TiO 45 – Alpha – Does God Still Heal?
The Main Idea
Does God still heal people today? Some say no. Some say that if we see miraculous healing it is just the random things that happen in the world. What does the Bible say about healing and does it still happen today? Todd talked about that in this week’s message.
Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)
Q1: If you could get the formula (or recipe) for anything, what would it be?
Q2: What is the most unusual thing you have ever done in the name of being “healthy”?
Q3: When you are sick, what is your first course of action, eg., doctor, sleep, denial, etc.?
Dig a Little Deeper
Healing. Jesus healed people, the disciples healed people, the early church experienced healing.
Read Matthew 8:1-17
The passage that Todd preached from, Matthew 8:1-4 is part of a set of stories about healing told by Matthew in chapter 8. In verses 1-17 you can see three healings, each one quite different.
Q1: Compare and contrast the three healing stories in verses 1-7. How are they the same? How are they different? Pay close attention to the who, what, why, when, where, and how of the three healings.
Q2: From the stories in verses 1-17, is there a specific pattern or template that Jesus uses? If not, what does that tell us about healing in Jesus’ ministry?
Todd talked about four models of understanding of healing that people and churches hold to. Of course, these are big categories and so do not reflect exactly how any particular person understands healing, but they are a good starting point.
- Classic Liberal view: supernatural things (miracles), like healing, never really happened, they are just metaphors for the power of God to help and change people.
- Classic Cessationist view: supernatural things happened in the Bible but they stopped with the death of the last apostle and do not happen today.
- Classic Pentecostal view: supernatural things, like healing, happen today and, in fact, they are the right of all believers and their results are guaranteed. Any time that miracles do not happen it is because of circumstance of sin and unbelief which blocks God’s power from operating.
- Classic Charismatic view: supernatural things, like healing, still happen today but not all the time because they are up to God and not up to us. Lack of healing is purely because of the choice of God and not necessarily because of sin and unbelief.
The position of Riverwood’s elders and senior leaders is the Classic Charismatic view of healing and miracles.
So, sometimes God heals us and sometimes he does not.
Read Daniel 3:13-18
In this story, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, along with everyone else in Babylon were commanded to worship a statue on command. These three refused and the king threatened them with death if they did not comply. Verses 13-18 show us the king’s threat and their response.
The response of the three in verses 16-18 is one way in which we can approach miracles.
Q3: What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego know about God?
Q4: What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say would happen if God did not deliver them from the furnace?
Many of us have things that we say we believe about God which are different from the way that we live. For example, we say that God is everywhere but live as though he is only around when we are at church. This is the difference between stated belief and functional belief. Our functional belief system is how we really live, regardless of what we say we believe.
Q1: What is your stated belief about healing?
Q2: What is your functional belief about healing?
Q3: How important is it that your stated beliefs and your functional beliefs be the same?
Q4: What areas of your life do you need healing in? Share these with your group, if you are comfortable doing so.
Todd quoted from John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Church Movement:
“When we prayed for no one, no one was healed. Now we pray for lots of people and some are healed.” (Paraphrased)
Pray for the healing of each other. Some people find it meaningful to follow the New Testament pattern of anointing with oil as you pray. This can be done by having the prayer leader place a little vegetable oil on his or her finger and then draw a cross on the person’s forehead as prayer begins. It is also useful to make a record of the prayers so that you can talk to each other in future meetings about the results you are seeing from God.
In this section we are provide the scriptures referenced in this study. Some are core to the lesson, others can optionally be read and discussed as part of your time together.
These are the scriptures referenced in the sermon.
Matthew 8:1-17 (NRSV)
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Daniel 3:13-18 (NRSV)
Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”
Here is a link to the Alpha video from last week. It is about 30 minutes long and well worth watching as you prepare to study this Talk it Over together.