You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' - Isaiah 14: 13-14 (ESV)
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. - James 5: 14-15 (ESV)
I remember a year and a half ago there was a weekend at my church where an itinerant healer spent the weekend with us. Services on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Within minutes of the Friday service starting it was apparent he was schooled in the false signs and lying wonders movement that so many have started to follow in error. It is the heresy of Bethel Church in California. It is the belief system that says you can teach the gifts of the spirit. That God always wants us healed. It turns true prophecy on its ear and morphs it into clairvoyance. We have all seen it. We saw it recently in the heretical "Holy Ghost" movie. The false prophet stands over you and lays hands, which is dangerous since you do not know what manner of evil spirits are using him. He then starts spouting some vague predictions and sentence fragments over your life. Usually God is trying to either "birth" something in you or there is some kind of "shift" coming up. The guy who visited my former church that weekend not only had the false prophecy shtick down but also fancied himself a faith healer.
I remember there was this good brother who served in ministry next to me and he suffered from some serious ailment in his hip. He went down for the healing altar call and after the sputtering was over the fake healer made him dance around and run the length of the altar screaming hallelujah. It was a scene I am sure many of us in charismatic circles have seen before. What they do not show you however is the conversation I had with my friend the following year. Reminiscing about the previous year I asked him how his hip was. He just shook his head and said it was worse than ever and surgery was imminent. I said, "didn't you go up and get healed last year?" Yeah he did and in the moment he truly believed he was healed but in the end he was not. So it goes so often in Pentecostal churches. Emotionalism is mistaken for a move of the Holy Spirit.
Let me state up front that I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. I believe in healing. I believe God can use anyone at any time to accomplish whatever His wills. The key there however is as He wills. Not as we will. When we start to peel back the layers of deception involved here it is important to start at the beginning. We need to go back to the first set of key verses today and realize what is really going on in the spirit realm. We need to go back to when Satan himself was cast out of heaven. What was his sin? What was his transgression? He wanted to be God but the job was already taken. He said he would ascend to heaven to set his own throne. He said that he would make himself like the Most High. He said he would be God. It is the same thing that man has tried to do throughout his existence. What was the selling point to Eve in the garden? You will be like God. The devil does not change his tactics because we give him little reason to. We succumb to the same prideful, carnal thinking that he had. That is what is behind the false signs and lying wonders movement. Think about it. Bethel Church operates a school to teach the gifts of the Holy Spirit despite this verse:
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. - 1Corinthians 12: 11 (ESV)
This is the final verse in the section on gifts of the Holy Spirit and it clearly indicates that the Spirit decides how and when the gifts will be apportioned. So when you think you can teach them, you are in fact trying to make yourself like the Most High. The same thing goes for this false teaching that says God wants everyone healed. God decides alone who will and who will not be healed. This is called the sovereignty of God and to teach otherwise robs God of His sovereignty.
(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) - 1Timothy 5: 23 (ESV)
Frequent ailments? Why would Paul instruct Timothy to take some wine for his frequent stomach ailments if healing was always divinely ordained? No beloved. Healing is a feature God possesses and while it is true He could choose to use us to convey His healing, that choice is always His. To say otherwise is to try and make yourself like the Most High. So we come to the latest attempt to rob God:
The title of this article is "Jesus never told us to pray for the sick." Before we get into what is specifically wrong in the article let us first deal with the flawed premise. Astronomer Carl Sagan once said, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." What that means is that it is intellectually dishonest to draw a conclusion that Jesus never told us to pray for the sick simply because it does not appear in the Gospel accounts. Let us remember that what we see in these accounts are but a snippet of His ministry:
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. - John 21: 25 (ESV)
Jesus also never directly told us to pray for the lost. Is the author suggesting that is also a bad idea? He never told us to pray for peace. There are a myriad of things we can say Jesus never specifically instructed us to do but that does not mean we conclude that He is therefore instructing us in the opposite!. Putting that aside however, Jesus most certainly did tell us to pray for the sick. Where you might ask? Right there in the second set of key verses for today. Wait a minute preacher! That was written by James! Was it?
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, - 2Timothy 3: 16 (ESV)
One of the fundamental beliefs for us as Christians is called divine inspiration. That the entire Bible was in fact written by God and since Jesus is God, the key verses were in fact written by Jesus. Yes beloved, it is Jesus who instructs us to call for the elders and have the prayer of faith prayed to see healing manifest in our lives. Despite his false premise, the author makes several other errors in his discourse that are important to understand so we do not make similar mistakes in the future. Now pay close attention here. This is how he opens his argument: