If Jesus Was Rich, Why Do I Have To Be Poor (7)?

Recently I've had a number of people tell me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a "Health and Wealth" gospel. This statement of denial was heard by them at a Church meeting, I gather.

Now I would understand this stance if the claim were being made that the gospel was only about "Health and Wealth", but why think the gospel excludes these things, even for those whose priority is the kingdom of God.

And has it not been said that, "If Jesus was rich, why do I have to be poor?"

So, Is "Health and Wealth" included in the gospel, or not? Should God's people expect to be sick, or is good health and healing a part of the gospel message?

In the gospel of Mark, Chapter 2, verse 10-12 Jesus uses healing as proof that He could forgive sins. Forgiveness of sins did not come in isolation!

Mark 2:10-12 "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —He said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!"

Did you notice that Jesus links healing as a "proof" that He had the authority to forgive sins? Now, since Jesus has sent us into the world in the same way that the Father sent Him, should we (Christians) not be healing people as proof of our authority to preach forgiveness of sins by Jesus?

John 20:21-23 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

So interestingly, we are to tell others of their sins being forgiven, and yet some would have you believe that "healing", which gives proof that Jesus is alive to grant that forgiveness, is not part of the gospel!

Luke 10:8-9 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.’

This is also stated in Matthew 10:7-8 to give two witnesses, and I'll quote that later, but you can see that once again Jesus links healing the sick with preaching the gospel!

We do hear the cry, "Just believe in Jesus!" "Believe in Jesus!"; As though this should be accepted by non-believers without proof! It's indeed fortunate if they do properly accept that Jesus is their saviour without physical proof, but that's not what Jesus expected would happen. For instance, let's take a look at what Jesus said to the disciples in Mark 16:17-18.

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.”

Notice that Jesus says this will apply to believers. Not some special group of prophets or apostles; ordinary believers!

This is interesting in that we see Jesus expected healing and health to be part of the package! To Jesus, health is part of the gospel message. This authority is not given to us to do tricks; it's to advance the Kingdom of God, giving proof that Jesus has brought reconciliation to God and forgiveness of sins to all.

John 14:12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

Both Isaiah in Isaiah 53:5 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:24 tell us that it's by Jesus' stripes/wounds that we are healed. It's a done deal. He did it over 2000 years ago. It's not something He is going to do!

Isa 53:5 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.

But, Satan wants people to think that their healing is something God has yet to do and so they pray for God to heal instead of commanding healing! Jesus told us to "Heal the sick." He did not tell us to ask God, or pray for God, to heal the sick!

Another error people make is to ask for healing "if God wills". This simply shows their unbelief, since they are unsure that God wants them to be well! But, by Jesus' stripes/wounds we ARE healed, and we have the authority to administer that healing to all who need it! And using this authority Jesus tells us to ...

Mat 10:7-8 ... proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.

Jesus has given us the authority under Him to do this. "In His name", in other words - but WE have the authority! And notice that once again proclaiming the kingdom of heaven goes hand in hand with healing the sick! It IS His will! And notice again, Jesus told US to "Heal the sick." He did not tell us to ask God, or to pray for God to heal the sick! As my school-teacher would say, "The 'YOU' is understood"!

Now you may be thinking, 'that's what it seems to say reading it in the English translation, but is that what the people of the time understood'?

Well let's look at how the disciples reacted when the Jewish authorities tried to stop them preaching. Let's look at Acts 4:29-31...

Act 4:29-31 "Now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by extending Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may occur through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Notice that they asked God to give them boldness to preach the gospel by giving them breakthroughs in healing and signs and wonders! Could it be that believers today are often mute and diffident regarding preaching the gospel to the lost, because they do not pray for breakthroughs in healing and signs and wonders? In fact they are often taught NOT to expect it!

Now what spirit would want God's people to believe that they have no authority, and wield no power to do good and bring health and healing to the world?

Exactly! But we "have" been given the authority!

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor and to deliver them from oppression. Staying poor is not good news! Staying sick is not good news! Poverty is not a blessing, it's a curse (Deu 28:15-68); and sickness is oppression by the devil (Act 10:38). We have been called as Jesus' representatives to bring good news to the poor and to deliver them from all oppression; sickness, disease, depression, bondage, poverty, etc.

Mark 11:23-25 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Notice that YOU have to "say"; not ask God to say! But whatever you ask for in this way, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. In other words - 'You tell your problem about God'! You don't tell God about your problem'!

Also, Jesus tells us we can send a literal mountain into the sea if needed! He's not talking about a general problem because He says "this" mountain, not "a" mountain. THIS IMPLIES HE'S POINTING AT AN ACTUAL MOUNTAIN NEARBY! We can look at the context of His making the statement also where Jesus is commenting about making a fig tree die! Jesus is not talking about nebulous "spritual" problems!

So, let's not fall for Satan's deceptions and help him to limit God's people by accepting poverty as the norm, in health or any other area of life and also by not acting on our authority.

As the apostle John said...

3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers."

Don't let unbelievers or unbelief rob you of your blessings! Let's be believers who actually believe and have faith in God's word!

Best wishes for Grace and The Peace of Jesus.

Attlee.


Another thought....

If Jesus was rich - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7