The Purpose of Miracles and Healings (George Jeffreys)

George Jeffreys (28 February 1889–26 January 1962) was one of greatest evangelists of the 20th Century, and who had a powerful healing ministry that spread across the United Kingdom. In his book Healing Rays, Jeffreys attempted to provide an explanation for the purpose of miracles and healings.

It is evident to the careful reader of the Gospels that miracles and healings served more than one purpose. They were not only given to attest the ministry of our Lord and those He had appointed, but they were instrumental in attracting people to Christ and in encouraging faith. Let us take some instances in the Gospel of John. In chapter 2, verse 11, we read, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believe on Him”. In verse 23 of the same chapter we read, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did”. Nicodemus, in chapter 3, referred to our Lord’s miracles and the inference is that they were partly the means of bringing him to Christ. In chapter 6, verse 2, we are told, “And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on them that were diseased”. It was the miracles of the loaves and fishes that drew forth the following testimony from those who stood near, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world”. It was the miracles that made people conclude that Jesus was the Christ, for they said, in chapter 7, verse 31, “When Christ cometh, will He do more miracles that these which this Man hath done?” In chapter 11, verse 45, we read of many Jews believing, after seeing the things which Jesus did. It was the miracle of the raising of Lazarus from the dead that made the Jews of chapter 12, verse 11, believe on Jesus, and again it was the miracle that brought more people into contact with Him according to the 18th verse.

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Watchman Nee: Some Christians are Not Healed of Their Illness Because They Love the Attention They Get From It

Do you notice that some Christians are never healed of their sickness yet never tire of talking about it? According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book “Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 2, the reason that they are not healed may be because they take pleasure from the attention that they are getting from their illness:

I can report hundreds of cases that I have witnessed during the past twenty or more years of my life. They all prove that many people are sick for specific reasons. Their illnesses are healed immediately when they identify the causes, deal with them, and remove them. As long as the causes remain, they cannot be healed.

I know of a brother who always desired affection from others. He wanted to be loved, to be spoken to nicely, to receive visits, and to be treated in a gentle way. If anyone asked how he was doing, he immediately would relate everything that had happened the previous night or that morning in a detailed way. He could tell others almost the exact time of his fever, from what hour to what hour, and the kind of headache he experienced, from what hour to what hour. He could tell you exactly how many times he breathed and how many times his heart beat a minute. He was always feeling ill, and he always liked to tell others about his illness. He wanted the warm sympathy of others. If you talked to him, he would have nothing to talk about except his illness. Every day he talked about his illness, and he wondered why he was never healed.

It is not an easy thing to speak an honest word to others. One must pay a price to speak the truth. One day I gathered enough strength within myself to speak to this one. I said, “The only reason you have been sick so long is that you like to be sick.” He denied it. I said, “Do you not love your illness? You are afraid that this illness will leave you. You love your illness.” He denied it again. But I said, “You like others to sympathize with you and to love you. You like others to take care of you and to treat you nicely. You cannot have it by other means, so you try to get it by becoming ill. If you want to be healed by the Lord, you must rid yourself of this thought! When others ask how you are doing, you need to learn to say, ‘I am fine.’ See what will happen if you do that! When others ask how you were doing the night before, you should say, ‘Fine!’” He said, “My heart is sincere. I cannot lie. I feel that I am not fine. What should I do if I truly was not well the night before?” I said, “Let me read you a verse. The son of the Shunammite woman was lying on the bed already dead. She went to see Elisha, and he asked, ‘Is it well with you?…Is it well with the child? And she said, It is well’ (2 Kings 4:26). Actually, her son was lying on the bed already dead. Why did she say that it was well? She said it because she believed. She believed that God would save her son. Today you can believe, too. When others ask, ‘How were you last night?’ You should say, ‘Fine.’ It is fine even if you died the night before. You have to believe that it was fine.” He had nothing to say after these words. As soon as he denied his self-love, rejected sympathy, and dropped his expectation for consolation, his illness went away.

We must realize that many illnesses have internal causes as well as external causes. A man must learn to believe in God. When God’s purpose is achieved, the sickness goes away. Once God achieves His spiritual goal in us, our sickness is over.

Why Are Unbelievers Often Easily Healed, While Christians Are Not Healed So Easily? (Watchman Nee)

Why are unbelievers often easily healed, while Christians are not healed so easily? Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, explains this phenomenon in his book “Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 2:

It is interesting to note that unbelievers often are easily healed, while Christians are not healed so easily. The New Testament shows that when unbelievers went to the Lord, they were healed immediately. The Bible also speaks of the gift of healing. Both believers and unbelievers can be healed through the gift of healing. However, the Bible also shows that some Christians were never healed. Trophimus was one, Timothy was another, and Paul was a third. These three were the best brothers in the New Testament. Paul kept Trophimus in Miletus because he was sick and nothing could be done (2 Tim. 4:20). Paul advised the sick Timothy to take some wine because his stomach was not clean; Timothy was not healed. Even Paul himself suffered and was weak because of an eye disease or some other malady. This is why he said that there was a thorn in his flesh (2 Cor. 12:7). A thorn always irritates people. Even though a thorn is very small, it is very uncomfortable when lodged in the flesh. Even when it is lodged in the little finger, it can be very painful. Paul’s thorn was not a small one but a big one. This thorn caused discomfort to his whole body. In verse 9 he used the term weakness, which tells us how much he suffered! These three persons were the best brothers, yet they were never healed. Instead, they bore their illnesses.

Illnesses are different from sins. Sins cannot yield the fruit of sanctification, whereas illnesses can yield the fruit of sanctification. It is wrong to lump illnesses together with sins. There are some similarities between the two, but there are also many dissimilarities. The more a man sins, the filthier he becomes. But a man does not become filthier by becoming sick. In fact, he can become holy through his sickness, because God’s disciplining hand is with his sickness. Sickness can result in discipline. When God’s children are sick, they have to learn to submit to God’s mighty hand (1 Pet. 5:6).

Watchman Nee: Some Believers Become Sick Because of Individualism, Disobedience or Defilement of the Body

According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, believers can become sick because of a variety of reasons.

Writing in his book “Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 2, Nee noted that individualism, disobedience and physical defilement in believers can lead to sickness:

Sometimes there is another reason for illness—individualism. Please remember that individualism is the biggest source of illness. Some people are individualistic; they do things according to their own will. They act by themselves and are always on their own. When God disciplines them, they become ill, and the supply of the Body no longer reaches them. If this is the reason for a person’s illness, he needs to ask for the supply of the Body to flow through him once again.

I dare not say that I have listed all of the reasons for our sicknesses. There are many causes for sickness. Some become sick because they have disobeyed a command of the Lord. Others become sick because they have not fully carried out the Lord’s command. Still others become sick because of a certain sin or because of their individualism. Some are individualistic, yet God does not discipline them. However, there are many people, especially those who know the church, who become ill as soon as they become individualistic. Those who do not know the church have less illness. The more we know about the church and the more we are related to the church, the more the Lord will put us in a situation where His hand will be heavy upon us as soon as we become individualistic.

Sometimes a person becomes sick because he has defiled his body. Whoever defiles his body will find God destroying His temple in that person.

There are many causes for illness, and I cannot give a list of all of them. I can say only that there is always a reason behind any illness. We must always find the cause of our illnesses. There may be one or more than one reason. Once you discover these reasons, you must confess them one by one to God. Then call for the responsible ones of the church, confess to them, and pray together with them. Ask them to anoint you and to recover you to the life of the Body. You will find your illness immediately gone when life begins to flow through you once again. Although there are natural causes for sickness, you must know that spiritual reasons far outweigh natural reasons. Once you take care of the spiritual reasons, the illnesses will leave promptly.

When a Believer Falls Sick and Rushes to See a Doctor Instead of First Praying and Trusting God for Her Healing, It May be a Reflection of Self-Obsession and Self-Centredness (Watchman Nee)

Many believers, when they fall sick, rush to see a doctor instead of first praying and trusting God for his/her healing.

According Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing In his book “Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 2, this could be a reflection of self-obsession and self-centerdness:

Many people are afraid that they will die as soon as they become sick. They immediately look for a doctor after they become ill and anxiously look forward to their healing. This should not be a believer’s attitude. A person first must find out the cause of his illness. Many brothers and sisters have no patience at all. The first thing they do when they are ill is to look for healing. They hastily find a doctor. They are afraid that they will lose their precious lives. On the one hand, they pray as if they trust in God for their healing. On the other hand, they rush to the doctor for medicine and injections. They are afraid, and they treasure their own lives very much. This shows us clearly that they are fully obsessed with themselves. They are too self-centered during ordinary times. When they become sick, they become even more self-centered. It is impossible for a man to be full of the self at ordinary times yet be free from the self when he is sick. Those who are full of self at ordinary times will surely anxiously seek healing when they are sick.

I can assure you of the futility of such anxiety about your sickness. Being healed is not that simple in the case of a person who belongs to God. Even if you are healed, your sickness may come back. In addition, other kinds of illnesses may come. You must first take care of your problem with God before you can settle the problem of your body. A problem of the body cannot be resolved if a problem before God is not resolved. You must first discover the cause of your sickness before God and then seek healing afterward. You must learn the lesson that comes along with your illness. Even in the case of a sudden severe illness, you must not ignore this lesson. If you deal with God in this way, He will intervene for you and will deliver you out of your woe in a short time.

Very often we find that we are sick because we have sinned or have committed some mistakes. We must confess to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Only then can we expect any healing. As we advance a little further in God, we may realize that there is not only sin but also Satan’s attack. At times sickness may be a matter of God’s discipline. He disciplines us in order that we would become more sanctified, tender, and obedient before Him. There can be many reasons for our sicknesses, and we have to deal with them one by one before the Lord. As we deal with them one by one, we will discover the actual cause of our illness. Sometimes God allows help to come from natural means or from medicine, but at other times, God may not want us to receive help from medicine. He can heal us in an instant.

We need to realize that healing is always in God’s hands. We need to learn to look to the God who heals! In the Old Testament God has a name: “For I am Jehovah who healeth thee” (Exo. 15:26, New Translation). This name of God is a verb; it is a very special name. We need to learn to look to Jehovah, the One who heals. He will always deal graciously with His children.

 

Watchman Nee: Some Believers Become Sick Because of Sin

In his book “Messages for Building Up New Believers, Volume 2”, Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, noted that some believers become ill due to sin:

In the Old Testament, namely in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we find God protecting the Israelites and delivering them from illnesses whenever they obeyed Him, accepted His way, obeyed His law, and abstained from sin. Here God shows us clearly that some illnesses do come from disobedience and from sin.

In the New Testament, we also find some who became ill through sin. In 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 Paul spoke of his judgment to deliver one who sinned “to Satan for the destruction of his flesh.” This shows us clearly that sickness can come from sins. If the sin is less serious, the result is sickness. If the sin is serious, the result is death. Second Corinthians 7:9-10 shows that Paul’s desire was that through illness there would be repentance, not death. When the man repented with a repentance “which is without regret,” Paul said that he should then be forgiven (2 Cor. 2:6-7). First Corinthians shows us that a person’s flesh, not his life, was delivered to Satan. To deliver one’s flesh to Satan means to cause him to become ill, not to die. This shows us clearly that the person became sick because of his sin.

Paul said that there were some in the church in Corinth who took the Lord’s bread and drank His cup without discerning the Body. As a result, they became weak and ill and a number of them died (1 Cor. 11:29-30). Clearly, disobedience to the Lord was a reason for their sickness.

There is sufficient evidence in the Word to show us that many illnesses come from sin. However, this does not mean that all illnesses come from sin. Nevertheless, the first thing you should check when you are ill is whether or not you have sinned against God. Many people can tell you that they became ill because they sinned against God.

Among the brothers and sisters that I personally know, I can name over a hundred cases to prove my point. When they check the reason for their sickness, they find that many of their illnesses come from sin. Some have disobeyed the Lord in certain areas. Others have not kept His word and have taken a wrong turn in specific instances. When they discover their sin and confess it, their sickness goes away. Many brothers and sisters have experienced this, and I myself have experienced similar things. The moment we identify the reason for our sickness, the sickness is gone. This is something that medical science cannot explain.

Illnesses may not come from sins. However, like death, very often they are the result of sins. We can discover natural causes for many illnesses, but we cannot blame these natural causes for all of our sicknesses.

Often it is clear that a man’s illness comes from sin. I remember a brother, a medical professor, who once told his students in the Shanghai Medical College in Chungking, “We found that there are natural causes for many kinds of illnesses. For example, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and pneumococcus cause a number of diseases. One kind of bacterium can produce several kinds of diseases. Different kinds of germs produce different kinds of illnesses. While doctors can discover the kind of germ that produces a certain kind of illness, we have no way of determining the reason that a germ infects one person but not another person. Ten people may enter the same room at the same time, and everyone can come into contact with the same germ. Some with good health may be infected, while others with poor health may not be infected. Normally, those who have poor health are more easily infected, and those who have good health are not as easily infected. But sometimes those with poor health are not infected, while those with good health are infected. Those who do not meet the conditions for infection are infected, while those who do meet the conditions for infection are not infected. There is no explanation for this!” He went on, saying, “We must admit that, besides natural causes, God’s sovereignty is above everything.” This is true. Often a person takes every precaution yet still becomes ill.

I still remember a classmate of mine who told me a story about his professor at the Peking University Medical College. The professor had a bad temper, but he was a very knowledgeable man. All the questions that he designed for his examinations were simple. One time he asked a very simple question: “Why does a person develop tuberculosis of the lungs?” Many students failed to give the right answer; they wrote, “Because there are tuberculosis germs.” Every such answer was marked as wrong. Eventually he told the class, “The world is full of tuberculosis germs. Does this mean that everyone in the world will be infected?” He went on to explain, “Tuberculosis germs will incubate and develop into a case of tuberculosis of the lungs only under suitable conditions. You cannot say that tuberculosis of the lungs occurs simply because there is the presence of the germs.” The students thought that as long as there were germs, there would be an illness. They forgot to point out that suitable conditions were necessary. This same thing is true when Christians become ill. There may be many natural causes for sickness, but God will allow a sickness to occur only when the right conditions are present. Without a certain environment, God will not allow any sickness to occur.