Only a tiny trickle of people come to Jesus through invitations to church.
To reach the vast majority, we must obey Jesus’ commands to “go” and “disciple” (Mt 28:19). A remarkable advance in this direction is the recent resurgence of Reproducing Discipleship as modeled by Jesus and the New Testament disciples. And this becomes far more fruitful when we also obey Jesus’ commands for us to heal as we proclaim God’s Kingdom (Mt 10:7–8, Lk 10:9).
In mid-December I was a guest assistant editor for the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Mission Frontiers on Reproducing Discipleship. Amidst this project I came under intense spiritual attack, with sudden sciatic pain which intensified whenever I sat or lay down. I had to work standing up and couldn’t sleep more than two hours at a time.
God turned this to good by leading me to look further into the essential role of Divine Healing in Reproducing Discipleship. I am NOT a died-in-the-wool Charismatic or Pentecostal, but my research led me to pray that God would guide me into understanding and experience from which I can train others to walk in authority for healing and miracles. And God has been answering this prayer, enabling me to perform two unusual miracles in June of 2014.
Healing as an Essential Aspect of New Testament Fruitfulness
Jesus healed miraculously as a primary means of demonstrating that God’s Kingdom is at hand. When He sent his first disciples out to find new laborers (“persons of peace”) He commanded and empowered them to similarly heal and proclaim God’s Kingdom (Mt 10:7–8, Lk 10:9).
After His resurrection Jesus told His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them as His witnesses (Acts 1:4–5,8). Then “the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mk 16:20).
The spiritual and healing authority God entrusted to Paul was essential to what Christ accomplished through him in leading the Gentiles to obey God “by what I have said and done—by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God” (Rom 15:18–19).
Paul’s ministry was so effective that in Romans 15:23 he concluded there was “no place left” for him to work in Asia!
Healing Similarly Empowers Reproducing Discipleship Today
Some international leaders in Reproducing Discipleship have told me that “Every church we looked into on the mission field was birthed through a miracle.” Another who is seeing significant fruit among Muslims and Buddhists wrote me:
The reproducing discipleship that my trainees/friends started 12 years ago did not see a lot of healings and miracles for about 8 years. The miraculous only came when I changed from an overemphasis on the essential ingredient of rational evangelistic bridges. Overemphasis on one or another key ingredient slows down or plateaus the movement. Balance is hard but freeing.
Healing is for Today
This is the “Reader’s Digest” conclusion. I have detailed elsewhere the many experiences and insights which have shaped my thinking in the first half of 2014.
In the past six months I have found a wide variety of believers experiencing God’s healing power in extraordinary ways, including a variety of YouTube videos on “Healing in Jesus’ Name.”
One important insight is that God is far more eager to honor the authority He has delegated for us to heal in Jesus’ name than to answer our pleas for Him to heal. He is waiting for us to step into what He has empowered and commanded us to do.
Another key insight has been that Power to heal does not come from us “working up our faith.” Jesus, living in us, has all the faith He needs.
Healing is accomplished through the finished work of Christ in the atonement, not through anything we add beyond obediently letting the Holy Spirit work through us. Really, this is MUCH simpler than we have imagined.
If you are eager to get to know God better in this way, here are some tips:
- Rest in intimacy with God and what Jesus did, not relying on mere mechanics.
- Develop rapport and stories of healing from the Bible or your experience.
- Lay on hands, thank God for His love, and invite the Holy Spirit’s direction.
- Command the person to be whole, or to do something that requires their healing.
- If pain moves or symptoms return command evil spirits to depart.
- Speak authoritatively however God’s Spirit leads you.
- Demonstrate faith in your actions, regardless of what you feel or expect.
- Keep your prayer short; Jesus does the work, not the length of your prayers.
- If the condition improves, repeat until the healing is complete.
- When the condition stops improving, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you more.
- Persist in seeking God to train and give you authority for healing others.
- Seek medical attention as God leads, but not as a substitute for seeking God.
Summary of Resources and Related Insights
Here is a quick list of the resources and related insights which have been most significant for me:
Divine Healing Made Simple satisfied my need for a thorough treatment of the Scriptural basis for healing today. “Praying Medic”’s website provided additional suggestions for how to grow in authority to heal others in Jesus’ name. These resources and the YouTube videos mentioned above freed me from associating healing only with questionable “celebrity healers.”
My experience with the Healing Rooms movement, which has 1,500 locations and 25,000+ trained intercessors, deepened my perception that God is moving His body from being merely recipients and spectators of divine healing to more commonly walking in His authority to demonstrate His love to a needy world.
Jeremy Mangerchine’s book The Longest Bridge Across Water led me to seek and experience greater intimacy and communion with God. As I reread the second half aloud with my wife, I was led to experience in new fullness familiar verses about Christ living right inside us.
Art Thomas regularly sees a majority of those he prays for healed, and on at least ten occasions, everyone present has been healed as Art has trained church members to pray with authority for one another. Here are two of his free YouTube videos:
Here is a bullet point summary of what I have learned to date about walking in Christ’s authority for healing and other miracles as a means of empowering Reproducing Discipleship:
- Jesus didn’t ask God to heal. HE healed, and commanded His disciples to heal.
- Jesus healed as key element of drawing people into God’s Kingdom.
- At the crucifixion Jesus paid with His “stripes” for all healing for all mankind.
- Jesus healed everyone who came to Him or was brought to Him.
- Jesus’ faith does all the work, we just need to obey and persist.
- The Gospels record Jesus’ commands, which we are to teach all nations to obey.
- Our responsibility—as Christ’s body with Christ living in us—is to:
- pursue intimate communion with God in Christ,
- go to all nations as He leads us,
- lay our hands on the sick (as they ask or we are moved or led),
- command healing in Jesus’ name,
- proclaim God’s Kingdom, and
- teach them to likewise obey everything Jesus commanded.
- We DON’T need to use oil, recite every doctrine, or name every medical issue.
- We DO often need to persist, especially in the early stages of learning.
- And when we don’t see results, we need to persist in asking Jesus to teach us.
As we persist in believing, obeying and listening to the Holy Spirit, our faith will lead us to experience the truth of God’s Word:
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name … they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mk 16:17-18).
Divine Healing is for Reproducing Discipleship
Most Christians today don’t expect God to empower them for either Divine Healing or Reproducing Discipleship. Some are pursuing one or the other with exciting results, but relatively little impact lasting fruit.
However in several parts of the world, including the movements I visited in India in 2011, both Reproducing Discipleship and Divine Healing are happening together, with impact on their communities which rivals and even exceeds the book of Acts.
Every command of Jesus in the New Testament was written as the apostles sought to record what they felt would be helpful for those they were training in obedience to Mt 28:20 (Jesus command to teach all nations to obey everything He commanded). Thus we see that the commands recorded in Scripture are not options for us to consider, but commands of Jesus recorded by the disciples for us to obey and train others to obey.
Healing, Going and Discipling are not optional activities, but commands for all of us to obey. Partial obedience does not yield full fruit. Only as we combine Divine Healing with Reproducing Discipleship can we expect God to do through us what He did through Paul, until there is “no place left” where Christ is not yet named.
God is doing great things, and preparing to do even greater works through us!
May we experience the fullness of God’s work in our land, in our day!