In my last post I spoke of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is given to all people who are born of the spirit and who receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of the spirit as spoken of by Paul in verse 7 of this chapter is clearly speaking in tongues.
But now we look at the other gifts of the Holy Spirit that different people may receive. All of the gifts of the spirit are given for specific purposes. But there are two primary reasons why the Lord sees fit to bestow the gifts of the spirit on people, which we will cover here.
But first let us look at getting the gifts. There are many people who would like to have the gifts of the spirit. I mean, who wouldn't want to have the gift of miraculous healing and be able to walk into a hospital and empty it out by healing everyone there? Imagine that! Why can't we do that? Well…let's have a look at this whole matter in some more depth.
There are many non-Christians who would like to paint God as being harsh, vindictive and one who metes out punishment for the smallest thing. They ask how could we Christians worship such a God and cite many of the harsh acts of judgement and the laws in the Old Testament as examples to justify their position.
But they do not know God and are not known by Him. They do recognise the love of God and the mercy He shows us when we seek Him out and come to Him through Jesus Christ.
God is a merciful God. This section of scripture at the start of Acts 20 is evidence of His mercy. And there are so many more examples of His mercy towards us that they bear discussing so we can remember, take heart and hold onto our hope in Jesus Christ.
There is a practice in the church that The Lord has provided for His people to enable them to be healed of disease or other afflictions. That practice is described in James 5 and relates to the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. When this process is followed correctly the power and authority to heal is given to the church so that the one suffering may be healed.
And it works. I have seen it happen and can testify to the efficacy of this practice in my own life.
But there is also what I have called here, “Healing in a virtual world.” In this case it does not require the person to directly lay hands upon the sick person but the illness is brought under the power of God from a distance through other means.
We see an example of this in these few verses of Acts 19 where tremendous miracles and healings were done by Paul without his immediate presence. So let's take a look at this and what it means today.
This section of scripture has two very interesting insights. Paul and Barnabas had come to lustration and one of the first things they did as they were preaching the word was to heal a man who was a crippled from birth.
It was this action that caused the people of Lystra to mistake these two men of God for being Gods. And it was what occurred after this happened that is interesting and provides us with two significant insights.
There were many healings and miracles done by the hands of the apostles and here again we see The Lord working through Peter to heal Aeneas.
Aeneas was a very sick man. He had been bed ridden for eight years and unable to stand as ha was paralysed. We need to,understand too in those days there was no medical insurance and no hospitals or respite care facilities. When Aeneas became ill he became the responsibility of the family or friends to look after, otherwise he would simply die.
And being a long term illness the likelihood of any improvement or a complete recovery was pretty much zero. He was stuck a paralytic with the knock on effect for the rest of his family to look after him until he died. Not much of a future to look forward to and in some ways similar to the state most people in this world today. Let us have a look at this.
We live in a virtual world these days. Much of what we do and how we connect with one another is done online. We have instantaneous access to information and people across the world by using the Internet. We make friends, find partners, do work and find entertainment in the virtual world.
The virtual world allows us to do things, see things and find things without actually being there physically. We can almost live our whole lives without leaving the comfort and security of our own homes.
And people think this is such an amazing and new thing that they do not even realise that the virtual world existed and was operating thousands of years ago. Yes this same instant and immediate activity was working back in the time of Jesus and the apostles, and we can see a good example of it in practice in these scriptures.
In this world there are many religions, cults and sects. They all operate in the name of some so called deity or god and they invoke the name of their so called gods for all manner of things.
By their gods they seek help, wealth, power and so on. But their gods are deaf and silent and give them nothing for they are not true gods. Rather they are the fiction and fantasies of men.
But there is one name known among men that is all powerful. There is one name given among mankind that has great power for the owner of that name is neither deaf, dumb or blind to what occurs in this earth. This name is the only name by which a person can be saved and find salvation for it is through faith in this name that all good things are received, and in due time, eternal life.
As Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they came upon a beggar laying at the temple gate seeking alms from the people. This beggar had not asked to be healed but simply looked at Peter and John asking them in the hope they may give him some money.
Peter looked intently at the man, as did John, and Peter said to him these words.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
This was a miraculous healing for the man had been lame from birth and he was well known and recognised, for he came to this gate of the temple every day seeking alms. As a result, all the people who were there and saw what was happening were amazed at this incredible miracle.
Is there any limit to what God can and will do for His people? Is there anything that He will not give His people if they ask for it?
No. There is no limit to the love and generosity of the Lord. God gives good gifts to His people and God will give His people everything they need and most of the things they want on just one condition. And it is not a difficult thing that we need to do to receive whatever our desires are from God.
All the power that the Lord can bring to bear is available to His people when they do just one thing. And yet many put limitations on God thinking He cannot do what they need. So what is the one thing that is required to receive the free gift from God?
Who is really blind? Is it those who have a problem preventing them from using their eyes or is it those who have perfect vision but choose not to see? Is it not the second group? As the saying goes, there are none so blind as those who will not see.
This is what Jesus was talking about in this scripture and the issue that existed then still exists today. There are people today who have closed the eyes of their heart and the eyes of their mind and choose not to see. So let us have a look at this matter. Continue reading “There Are None So Blind”