Summary: Topical exposition related to Acts 28:7-10 about the healing ministry of the apostle Paul on Malta
Text: Acts 28:7-10, Title: Does God Still Heal? Date/Place: NRBC, 10/4/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: Ronnie Owens’ testimony, The 276 shipwrecked mariners are still experiencing unusual kindness at the hand now of Publius, who was probably the Roman governor of the island. And after the snakebite miracle, God does another string of miraculous healings that exalt Him as the God of gods. Let me say and acknowledge that all healing is from God, whether supernatural or under a doctor’s care.
B. Main thought: Some truths about biblical healing from this text
1. So that brings to the first point. The purpose of all miracles, but especially healings is to authenticate the gospel message. They were signs—something that points to another bigger thing. In this culture, miraculous events would have immediately drawn onlookers to think of the divine and ask questions about the God of the miracle worker. Not so much so in our day, we are much more cynical, and have seen too many charlatans. Compassion and mercy could have something to do with it, especially with the ministry of Jesus, but mainly to glorify God, and point people to him. And even though Luke didn’t specifically record Paul preaching the gospel in this instance, we can safely assume that this took place. God was looking for an opportunity to expand the fame of His name in Malta. And church tradition states that the church at Malta was founded about this time, and Publius was its first pastor. Waffle iron-CP again!
3. Illustration: Max Lucado tells a story in a book called “It’s Not About Me” about a friend of his who had cancer. Some well intentioned Christians had told him ‘If you have faith, then you will be healed”. But, no healing came, only a crisis in faith in that man’s life. Max suggested another answer to him, “It’s not about you”, I told him. “Your hospital room is a showcase for your Maker. Your faith in the face in suffering cranks up the volume of God’s song.”
4. If you don’t intend to make God’s name great when you ask for healing, don’t expect it to come. That is God’s primary goal on this earth is glorification of His name. When any healing takes place, we are to acknowledge thankfulness, and attribute to Him all credit and glory. Again healings in the NT were accompanied with a gospel message. So if you expect to be healed or God to heal someone else, have a gospel presentation ready. This is not to put limits on God, for He can heal whenever, wherever, however, and whoever He wants. And He is also free to not heal when He wants.
1. One thing that we notice about the practice of healing in the NT is that there is not really a pattern. Sometimes it happens in the temple, sometimes not. Sometimes it is will mud, or a touch, or the hem of a garment, or just a word, or a handkerchief. Sometimes it’s one person healing, and sometimes it is plural. Sometimes they lay hands, or anoint with oil, sometimes not. But even though there is no established pattern, we still must be biblical. But in general it was not in church worship (except when Eutycus fell out and died). The main question debated in evangelical circles is not whether or not God heals, but rather are individual Christians given the spiritual gift of healing. We see individuals (some of which are not apostles, like Philip) who have a propensity to heal, but with the exception of Jesus, we don’t have any that heal all everywhere they go. When healing is spoken of in the NT, both words are usually in the plural, “gifts of healings.” This teaches that each healing is a gift in and of itself, and that people who healed in the NT were given specific instances to heal, rather than the gift to heal all that they wanted to.
3. Illustration: Bro and Sis David Terrell’s tent over here at the fairgrounds. The lady at the charismatic church in Tazewell, TN who prophesied that “there’s healing in these hands.” Story about the Dr healed.
4. There are a number of you who are already convinced of God’s power to heal and His activity to use it. And some of you will never be convinced. But as NT believers we can expect God to use us to heal, without having the “gift of healing.” We are to pray expectantly, with the purpose in mind to glorify God through a healing. We are not commanded to heal at the end of worship services, but to call for the elders of the church to come and anoint with oil and pray for sick individuals. I have a bottle of oil, and I am not afraid to use it. Wish I had some elders to go with me. Note that James also links repentance of sin for healing of believers. If you want to be healed, get right with God and each other. If I come, I will give you a chance to confess sin before we anoint and pray. Studies have been done that show most of the healing ministries to be fraudulent. And at the same time, you and I both know lots of people who were healed by God in the face of terminal illness.