Our message series is called “Following Jesus.” In this series, we’re learning from the Gospel of Luke what it means to follow Jesus. To be a follower of Jesus means more than just saying that you believe in Him. A true follower of Jesus actually follows Him. A true follower of Jesus becomes more and more like Him. Like Him in character, in words and in actions.
Today our message is entitled “Healing Power of the Spirit.” To begin, let’s look at how the Gospel of Matthew summarized Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew 4:23 (ESV) And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
First of all, we see Jesus preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. He taught the people God’s Word and called on them to repent and believe. Secondly, Jesus healed every disease and affliction through the power of the Spirit. These were supernatural healing miracles.
Matthew 4:24 (ESV) So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.
What was the result of Jesus healing people? Jesus’ reputation as a healer went viral and people began to travel to have an opportunity to be healed. Not only did Jesus heal people of various diseases and pains, but He also healed those oppressed by demons. So the third category of Jesus’ ministry was that of deliverance, casting out demonic powers from people’s lives. Jesus’ healing and deliverance ministry demonstrated that the Gospel He preached was not simply words. It had the power of God behind it. You might say, well that was Jesus, how does that apply to me? Jesus taught His followers to do the same things.
Mark 6:12-13 (ESV) So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
Jesus’ followers did exactly the same three things that He did. They proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, calling on people to repent. They cast our demons from people and set them free. Finally, we see that they anointed sick people with oil and healed them. These supernatural signs and wonders authenticated the message of the Gospel as being from God Himself.
When the Word of God is authenticated by the power of God, you have revival. Revival is when you have people responding to the Gospel and being saved. As well as the sick being healed and those oppressed by demons being set free. Revival is what we are praying for to see in our church and in our city. How many want to see these same three things happened here? I’m sure that we all do. Let’s see how we can grow as followers of Jesus as we continue our study of Luke 4. As a follower of Jesus, God desires for you …
Our story today begins with Jesus teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. The people were astonished at His teaching because His word had authority.
Luke 4:33-34 (ESV) And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue was interrupted by a man yelling out. It says this man had a spirit of an unclean demon controlling him. When a demon possesses or controls a person, they can often speak through that person’s voice. In this incident, it is clearly the demon who is speaking, not the man. The demon knew exactly who Jesus was and that Jesus had come to ultimately destroy the demons. Demons seem to be provoked to interrupt ministry that is happening in the power of the Spirit.
Luke 4:35 (ESV) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.
Jesus commanded the demon to stop speaking through the man and to come out. Oftentimes, when a demon is expelled from a person, it will throw the person down in the process of leaving. Even though that happened here, the man was set free with no harm being done. What was the response of the people?
Luke 4:36-37 (ESV) And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
The people of that day understood the reality of demonic spirits far more than the people of today. They understood that Jesus had the power and authority to command the unclean spirits and they had to obey Him. Besides the impact this deliverance had on the people in the synagogue, the reports of this incident went viral. The man was set free from this demonic control and most likely became a follower of Jesus. God desires for you to have power over demons.
So, what are demons? Are there still demons around today? Demons are evil or unclean spirits that follow Satan’s instructions. They seek to steal, kill and destroy people’s lives and hinder God’s people and His church. Where do demons come from? At one time, Satan and His demons were good angels in heaven. However, there was a rebellion in heaven by Satan and one third of the angels and they were cast out of heaven. Demons are therefore fallen angels, who fight against God’s people and God’s angels.
As neither angels nor demons die, there are still just as many angels and as many demons around as there were in Jesus’ day. Demons can cause sicknesses, mental disorders, disabilities and turn people away from God through temptations. Unfortunately, many people believe that Satan and His demons are simply fairy tales, but nothing could be further from the truth.
How do you receive power of demons? Jesus said in Acts 1:8, that we receive power through Spirit baptism. If you haven’t already read the book Power for Life, I’d encourage you to pick one up. The book’s subtitle is “Why Every Believer Needs to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit.” An AG church planter friend of mine, Jay Covert in East St. Louis has had considerable success in delivering people from demons. We hope to have him speak sometime in the future. As a follower of Jesus, God desires for …
Luke 4:38-39 (ESV) And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.
Right after the casting out of the demon, Jesus went to Peter’s house. His mother-in-law was sick with a high fever and they asked Jesus to heal her. Interestingly, these verses say that Jesus rebuked the fever. That means that Jesus spoke to the fever, just as He spoke to the demon and rebuked it. Was a demon involved with this fever? Possibly, although at a much lower level than in the previous case. At Jesus’ word, the fever left her and she was instantly healed and her strength returned. But Jesus’ ministry for the day was not done.
Luke 4:40 (ESV) Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.
As we continue to study Jesus’ healing ministry, we see that reports of supernatural healing draws crowds of sick people who come to be healed. In this case, it says that Jesus laid his hands on each one to bring healing to them. As Jesus was healing people sick with various diseases something else was going on.
Luke 4:41 (ESV) And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
Many of the people who simply came to be healed of a sickness were possessed or oppressed by demons. As the demons manifested and began to speak, Jesus rebuked them, told them to be quiet and cast them out. In the ministry of Jesus, we often see healing and deliverance from demons at the same time. In fact, when you read closely, we see that deliverance from demons is considered a form of healing. God desires for each of Jesus’ followers to have power to heal.
Any kind of sickness, whether caused by a demon, a virus, bacteria or whatever, is part of the curse came with the entrance of sin into our world. Any type of sickness is ultimately the work of Satan who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to set people free from the curse of sin, including the curse of sickness.
This morning, we’ve seen several methods of healing through the power of the Spirit. We have seen anointing with oil used by Jesus’ disciples and laying on of hands by Jesus Himself. Even though we pray corporately for healing at the end of every service, we also have an opportunity for personal prayer with the laying on of hands and anointing with oil.
We encourage you to take advantage of personal prayer for healing this morning. Not only does God desire you to be healed and set free, He wants to use you to bring healing to others. Whenever you hear of a friend or acquaintance who is sick, God has just given you an opportunity to pray for them and see them healed. Don’t be shy, don’t be embarrassed, ask the sick person if you can pray for them. Most people when say Yes. Then pray for them in their presence. It would be best to do it in person, but if that is not possible, seek to pray with them over the phone. Then, however, you pray for them, follow up with them and see how they are doing. Sickness is actually a wonderful opportunity to show the power of God.
Our son Peter is doing Leadership Training at James River AG in Springfield. For about the last six months, a wonderful revival of people being healed and saved has been going on. Peter has shared many stories of people he knows who have had dramatic healings of all kinds as people have prayed for them. It all began with people praying and fasting for God to bring revival and His healing power to the church. Peter told me that he is praying for the same thing to happen here. As a follower of Jesus …
Luke 4:42 (ESV) And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them,
Again, we see the result of the healing power of the Spirit. People were seeking out Jesus to hear the Gospel and to be healed.
Luke 4:43 (ESV) but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”
Notice that Jesus makes it clear that His purpose was to preach the good news or Gospel to other towns outside of Capernaum. The good news is about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is spoken of in the Gospels over 100 times. The Gospel is not just about individual people being saved. The good news is about God building His kingdom on this earth. It is about the kingdom of God coming in power to our world.
Luke 4:44 (ESV) And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
So Jesus continued to travel throughout Judea, spreading the good news of the kingdom wherever He was welcomed. In these closing verses of this chapter, we see how important it was for Jesus to share the Gospel. His message was that people should repent and believe in the good news that the kingdom of God was near. The evidence that the kingdom was at hand was the supernatural miracles of healing. Jesus’ purpose was to share the Gospel. He has given His followers the power to share the Gospel also.
Acts 1:8 tells us that the power of the Spirit was given so that we could be Jesus’ witnesses. What does a witness do? A witness shares with others what they have experienced. So a follower of Jesus witnesses by telling others how they have repented and been saved, so that others can do the same. A follower of Jesus is a witness both by the things He says and the things that He does. Just as God calls on each of us to share our faith with our words, He calls on us to share our faith by bringing healing into other’s lives. That was Jesus’ purpose in life and it is ours as well, as followers of Jesus.
Today, we’ve seen how Jesus carried out His mission in life with three activities. As followers of Jesus, He has made available to us the power to do the same. You have power over demons, to set people free. You have power to bring healing into people’s lives. You have power to share the good news of Jesus with others. Let’s believe God together to use us, individually and as a church to build His kingdom by the power of the Spirit.