the gospels with Jesus and the book of Acts with others that so-and-so had faith and was healed. Sometimes it says that the sick person had faith and they were healed. Sometimes it says that the friends who brought them had faith and the sick person was healed. So, whether you’re the sick person or you’re the family or friends of the person who is sick, God wants you to act in faith. And faith is trusting that Jesus is alive. Faith is trusting that the name of Jesus of Nazareth is strong. Faith is believing that God hears and answers prayer. And faith is trusting that God can heal, and we’re asking him to, amen? That’s what faith is and that’s what faith does.
So, here are some things I want to give to you as action items, Mars Hill: If you came today with someone who is sick, suffering illness or injury, before the service is done, would you please lay hands and pray over them?
Number two, at the end of the service, we’re going to have leaders available. Guess what they want to do for you? Pray for you. You probably saw that coming, right? They want to anoint you with oil and pray for you and lay a hand on you and do exactly what the Bible tells us to do.
In addition, this week in Community Group, if you are suffering or you love someone who is, your Community Group is going to spend this week praying, praying for each other and those requests that God would bring to mind for the group to be praying. My encouragement to you would be to write them down and to keep some record, and to persevere in prayer and to follow up with those people, calling, texting, e-mailing, getting together with. “I’m praying for you. How are you doing? “How can I be praying for you? How can I love you? How can I support you?” So that we can be God’s people, and we can love and encourage those who are God’s people, and that others who are not yet God’s people become God’s people.
STORIES OF HEALING AT MARS HILL CHURCH
What I’m going to ask the financial stewards to do right now is to collect our tithes and offerings. As they are collecting our tithes and offerings, I want you to give generously, and here’s what I want to do: I want to read some stories for you. Would you like some good news? How many of you would like to hear stories of people at Mars Hill Church who were actually healed? We’re not talking about missionaries in another country. We’re not talking about some church we’re unsure about. We’re talking about people at Mars Hill Church.
And I know when it comes to praying for those who are sick, sometimes we can struggle and lack faith, but by hearing that God has answered the prayers of others, it increases our faith to pray. I believe that’s one of the reasons we have stories like Acts 3 in the Bible. As we hear that this guy was healed, it compels us to pray that others might be healed, amen? So here, I’m going to read some for you.
Kim at Mars Hill Ballard says, “A few days after my annual physical, my doctor called to say he had bad news. I had hepatitis C. I had undergone major surgery along with a blood transfusion years before and had contracted the virus through the transfusion. Thus began a series of treatments. I relapsed after the first two treatments, but the third treatment was successful. My children were young at this time, and I prayed that God would allow me to stay and raise them to adulthood. The psalms gave me a vehicle for prayer when I didn’t have words myself. My family and other Christians supported me with prayer, companionship, and meals for our family. I thank God every day for giving me peace, hope, and healing. I’ve been free of hep C for fourteen years. Thanks be to God,” amen? That’s good news!
Taren at Mars Hill Bellevue, “I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease as a little girl. I suffered from chronic pain, was in and out of hospitals, took no less than twenty pills a day, and was told that it was very unlikely I would one day be able to have kids. Shortly after becoming a Christian, my husband found a top-ranked specialist, hoping he’d be able to help. The specialist called a few days after my biopsy to let me know that not only were there no signs of current illness, but it was as if I’d never had Chron’s at all. He could not explain it.” We can—we got this book that tells us how that happened. “My husband and I were speechless. With tears in our eyes, we began praying our thanks to Jesus. It’s been five years since he healed me, I’ve remained symptom-free and have two beautiful, healthy, little boys.” Good news!
Carolyn from Mars Hill Downtown, “My mom, Irene, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while she was in her late thirties. She was told that her spine looked like that of a 90-year-old and she wouldn’t live to see fifty years of age. Crying out to the Lord, God did bring about a miraculous healing within several months, completely healing her body of this disease. When the doctor looked at her new spinal x-rays, he simply backed out of the room, speechless, with fear in his eyes, knowing that something unusual had occurred. God’s healing has remained and my mom is currently an active 74-year-old praying intercessor to this day.” Good news. This one is one of my favorites.
Karly, a deacon in Sammamish. Those of you who are skeptics, this is a deacon in Mars Hill Sammamish, so this is true. All right, here we go. “When I was pregnant with our first child, Kellen, we went in for a routine ultrasound to find out the gender of our baby. I wasn’t prepared for what they would find. Our son’s entire body was swollen and he had a large, fluid-filled tumor around the back of his neck. The doctors gave us the grim prognosis. They told us our son would either die in utero or be still-born. When I asked if there was any chance our son would be born normally and healthy, they said there was absolutely no hope.
“They asked us how we would like to, ‘manage the pregnancy’, and we informed them there would be no abortion. We would trust in the Lord. We were devastated but soon turned to prayer as our only hope. Pastor Mark”—that’s me—“called and prayed for us.” That’s why I like this story. “Our Mars Hill family reached out to encourage and pray”—just like you’re going to do this week—“and soon people we didn’t even know around the world were praying for our son.
“Every month, I went back in for more ultrasounds and the doctors were amazed that each time the tumor was shrinking. The swelling in his body began to go down as well. Our son was born completely healthy and whole. He’s in Mars Hill Kids today. Nothing was left of the tumor except some extra skin on the back of his neck”—and some of us have that anyway. It’s not a big deal. “We knew that God had done a miracle and healed our son. He is ten now.” He’s ten—”and still loves to hear the story “of the miracle God did before he was even born.” Good news, right? How about one more?
Ryan, Federal Way, another deacon. “I fell off a 50-foot cliff.” Just so you know, usually there’s nothing more to say after that, right? The end. Oh, but it continues. “I landed on my back in between two giant tree stumps. I was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center and was listed in critical condition. I had broken my back in three places, “had internal bleeding and renal contusions, my kidneys had severe bruising. The firefighters who strapped me to a gurney and carried me to the helicopter later told me most people die after falling ten to twenty feet, let alone fifty. I was scheduled for surgery to have my spleen removed as it had been split open.
“Meanwhile, my mother and some of her friends, along with family, began praying for me. Before my surgery, the doctor checked my levels again, and my spleen had been healed. This saved me from needing to take medication every day the rest of my life, plus I like my spleen where it is. I was out of the hospital and walking around in less than a week. I have no issues, made a full recovery because God healed me.” Good news.
Father God, I pray for us right now. Lord Jesus, I thank you that you are willing to heal us spiritually, that you are willing to forgive our sin and you’re willing to give us your righteousness. Lord Jesus, I thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to dwell in all of God’s children.
Lord God, I thank you that you are the Great Physician, that you can and do heal. Lord God, I thank you that you’ll heal some in this life. I thank you that you have healed some in this church. I thank you that you will heal some this week. I trust you will heal some on this day.
In the strong name of Jesus of Nazareth, we pray against the enemy, his servants, their works and effects. We command Satan and demons and their torment and their harm of God’s people. We command them away from God’s people. We ask, Holy Spirit, that you would fill and heal your people, spiritually and physically.
Lord God, I pray that we would be a church that, in faith and in prayer and in humility by the grace of God, has compassion on those who are sick and suffering. Lord God, if it is because of sin, may we invite them to repent. If it is because of the fall, may we walk with them in love and friendship. If it is because of oppression, might we use the strong name of Jesus for their deliverance and healing.
And Lord God, I pray for us as a people this week, that we would love and encourage and pray for, and serve one another. And Lord Jesus, one day when you return and we rise from the dead, we know that all will be healed forever, that the blind shall see, that the deaf shall hear, that the lame shall run to Jesus, in whose name we pray and say thank you, amen.
Note: This sermon transcript has been edited for readability.