Peace, Joy, and Bad Medicine? – A Fine Line Between Healing and Heresy - Purity 725
Purity 725 05/06/2022 Purity 725 Podcast
Today’s photo of a silhouette of children frolicking on the shores of Point Dume Beach under the glory of a California sun comes to us from my sister-in-law Megan who captured this magnificent shot while visiting friends in Malibu.
Well, It’s Saturday and it is my prayer that all my friends find some “fun in the sun” this weekend if the circumstances allow it but I would also like to assure you that no matter what the weather is like where you are, you can find peace and joy when you walk in the Spirit. Peace and joy are two of the fruit of the Spirit and although my assurance may sound rather “Pollyanna-ish” or too good to be true, the words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the Bible indicate that when we have faith in Christ, and therefore receive the Holy Spirit, and we make the daily decision to abide in Christ and obediently follow His wisdom for living, we can have peace and joy. Jesus said in:
John 14:26-27 (NKJV)
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus also said in
John 15:9-11 (NKJV)
9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
And finally, Jesus assured us in
John 16:33 (NKJV) by saying:
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Now, those statements of Jesus that indicate we can have peace and joy are conditional statements. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives requires the condition of faith in Jesus. God the Father will send Him in Jesus’ name after all.
And the peace we have in Christ is “not as the world gives” peace. The world’s peace is circumstantial and fleeting but somehow in Christ, even if we suffer and go through tribulation, we can still be of good cheer and have peace because Christ overcame the world.
Jesus also advised us to abide in His love and to keep His commandments so His joy would remain in us. His joy can remain and fill us with joy but His words indicate that we are to abide in His presence and maintain a harmonious relationship with God by agreeing with Him in the way we behave by keeping His commandments.
In a recent class I attended on Christian doctrine, the presenter stated that there was a difference between “knowing the truth of our faith” and “practicing our faith. Just knowing the basic facts of the gospel of Jesus Christ or the principles of Christian living is one thing but applying that knowledge to our lives personally, in faith, and in practice is quite another and the difference can be experienced.
I “knew” the basic facts of Christianity for most of my life but it was only after I put my faith in Christ, made Him my Lord and Savior, and decided to follow Him by actually living according to His wisdom and ways that I was able to experience the peace and joy that go beyond all understanding.
And trust me, I experienced quite a bit of suffering and tribulations in the twelve years since I said the prayer that surrendered my life to the Lordship of Christ. Frankly, I have had a lot to learn, and continue to learn, about living by my Christian faith. But as I have continued to stay true to my commitment to follow the Lord’s call on my life by trying to abide in the Lord’s presence and be obedient to His commandments, I have learned that the peace and joy that come from the Lord can be experienced even during the toughest times of our lives.
The peace and joy of the Lord aren’t affected by the changing circumstances of the world around us but require us to stay with Him and to follow Him. Our walk doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be continuous, go in the direction the Lord would lead us in, and remain in His presence.
As I sat down to write this message this morning there was a burden on my heart as I considered some of the differences that can exist in what we believe as Christians across the wide spectrum of Christianity. I originally sat down with the intention to share my two cents about some teaching regarding “receiving your healing” I recently came across that deeply disturbs me.
But I have decided to “chill-lax”, a bit anyway , I might decide to grind that axe some day but I have decided to lay it down today because I haven’t developed my thoughts on the matter fully and I thought that my words of criticism could cause division in the body of Christ.
I may disagree with a certain author’s theories on healing, and I mean really disagree, but I know that the Lord, as our sovereign God and Creator is the author of all healing and continues to confound our understanding of why or how things happen in this world and in the area of healing. The author’s basic intention was to encourage Christians to pray to God for healing and in that I can not disagree.
While only the Lord’s plan will be done in matters of how prayers are answered, we still have to ask and trust that the Lord will do what is right even if we can’t understand how or why things work out the way we do.
And while this unnamed author’s use of scripture seemed misguided and out of context, his methodology was questionable, his theories seemed positively inane, and his claims of being able to control the reception of healing was over the top and quite frankly, what I considered to be blasphemous and heretical by subscribing to the “word of Faith” heresy that treats God like a divine slot machine that just needs to be properly manipulated in order to get what you want, I can’t say that you shouldn’t pray for healing.
I know too many people who have prayed and who have been healed, including myself. But when we think that we just have to follow a certain prayer recipe to make the Lord to do our will on earth, we cross the line from asking for healing to speaking heresy. We don’t “pull healing” or “transfer healing” “out of our spirits” through an act of our will as this author stated we did If we believe that, we will have a hard time having peace or joy when our faith isn’t strong enough to give us our miracle.
No like Christ’s prayer, in
Luke 22:42 (NKJV) where He said:
42 … "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
God’s will is what will come to pass, not ours. We will not get everything we want in life. We don’t know what cup of suffering we may have to drink. And we really don’t know if our healing is the Lord’s will or not. We should ask for it, we should pray to God for it. But like Jesus, we must accept the cup that the Father gives us to drink.
In our efforts to push our desires or personal agendas, we may be going against God’s will for our lives and although we can boldly fight against what we don’t want, we may find ourselves being rebuked by the Lord.
11 So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"
Peter tried to “resist” and “fight the power” and as noble as his cause seemed, it was misguided.
So trust in the Lord, find the peace and the joy that He has for you by abiding in His presence, walking in the Spirit, obeying His commandments, and accepting the cup that He has given you to drink.
If our peace and joy depend on good health, prosperity, and positive earthly circumstances, we will be sorely disappointed in the times of suffering and tribulations. But when we accept who we are in Christ, accept what the Lord has for us, and keep walking and talking with God, we can find peace in the storm and joy in the morning of after the dark night of the soul.
God is good, all the time. And all the time God is good. So find peace and joy, regardless of your circumstances, in Him today.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT2)
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Today’s Bible verse gives us great hope because it speaks of the power God has given us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
As Christians, the power in us is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and even though it might not be a miraculous gift of physical healing that will work though us, the Lord blesses us in our walks of faith to accomplish infinitely more that we might have thought possible.
Through the practice of our faith, the fruits of patience and self-control grow. Through the strength we receive from the Holy Spirit, we can persevere and change how we respond to life’s problems.
The fact that we are progressing in living a righteous life through the application of Biblical wisdom is more than we could ever hope to accomplish before we put our faith in Christ.
While seeing signs, wonders and miracles might not be in the offering every day, because let’s face it even in scripture they were rare, the fact that we are following the Lord and doing good works to share His love and to share the gospel, is much more than we could think we would do before coming to Christ.
So as much as we want miracles, let’s remember the miraculous work that the Lord has done in us ny bringing us from death to life and let’s give glory to God by representing Him on the earth by faithfully conforming ourselves to the image of Christ and by accomplishing things that will advance His kingdom cause.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
All You Need to Do His Will and Be Happy Forever
What, then, does Jesus mean, “All these things—all your food and clothing—will be added to you when you seek the kingdom of God first”? He means the same thing he meant when he said, “Some of you they will put to death.… But not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:16–18). He meant that you will have everything you need to do his will and be eternally and supremely happy in him.
How much food and clothing are necessary? Necessary for what? we must ask. Necessary to be comfortable? No, Jesus did not promise comfort. Necessary to avoid shame? No, Jesus called us to bear shame for his name with joy. Necessary to stay alive? No, he did not promise to spare us death—of any kind. Persecution and plague consume the saints. Christians die on the scaffold, and Christians die of disease. That’s why Paul wrote, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).
What Jesus meant was that our Father in heaven would never let us be tested beyond what we are able (1 Corinthians 10:13). If there is one scrap of bread that you need, as God’s child, in order to keep your faith in the dungeon of starvation, you will have it. God does not promise enough food for comfort or life—he promises enough so that you can trust him and do his will.
I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Even Starve
When Paul promised, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” he had just said, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12–13, 19). “All things” means “I can suffer hunger through him who strengthens me. I can be destitute of food and clothing through him who strengthens me.” That is what Jesus promises. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). If we starve, he will be our everlasting, life-giving bread. If we are shamed with nakedness, he will be our perfect, all-righteous apparel. If we are tortured and made to scream in our dying pain, he will keep us from cursing his name and will restore our beaten body to everlasting beauty.
The Far Side of Every Risk, Triumphant Love
The bottom-line comfort and assurance in all our risk-taking for Christ is that nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ. Paul asks, “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). His answer is, NO! In other words, no misery that a true Christian ever experiences is evidence that he has been cut off from the love of Christ. The love of Christ triumphs over all misery. Romans 8:38–39 makes this crystal-clear: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
On the far side of every risk—even if it results in death—the love of God triumphs. This is the faith that frees us to risk for the cause of God. It is not heroism, or lust for adventure, or courageous self-reliance, or efforts to earn God’s favor. It is childlike faith in the triumph of God’s love—that on the other side of all our risks, for the sake of righteousness, God will still be holding us. We will be eternally satisfied in him. Nothing will have been wasted.
How Can It Get Better Than Being Conquerors?
But there is even more to the promise that sustains us in times of risk for Christ’s sake. Paul asks “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The answer he intends us to give is, Nobody. It’s the same as saying, “If God is for us, no one can be against us.” That seems naïve. It’s like saying when your head is cut off, “Not a hair of my head has perished.” These excessive statements, it seems, are meant to say more than we have said so far. They intend to say something more than that dying saints won’t be separated from Christ.
This “something more” comes out in the words, “more than conquerors.” “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). What does “more than conquerors” mean? How can you be more than a conqueror when you risk for the cause of God and get hurt for it?
If you venture some act of obedience that magnifies the supreme value of Jesus Christ and get attacked by one of the enemies mentioned in verse 35, say, famine or sword, what must happen for you to be called simply “a conqueror”? Answer: You must not be separated from the love of Jesus Christ. The aim of the attacker is to destroy you, and cut you off from Christ, and bring you to final ruin without God. You are a conqueror if you defeat this aim and remain in the love of Christ. God has promised that this will happen. Trusting this, we risk.
But what must happen in this conflict with famine and sword if you are to be called more than a conqueror? One biblical answer is that a conqueror defeats his enemy, but one who is more than a conqueror subjugates his enemy. A conqueror nullifies the purpose of his enemy; one who is more than a conqueror makes the enemy serve his own purposes. A conqueror strikes down his foe; one who is more than a conqueror makes his foe his slave.
Practically what does this mean? Let’s use Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “This slight momentary affliction is preparing [effecting, or working, or bringing about] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Here we could say that “affliction” is one of the attacking enemies. What has happened in Paul’s conflict with it? It has certainly not separated him from the love of Christ. But even more, it has been taken captive, so to speak. It has been enslaved and made to serve Paul’s everlasting joy. “Affliction,” the former enemy, is now working for Paul. It is preparing for Paul “an eternal weight of glory.” His enemy is now his slave. He has not only conquered his enemy. He has more than conquered him.
Affliction raised his sword to cut off the head of Paul’s faith. But instead the hand of faith snatched the arm of affliction and forced it to cut off part of Paul’s worldliness. Affliction is made the servant of godliness and humility and love. Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. The enemy became Paul’s slave and worked for him an even greater weight of glory than he would have ever had without the fight. In that way Paul—and every follower of Christ—is more than a conqueror.
The Only Road That Leads to Lasting Joy
This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor. It is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator. Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.
Therefore, it is right to risk for the cause of Christ. It is right to engage the enemy and say, “May the Lord do what seems good to him.” It is right to serve the people of God, and say, “If I perish, I perish!” It is right to stand before the fiery furnace of affliction and refuse to bow down to the gods of this world. This is the road that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. At the end of every other road—secure and risk-free—we will put our face in our hands and say, “I’ve wasted it!”
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