Freedom (From sin, sickness, and demons)

Read this aloud, you and your spouse, your children, alone or with a friend. Lord Jesus, we ask Your Holy Spirit to speak to each of us where we are, right now, and reveal to us the meaning of Your Word, and how it relates to each of us. Lord, speak to us about our freedom found in You, and teach us our identity as children of God, brothers and co-heirs with You. May Your name be glorified in all the earth, and may every captive be set free. Amen.

Why read aloud?

Romans 10:16b-17 – “’Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

 

Can we rely on a promise from God?

Numbers 23:19 – “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

Hebrews 6:17-18 – “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”

 

Can we miss our opportunity? Can we lose what we have been given? Is it too late?

Romans 11:29 – “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

 

Preaching the Word with boldness and experiencing the power of God: a comparison of Paul’s methods.

Read Acts 17:22-34 – Notice that, though the speech sounds impressive, verse 33 and 34 say that Paul left their midst and “some men joined him and believed.”

Acts 18:8 – When reading chapter 18, we can see that when Paul preached there, that many believed: “Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.”

 

What then is the difference? The Bible’s explanation of why we must heal and deliver:

1 Corinthians 2:1–5 – And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

 

Is there a promise that says if we preach the gospel that the Lord will allow us to demonstrate the power of the Gospel?

Mark 16:19–20 – “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”

Did the disciples found in the Bible go everywhere? No, we are still going everywhere. Not every nation is reached yet, therefore, this verse is describing every disciple of Christ.

Acts 4:24, 29-31 – “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said. . . And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

It is clear in this verse that all the believers prayed with one voice to continue to preach the Gospel as healing and other signs and wonders were performed. Their request was granted – more boldness. They did not need to pray for the rest, because they knew that if they preached boldly the Lord would do His part allowing signs and wonders.

Hebrews 2:3-4 – “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

Acts 14:3 – “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”

 

This verse is about Paul and Barnabas; what about regular believers? Were they a special case?

Acts 9:10 – “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias.”

Ananias was just a regular old believer. Just a simple dispel of Christ. In Acts 9:10-19 we get to see a single even in this man’s Christian life. It is amazing, and every bit as amazing as every story about Paul found in Acts. As you read this story, consider Ananias’ response to the Lord. Does it not reveal a familiarity with speaking to the Lord? He is not surprised by His vision, nor by the voice of the Lord. He actually has a regular conversation with Christ, making sure the Jesus knows whom He is sending Ananias to and what the current situation is. It confirms that this is regular for Ananias, “But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.’” (Acts 9:13–14). In one single day Ananias receives a vision of the Lord, has a conversation with Him, receives words of knowledge about Saul (Paul) and his vision and his being blind, receives a prophesy concerning Saul (Paul’s) coming suffering that he will endure, goes and lays hands on Saul (Paul) and heals him, baptizes him, and lays his hands on him that he would receive the Holy Spirit. This regular believer launched Paul, whom we declare as the greatest missionary on earth.

 

What sort of demonstrations should we expect and why?

Mark 16:17-18 – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

 

Should we fear demons, the demonic, the powers and principalities, or witches, witch-doctors, spells, magic, voodoo, or the evil intensions of people controlled by such things?

Does the Father answer the prayers of Jesus?

John 17:5 – “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”

Luke 10:18-19 – “And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” All and nothing mean exactly as you would define them in English. Authority over all of the power of the enemy and nothing, not one thing, will harm you.

 

The Lord says that if we lay our hands on the sick that they will recover; which sick people? How do I know which one I should pray for and whether it is the will of God to heal everyone?

Isaiah 53:4-5 – “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Is the author speaking of spiritual healing? Not according to the Holy Spirit: Matthew 8:14-17 – “And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases [Isaiah 53:4].’”

The context of the story is physical healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and many who came to Him. He healed them all, because “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Why, because He bore our sins and all of the consequences of that sin; of which sickness is one. Why would Christ make a sick and broken, diseased, and sinful container into the temple of the Holy Spirit? He would not, He would make in new again.

Psalm 103:2-5 – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

We all believe that the Lord takes our iniquity and redeems our life from the pit. What about the promise sandwiched between those two?

 

Is Jesus our example? Is it not Christ that the Holy Spirit and the equipping of the saints is meant to bring us into the fullness of? What did Jesus do?

Matthew 4:23 – “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”

Matthew 9:35 – “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”

 

This is Jesus, but what about others? Did He tell anyone else to do those things that He did?

Matthew 10:1 – “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”

Matthew 10:7-8 – “And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”

Luke 9:1-2 – “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”

Luke 9:6 – “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”

Luke 10:1, 3, 7-9 – “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go… Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves…And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

More important perhaps is the way in which the command to heal the sick (ἀσθενεῖς diff. Mt. ἀσθενοῦντας may be Lucan) precedes the command to preach. This suggests that the healings are to be regarded as a sign of the presence of the kingdom (cf. 11:20; Schulz, 417).

Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978), 421.

The purpose of the mission was not in any way to further the personal faith of those who were sent (Hase, p. 200; Krabbe, p. 306), but, as is evident from the commission itself (see especially ver. 9), to prepare, by miraculous cures and by preaching, for the imminent advent of the Messiah.

Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospels of Mark and Luke, ed. William P. Dickson, trans. Robert Ernest Wallis, vol. 2, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1883), 113–114.

Luke 10:17-20 – “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'”

What about us; are we to do these things?

Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

Jesus has literally just defeated death. All things are in His control and under His authority. He says that as we go we should make disciples for Him. In other words, we need to make more disciples of Christ. We, meaning you and I, must baptize them. We have misunderstood the phrase “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and we say it during baptism as some sort of formula. However, there is no record in any of the baptisms in the Bible of anyone saying this phrase. In water baptism it was “into Christ Jesus” that they were baptized. It is because the early disciples understood the fuller meaning of the expression. This meaning is captured and shared by Peter in Acts 10:38 – “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Repent is to change your mind and to turn back. To whom do they turn? The Father; repent, turning back to God (the Father). Having repented, bring that repentance with you to water baptism and be baptized into the death of Christ, “in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” and receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is not one thing, but three events: spent, be baptized in water into Christ, receive the Holy Spirit. This person is now a proper disciple of Jesus Christ, so we then must teach them to observe, or to do all those things that Christ commanded His disciples to do; namely, to go and preach the gospel of the Kingdom, heal the sick, and cast out demons, living in fellowship with one another in brotherly love. When we do this, He is with us always. Having read this last promise, we must go back to the beginning and revisit the Great Commission. Jesus is actually saying, “Let’s, you and I, go together. As we go, let’s make new disciples for me. I ask you to lead them to repentance in word as I work in their hearts. When they respond and repent, I want you to baptize them into me, then for you to lay your hands on them so that they may receive my Holy Spirit. Then, we will teach them, together, to observe all I have commanded; you by teaching from the Scriptures, and I by ministering to their heart with my Holy Spirit. As they begin to go as you have gone with me, I will work through them also, allowing signs and wonders to be done through their hands in My name.

Mark 16:15-20 – “’Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”

 

Why are preaching of the kingdom, healing the sick, and casting out demons always couples together?

Freedom!

Freedom from Sin:

Romans 6:7 – “For one who has died has been set free from sin.”

Freedom from sickness:

Matthew 8:17 – “’He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.’”

Freedom from condemnation and the law:

Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

Freedom from bondage:

Act 10:38b – “He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

More about freedom:

John 8:31-32 – “’If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”

John 8:36 – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Romans 8:19-21 – “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 – “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Galatians 5:1 – “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

 

Are doing these things for advanced Cristian’s or for those with a special anointing?

Hebrews 6:1-2 – “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, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

As can be seen from this verse in Hebrews, the things discussed here are the elementary doctrines of Christ. This activity constitutes the normal Christian life. Until we are doing these things we cannot move on to maturity.

 

Fan into flame that spark which lies within you. Determine yourselves to simply obey what Christ has directed. At that time, you shall experience the power of Christ through His gospel. Determine yourselves; do it and do not stop no matter what you see. For our experience is not the truth, the Word of God is the truth. In due time He will lift you up. Determine ourselves to preach and to pray no matter what. Just do it for Him. Do it because you love Him and He has sent you to. Trust Him to do His part through you. Pray for the sick no matter what. If you encounter demons, bring that person into the presence of the Almighty and that unclean Sprit cannot stand. Worship God, give testimonies to encourage, baptize immediately, lay hands on this baptized as soon as they come out of the water and pray for deliverance and for the Holy Spirit to come. Stand on the promises of God. Stand firm and believe, and you will see the glory of God (John 11:40).

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