Monday, September 29, 2014

Sermons From the Holy Land: Supernatural Healing

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

I have been to Israel 45 times, and every time my spiritual life has been enriched. I recently took a video cameraman with me and had him shoot on the fly as I led a pilgrimage group through the land. We began in Tel Aviv, and went from there to Tiberias in the north, and then back to Jerusalem.

I'll continue to share some of the sermons I presented from that trip with you. As I do so, I think you'll come to understand why a person once wrote, "A pilgrimage to the Holy Land converts the Bible from black and white into Technicolor."

My third message was presented in the ruins of the biblical town of Korazim (biblical Chorazin), located just north of the Sea of Galilee.


Korazim Found

The geographical focus of Jesus' three-year ministry was in the northern part of Israel called the Galilee, where the beautiful Sea of Galilee is located.

While at Korazim, we turned in our Bibles to Mark 1. I love Korazim because it's one of the three cities where Jesus focused His ministry. Capernaum, which was Jesus' headquarters, and Korazim and Bethsaida all were where He focused His ministry.

When Jesus left the Galilee for the last time, He put a curse on these cities because they had rejected Him and His ministry, even though He performed His greatest miracles there (Matthew 11:20-24). Jesus said, "If Sodom and Gomorrah would have heard what I preached there, they would have repented, but you did not. So it's going to be worse for you on the Day of Judgment than Sodom and Gomorrah."

The interesting thing about this prophecy is that about 150 years later there were tremendous earthquakes in the Galilee area and those three cities were totally destroyed, all except Tiberius. By the 1800's, critics of the Bible were already writing entire books trying to prove that the Bible is full of myth, legend and superstition. Because the Bible says Jesus spent His ministry in these three towns, which the critics claimed never existed, they concluded the Bible must be fiction.

Two of the towns were later discovered by archaeologists in the 19th Century, and the third — Bethsaida — was discovered recently. Amazingly, there is still argument among archaeologists as to whether or not the discovery of the third is really the actual city. Korazim is legitimate, and it's the place where Jesus ministered and performed mighty works of healing.

Let's read about those healings in Mark chapter 1, beginning with verse 32:

"When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.

Go to verse 39: "And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons." So Jesus healed people and He cast out demons. Jesus had a very, very active healing ministry.


Growing Up a Cessationist

I grew up in a church that did not believe in healing. They held to what's called Cessationist Theology. Cessationist Theology is very common today among most churches. It's a theology that says when the last apostle died, all the supernatural gifts of the Spirit ceased, and that God's intervention in history ceased, too. It says we are left to cope with life with what God has given us — our minds and the Bible.

The extreme expression of Cessationist Theology is what's called Deism, which was the belief held by some of the Founding Fathers of America. They believed in God, but they believed He was an impersonal God. They did not believe in a God who was personal at all. If you were to tell a Deist you were praying for your wife to be healed of allergies or something, he would laugh at you and probably say, "God is concerned about much bigger things like presidents and kings, not your wife's sinus problems." That was the kind of God I grew up with.

Let me tell you, if you hold to Cessationist Theology, you'll never get excited about reading the Bible, because the Bible is full of stories of people who get into desperate situations. When they do, they reach out to God and God intervenes and does something. If you don't believe God does that anymore, the Bible is totally irrelevant.


Dawning Realization

I remember when I was about 25 years old. I went to eat lunch with a man and we got to talking about the Bible. Suddenly out of the blue, he asked me a question. He asked, "Do you believe in healing?" I replied, "What do you mean?" He said, "Do you believe that God could supernaturally heal somebody?" I replied, "Well, I don't know." He said, "Has anybody in your family or your church ever been supernaturally healed?" I answered, "Not that I know of." Then He said, "Well, do you think God can do that?" I replied, "No, I don't really think so." And he said, "Then don't ever expect it. God is a gentleman. He's not going to impose Himself upon you. He's not going to force something upon you that you don't believe."

Hearing that was like having some guy stick a knife in me and turn it. I remember one Sunday during a sermon, someone got up and handed the pastor a note which said, "We just got a phone call that sister so-and-so had a heart attack and they have rushed her to the hospital." The pastor then said, "Let's pray." And he prayed, "Lord, help the doctors remember what they learned in medical school. Help them to prescribe the right medicine." And so forth and so on. If he would have simply said, "Lord, have mercy on sister so-and-so and please heal her in the name of Jesus," we would have had five more heart attacks to deal with in the congregation that day! All because he had said the word "heal."


God Never Changes

Over the years since then, I've made two discoveries in the Scripture that I had never heard when I was growing up in the church. One of them was over in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 13:8 it says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." So, He didn't retire in the First Century. He is the same forever. He has not changed. He therefore still intervenes.

Jesus intervenes supernaturally in many ways. He intervenes, for example, by putting judgments upon nations through weather calamities and disastrous acts of nature.

He also intervenes in our life. He disciplines us. Have you ever been disciplined by the Lord? I have. I'll tell you what, He can get your attention. Sometimes He has to hit you over the head with a 2x4 to get it, but He'll get your attention one way or another. It's because He loves you. That's why He disciplines you. God intervenes because He is still alive and active.


God Cares For You

Another Scripture I discovered that really changed my life was over in 1 Peter 5. It's so important. I don't want you ever to forget it. I had been going to church for over 30 years and never once had I heard this Scripture read. 1 Peter 5:6 says, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. Cast all your cares upon Him." Why? "Because He cares for you."

Christianity is the only religion in the world that has a personal God. In the Islamic world, they do not have a personal God. He's aloof. He's distant. He's arbitrary. Muslims never know whether they have salvation or not. The only ones who think they have salvation are those who die as martyrs. Mohammad himself said right before his death that he had no idea whether he was saved or not. That's because they serve an aloof god. Not once in the Koran does it say their god is a god of love.

But, our God is. Our God is a God who cares. He's concerned about every concern, every worry, and every decision you are trying to make. And, He's a gentleman. He doesn't force Himself on you. All you have to do is reach out like a little child, in faith and ask, "God, help me with this decision. God, please heal." His response might not be the exact response you are looking for, but He will respond in His own way and in His own timing and in a way that is for your best interest.

For example, about ten years ago we were in Korazim praying for people. We had a videographer named Don who was with us the whole trip and who was filming the healing service. After the service, when we had gotten back in the bus, he came running up and asked, "Could you wait just ten minutes?" I said yes because I thought he just needed to go to the bathroom. Ten minutes later he came back and said, "While I was filming earlier, God spoke to my heart and said to me, 'Don, I want to heal you right now.'"

Don hadn't been able to eat anything with wheat in it since he was about ten years old. If he did, he would become physically ill. Don said to me, "David, I went back and prayed, and I believe God healed me. So tonight, for the first time in 30 years, I'm going to eat all the wheat I can."

I told him, "Don, let's talk about this for a moment. I appreciate your faith, but you are the only guy who knows how to operate this camera, and we brought you all the way over here." But, he declared, "I'm sorry, God's healed me and I'm eating wheat tonight." So, I started praying hard! Anyway, he ate the wheat and he's been eating it until this day.

Folks, that healing happened right in Korazim where Jesus healed people. Jesus healed people then, and He's still healing them today.

20 comments:

Matthew Sherman said...

Dr. Reagan,
Thank you for your ministry. My wife and I are long time supporters because we believe you have been called to alert the world of the soon return of Christ. Come quickly Lord!!
Regarding healing, I was taught what you might call a modified cessationist (maybe better stated as a Foundational Gifts) philosophy in that the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrated via the apostles is no longer apparent today. Yes, our Lord heals and my wife is a living, breathing example of it as her eye was badly damaged with little hope of regaining normal vision. Indeed today her sight is actually perfect, better than before the accident. Praise the Lord! But, unlike the apostles time, there doesn't seem to be one person whom the Holy Spirit consistently comes upon in power to perform the kinds of miracles we see from the apostles. There isn't a person or group of people of which I am aware that the people know have the Spirit of the Lord upon them and come to in droves for healing such as occurred in the apostles lives.
That said, I know of many accounts from missionaries who are on the pioneering frontier of spreading the Gospel who frequently report miracles. But, again, it doesn't appear to me to be in the same vein as the consistency, uniqueness of the Apostles.
I'm not entirely sure I've communicated my thoughts effectively but I've stumbled through them in an attempt to gather your insight and wisdom on this issue. It's something I've wrestled with before the throne (not wrestling with the Lord for that would make me a hirpler like Jacob) ever since my mother passed from cancer 8 years ago.
So, I believe the Lord heals today. I also believe in the Lord's sovereignty. So were the apostles Spirit-granted gifts to serve more as foundational than as a pattern? Or, is it better said we are so ingrained in the Western school of enlightenment that we limit our capacity for this kind of faith?
Thank you again for your tireless work in the Lord. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Bonnie said...

Yes, I believe that the Lord can heal today. Like Mr. Reagan pointed out, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow He never changes.

Certain gifts in the Apostolic sense have ended and healing through an Apostle (the office of which I don't think exists any longer) is not longer possible.

We have to remember since the Jews were preached to before the gentiles, scriptures tells us they needed a sign. Paul performed special miracles where cloth was taken from him and was placed on the sick and diseased and they were healed Acts 19:11,12, but, (v.10) says he was dealing with Greeks and Jews and 1Cor.1:22 says that the Jews "require a sign".

God did use "physical points of contact" at times, but, only because the Jews required a sign.

IMHO He also brings lost pets home.

Anonymous said...

I am requesting clarification on a couple of things in the article please...

1. "Jesus intervenes supernaturally in many ways. He intervenes, for example, by putting judgments upon nations through weather calamities and disastrous acts of nature."

Please clarify. Are you suggesting if Obama goes against Israel or the Supreme Court approves same sex marriage then God would send tornados to kill a bunch of innocent children in a trailer park in Okalhoma? Exactly what are you saying? I'm not sure.

2. "Sometimes He has to hit you over the head with a 2x4 to get it, but He'll get your attention one way or another. It's because He loves you. That's why He disciplines you. God intervenes because He is still alive and active."

Are you saying the blood of Jesus does not forgive us of our sins? If we do something wrong then we have to be punished for it? WE have to pay a price? The cross wasn't enough? Again, exactly what are you saying? I'm not sure.

Obviously I don't really get what those two statements are clearly saying. I'm NOT implying my "take" is what you meant, I'm just saying I'm not sure what YOUR "take" is based on those statements.

Nathan Jones said...

The first question Dr. Reagan goes into great detail in his article on Hurricane Katrina.

The second question isn't about salvation but discipline. Christ's blood covers the sins of those who are saved ie who put their faith in Him, but our spiritual walk time and again needs a nudging from the Lord to put us back on track, and that sometimes comes as valleys in our life.

Bonnie said...

Matthew, Thank you for sharing your story about your wife it is very encouraging!

Anonymous said...

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I will agree with you on the answer to my second question.

However the first is not as clear. The article (you linked to) mentions the plagues on Egypt. But the Jews were exempt from those plagues (especially the death plague). I also would point out Noah was saved and Lot was saved from the wrath of God. So I have to disagree that God would kill innocents (such as children and the mentally challenged) in wrath for the sins of others. Like the Jews (no death plague), Noah, Lot and the Christians in the Rapture, God will not bring His on people for other's sins. He will punish those doing evil. Otherwise your logic would be God will directly punish Christian believer in Him for their backsliding, will punish and kill Christians and innocents for OTHERS evil, but those directly doing the evil and rejecting Him get off scott free...until the Tribulation or afterlife. Where is the justice in that?

Nathan Jones said...

Anonymous, your question really is about God's sense of justice, isn't it? Is God a murderer of children? Let's take God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example, for surely those cities had "innocent" babies and children in them when they were obliterated.

"Murder" or raw-tsakh' transliterated in the Hebrew in the Sixth Commandment in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 that reads in some versions "You shall not murder" can also read "kill" or "slay" in other versions. It means to not put any person to death without just cause. The just cause would be determined by the judicial body, usually as capital punishment. Killing was also allowed in the Bible during wartime and in self-defense.

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 gives a provision for a wartime scenario. Armies in ancient times were primarily comprised of townsfolk and farmers. When an army was defeated, often annihilated to avoid future battles, the women and children left behind had no provision and faced starvation. The victorious army would take the land, wealth, and women and children as their own as spoils of war. The women were married and given the rights of nationhood, and the children had fathers. This provision for the widowed and orphaned wasn’t just limited to Israel, as Babylon, Persia and Greece for example also held to this practice, giving citizenship to the peoples it conquered.

When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, if He left the children, there'd be nobody to take care of them and they'd die. Their death meant life with Him in Heaven, and not to grow up and become as corrupt as their parents.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 also teaches that if a child is so rebellious and beyond any point of correction, that they become a danger to all of society, not just physically but by example, leading other youth into sin. The elders of the town were like judges and were responsible for enacting capital punishment on the juvenile delinquent. The example made of the delinquent would also act as a deterrent for others falling into such rebellion.

The destruction of the children in Sodom could also have been because they were already corrupted. A modern comparison would be the children of Hamas, indoctrinated into hatred since the cradle.

In both these cases, we see God’s hand of loving provision and justice. God has His reasons, they're always just, and we have to put our faith and trust in His greater knowledge of any situation.

Anonymous said...

You still do not answer the specific examle I posed. My specific example would be, for example, and I'll use your analogy, Sodom is ultimate evil. So does God...

1. Wipe Sodom off the face of the earth.

2. Kill a bunch of innocent babies and children in Oklahoma in a trailer park.

My problem with people proclaiming a hurricaine or tornado as an act of wrath as opposed to a weather event is sometimes they link the weather event to something that happened in Washington DC yet the tornados happen in Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc.

So are you saying God would kill a child because an evil man in power in Washington does something against Israel?

Anonymous said...

I suppose I answer my own question with the example of the first born in Egypt killed by the death plague. Innocents must have died. In your example, innocent were killed in Sodom. But these examples show a DIRECT link to the evil doers in those cases. This I can understand and accept. I'm sure any innocents not of age nor understanding are in Heaven.

But I still can't understand if someone says innocents in Oklahoma can be killed in a tornado for sins committed by evil men in Washington. There is NO direct link there. That doesn't seem just.

I hope my point is more clear now. Do you see what I mean now? Do you agree/disagree?

Nathan Jones said...

Who is innocent in God's eyes?

"For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin." - Ecclesiastes 7:20

"There is none righteous, no, not one." - Romans 10:9

When a nation's leaders sin, the nation pays the price. That has always been God's modus operandi. But, before you have a crisis of the faith, read the book of Joel to learn why God does what He does.

Anonymous said...

You miss my point completely. Keep connecting evils done in Washington, San Francisco, etc. to whatever weather event YOU choose to link it to. Then you explain it to the parents of the dead children that they paid the price for the evil done be others thousands of miles away.

Anonymous said...

btw, I didn't SAY children and the mentally challenged are WITHOUT SIN. I was really saying they will be covered by Jesus' sacrifice and go to Heaven when they die.

Anonymous said...

Finally...don't say I have a crisis in faith...HOW DARE YOU JUDGE MY FAITH!!!

I am having a dialouge and discussion to HEAR YOU VIEWS because I am working this out in my mind.

I am open to your thoughts and I my views are NOT cemented in stone.

Sometimes my comments aren't really my opinions. Sometimes they are just thrown out to see how you resond to an alternative perspective. It is a learning process for me.

Nathan Jones said...

Whoa! Nobody's judging your faith ie read "before..." There are many who do struggle and, yes, have even lost their faith in God because they find His sense of justice and judgment repulsive.

Also, nobody is tying a disaster to God's judgment and dead kids here. We cannot know what judgment is for what reason, though altogether it paints a picture of a call to repentance.

Still, the Bible is resplendent with examples of God punishing nations for their sins, regardless of the populace. That's a feature of God's personality that some really struggle with, but we have to just accept because He's holy and just.

Bonnie said...

Anonymous you said:

"btw, I didn't SAY children and the mentally challenged are WITHOUT SIN. I was really saying they will be covered by Jesus' sacrifice and go to Heaven when they die."

I have to disagree, scripture says:

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband:

else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 1Cor.7:14

Of course this doesn't mean the children of a believer are saved, but have a much better chance of being converted since they share in God's blessings because of their believing parents.

It would be MHO that the mentally challenged and children of un-believing parents will not share in Jesus' blessings and will not go to heaven. I don't think God would send them to hell, they will probably just cease to exist.

Nathan Jones said...

For a detailed answer concerning if children and babies will take part in the Rapture, check out this article.

Bonnie said...

Nathan, Since Zachery has believing parents I believe with my whole heart Zachery will go to heaven.

2Sam 12:23 is a perfect example, since David was in a covenant position with God he would see his dead baby again since he was protected through his father.

Nathan Jones said...

Thank you, Bonnie! I believe so as well.

Anonymous said...

Nathan said

"Whoa! Nobody's judging your faith"

and

"Also, nobody is tying a disaster to God's judgment and dead kids here."

I accept those statements. Thanks for clarifying that.

And Bonnie, I agree with your comments, too.