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SPIRITUAL GIFTS (4)

GIFTS OF HEALINGS 1 Corinthians 12/1-23

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

Because of the extravagant claims and abuses that surround the Church's healing ministry, there is an understandable caution and even resistance to the exercise of this dimension of our ministry. "Healing" is a word that, for some, conjures up mental pictures of Tele-evangelists...people falling over ...meetings out of control ...and very suspect theology!

 

In response to such extremes, many pull back so far that they go to the other extreme of treating the subject (in belief and practice) as taboo! Neither of these extremes is helpful. In fact, both of them will prevent us from finding an understanding and a practice that reflect a mature, biblical balance as we seek to do the will of our Heavenly Father.

 

1. "Gifts of Healings"

Definition = "The God-given ability to be a channel of divine healing and wholeness." (Note the plural - "gifts" and "healings" - which may indicate a diversity of expression within this spiritual gift).

 

2. In our thinking and discussion, we seem to most often limit our application of healing to physical healing. In fact, Scripture would apply "healing" or "wholeness" in a much broader way. Consider the following 5 areas of healing.

 

a) Spiritual - the word for "'healing" and "saved" are the same in the Greek language. Here the reference is to the healing that comes through God's forgiveness of us ...the new birth and reconciliation.

 

b) Emotional - the healing of inner, emotional hurts from the past. This is often applicable to experiences of grief, painful memories relating to rejection, abuse etc.

 

c) Relational - the extending and/or receiving of forgiveness that heals and restores broken relationships.

 

d) Physical - any level of improvement or healing in the physical body.

 

e) Demonic - liberation and release from demonic oppression or demonization.

 

Perhaps the word "wholeness" would be more useful than "healing" in that it may help us to encompass all the dimensions of this ministry.

 

3. Given that Jesus healed people during His earthly ministry, why do you think this has become a "neglected" ministry in the Church at large? Consider the following options and tick the one that most represents your position. Or you can write in your conviction...

 

a) It is not God's will to heal today.

 

b) Such miracles were only for the days of Jesus and the apostles.

 

c) We have medical science and God now heals through that method.

 

d) I am uncertain about God's will in this matter.

 

e) I am afraid of abuses and extremes - it is easier to leave the subject completely alone.

 

f) If God wants to heal someone, He doesn't need us to be involved.

 

4. Read James 5/14-16.  Discuss the following questions and statements.

 

a) What directions are given to the "sick" person?

 

b) How are the Elders to respond?

 

c) Healing of the body sometimes goes hand in hand with the healing of the spirit (forgiveness) (v.15)

 

d) Prayer for healing is not limited to the Elders (v.16)

 

e) Why do you think so few Christians seem to avail themselves of this provision for healing and wholeness?

 

5. It is evident from 1 Cor. 12/9 that God can mediate healing through individuals whom He 'gifts' or 'enables' to that end. The calling of the Elders (James 5/14-16) is not the only means God employs to bring wholeness into people's lives. If time permits, read Luke 5/17-26 and note the key factors or components that you see in this "case study" of healing.

 

a)                                                                 d)

 

b)                                                                 e)

 

c)                                                                 f)

 

This is such a huge subject and all we have managed to do is skim the surface! We have not developed those aspects that relate to our physical mortality and that such a reality means all physical healing is only temporary! We have not considered the fact that salvation is a process and "the ultimate healing" of our whole being awaits the Return of Christ. What we have tried to do is to open the possibility that we re-consider the healing ministry of the Church today.

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