Healings or Preaching for Salvation

On Wednesday April 10, 2013 I was contacted by Brother Ed White to come share about the Repent and Believe South Africa ministry with their Bible-study group meeting at his home with his family – wife Petra and their younger daughter Catherine (Rebecca was at work) – which also included his pastor David (jnr.), his wife Kate and David’s dad David (snr.). Brother Aziz was also present having arrived with me.

I ask that this teaching be received in love, as it is intended, and that this matter be heard first before answering the matter as we read:

Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

This account that follows is hopefully as I understood it correctly. During the discussions, we were advised by David (snr.) that he is involved in the ministry of healing and he gave testimonies of healings that took place. He spoke of a time when 76 (?) people were healed at once in a shed on a farm in Namibia. [Healed from what? This question needs to be answered. Were all the people at that one “meeting” sick? Crippled? Maimed? Blind? Deaf? We know not]. During the evening at one point David (snr.) also mentioned that Jesus’ healings were to save souls as he elaborated on the death of our Saviour upon the Cross being bruised and taking the punishment – which was a graphic description of the Roman torture of the “cat-with-nine-tails with nine barbs”, etc. – also for our healings! He indicated that we, as believers, should move in the anointing of the healing ministry and people will be saved when they see signs and wonders and miracles, because this will reveal that “Jesus is in the house.” However, I advised at the time that not every person is healed, but the greatest miracle of all is when dead-men walking are converted into new creations and being born-again of the Spirit of God! (see John 3:3, 5 and 6)

Being asked to come and share our street preaching ministry and sharing at the home group meeting from the Scriptures, being Ephesians 4:11-16 as read with 1 Corinthians 1:9-13 dealing expressively with the teaching aspect of the ministry and that believers are to be in unity, hearing what our brethren taught concerning their healing ministry it caused me to go away and ask questions of our Father and it was in the waking hours the next morning that certain revelation was unfolding by what was given to me in thoughts that caused me to start searching the Scriptures as a Berean (see Acts 17:11).

What follows is what I believe our Father has revealed to me and He wishes to share with the aforementioned Bible-study group again, which is what is done here.

Healings are not a draw card for Salvation or to Salvation. In Romans 1:16,17 we read what was revealed to the Apostle Paul which reads, as follows:

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The power of God unto salvation is the Gospel of Christ to those that believeth. The preaching of God’s Word is what saves people, not signs and wonders and miracles. What saves people from God’s wrath is Salvation which is of God and “… not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (see Romans 2:4). We also read, for it is written:

1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The preaching of the cross is the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be preached as the Apostle Paul said “… woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (see 1 Corinthians 9:16) We also know that God uses the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe:

1 Cor 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

John the Baptist, the Apostles and Jesus the Christ all said that people must repent or they would perish. We read in many accounts of their preaching “Repentance” in Matthew 3:2, 4:17; Mark 1:15, 6:12; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 20:21, 26:20, Revelation 2:5, 16, 21, 22, and 3:3. We are also told in Scripture that we have the ministry of reconciliation as given to us in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 ~

2 Cor 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Cor 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Cor 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

What we also see in Scripture is that the Law of God has to be a schoolmaster (teacher) to lead people to Christ as we read in Galatians:

Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

We are also told that we are saved by grace through faith in Ephesians as it is written:

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We also know that healings is a gift of the Holy Spirit and so is faith (see 1 Corinthians 12:9), but the gifts are given to believers for the Kingdom of God. When we read about the gifts and that it is for the one body and every member has need of the other in the one body – referring to and in context to the believers in Christ – we also see that these gifts all work for each other and there is to be no division “schism”. We read that we believers are to use our gifts for the care of one another, as we read:

1 Cor 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

1 Cor 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Cor 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1 Cor 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

1 Cor 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

1 Cor 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

1 Cor 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

These gifts are to be exercised in the Kingdom of God which is within you! (see Luke 17:21). The healings are for us believers first and foremost. If a sinner comes to repentance and faith and needs a healing, then those who have the gift of healing will heal that brother or sister. These are Kingdom principles, as we are exhorted by our Lord Jesus Christ: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (see Matthew 7:6). Initially, the healings done by our Lord Jesus Christ through His ministry on earth were attesting signs to confirm His deity as the Son of God and as God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16) as well as the Gospel – the Good News! And the first Apostles did this too as we read in Act 2:43 and that there were “fear came upon every soul” “And all that believed were together, and had all things common;” (Acts 2:44). The reason we can know this is that when our Lord Jesus Christ healed ten lepers we read of the account that only one stranger – a Samaritan – came and gave God glory. Many people want the healing, but few accept the healer our Lord Jesus Christ, as Lord of their lives. We read:

Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

Luke 17:13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

Luke 17:14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Luke 17:15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

Luke 17:16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

Luke 17:18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

The Gospel is about changed hearts! This is also confirmed when we see that many disciples stopped following our Lord Jesus Christ when we read John 6:66! These were the very disciples that witnessed the healings, miracles and feedings. That is why we need to understand the parable of the sower (see Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8) which deals with the soils (hearts). There are many that fall away from the faith because they never came repentant having the good seed planted in the good soil that brings forth a good harvest and they are a result of a man-centred gospel that lacks repentance and has no power, and men have changed the ways of God to suit their own doctrines, traditions and customs. The ways of men cause false converts which leads many to be inoculated to the True Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!

We also read on another occasion of the account when our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples returning from a mission, as it is written:

Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Our rejoicing, in humility, should be because our names are written in heaven. We also can read from the work J.C. Ryle Expository Thoughts on the Gospel, the following in relation to the aforementioned Scripture portion:

Luke 10:17-20 WE learn, from this passage, how ready Christians are to be puffed up with success. It is written, that the seventy returned from their first mission with joy, “saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” There was much false fire in that joy. There was evidently self-satisfaction in that report of achievements. The whole tenor of the passage leads us to this conclusion. The remarkable expression which our Lord uses about Satan’s fall from heaven, was most probably meant to be a caution. He read the hearts of the young and inexperienced soldiers before Him. He saw how much they were lifted up by their first victory. He wisely checks them in their undue exultation. He warns them against pride.

The lesson is one which all who work for Christ should mark and remember. Success is what all faithful laborers in the Gospel field desire. The minister at home and the missionary abroad, the district visitor and the city missionary, the tract distributor and the Sunday-school teacher, all alike long for success. All long to see Satan’s kingdom pulled down, and souls converted to God. We cannot wonder. The desire is right and good.

Let it, however, never be forgotten, that the time of success is a time of danger to the Christian’s soul. The very hearts that are depressed when all things seem against them are often unduly exalted in the day of prosperity. Few men are like Samson, and can kill a lion without telling others of it. (Jdg 14:6.) No wonder that Paul says of a bishop, that he ought not to be “a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (1Ti 3:6.) Most of Christ’s laborers probably have as much success as their souls can bear.

Let us pray much for humility, and especially for humility in our days of peace and success. When everything around us seems to prosper, and all our plans work well,—when family trials and sicknesses are kept from us, and the course of our worldly affairs runs smooth,—when our daily crosses are light, and all within and without like a morning without clouds,—then, then is the time when our souls are in danger! Then is the time when we have need to be doubly watchful over our own hearts. Then is the time when seeds of evil are sown within us by the devil, which may one day astound us by their growth and strength.

There are few Christians who can carry a full cup with a steady hand. There are few whose souls prosper in their days of uninterrupted success. We are all inclined to sacrifice to our net, and burn incense to our own drag. (Hab 1:16.) We are ready to think that our own might and our own wisdom have procured us the victory. The caution of the passage before us ought never to be forgotten. In the midst of our triumphs, let us cry earnestly, “Lord, clothe us with humility.”

We learn, for another thing, from these verses, that gifts, and power of working miracles, are very inferior to grace. It is written that our Lord said to the seventy disciples, “In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” It was doubtless an honor and a privilege to be allowed to cast out devils. The disciples were right to be thankful. But it was a far higher privilege to be converted and pardoned men, and to have their names written in the register of saved souls.

The distinction here drawn between grace and gifts is one of deep importance, and often and sadly overlooked in the present day. Gifts, such as mental vigor, vast memory, striking eloquence, ability in argument, power in reasoning, are often unduly valued by those who possess them, and unduly admired by those who possess them not. These things ought not so to be. Men forget that gifts without grace save no one’s soul, and are the characteristic of Satan himself.

Grace, on the contrary, is an everlasting inheritance, and, lowly and despised as its possessor may be, will land him safe in glory. He that has gifts without grace is dead in sins, however splendid his gifts may be. But he that has grace without gifts is alive to God, however unlearned and ignorant he may appear to man. And “a living dog is better than a dead lion.” (Ecc 9:4.)

Let the religion which we aim to possess be a religion in which grace is the main thing. Let it not content us to be able to speak eloquently, or preach powerfully, or reason ably, or argue cleverly, or profess loudly, or talk fluently. Let it not satisfy us to know the whole system of Christian doctrines, and to have texts and words at our command. These things are all well in their way. They are not to be undervalued. They have their use. But these things are not the grace of God, and they will not deliver us from hell. Let us never rest until we have the witness of the Spirit within us that we are “washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.” (1Co 6:11.) Let us seek to know that “our names are written in heaven,” and that we are really one with Christ and Christ in us. Let us strive to be “epistles of Christ known and read of all men,” and to show by our meekness, and charity, and faith, and spiritual-mindedness, that we are the children of God. This is true religion. These are the real marks of saving Christianity. Without such marks, a man may have abundance of gifts and turn out nothing better than a follower of Judas Iscariot, the false apostle, and go at last to hell. With such marks, a man may be like Lazarus, poor and despised upon earth, and have no gifts at all. But his name is written in heaven, and Christ shall own him as one of His people at the last day.” (End quote)

When we look at the many healings and miracles done by our Lord Jesus Christ, we see a recurring mention of faith and belief by those receiving the healing. As mentioned earlier faith is a gift from God by the Holy Spirit as we can read in 1 Corinthians 12:9 and also in Galatians 5:22 where faith is listed as a Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can know from the Scriptures that these healings and miracles had to be attesting signs as no person can have that type of faith unless God has drawn the person and imparted the gift. We know that none seeks after God (see Romans 3:11) and No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: … (see John 6:44), so God had to have given the persons the faith, their belief and the ability for them to worship our Lord Jesus Christ. We are also here speaking about Jews from the House of Israel who must have received a revelation from God to know Jesus as Messiah. Why else would Jews call Yeshua Lord? Here are a few examples:

Blind Bartimaeus called Him Lord – Rabboni from Rabbi, Master = Great Teacher – and had faith.

Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

Mark 10:47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

Mark 10:48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

Mark 10:49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

Mark 10:50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

Mark 10:51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

Mark 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

In Mark 7:24-30 the Syrophenician woman called Him Lord – she must have also heard of our Lord Jesus Christ and believed for in Matthew’s account in 15:21-28 her faith heals her daughter (v.28).

In Mark 5:35-43 Jarius’ daughter is healed – he is told to be not afraid only believe.

In Mark 5:1-20 the demons are cast out of the demoniac. In verse 6 the man came and worshipped Jesus. Cf verse 19 the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Then there is the woman with the issue of blood twelve years:

Mark 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

Mark 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

Mark 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

Mark 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

Mark 5:29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

Mark 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

Mark 5:31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

Mark 5:32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

Mark 5:33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

Mark 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

We also read the account of the paralytic being healed which is our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrating that He has power to forgive sins and the act of the miracle healing was the confirmation that the man’s sins were forgiven first:

Mark 2:1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

Mark 2:2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

Mark 2:3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

Mark 2:4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Mark 2:6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

Mark 2:7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

Mark 2:8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Mark 2:9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

Mark 2:10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

Mark 2:11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

Mark 2:12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Healings and miracles was not what our Lord Jesus Christ came to do as a means to draw men to Himself to save them. Our Lord Jesus Christ was specific:

Mark 1:38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

Mark 1:39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

We also know that our Lord Jesus Christ spoke in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man dealing with heaven and hell in Luke 16:19-31 that the five brothers of the rich man – who are the people also of this generation – that they have Moses and the prophets (the Bible), and if they do not hear them, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. We are also told that unless a preacher – not a healer – is sent:

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

In two portions of Scripture our Lord Jesus Christ reiterated the following:

Matt 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Matt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matt 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Matt 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Matt 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Today, this generation is still evil, wicked and adulterous and it is still seeking after a sign as a result of many false prophets, false teachers (2 Peter 2:1) and false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13) masquerading as “preachers” of Truth, but they are charlatans! The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is repentance and faith which are both a gift from Almighty God for Salvation.

We truly hope that this treatise settles the discrepancies that do exist in how brethren interpret Scripture. We are once again reminded that there should be no divisions between the brethren which are saints, the ekklesia of God. Let the living Word of God truly speak from the law and the prophets and the fulfilment of our Lord Jesus Christ as contained in the Holy Bible.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

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