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Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's About the Kingdom

The healing ministry is important because Jesus gave this power and authority to the church. The followers (disciples) were sent out (apostles) to proclaim the Kingdom, to heal and exorcise, to forgive sins and reconcile people to God and one another, and to teach (Torah is instruction, Jesus’ interpretation of the Torah is what we teach). It is a work of salvation to all people (beginning with Israel) but includes the Gentiles and the Least, the Last and the Lost. Sick people are among those for whom Jesus is especially good news.

The goal of our Sunday school is to train people to effectively proclaim the Kingdom, forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and to declare healing of the sick and deliverance from evil spirits--with the understanding that faithful declaration will be manifest in the world. Salvation is an already present working of God among us (and the perfect completion in the future). It is literally the Kingdom of God breaking into the world of darkness.

The healing, however, is a fruit of the kingdom. As “consumers” we are at risk to reduce God to a benefit (free medical care). As God told the Hebrew slaves, “When you enter the land and are filled up with its delights do not forget your God.” The shadow side of blessings (in a Fallen World) is we forget the Giver and embrace the Gifts. Even since Jesus, let us be clear, it is a Fallen World. The body/soul of each of us are impacted by this ‘Fall.’ The world is out of balance. It means that life is a battle, spiritual warfare continues. We are never “done” but each victory is that day’s battle (big or small) and the next day is a new battle. [Jesus said, don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough problems.]

We have power and authority, but we are also broken by sin and Flesh. We are in process of becoming but still have our own weaknesses. [doubt, fear, sins]. There is also the demonic realm with which to contend. World, flesh, devil.

The purpose of life is to “love God with all our mind, heart, body and spirit” and “our neighbor as ourselves.” This work of love is a source of joy but also a struggle. It is very hard to love others, to be loving and do loving things. Love, however, is the truest source of joy. Communion with God--that is love. To be one with God is not something we do in half measure. Our prayer life is connected to our healing prayers. Prayer-communing with God--must be the center of our life. It is not just saying prayers, i.e., creating a “to do” list for God. It is not asking for stuff. First of all, it is praise and thanks. Over and again we acknowledge God is a gracious Father. The only response to God’s goodness is thanks and praise!!! Jesus loves His Father and is united to His Father. Jesus’ prayer life is the model for our own. As we have that “Abba & son/daughter” more powerfully at work in us, we become more like Jesus. At baptism we became part of the Body of Christ. We are not 18% the Body! But what is 100% actual is not 100% actualized. We did not get a part of the Holy Spirit, we got all the Holy Spirit--but how the Spirit enters our body/soul is affected by “world, flesh and devil.” So we don’t need to ask for the Spirit. We don’t need to ask Jesus to rule us. We need to thank God for the Spirit and praise God for Jesus, and open body and soul to our own Spirit where Jesus and the Spirit have been given! We need to become what we already are: Children of God.

The spiritual disciplines are the actions which a heart set on the Father engage in. They are holy practices which make us more open. Healing is one of the disciplines. Healing matters because Jesus told us to do it, and Jesus told us to do it because He knows sickness is of the Dark not the Kingdom of Light. But I hope the re-emphasis on a relationship with God is a reminder that the center of it all is our relationship of love with God. The Trinity is our source and our goal. That is our focus; love, worship and thanksgiving. The rest of it flows out of that. As we become one with God (body/soul and spirit in sync) His life flows through us more effectively and the ministry of Jesus (including the signs and wonders) will be manifest.

The Good News (God is acting like the King among us) is more believable when people are set free from he demonic, their illnesses are healed, their relationships are reconciled and the truth is in their minds and heart. As they say, "seeing is believing" and seeing Jesus at work seems to help people believe He is at work.

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