What is Good News?
I don’t want to cause division, but I was asked to review a book on what is lacking in Western Christianity. The only answer the book gave was “taking care of the poor.” While I agree we really need social activism as part of the good news, it’s not up the the church to become a better version of a service group like the Rotary Club.
The author missed something that wasn’t even on his radar.
Jesus taught his disciples and then sent them out to:
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
Matthew 10:8 (New Living Translation)
And they went out and did it.
Then, His last command to those disciples was:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So my first question is… why do we leave out His command in Matthew 10:8?
Before we get there, let’s look at the teaching of Paul. He wrote to the church in Rome:
…by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. Romans 15:19 (New International Version)
My next question is… why don’t we include “the power of signs and miracles” as a consistent part of the Good News?
These thoughts came about in a conversation I had about the teaching of Derek Prince. I’ve just ordered some more of his material, so I’m trying hard not to misquote him. But apparently he’s taught something like “we aren’t doing God’s will if we’re not healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons and curing those with leprosy.”
I’m putting words in his mouth – I know he’d use a more traditional translation.
What do you think about that? Is it offensive?
Bill Johnson, in his wisdom, reverses the question when commenting on Paul’s definition of “fully proclaiming the gospel of Christ”. He points out that if Paul would have used any other criteria, this would be the cornerstone of our faith. It would be in every mission statement, taught in every Bible school and seminary – as long as Paul used something that we could do in our own strength.
That’s why we’re offended right? We can’t do “by the power of signs and miracles” on our own talent. We can’t heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead on our good looks and personality.
Listen, I don’t want this to be condemning. In Christ there is no more condemnation. Don’t allow yourself to hear condemnation from what I just wrote. You have the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead alive in YOU.
You can learn to move in the supernatural – it’s natural to the redeemed. We’re training people to prophecy and give Words of Knowledge, to heal the sick and cast out demons. We don’t have all the answers, but what we’ve learned we’re passing on. And it’s fun!
Don’t go through the motions of life and religion. Don’t be feel condemnation if you’re not where you want to be in your walk with the Father.
Know that there is more in store and the best is yet to come. Know that God is Good and that He’s promised to never be angry again (See Isaiah 54:9-10). Know that as you ask and keep asking, it will be given you. Know that as you seek and keep seeking, you will find. Know that as you knock and keep knocking, the door will be open.
It will be a door that no one can shut.