Healing Help 26: Exposure to Unknowns
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”Matthew 18:19-20 ESV
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.Psalms 133:1-3 NLT
To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.Martin Luther
Once upon a time, when I was in college, I took a course on nutrition. During a lecture on the basic food groups and the importance of a balanced diet, the professor said we needed variety in our diet so as to provide “opportunity for exposure to unknowns.” That meant that science didn’t know everything, and that there may be vitamins or nutrients that we need but are unaware of. A varied menu exposes us to opportunities to get things we don’t know we need.
One of the great benefits of living in Christian community, of gathering regularly in worship with other believers, is that we are exposed to unknowns. Jesus told us that when we gather in His name that He is there, and that this makes our united, “symphonic” prayer more powerful (Matthew 18:19-20). We know that God is present everywhere all the time. He is “omnipresent.” But Jesus indicates that in these times of gathering there is a unique quality of “Presence.” This Presence brings with it things we can never access alone.
This shouldn’t come as a shock. Think of the moments in the Old Covenant when that tangible glory of the manifest Presence appeared:
“The trumpet players and singers made music together as if they were only one voice. They praised the LORD. They gave thanks to him. Some of them played their trumpets, cymbals and other instruments. The others raised their voices to praise the LORD. They sang, “He is good. His faithful love continues forever.” Then a cloud filled the temple of the LORD. The priests couldn’t do their work because of it. The glory of the LORD filled God’s temple.2 Chronicles 5:13-14 NIrV
I love this episode. Though they were many, they made music as one voice. That doesn’t mean they all sang exactly the same note. In fact, some sang, some played instruments, some banged cymbals, but it was one voice of praise and thanksgiving in the ear of the Lord. What was the basis of this unity? What caused their diverse giftings, life experiences, problems and desires to come together in that moment? They agreed that the Lord is good, and His faithful love is never ending. They worshipped Him because of His nature. The same thing can and does happen when the Church gets together to praise and thank the Lord.
When we worship together, agreeing that He is Lord, He is good, and His love endures forever, Jesus is in our midst in tangible ways. We may see the cloud, we may feel the Presence, but no matter what, He is there. That is the essence of what the Psalmist described in Psalm 133. It is good and pleasant when brothers dwell together in unity. When the family gets together in harmony it brings a particular type of blessing.
First, there is a priestly anointing that flows. Notice, the comparison to the anointing on Aaron, the High Priest of Israel. That holy anointing oil flowed down his beard and over his clothing. Can’t you picture it flowing down the robe until it begins to drip from the hem of that beautiful garment? In the New Covenant, we have a new High Priest who says that He shows up when we are together in harmony. While here in this earth, this High Priest was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 10:38). That anointing still flows when He is personally present. It streams to those who are gathered to worship Him, to touch the hem of His garment.
Second, there is a refreshing that comes when the dew falls on the mountain. It refreshes and waters all the life it touches. The Psalmist says it’s a place where God commands His blessing. When we gather in harmony, we are immersed in the renewing mist of His Presence. The weary are invigorated, faith and hope recharged. The commanded blessings of the Lord are in the air. This corporate anointing brings things that we need, even things we don’t know we need: revelation, correction, direction, inspiration, healing, deliverance, peace, joy, hope, etc. So many unexpected, unknown blessings come in that Presence atmosphere.
In the first church I pastored, I invited a well-known minister to speak. I was very inexperienced and more than a little nervous to be hosting a man of such renown. On Saturday, I started experiencing sharp pain in my chest. It kept getting worse until I found it hard to breathe. I was a newly minted “faith” preacher, so I just prayed according to Mark 11:24 and believed I received. I began to thank God for my healing, even though the pain was still there. I was soon able to breathe better, but after a fitful night, I went to church still in pain.
At the end of his message, the minister gave an altar call for healing. I was standing in the front row hurting with every breath, but I didn’t go forward. I thought, “No. You already believed, and it would be unbelief to go forward now and admit you’re not healed.” In addition, I didn’t want my brand-new congregation to think I didn’t have great faith, so I stood still. The minister repeated his call. After what seemed an eternity, he said, “The Lord tells me there is someone here who is experiencing pain in their chest, but you don’t want to come forward because you have already prayed and believed. Now you don’t want to show unbelief by getting in the healing line. God wants you to come get your healing.” Wow! I was busted.
I stepped up to the front, he laid his hands on me, and I hit the floor. As soon as I did, I realized I was pain-free, healed instantly. This episode taught me several things. First, pride, even if it’s pride in my great faith, will keep me from receiving what God has for me. Second, there is purpose in our gatherings beyond religious ritual. We’re each only one part of the Body. The other parts all have things to supply. In this instance, God used the prayer team to set the stage in the Spirit, the worship team to set the atmosphere of anticipation, the gift of the word of knowledge to get my attention, and a gift of healing to deliver what I had already believed in my heart.
Here’s the point: There is power available to us in the corporate gathering of the church. God is serious when He says we all need each other:
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.1 Corinthians 12:20-22 NKJV
The Lord is committed to using the whole Body. In fact, we need each other. Need! I don’t like that word, but it’s true anyway. God has designed the system so that we are forced to depend on the rest of the Body if we are to fulfill our calling and experience the fullness of God’s blessing. That includes healing. In addition, He gets to determine how that blessing is delivered. If He chooses to use an evangelist, then so be it. If He sees fit to use the old lady in the next pew, the same. We don’t know and we don’t get to decide. We do know that when we congregate for worship, He will be there to heal.
Next Steps: Get in faith, get in the presence of other believers, and get what God has for you:
- Get in a local church. Find one that believes the Bible. It would be nice if they believed in healing and in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but do the best you can. You can always agree that God is good and Jesus is alive.
- Attend gatherings of the church at least twice per week. I know you’re busy, tired, hurt by churches, etc. It’s time to put things in right priority. This is important!
- When you go, go expecting. If you approach going to church as an obligation, you will feel burdened and put-upon. If you go in faith, anticipating the flow of the anointing and the personal Presence of the Savior, you will have a little spring in your step.
- Use your faith! As you head for the meeting, begin to thank the Lord for His Presence, the gifts He has set there, and the blessing He has commanded there.
- When you go home, take time to review what you heard, what you learned, and what you believe you received in the meeting. Fulfilled faith follows through.
You need me. I need you. God built us that way. When we congregate with other believers to glorify Him, Jesus shows up and things happen. Get everything He has for you. Don’t settle for your best, go after His.
In our next lesson we will explore what it means to be in one accord and some ways to get there. powerful things happen when believers are in one accord. You don’t have to do this alone! Previous lessons on Healing Help along with video teachings are available at www.pastorvirgil.com. God wants you healed and so do I.
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