Monday, July 16, 2012
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)
Since this is a healing service, I would like to apply healing to this verse and the next one. Is healing a blessing in the heavenly places? Yes. There is no sickness or death in Heaven. Of course healing is one of the blessings or benefits of the afterlife. Anyone who dies in Christ is completely healed now.
But as Christians, we get the benefits of Heaven every day. God's Spirit allows these blessings from Heaven to trickle into our world. When we are IN Christ, we experience these blessings, like healing.
Truly, these blessings only come to us through Jesus. When we pray for healing in the name of Jesus Christ, we are acknowledging where the healing comes from. Jesus is the healer.
I attended a healing conference a few months ago, and the speaker demonstrated healing prayer by laying his hands on people or telling us stories of his healing experiences. I noticed that whenever he prayed, he always did so in the name of Jesus, but he never explained to us that it was very important to do so. So, when we had Q & A, one of my written questions was about that: “It seems that the name of Jesus needs to be evoked. Is this true?” He said to us all, “yes.”
Then someone raised his hand and asked a personal question: “What if I don't WANT to pray in the name of Jesus?” There was a pause as he reworded, “Let's say that someone has been hit over the head with the Jesus stick, that the name just turns them off.”
Now, the speaker interpreted this to mean, “what if the person you are praying over does not want to hear the name of Jesus.” His answer was for the prayer to say “God” but think “Jesus.” However, I think the questioner meant that he himself did not want to pray over anyone in the name of Jesus.
Will the questioner experience healing if he doesn't pray in the name of Jesus? I don't think so. Jesus is the conduit through which all the blessings come. When we read John 14:6, the famous verse, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father except through me,” we tend to think of us getting to God through Jesus. We picture Jesus as a tunnel through which we access the Father. Jesus compares himself to Jacob's Ladder in John chapter 1, and we think of us climbing up Jesus to get to the Father. Well, remember that Angels are ascending and DESCENDING on the Son of Man. Jesus isn't just access to the Father. He is the Father's access to us. He is the conduit through which the spiritual blessings from the heavenly places reach us.
Remember that Jesus is the way to access spiritual blessings like healing. We have a big problem in the Western world with seeking the blessings that only God can give, but we do not seek God. Many churches cater to the ones who are seeking only the blessings of God. But Churches need to cater to the ones seeking God himself. This is the difference between belief and unbelief. When we believe, we seek God, not his blessings, because we know that Seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousness brings us the benefits of God as well. We don't seek the benefits. We seek God and we get both God AND the benefits. If we seek the benefits INSTEAD of God, we get neither.
Remember this when you next find yourself in a church where the preacher is using a handy mnemonic device to help you remember something to DO to get God's blessings. Let's see, CORTIZONE: the C stands for Call on God; the O stands for Open Your Heart; the R stands for . . . um . . . READ Your Bible! And on and on, and you still don't remember the steps after the service.
Everyone is now thinking really hard in the room. I see eyes darting back and forth, focusing on nothing, because we are all thinking, “am I seeking God or just his blessings?” Don't fear. Verse 3 of Ephesians 1 is followed by verse 4, making a complete sentence: Just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.
God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. If you are hearing this message right now and understand, you have been chosen. We have several gardens in our yard, and in those gardens are underground hoses that water the soil. The hoses have rotted away and are useless. The water can't get to the soil. But if we want to restore the life of the garden, what do we seek? Do we seek water? Do we bring bucket after bucket to the garden each day and water the garden? Or do we seek the source of the irrigation system? The tap? We pull up that hose until we find the tap, the source of the water. Seek first Jesus, and the life of the garden is restored. If you are seeking the tap, the source of the blessings of heaven, then you have been chosen by God before the foundation of the world.
Likewise, we are not here today to seek healing. That may sound strange, because it is a healing service, but it is true. We are not here seeking healing. We are here seeking Christ and Christ ONLY. Through Christ comes the healing, but the healing is not the goal. The goal is Christ. Just as the goal of Jesus' incarnation, death, and resurrection, is not so much to save us. Saving us happens through Jesus, but the GOAL is to glorify God. God is the goal.
As you come forward for healing, remember that the goal is not the healing but Christ. Jesus Christ is our goal. Seek him.
Posted by Rev. Fredric Barrett at 8:37 AM