Summary: The fifth, and final installment on a series focusing in on miraculous healings: spiritual deliverance, physical healing, and relational restoration. This message highlights the importance of faith, prayer and fasting.
A boy was sitting on a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God: "Hallelujah! God is great!" Along came a young man who had recently completed his first year of seminary study. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth, he asked the boy about the source of his joy.
The boy replied, "Don’t you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right through the middle."
The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy, and began to try to open his eyes to the "realities" behind the miracles of the Bible. "That can all be very easily explained. Modern scholarship has shown that the Red Sea in that area was only 10-inches deep at that time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across."
The man, content that he had enlightened the boy to the finer points of theological truth, turned to go. Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice and praise louder than before. The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.
The boy exclaimed, "God is greater than I thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in 10 inches of water!"
We have been exploring God’s miraculous power and working over the past few weeks. Many of you were not here in December of 2003, and I would dare guess that even those who were would have a difficult time remembering the sermons of that month. However, it was in that month that Debbie and I visited Stonewall, and I preached a trial sermon for the congregation. I know they prefer we call it a candidate sermon, but we all know trial sermon is a bit more accurate.
I won’t ask any of those in attendance that day to recount what I preached on, but it centered on Jesus healing the blind man along the roadside in the book of Luke. It was entitled, “Receiving a Miracle,” and I shared some keys from that passage that when applied to our lives would position us to experience God’s miraculous power. You see, I wanted you to know from day one, that if you choose to call me as your pastor, you were calling someone who still believes that God moves in supernatural ways in lives today. And I still do.
I believe passionately in the hope for healing. So for almost 40 days now we have looked at the types of healing that God makes available to us: spiritual deliverance, physical healing, and relational restoration. We have looked at a major blockage to healing: that being fear. Our fear of what life might be like were we to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit to bring true freedom to our lives. We examined the historical status quo of society that limits, and boxes in the way God can heal and move in our midst. And we looked at four individuals who experienced first hand God’s healing power in their lives, exploring their mindsets which played a part in opening the door to their healing encounters.
Today, as we wrap up this series, we want to move beyond a look at healing, to living a lifestyle that is conducive to supernatural power being unleashed in your life. We are in Matthew chapter 17. One of the most common, traditional, and maybe even familiar passages in the entire Bible dealing with healing. We took a glancing look at it back in week one, but I want us to explore it deeper today.
Matthew chapter 17:14 (read through verse 19 expounding on the passage). Great question. I would bet that being 30+ days into our healing emphasis, some of you are starting to ask that question. Some of you listed out various needs in week one, you have been diligently praying about those needs, and you are starting to ask, “God, why isn’t it happening? Why am I still in bondage to worry, or fear, or anxiety? Why am I not seeing any physical improvements? Why is this relationship getting worse, rather than better? God, why isn’t this stuff working?”
The disciples didn’t understand. They had been given the authority from Jesus. They had successfully navigated many healing situations. Think about it. You are roaming the countryside. Healing people left and right. Then you come to one, and it doesn’t work. Imagine their frustration. Imagine their fear. “Maybe we have lost the magic touch. What’s going on?”
Verse 20 (20a). Don’t miss this. If you get nothing else out of this series, this is what I don’t want you to miss. Jesus says it as plain as day. As straight forward as you could ever imagine. He doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t tell them a parable. He doesn’t need an interpreter to help these poor, uneducated disciples understand his point. They want to know why it didn’t work this time, and he says, “Because of your unbelief.” You see, a lifestyle for the supernatural. . .