Sunday, January 24

When our theology gets in the way of obeying what Jesus said to do

Tuesday-Friday of this past week we began Week #1 of a 12 week training for starting house/simple churches. We are training 4 groups of "70". These are then responsible for training five others as they themselves begin to plant their initial house church. Busy week!

Yesterday, Saturday, I drove to a neighboring province to train legacy church pastors and leaders in our COSECHA (Harvest) evangelism, discipleship, and church planting materials.

COSECHA is based upon Jesus instructions given to the 70 in Luke 10:1-9. We literally take each of the commands and seek to implement them in starting new "kingdom outposts" (house churches).

Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers...
Go...I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves...
Carry no purse...
Greet no one on the way...
Say, 'peace be to this house'...
Do not keep moving from house to house...
Eat what is set before you...
Heal the sick...
Say to them, 'the kingdom of God has come near to you'.

Pretty straighforward commands, right?

In verse 9 Jesus commands, 'heal those...who are sick' and say to them, 'the kingdom of God has come near to you.'

After my teaching on how to implement these two commands, a pastor stood, and took it upon himself to interpret Jesus words for us. He felt Jesus instructions needed to be clarified. What did Jesus actually mean by 'heal those who are sick'?
  • First, these words were addressed to the 70, not to us today.
  • Second, 'heal the sick' means heal their soul by preaching the Gospel to them.
  • Third, why waste time healing, when they'll just get sick again?
Up to the time of that pastor's well-meaning intervention, people had been excited, motivated, and eager to get out and, in faith, implement Jesus words. After the pastor's explanation, people were staring at the floor, doubtful, and no one knew what to say.

When the microphone was given back to me, I responded, kindly, but firmly, "brother, the argument is not with me, but with Jesus. He is the one who instructed this command. If you have a disagreement with his telling us to heal the sick, please take your case and argue it out with Jesus."

I may not fully understand some of Jesus words, but to take clear, imperative instructions, and seek to reinterpret, negate, and dismiss them is simply bewildering to me.

Is it any wonder so many churches continue to struggle, seeing only a handful of new converts per year, and live powerless, sub-normal Christian lives?

Not only do we disobey, we don't even believe Jesus words!

Do we really think our ways are better than the Master's? Do we know better than Him? If our ways are so great, where is the harvest? Where are the results? Where's the beef? (as the old Wendy's commercial used to say.)

The point of all the above?

It almost seems as if we first come up with our theology, and then have to make Scripture fit that theology. When Jesus words do not align themselves our theology, we are forced to reinterpret and reword them until they do fit our theology.

What is your take on this? Does our theology too often get in the way of obeying what Jesus said for us to do?

17 comments:

Joe Blackmon said...

What did Jesus mean, then, when He said "Heal the sick"? Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that peobably means governmental handout social programs and support of Obamacare, right?

GuyMuse said...

Joe,

:)

Mark Finger said...

I have a sister in the Lord with Multiple Sclerosis who has been near death many times. Each time, the Lord has raised her up to continue in the ministry of the gospel and His kingdom.

One time, she was near death, and He sent me to pray for her to be healed. I didn't particularly feel like I had faith for that prayer that day, but I went. As I was nearing her hospital room, I said, "Jesus, I don't think I have faith enough today."

He said, "You know me, don't you?"

"Yes, Lord," I replied.

"Then just take me to her, and I'll do the work."

So, I went in the Spirit of Christ and prayed for her with many tears.

The doctors said, "No hope."

Three days later, she went home.

That was 6-7 years ago.

Strider said...

We have been poor and powerless and then have come up with a theology to justify it. Many Christians today are beginning to say, 'No longer.' It is not a choice between are the Baptist right or the Pentacostals? It is about seeking Jesus and being amazed to find Him.

GuyMuse said...

Mark,

What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing and encouraging all our faith. It seems to me that our task is to "trust and obey" and his to do what He deems best. I admit to having a lot to learn in this subject, but certainly don't want to be guilty of disregarding clear commands of Christ.

GuyMuse said...

Strider,

I think your point of it not being an issue of Baptist teaching vs Pentecostal teaching is dead on. It is a matter of seeking Jesus and obeying Him. As I wrote Mark above, we are to "trust and obey". As we do our part in obedience, He will be free to do His part, however He should choose to answer.

Stephen M. Young II said...

I struggle too much with this.

A couple of years ago, I'd gone completely deaf. I had a young pastor with me visiting a family in a small town, where I was doing chronological Bible storying. I planned to tell the story and let him ask questions and dialog with them.

As I told the story about how Jesus was crucified, a woman began laughing hysterically. I was deaf and couldn't hear her, but I could see that it was odd. They explained to me that she was suffering heart disease and in great pain. Crying came out like laughing.

After the story, I told her that Jesus commanded us to tell the good news and heal the sick. So I put the onus on Jesus.

"Lord, you commanded us to heal the sick as we announce your message, so we ask in your name according to your command that Maria be healed."

Two weeks later when we returned, she was smiling and calm with a pile of exams from the hospital showing a healthy heart, stacked on top of her exams showing a diseased heart.

A few months later I was hearing again and am doing well now.

I still don't get it. I'm still not comfortable with it. I'm still afraid of opportunities like these. Oh that we could be more confident in the creator and sustainer of all things.

GuyMuse said...

Stephen,

Wow, like Mark's above, an amazing story! Why is it that we struggle so much with, not only believing, but obeying what Jesus said to do? Maybe if we just did what Jesus said to do, and left the results up to Him, without becoming stressed about the outcome, we'd probably see a lot more healing than we currently do. I know that here in Ecuador, we hear constantly of healings--far more than in the USA--and yet we still doubt and fear to engage people in this way.

ddflowers said...

Good post, Guy. I agree, our theology does often limit our knowledge of Christ. Lord, help us to keep our hearts open to you.

GuyMuse said...

David,

Thanks for stopping by. It's almost like we decide what it is we believe, and then find appropriate verses to back up those beliefs. When Jesus comes along and says something like, "heal the sick", we scratch our heads, because that command isn't part of our theology. So we have to interpret those words so that they will fit our theology.

Mlabus said...

Guy,

As your fellow workers in the harvest here in Ecuador, I totally concur with this recent blog. My wife and I remain the only missionaries in the Cloud Forest Region and are of the same mind-set as you have expressed here.

GuyMuse said...

Mlabus,

Cloud Forest as in Mindo? That is great. I didn't know there were any M's in that area. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. If you are ever down our way, be sure and give us a call so we can get together and swap notes. Would love to meet you in person!

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

Prayer & Healing. A favorite subject.

Just keep praying for the sick.
The more you pray, the more you see healed.

After awhile you start to expect God to intervene.
Don’t understand it all.
Seems almost every time Jesus prayed
for the sick He did it differently.

Spit & mud.
Forgiveness of sins.
Casting out Spirits of infirmity.
Laying hands on the sick.
Faith.
Mercy.

Being "led" by the Spirit and,
Hearing "His Voice" helps a lot.

Did a little research on the different
principles of healing in the scriptures.

Came away with a bunch of scriptures and
a “Research Paper” called

“34 Elements of Healing”

It’s free at this website...

“God’s Words of Comfort & Healing”

http://web.me.com/love101

Go to the bottom of the “Welcome” page
you’ll see a “Click here” to down load
all 18 of the “Research Papers.”

# 318 is the “Research Paper” about
the “34 Elements of Healing.”

It’s just about “All” scripture.
Just a few instructions.

Read these verses a few hundred times
and see how the Lord will lead. ;-)

Be blessed.

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

Liked your response to the "pastor" who tried
to interpret what Jesus meant.

"brother, the argument is not with me,
but with Jesus.
He is the one who instructed this command.
If you have a disagreement with his telling us to heal the sick, please take your case
and argue it out with Jesus."

Seems preaching, healing, signs and wonders,
miracles, go hand in hand. Yes?

Mr 16:20 ESV
And they went forth, and preached every where,
the Lord working with them,
and confirming the word with signs following.

So the signs confirmed the word preached.
Philip, speaking and performing miracles.

Acts 8:4-6 KJV
Therefore they that were scattered abroad
went every where preaching the word.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria,
and preached Christ unto them.
And the people with one accord gave heed
unto those things which Philip spake,
*hearing and seeing*
*the miracles which he did.*

Paul, speaking and performing miracles.

Rom 15:18
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things
which Christ hath not wrought by me,
to make the Gentiles obedient,
by *word* and *deed,*
*Through mighty signs and wonders,*
*by the power of the Spirit of God;*
so that from Jerusalem,
and round about unto Illyricum,
I have *fully preached* the gospel of Christ.

Paul, Not interested in man’s wisdom???
But in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

1Cor 2:4 KJV
And my speech and my preaching was not
with enticing words of man’s wisdom,
but *in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:*
That your faith should not stand
in the wisdom of men,
but in *the power of God.*

Heb 2:4
God also bearing them witness,
*both with signs and wonders,*
and with *divers miracles,*
and *gifts of the Holy Ghost,*
according to his own will?

Mat 10:8
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,
cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Luke 9:2
And he sent them to preach
the kingdom of God,
and to heal the sick.

Lu 10:9
And heal the sick that are therein,
and say unto them,
The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Seems preaching, healing, signs and wonders,
miracles, go hand in hand. Yes?

If you’re going to preach Jesus to folks
you might as well see and experience
His power to heal and deliver.

God is real cool...

Jesus still heals today...

GuyMuse said...

Amos,

Thanks for the prayer and healing tips from Scripture. Sounds like the more faith is exercised in this regard, the stronger it gets. I admit to having a lot to learn about these matters before trying to teach them to others. I downloaded your "34 Elements of Healing" and look forward to learning from these Scriptures. You've really put in some time compiling all this. Wow!

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

Inch by inch, everythings a cinch.

By the mile it’s a trial,
by the yard it’s hard,
by the inch it’s a cinch.

Not knowing sometimes is a blessing.
You have to ask Jesus for help.
And operate on “His Faith.”

With all the familys your involved with
there must be lot’s and lot’s of children.

Just start showing the children, and the teens,
the scriptures about healing
and ask them to pray.

Maybe start with
children praying for their parents.
I try to do this whenever possible.
Kids tend to just “believe.”

Ask them to ask Jesus first
how they should pray. Take 20 seconds.
Jesus said, “My” sheep hear my voice.
Have them close their eyes and say,
Lord Jesus, how do you want me to
pray for my Dad? Lord, help me to pray.
Wait a few seconds.
Then just trust Jesus will give them
the words to pray.
Ask them to just start speaking.

And watch what happens.

A little instruction, a little encouragement,
a few scriptures, then let them pray.
They love their parents and love is a healer.
You can learn from the kids.

Child like faith is awesome.

And Jesus gets all the glory.
Not “us.” ;-)

For us “mature” adults
the pressure to “perform properly,”
the pressure to be “right,”
“the fear of man” if nothing happens,
often has us in bondage
to doubt and unbelief.

I struggled with doubt’s and fears at first.
Gee, what will people think about me? etc.

Kids tend to be free of that stuff.

Be blessed on your adventure.

GuyMuse said...

Amos,

Excellent advise. I really like, Not knowing sometimes is a blessing. You have to ask Jesus for help. And operate on “His Faith.” This is similar to how we train for church planting--taking it a step at a time, and doing so in faith. Just this morning I received a call from a brother who had gone out yesterday (Sat) and had exercised his faith in a similar way, and came back full of wondrous things the Lord is doing amongst the people he is trying to reach with the Gospel...by the inch it's a cinch. Yes!