Thursday, June 26, 2014

FAITH MAKES YOU WELL


"20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well." Mt 9:20-22
In this text above, a woman had been suffering by a hemorrhagic bleeding for 12 years. She thought if only she touched the hem of Jesus' garment she would be made well. Jesus sensed when she touched him and turned to her, saying, "your faith has made you well." This lesson has application for every person today. 

I do not wish to turn this into a discussion on the cessation of the supernatural gifts but instead I think it's more important to talk about the universal blessing that's available to one and all, and for people of every age, which is the many blessings that come only from God when a sinner begins to operate in the realm of faith - such as this woman did.

"The righteous shall live by faith", says the Hebrews writer, Heb.10:38. Paul said, "we walk by faith, not by sight", 2 Cor. 5:7.

There are two kinds of men in the world. There are those who walk with their feet firmly in the things of God and they operate by faith. And then there are the majority who walk firm in the world, and operate on the basis of sight. The largest portion of men are not ignorant of the faith realm or reality, but they do not walk there. Sometimes they long to be there. Sometimes they see it is as the enemy and are hostile to those who walk there. For these, from their first waking breath to their last thought before slumber, they only walk by sight. Their eyes are locked on the things of this world. They walk from lustful pursuit to lustful pursuit. It's not that they don't wish to have the special blessings that only come from faith. They may even have an inner urge to enjoy the same things. At times they may walk the fence between the two realms, between the flesh and the spirit (Rom 8; Jas 4), but any blessings they may receive are momentary and are blunted and short-lived because they sabotage it all with their other self that keeps running with the flesh. They can't or won't let go of the walk in the realm of sight. Their friendship with the world is hostility towards God and they reap what they sow. They have no healing of joy and peace. The majority of mankind have their feet in the world and they never know the liberty, joy and peace that comes if only they would make the decision to walk firmly and wholly in the light of God's truth.

When a sickly woman, who has tried every other remedy for whatever ails her, finally turns to walk the faith walk to believe in the impossible and to completely and wholly trust in God, then the blessing of faith makes her well. This is available for all who would walk in the faith realm.

There are far too many Christians who are not made well. Not at all are they well. They are as fragile and feeble as any person in the world. The question is why? Do they not believe in Jesus? Certainly they would say they do. But does their belief lead them to quiet the negative, doubting, untrusting, hesitating, unwilling and mean voices in their minds and spirits? No, these are still there.

James said, "You double-minded man" twice in his epistle. The woman who had the hemorrhagic bleeding did not touch Jesus' garment and then say in her spirit, "I can't be healed, I doubt Jesus will help." I know in my experience with Christians, both men and women, that many still stumble because of doing this very thing. God is not going to wrest from them their vain idols if they insist on trusting their own thoughts and their own ways more than God. "But I do have faith", they say. "I do walk in the realm of faith and who are you to say otherwise", they protest. A tree is known by its fruit and these conflicted Christians will periodically reveal just how conflicted they are. No matter how kindly and compassionately I remind the sister to, "Stop, live in this moment, and pray to Jesus, and let go of your frettings about the past and your fears of the future", they still think in their minds or they openly reply back, "But you don't know what I'm going through." That right there is not the voice of faith. That reply right there is the voice of sight. It says my burdens and past and hurts all make it impossible for me to have joy in my heart. It is the voice of the double-minded. Stop that voice and go to God in prayer and talk to Him for a while. Open the Bible and start reading. Let God speak to your fretting soul. Shut up your protests and let God heal you.

Can we know the blessings of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23) if we are not yielding to the Spirit? Certainly not! According to Paul in Galatians 5:16ff we must be led, walk by, and live by the Spirit. Every doubt by the sick and broken Christian is a protest to these words. We must yield to the Spirit if we are to have the "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness" and other wonderful things of the gift of the Holy Spirit. This work of the Spirit is every bit as much a healing of the man as the woman received from Jesus when she touched His garment.

People will say, "But preacher, why are you putting the blame on me as if the blessings depend on me, on works?" God's salvation and all of his spiritual blessings are free and are offered to all, but they come freely to those who let go of the flesh by faith; who wholly and completely put their faith in Him. You will not have His salvation if you love carousing with the world. You will not have His peace if you refuse to let go of your anger, bitterness, jealousy and the like - things which you may protest are wholly justified. Let them go. The peace of God doesn't reside in you until you stop the tempest of negative and doubting thinking that is your constant state of mind. The woman healed by Jesus wasn't filled with doubts, or anger. She wasn't thinking of 12 years of no action by God. She wasn't filled with anger at her unfeeling friends or unsympathetic family. She was only fully and completely thinking of God's promise. Her feet were walking completely in the realm of faith.

A few people in this life do walk by faith. From morning to night their thoughts are on God and are guided by God. The inner selfish man of pride is put to death and that spirit extinguished and is replaced by a thoughtful, caring, and serving man who is on a mission as God's child ambassador. This man on a mission doesn't have time or care for the mind and spirit that would dwell on things of this world.

You see, the doubting and half-hearted Christian has only one foot walking to do God's will but it's ineffective because it's having to drag that other foot that loves the world. Such a man should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord, James 1.

The man or woman walking in the realm of faith, and I have known more than a few, have an indomitable spirit of strength that rides firmly through the storms of life. Indeed they are made well by their faith. The healing is in their spirit. They show it in the grace of their words. They show it in the works of their hands. I have personally experienced the healing in my life. I know how God takes a timid and broken shell of a man to fill that man with purpose, values, and hopes that become the firm foundation and structure of the life God always intended him to have. Faith healed and made the man well.

God wants you to be saved. The answer is in Christ. The answer is in the New Testament. Go to the cross and learn what you need. Good news is something to be confessed; so confess it. A lamb shedding its blood for the sinner is cause to take pause and examine the future life you will lead; so repent of sins and walk in holiness. The death, burial and resurrection is the Gospel and it must be obeyed by every sinner, see 1 Pt 4:16,17; 2 Thess 1:6-9. Yes, obedience to the cross is part of the walking by faith. Romans 6:3ff shows that Christians heard the Gospel and they went to the river or lake to be immersed into Jesus' death that they might be raised to walk in newness of life. Are you born again? Jesus said you must be born of water and the spirit. Today, won't you do what makes no earthly or carnal sense, and decide that you will walk in the realm of faith? Believe Jesus and get baptized in the watery grave of baptism. To man it makes no sense. But to the spirit led person, it's the initiation into the saving grace of God. Repent and be baptized today and reject the carnal naysayers who reject Jesus' own command (Matthew 28:19) and trust that God will wash you and will add your name to the book of life. The life lived in the realm of faith starts here. It's just the beginning. Tomorrow, washed and renewed in Christ, you will get up and walk firmly in the life of faith. Live by faith and enjoy the grace of Jesus Christ. You can know the healing that is in Jesus Christ.

All of this I say in love. Sincerely, Dan

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