In my recent posts I have been looking at the gift of tongues and breaking down some of the false teachings and myths. The only truth we should listen to is the truth that is from God as written in the bible, and much of the truth about speaking in tongues is contained in the words of this chapter of the bible.
I have covered the fact that tongues was not just given to the early church for the purpose of spreading the gospel and that after the gospel age they were no longer necessary. This teaching, common in the modern church, is a lie perpetrated by those who have not received the gift of tongues and who do not understand the purpose and power of the gift of tongues.
Now this section of scripture further strengthens the fact that tongues are not for spreading the gospel. We see Paul discuss one of the purposes tongues are for and he also shows another proof why tongues were not for spreading the gospel.
There is an old saying that has been attributed to many different people which says,
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
In essence it means that the individual components of something when put together make something greater or better than the individual components themselves could ever be. For example, in Ecclesisates 4:12 we see the verse that says,
“…a threefold cord is not easily broken.”
Rope is generally made up of two or three strands that are twisted and bound together and each piece adds additional strength to the rope that is greater than a single strand can hold. So too when we are bound together with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit we are much stronger than we would ever be individually and we can stand in the face of all adversity.
As I read this verse in Romans 12:12 this observation of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts occurred to me, for I have often looked at and read this verse in terms of its individual parts but never considered it as a whole. So let us look at it with new eyes again.
One of the foundations of Christianity includes laying on of hands. There were six key foundational concepts recorded in the book of Hebrews. We see these foundations defined in Hebrews 6:1-2.
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
There are two primary reasons and purposes for this process. One of those is the laying on of hands for receiving the Holy Spirit as seen in Acts 19:1-6 and Acts 8:17-18.
The second reason for laying on of hands is for the purpose of healing and that is what we see mentioned in this section of scripture.
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.
You gotta have faith! When you pray for something you have to believe what you are praying for. If you ask The Lord for something, then you need to have the faith that you will receive whatever it is that you are asking for. Of course it needs to be something in accordance with His will, so there is no point asking to win the lotto. But if we are true to the faith and our walk as Christians our aims and thus our prayers will not be for such frivolous things as the rest of the world seeks. Instead we will be looking for those things that are pleasing to God.
And when we do come before Him in prayer, we need to believe that He can, will and does answer our prayers.
In this part of Acts 12 we see an example where the early church offered up fervent prayers for something, but you wonder how much they believed they would receive what they were asking for. Indeed it was not until the prayers were answered by The Lord and they had the proof standing right in front of them that they finally, in amazement, did believe.
One of the last things the Lord did before He left this earth was to pray for the church, and more than that Jesus prayed for you. As He prayed for His people he gave us many insights into the relationship He had with the Father, and for us, the relationship between Him, the Father and ourselves.
This section of scripture is truly beautiful. You cannot read it without feeling the depth of love that the Lord has for you and the strength of His relationship with you. Read on and understand the beauty and wonder of this scripture.
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?
One of the things we can count on as Christians is that there will be persecutions. We will be taken to task over many of the things we say, do and believe. Even though as Christians our aim is to be like Christ, everyone else will use that as an opportunity to cut us down whenever we slip up or make a mistake or act in a manner that is perhaps…less than Christ-like.
So persecutions are gonna come whether we like it or not. It is all part of the testing of our faith and so we need to understand how to deal with the persecutions when they come.
This short section of scripture shows us one of the things we should do, like Jesus did, when the persecution was more than just words. So we will look at that and then the less dangerous forms of persecution. Continue reading “Dealing With Persecution”
There has been a lot of discussion in recent times about the separation of church and state. It comes up in all kinds of places and we see those opposing the church in general focussing to remove any mention of Jesus or God from schools and public places. Well the situation in this section of scripture is similar in some ways, but with a different result.
Persistence is critical to your walk with Jesus. We are at war in the spiritual realm and the devil will throw all kinds of things in your way to block you from walking wholeheartedly with Jesus Christ. But you cannot allow those things to stand in your way and to drag you down. You must never, ever give up regardless of what comes as the reward for your persistence is the crown of life.