June 6, 2014

Pentecost - Welcome to the Healing Ministry of Christians!

In Luke’s Gospel the ministry of Jesus began after two dramatic encounters. In the first He is tested by Satan (Luke 4.1-13) and puts loyalty to God over materialism, earthly power and spiritual authority. In the second (Luke 4.16-21) Jesus claims His destiny as Saviour and His plan of ministry. All of Jesus ministry was related to healing the separation of individuals from God by destroying the power of sin, evil and deception. We need to study and imitate Jesus model of ministry. Praying for healing was a major part of this ministry – and should be a regular part of our ministry. Let us examine how Jesus approached His Ministry:

1. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor.”
First of all Jesus ministry is anointed and guided by the Holy Spirit. We have in our time many false teachers and self-appointed ministers. These people have no authority or power from God. Unfortunately, the bad news is that Satan does seem to be able to empower his followers to do counterfeit miracles and healing.
·         Christian healing ministry needs to be under Episcopal or Church authority
·         Ministers need to be carefully chosen, trained and supervised
·         Clergy may not have this gift and need training and support
·         Healing Ministry is Holy Spirit led and experience – based
·         Show up, shut-up (listen) and be available
·         All ministry begins with “proclamation”

o    Basic issue is truth – people accept, believe a lie
         o    Proclaimed to those who do not have – the poor
         o    Words have power – to curse or bless in the metaphysical dimension
         o    Healing ministry is spiritual warfare – rebuking spirits
         o    Healing ministry is not for unhealthy people or cowards

2. “Sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners”
Like much of the Bible we tend to skim over this without much thought. We often forget the Bible is about the spiritual dimension breaking into the physical dimension. Who are these prisoners? While I am sure Jesus loved and cared for those imprisoned in physical jails, His primary concern was for the vast majority of people who were in the mental, psychological or spiritual prisons of ignorance or wrong belief. It is not that long ago that well educated Anglican clergy all over the world were teaching that slavery was part of God’s plan for humanity. We have all heard obviously untrue proclamations by clergy:
       ·         “Your child died because God needed her more”
       ·         “Anglicans / Roman Catholics are not saved”

Most of the healing we do as Christians involves freeing people from a lie from Satan, often expressed by an authority figure -  that someone has believed:
       ·         You were not a wanted child
       ·         You are a failure
       ·         Nobody loves you

These lies can cause deep wounds that affect lives. Healing ministry includes working with the Holy Spirit in identifying, repenting, renouncing and formally confessing the lie to break its spiritual power.

3. “Recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed free”
Again, while Jesus did love and heal the physically blind minority; His primary concern was the spiritually blind majority. It was the religious leaders of His time that were spiritually blind and they had led the whole nation of Israel into a ritualized and formalized religion that did not really honour the Covenant of Moses or lead to people loving God and their neighbour.
     ·         Breaking the Covenant relationship – including our Baptismal and Eucharistic Covenant can be a loss of spiritual protection.
     ·         Jesus came in fact to make a new Covenant that did not replace, but added to the Covenant of Moses.
     ·         Covenant of Jesus potentially restored those who entered in through faith to a right-relationship with God:
     ·         Forgiveness of sins closes doorways to evil spirits of sickness, confusion and spiritual oppression
     ·          Believers receive Infilling of the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin, teaches, strengthens and heals:
        o    physical illness – re-ordering bodily functions
         o    spiritual wounds – replacing fear and confusion with love, joy and peace
     ·         Believers in right relationship can bind and rebuke oppressing spirits in the name of Jesus and free people from oppression

4. Jesus announced a time of God’s blessing
This blessing began with the proclamation of the Good News of forgiveness and healing through the life and sacrificial death of Jesus. The key word is “proclamation” – speaking truth to overcome lies and deceptions.

Healing Ministry is a sign of God’s presence in a church – or not!

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