A few weeks ago someone exactly my age was telling me that they had to go see a doctor because something was a bit off with him.
When his doctor asked what medication he was one he said none. Apparently the doctor was amazed that he was not taking any medication at all. The doctor told him that it’s rare for someone our age to not be on some kind of medication.
Well just so you know, I too am not on any medication and never have been, praise God. Of course my wife may tell you that I need some, but I would refute that.
In any case my point is that it seems that in this day and age a lot of people are taking medications in the hope that such medications will keep then healthy.
I assume that the motivation for doctors prescribing as much medicine as they do is because they want to keep their patients healthy.
But despite all the medications we use these days there are still a lot of people all around us who are in pain from sickness or injuries.
Even with modern technology and all the great advances we seem to have made in the medical fields we are still in need of a lot of healing.
Back in the day when Jesus walked the earth there would have been very few doctors and medications and even less that actually worked.
The option for most people then who got sick was to grin and bear it, so when Jesus came along and started freely healing people the news would have traveled fast and the crowds would have quickly gathered whenever he was around.
But Jesus was not the only one who was able to heal people. It seems he was willing to share his healing powers with his disciples as we see in scriptures like….
(Luke 9:1-2 (NLT) 1 One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all diseases. 2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
If today you are a disciple of Jesus Christ then this same transference of power is applicable to you. Jesus even said that we will be able to do greater things than he.
And that is because the number of his disciples kept growing from the time the church was launched on the day of Pentecost.
We see in verse 6 that the disciples did exactly as Jesus said they could. They went out from village to village preaching the gospel and healing the sick.
(Luke 9:6 (NLT) So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
Here we are nearly 2000 years later and in every village every town and city there are countless people needing to be healed.
Now if God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow as the scriptures say in Hebrews
(Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In others -words if God is consistent and he still wants to heal people as he has always done, then why is it that not all who need healing get healed?
Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone?
This is a really valid question that as Christians we need to have answered, because otherwise it will mess with our faith and expectations concerning the gift of healing.
We are very blessed to have seen God heal so many people over the years in this church.
We are blessed because some churches have not seen miracles or healing and that is only because they don’t believe God is still doing that.
But we believe and we have seen it with our own eyes so why is it that we don’t see everyone get healed when they need to be healed?
It is a question I have wrestled with because there have been times when I have prayed for two people with the same problem standing next to each other and one gets healed and the other doesn’t.
What’s the deal with that?
In searching for an answer to this troubling question I have come up with some potential hindrances. I don’t declare that this is an exhaustive list but it is what God has shown me so far.
HINDRANCES TO HEALING
It has been my experience that most unbelievers get healed even when they may have never heard from God or ever read the bible. They may have no faith or not even believe in healing and they certainly are most likely to have unresolved sin issues in their life, yet they get healed most of the time.
Many of the people Jesus prayed for would have fallen into this category even if they were Jews and yet they too were healed.
So what are the hindrances that can stop some Christian people receiving their healing?
The late evangelist Bill Subritsky who some of you may know or remember from the two healing crusades he held in our church who had a powerful gift for healing and deliverance, claimed that there are certain hindrances or obstacles that interfere with healing. And according to him one of the biggest obstacles is un-forgiveness.
Hindrance #1 – UN-FORGIVENESS
Billy Smith who was with us a few years ago for three weeks and conducted 21 healing meetings in a row also agrees with Bill about un-forgiveness being a hindrance.
And it has also been my experience in ministry that people who carry resentment from un-forgiveness rarely receive healing or miracles.
Bill told me that many times as he had been ministering to people, the Holy Spirit would quickened to him that there was un-forgiveness in a person’s heart.
Over the many years that Bill ministered healing and deliverance he found un-forgiveness to be a big issue in many sick people.
The Spirit of God might be willing to minister and to heal a person but the hardness caused by un-forgiveness will block the person’s ability to receive it.
Although God is a sovereign God and can do what he wants, Bill believed that un-forgiveness will usually block healing.
Bill tells the story of a pastor who rebuked him once because he was offending his people by his insistence on them forgiving others.
That same pastor went back to Bill a year later, reporting that an elderly man in his church was healed instantly of arthritis (which he had had for thirty years) only after he finally began to forgive his son.
So Bill from his very long experience had a strong conviction that forgiveness is a prerequisite for receiving healing. And I agree with that entirely.
When Bill was here the last time a lady Bernie and I knew from another church came for healing and Bill had a word of knowledge about her needing to forgive a member of her family.
She refused. She clenched her teeth and said she could never forgive the person. Well I remember Bill didn’t even bother praying for her healing.
So un-forgiveness is a major issue when a person is bound and trapped in it. It is not only a dangerous and powerful blockage to healing, but it can cause all kinds of resentfulness that affects every part of our lives.
In fact, un-forgiveness according to what Jesus said could even cost a person their salvation.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) 14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Can we be sure of our salvation if the father has not forgiven us? I don’t think so!
My visit to the Church of the Synagogue of all nations, in Nigeria 10 years ago taught me about another hindrance that their pastor, TB Joshua considers to be the major hindrance.
Hindrance #2 UN-CONFESSED SIN
He believes un-confessed sin is the biggest hindrance or obstacle to receiving healing and miracles.
I confess that I came back from Nigeria with a conviction about un-confessed sins like I had never had before.
There have been some recent allegations made against TB Joshua that question his integrity. I neither believe nor disbelieve these allegations.
I know that there are evil forces that try to take down servants of God and destroy their reputations and I also know that sometimes those servants of God fall into error.
My endorsement of TB Joshua is based on what I know of him from the nine days Bernie and I spent his church as his guests in 2002. At that time I believe he was a humble and powerful man of God.
In any case TB Joshua has the very strong conviction that sins should be confessed publicly so that healing is not hindered in any way.
He gets this conviction from a verse from the book of James that he takes very literally. It’s from….. (James 5:16 (NLT) (16) Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
This conviction has led TB Joshua to encourage his congregation into the practice of public confession of sin. In fact as far as I know he won’t pray for the sick at all until they have confessed.
It is a conviction that is not shared by many western leaders, but I can only say that what we saw was in that church was astounding.
The proof is that most, in fact the vast majority of the people TB Joshua prayed for were healed instantly and I don’t think we can ignore his conviction that it’s because people are ready to receive their healing because they have confessed their sins before getting prayed for.
I have not heard of as many consistent healings and miracles take place as I saw in his church so I think we too can gain by taking James 5:16 literally, as they do.
I confess this whole thing about public confession was not something I embraced very easily. Especially when they came and told us we too had to say our confession in front of 30,000 people.
I also struggled with the idea of telling anyone that I would not pray for them unless they first confessed their sins publically.
But still I could not deny that God was in this and so concerning this whole issue of public confession, this is now my conviction and position.
If a person comes to me who is seriously ill and does not get healed after prayer. I will try and help them make sure there is no un-forgiveness or some hidden un-confessed sin in the way.
If there is, I will share what I know about un-forgiveness and the power of public confession and I will then give them the opportunity to confess to me or another brother or sister or even to the church if that is what the Holy Spirit wants.
When we first came to this church I talked about our experience with public confession and as a result of that a few people felt compelled to make their confessions in this church publicly.
One lady who made her confession in this church publically all those years ago has recently told me that although it was very hard for her to confess, she felt a huge weight of oppression lift off her after she confessed.
You see once the darkness is brought into the light, the father of darkness loses his power. So when sin is confessed and brought out into the open, the devil loses his power over us. And that is why that sister felt so free afterwards. The devil lost his power and reason to oppress her.
In a truly loving environment, we ought to be able to be free like that and not fear judgment from one another. That is true Christianity at work.
So this is my conviction in God. I won’t force you to confess anything, but if I feel it could cost you your life I will certainly give you the opportunity to make a public confession.
Because if forgiveness is evident and hidden sins have been confessed and brought into the light, I see absolutely no way why the gift of healing should not be granted.
A third hindrance to healing can sometimes simply be timing. God will sometimes delay a healing because he can use the delay to expose something in us that needs to come out.
Hindrance #3 – GOD’S TIMING
Sometimes it may seem like believers are not getting healed while unbelievers are, but I believe that when this seems to be the case, what is happening is that God is allowing the sickness to work something out in us.
So sometimes what may seem like a hindrance is actually just God’s timing not matching what we think should be his timing.
However, I have noticed that every Christian I know that has had to endure sickness for a while and then received their healing will testify that when they were through it they could see how God was working in their lives during the sickness.
I confess there are some verses in the bible I am not very fond of, but they are in our bibles because from time to time we need to remember that God is in control even when life seems out of control. For example…
(1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT) … There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
There are several verses like this and while they don’t sound like something we should look forward to happening we need them to be there to help us make sense of those times when God seems to be taking his time with our deliverance. Another example is…
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV) … we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I don’t believe God will ever deliberately cause sickness to come upon any of his children, but when it does come through natural causes or through our own sin, he may at times use our sickness to accomplish something in us that we would otherwise not be willing to deal with.
In such cases, I have known God to use the time in sickness to refine character and squeeze grace out of us so that when our ordeal is over we come out looking more like Jesus than we had before.
One thing we can be certain of and that is that God doesn’t waste any opportunities and his promise is that he will bring good out of all our trying circumstances. He makes this promise in one of my favorite verses from Romans 8:28…
(Romans 8:28 (NLT) (28) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
When we are praying for one another we should do it with a trust that God knows how to bring out the best in his children.
When a brother or sister seems to be taking their time in receiving their healing we should not give up praying for them.
It is not for us to get preoccupied with wondering why anyone does not get healed, it’s not for us to judge reasons, our job is to simply believe that God has called us to be healers in a sick world.
So whether we are praying for the sick or praying for our own healing, we need to be persistent in our faith and expectation. And this brings me to hindrance #4 which can be a lack of persistence
Hindrance #4 – LACK OF PERSISTENCE
There is a line here that can be a bit confusing. On one side of the line is praying about something, say in today’s context, praying for healing and believing God has heard and so will act on our prayers.
The thought here is that if we keep praying about something we are expressing a lack of faith in our previous prayers. If we believe God hears and answers our prayers then don’t keep asking because it shows a lack of faith in God.
I can understand this kind of reasoning and I can even back it up with some scripture, but then there is also the teaching on the other side of the line that says we have to persist in prayer.
Jesus himself teaches this in at least two places where he makes it clear that in some circumstances we sometimes have to pester God before he answers our prayers.
Now I know for a fact that we don’t always have to do this because God has so often answered our prayers instantly. But clearly there are times when persistence in prayer is required.
Immediately after teaching us what we call the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11 Jesus goes on to teach us about persistence in prayer in Luke 11 5-9, let’s have a look at that…
(Luke 11:5-9 (NLT) 5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
As we can clearly see here, a valid hindrance to our healing can simply be a lack of shameless persistence to keep on asking.
This can apply on the part of the person needing the healing and likewise to the person who is ministering healing to the sick.
Jesus teaches the same lesson with the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 who pestered a slack judge until he got so sick of her asking for justice that he granted her what she wanted.
This brings me to the next hindrance that can also affect both those who need healing and those who minister healing to others and that is the hindrance of unbelief.
Hindrance #5 – UNBELIEF
I think from time to time we can all suffer with some form of unbelief. My guess is that in some way most of us can probably relate to that desperate father with a sick child when he asked Jesus if he could heal his boy in Mark ch 9, this is how the conversation went.…
(Mark 9:23-24 (NLT) 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Yes we believe but sometimes a degree of unbelief creeps in and you can be sure that if any unbelief exists when you need healing, then this can indeed be a major hindrance.
Truth is that unbelief is the most powerful blocker to receiving the supernatural power of God in your life. Even Jesus himself was hindered by people’s unbelief?
When Jesus went back to his home town, all they could see was the carpenter, the son of Mary and so they refused to believe the stories that he could do miracles.
To the people of his home town Jesus was no one special and so they refused accept he could help them.
Let’s read what Jesus said about them…
(Mark 6:4-6 (NLT) 4 Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
Think about it, if even God himself was restricted by people’s unbelief. How big a hindrance is unbelief if it can prevent even Jesus from doing what he normally does? And what chance will we have when praying for someone who is riddled with unbelief?
If you have any root of unbelief you need to cry out to God like that father did and confess it and ask God’s help to overcome your unbelief.
If you need healing and you also have unbelief then your first prayer priority should be your unbelief not your healing.
Of course this hindrance of unbelief works on both parties, it can affect the person who needs healing as well as the person who ministers in healing.
I remember there was a time in my life as a pastor that for some reason my faith seemed to be selective. I would pray for some and believe they would be healed and then pray for others and wonder if they would be healed. The results were quite inconsistent.
That is not how God wants us to approach people who need healing. Without faith we cannot please God and if we are not pleasing him it’s unlikely he will work through us.
Praise the Lord that he has shifted something in my heart and mind and I no longer feel double minded about this. Now and at least for the last 6 or so years when I pray for the sick I really expect God to move through me and heal them.
I know that sometimes he hasn’t but regardless I no longer doubt that he will, I now fully expect that God will heal anyone I pray for.
Generally speaking I have finally been able to take my unbelief out of the picture and now simply believe that Jesus has commanded me to heal the sick and given me the authority to do it.
This has resulted in much better results and many of you here can testify to that because you have experienced your own healings.
Having said all that, I confess that when it comes to praying for myself I don’t seem to be as confident so I very much rely on others to pray for me when I need prayer.
But despite that, I am convinced that in order to operate effectively with the gift of faith and in the gift of healing and miracles, we need to be absolutely single-minded when it comes to believing in the authority that is given to us by the Word of God.
Believing that we have a mandate from God to heal the sick. Especially so when the gift of healing is being used as a tool for evangelism.
So who you get to pray for you is important. You want someone who totally believes God will use them to heal you.
You want to be prayed for by someone who fully believes the bible when it says for example in…
(Mark 16:18 (NLT)… They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
“They” meaning us who call and treat Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Folks, we must remember that the gift of healing is not about how spiritual we are, it is about our willingness to believe God’s word and obey his command to heal the sick on his behalf. Amen?
There is one last hindrance to healing that I think is as sinister as unbelief and that is pride.
Hindrance #6 – PRIDE
I won’t say too much on this point because I have often warned you about how pride is man’s greatest enemy.
It was pride that caused the downfall of Satan who was once an arch angel, it is pride that has caused a great many wars between nations and feuds between families and its pride that has caused the downfall of many once great people.
Even though God has given us the authority to heal the sick, if God is not in the picture the healing won’t be happening. Both 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6 say…
(James 4:6 (NLT) “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”
God is the healer and so if God is resisting or opposing you because of your pride can you see how that may be a real hindrance to your healing.
Pride can be hard to deal with because it has the ability to blind us from seeing our faults and it can certainly spot us from even seeing our own pride-fullness. So please don’t take pride lightly, it is a sin in God’s eyes and so don’t let it reside in you. Trust me, it is without a doubt one of your very worst enemies and it will restrict healing in your life.
In closing I want to share a thought that the Lord impressed upon me once when praying for someone’s healing that I have found quite faith building.
It is good to share this with people as it might give them a foundation to hook their faith on as you pray for them for healing.
In (1 Pet 2:24 NIV) we read the well quoted verse
(1 Peter 2:24 (NLT) He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
Peter here was quoting from the prophecy about Jesus written in the book of Isaiah
(Isaiah 53:5 (NLT) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
The last part of the verse is often quoted to those seeking healing. The KJV says “by whose stripes ye were healed.”
As I see it, these verses gives us the title deeds to our healing. It gives us a reason to believe we will get healed. The bible tells us that because of the very wounds that Jesus suffered from his whippings, we have the right to be healed.
Healing is not a privilege we must earn, it is a “cross given” right that we have in Christ.
We know that after the resurrection Jesus showed himself in his resurrection body, the same body he still has today. We know he had the marks on his hands and side from the nails and spear wounds at Calvary.
We know this because Jesus showed his wounds to doubting Thomas who refused to believe unless he saw the scars.
So if Jesus still has that same body, he still has those same scars and if he has the scars of the nail pierced hands, then he will also have the scars on his back from when that vicious whip tore away at his skin and flesh.
The bible says that because of those scars on his back, we have been healed. It refers to our present healing in the past sense, because it was then in the past that we were given the right to claim our healing in the present and future.
When you pray for the sick, you remember and remind them that by the wounds of his whipping, they have the right to their healing.
If you have been convicted of being bound in some un-forgiveness, I encourage you to give it up today, if you can’t by yourself, then ask God to help you.
If you are sick and need healing, today come and receive your healing. The gift of faith is present amongst us.
If you have sought healing before but didn’t get a result, consider if any of the hindrances apply to you, if they do then do something about them.
If its un-forgiveness, then forgive
If it’s unconfessed sin, then confess it and be done with it.
If you have not persisted enough, then trust that God will eventually hear you so keep on asking.
If its unbelief, then ask God to help you with your unbelief and come and ask him again to heal you.
Maybe for someone here the first step is to actually invite Jesus to come into your life and be your Lord and savior.
Today is a perfect day to do it.
Jesus said in Rev 3:20….
(Revelation 3:20 (NLT) “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
As you can see, Jesus is waiting for you to ask him in so… ask him today and let him fill your life with peace and joy.
Preached by Ps George Franco at Lifehouse on 20/05/2018