GOSPEL MEDICAL MISSIONARY WORK

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By Ray Foster

 

Scripture: Luke 7:22,23

Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Luke 7:23 And blessed is [he], whosoever shall not be offended in me.

The question that brought this answer is given to us in V19 and 20: "Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?"

Today everything is being questioned as the final events of planet earth surge around us. John was languishing in prison. His faith that Jesus was the Messiah was growing dim because Jesus made no attempt to rescue him from prison. The real question was theological. In popular theology the Messiah was going to liberate the Jewish nation from Rome. This was the hallmark work of the Messiah. Jesus showed no evidence of planning to do this. Hence the question - "Are you the One?" In contrast to political liberation from the hated Romans, Jesus seemed content to heal one person at a time. Jesus healed one on one, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf and the dead and preached the gospel of the kingdom to the poor.

And so this question comes to us today: What does popular theology say that the Messiah will do for us today? And what does Jesus, the Son of God, patiently wait and strive to do for us, one on one today?

 

Whatever your personal answers, the underlying principle I see is this. Popular theology is a man-centered theology. God is going to do what I want Him to do for me. The presupposition is: "I am OK. You're OK" and "everybody knows" that it is through the political process that you make change. "Praise the Lord!" This contrasts sharply with the divine knowledge that I can't see but that God knows to be true: I am miserable, poor, blind, and naked. The change God gave His only begotten Son for is in my heart and mind. The change is in my character to reflect the Divine. Jesus, quietly, patiently, persistently went about doing when He was visibly on earth what He desires to do for each one of us today. Through the symbolic meaning of what He was doing on earth 2,000 years ago, we can understand what He wants to do for us today. I am the blind. My character is pantomimed in the lame, the leper, the deaf, the dead. I am the poor that Jesus so much wants to heal and to bless. But there is a barrier. The barrier to what Jesus wants to do in my life is my blindness, my deafness, and my deadness, my feelings of pride and carnal security. Jesus is the One who is able to heal and to give life. An awareness of and an acceptance of my condition of need is necessary to my belief, reception and co-operation with what Jesus wants to do in me and through me. The song writer put it this way: "Show me my sins and show me my Savior, and let the Book live for me."

How does Jesus get through my barrier of blindness? Gospel medical missionary work is the divine answer. John the Baptist represents the remnant of the church and the world. The question is: "Are you the One?" The answer is demonstrated gospel medical missionary work. The remnant of the church are going to be gospel medical missionaries after the order of Jesus. The remnant of the world are going to be won to Christ be gospel medical missionary work.

What is gospel medical missionary work? It is doing what Jesus did for the same reasons. It is following the example of Jesus motivated by Divine love. It lays the pride of man in the dust. We must be willing to face the scorn and derision that comes from the devil against the divine plan. First let’s consider the theological basis of gospel medical missionary work and then we will talk about the practical outworking of this theology.

Lucifer charged God in heaven with being selfish and arbitrary. God was charged with telling lies about His purposes, His government, and His relationship with His only begotten Hi HSon. The unfallen universe and the loyal angels stood aghast and amazed at such charges against God. But one third of the angels in heaven were deceived into following Lucifer. In this crisis, everybody in the universe had to take sides. There was war in heaven. Does war by itself solve problems? Does force alone solve anything? How was God going to win? Gospel medical missionary work was the winning part of God's total battle-plan. The war begun in heaven is heating up on earth today. The end of the world is characterized by war. The devil would like to confuse us about the issues and about the sides in this war. We are all going to fight in the final war. We get to choose which side we fight on. There are the medics, but there are none excused from conscription in this final war. In addition to war plans, God had peace plans to win the great controversy.

God’s plan to end the great controversy was first revealed with the creation of a new earth and with a new order of beings to populate that earth. This new creation would demonstrate all the answers to the truth about God. Creation demonstrated the divinity of God’s only begotten Son. The creation of Adam and Eve would illustrate the relationship questions concerning the Father and the Son. The divine character of God would be revealed in his purposes of creation, and His government on earth. And so planet earth was created perfect in every dimension. Adam and Eve were created to have and to model the character of their Creator. Every detail of planet earth was created to answer every question about God. But as we all know, this pristine demonstration of the relationships of the Godhead, their government, and their character never really "got off the ground" as we say. However, in order to understand the theology of gospel medical missionary work we need to look carefully at Adam and Eve, the perfect garden into which they were put, and their commission. God does not change. His plans and principles are progressively unfolded but always are the same in principle and consistent with itself and with God’s character. There are two concepts to understand in this connection. Concept one is that the physical creation was deliberately designed to illustrate and explain spiritual truth. Concept two is that what you and I do in the physical dimension demonstrates faithfully where we are spiritually. It is true that God only knows our motives. However God has so designed things that we can all see what we do. The physical actions illustrate faithfully the spiritual character. It was designed and created to do so. What we do physically shows where we are spiritually. Where we are in our love relationship with God will be clearly seen in our actions.

2. Corinthians 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal."

The created, visible, material world is designed to illustrate eternal truth. We are explicitly told this in Romans Chapter 1: verse 19:

Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed [it] unto them.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Adam would never have done what he did in taking and eating the forbidden fruit had he known the significance of what he was doing in the light of the great controversy. This was the difference between Lucifer’s position and that of Adam. Lucifer could receive no further information and insight about the character of God more than he already had. Adam was a babe in wisdom and understanding. And beloved, you and I would not do what we sometimes do if we considered the significance of our actions in the light of the great controversy. Had Adam seen what was at stake in his actions in light of the great controversy he would have said to Eve, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" God created Adam to illustrate His own character, His own government, and His unchanging love for freedom of choice and His unselfish love for His creatures made in His own image. Adam did not realize that the message he was sending to the universe by eating the forbidden fruit was that if you put God in my place, He will choose His own interests above those of His created beings. Adam did not see things in that light and so He failed to correctly represent God in that temptation. Instead of illustrating and modeling the truth about God and being the part of the solution to the great controversy for which he was created and commissioned to be, he became part of the problem and took all of us with him in becoming part of the problem. All too often we act out the same lie Adam did. And while we might say: " Adam! How could you do that!", we all too often replay the failure and fall of Adam in our own lives. There is no reason for us to sin any more than there was for Adam to sin. What an amazing job Satan has done to sell us on the idea that we cannot live above sin like Jesus did! Just because we have all sinned, is no reason that we all need to keep sinning. Jesus has shown that is a lie. Jesus is the Way to escape from every temptation! And most amazing is that by grace, the human race, the remnant of the race and the remnant of the church is yet going to fulfill their purpose of creation! God is yet to be justified and vindicated in His human sons and daughters. I want to be part of that demonstration.

I love the story of the Thomas Edison during the great depression. He was trying to get a job as a telegraph operator with the railroad. He walked into the large waiting room and found it crowded with people who were all applying for the job that he was also applying for. He looked around the room and saw about thirty or forty people just sitting there, waiting in the room. Through the din of that crowded waiting room he could hear morse code. He listened to the code and read the message. "If you understand this message, come through the door and present yourself to the secretary." He saw the door marked private, went to it and opened it and walked into the secretary’s office and got the job. The good news of salvation, which means "healing", is not alone that Jesus forgives sin and treats us as though we had never sinned. It is that that the Mighy Healer, can cure us of the sin problem! Do you believe that? Can you hear that message from God through the din of static and false messages Satan is clogging the air waves with? The demonstrated power of Jesus to cure the sin problem is all that the universe is waiting for. This is all that God the Father and Jesus Christ is waiting for to end the great controversy. Then He will come to receive us unto Himself, that where He is, we may be also.

We are no longer in a garden with the commission to dress it and to keep it as were Adam and Eve. But God has created us with bodies and has given us the same commission to dress and keep and to have dominion over or rule over our bodies to His glory. Are we being faithful to our commission? Do we even know that is our commission today? It is difficult to co-operate with God if we do not know what our commission is! That is why it is vital that we know so we can intelligently co-operate. When Jesus cried "It is finished" in triumph on the cross, Jesus had perfectly illustrated His Father's purposes and government, and at the cost of His life, witnessed to and confessed that He was the Son of God. However, the great controversy was not over at that point in time. By the life and death of His only begotten son, God had made it possible for His original plan in creating planet earth and populating it with a new order of beings, to yet be accomplished in you and in me. Jesus returned to the sanctuary above with His Father to continue to work out the completion of the great plan of gospel medical missionary work. You and I are here on earth with the commission to dress and to keep our bodies. We are made in the image of God. As Adam had the garden of Eden to dress and to keep, so we each have our bodies to dress and to keep to God’s glory. The same issues and the same principles are in place in this last frontier of the great controversy. We are now living in the last moments of time of this world's history. What we do in and with this body of ours will show whether we affirm the lies of Satan or demonstrate the truth as it is in Jesus about the character, the government, and the purposes of God. We have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

The theology of gospel medical missionary work includes the absorbing facts of the great controversy that began in heaven, will end on earth. Angels were the warriors with Michael and Lucifer at their head when the controversy began in heaven. Human beings and angels under the same leaders will partake in the final battles of the great controversy on earth. The issues of the great controversy are clearly set forth in the book of Job. God does not change in character, purposes or government. Having made planet earth, it is forever. In the earth made new, with the same garden of Eden in it, God is going to dwell forever with mankind. Having a body Himself, and having made mankind in the image of God, our bodies are forever. In the new earth we will have glorified bodies, even as Jesus has His glorified body since the resurrection. There is salvation for the body. In my Bible, I have through the years noted 25 texts and passages in Scripture and 5 from the writings of Spirit of Prophecy that show that there is salvation for the body. Earth, and you and I as the rulers of this earth, will demonstrate the truth about Christ and Satan. The charges against God will be shown to be fully and completely false and groundless. Beloved if we think that we cannot by God’s grace gain the victory and find the way to escape from every temptation, we have bought Satan’s lie and we have joined his side of the conflict. It will be fully and completely demonstrated that God is love. His law is a perfect, beautiful description of divine love. You and I have the greatest privilege of all time to be part of this full and final demonstration of the love of God. To be part of that final demonstration of the love of God it necessary for us to understand the issues involved and to agree to rule and keep or care for our bodies by the grace of God, to the glory of God. If we do not rule our own bodies to the glory of God, how can we rule the worlds God wants us to sitting with Him in His throne? My current understanding is that when God has a statistically significant number of people who understand the issues of the great controversy, who love Him supremely, and show the reality of their love by loyal, loving obedience, then God can let the winds of strife go. The grand and awful scenes of the end of the world will then come to pass in rapid succession. The packaging of God's full and final display of love to the world is gospel medical missionary work. God’s first display of love in response to the rebellion in heaven even before that war in heaven was the creation of the world. The second, deeper display of His love in response to the rebellion when it leaped from heaven to earth was in the life and death of His only begotten Son who lived on earth as carpenter in his private life, and as a gospel medical missionary in His public life. The full and final display is going to be the reproduction of His character in the lives of the final generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments. This final generation of God’s people are also going to be carpenters doing the work that lies nearest them in their private lives and gospel medical missionaries just like Jesus was in their public service. And the unbelievable thing is that God is inviting you and me to be part of this full and final display of the love of God. Can I believe that? Am I willing? God’s people will be willing in the day of His power.

Haggai 2:7 "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." This was fulfilled in the presence of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem. There is another fulfillment of that promise of God. It is not the temple in Jerusalem that God is going to fill with glory. The devil will do that as part of his counterfeit second-coming. Today the Holy Spirit waits to fill my mind and body and your mind and body when we are willing. Our bodies are the temple and the corporate church body is the temple where the Lord wants to lift up Jesus, the desire of all nations. When the church laity and ministry join hands and are filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus will be lifted up and all the universe will be drawn to Him. This is why Jesus wants unrestricted entrance into my heart and unrestricted entrance into your heart. He wants to sup with us and to come and take us home with Him and to end the night of sin that has shadowed the universe for too long.

So because there is salvation for the body and the body is an eternal part of the plan of God and essential to life both here and in heaven, what we do with our bodies, and the care we take of our bodies is a faithful manifestation of our love for and regard for God and His will and pleasure. Gospel medical missionary work is blessing others with the blessings that we ourselves have received. And there is no blessing from God that we have received apart from our bodies, because there is no life apart from our bodies. This is why God tells us in Romans 12:1:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." The most direct and most simple way to show our gratitude and love to God is to obey God’s desires and will with respect to the care for and rulership of ourselves in the body that He created. If we do not obey God in respect to the care of our body temple, we will be crippled in our attempts to obey Him in any other way. Daniel 1 comes before Daniel 2. Daniel first purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat before he stood before the king with a message from God. One of the most direct and clear ways to dishonor God is to mistreat the bodies He created. Gospel medical missionary work is giving glory and honor to God by using and caring for our own bodies and helping others to use and care for their bodies to God’s glory. This is the most basic common denominator of living for and intelligently loving God. And because we all live and we all have bodies, gospel medical missionary work is for every member of the church. There are no exceptions. We all have life. We all live in our bodies.

Have you ever heard anyone say: "This is my body. I can do with it what I want to!"? They are telling the truth. God values freedom of choice even higher than the love and obedience and glory that He created you to give to Him. He gives you perfect freedom and perfect control over your body. You can indeed do with it what you want. Your body is indeed yours. What is also true, is that what you do with your body tells and witnesses to the universe what side of the great controversy you are on. It tells the universe whether you love God or yourself supremely. In the judgment, all will be asked to give an account for the deeds done in the body. It is our deeds done in the body that we are judged on. The idea that I accept Jesus as my personal Savior and have a relationship with Him and not give God glory in my body through obedience is like saying that you can have your pound of flesh nearest the heart, but not one drop of blood! What we do today with our small Garden of Eden that our bodies represent, shows what we would do with larger responsibilities in heaven for eternity. That idea of grace full and free with no response of love in grateful obedience to God is a deception. God may have winked at past generation's lack of knowledge, but now He is making health care an issue. Now He has given us an understanding of the relationship between what we do in and with our bodies and love and loyalty to Him. Now He calls for repentance. What we do with our bodies, the care we give them, is a moral issue. That is not what we hear these days. Can you hear the voice of God talking to you through the din of Satan’s lies that we are constantly bombarded with?

 

Turning now from the theory, the theology of Gospel medical missionary work we want to consider the question: How do I do gospel medical missionary work? There are four steps that we need to take daily, every day and every day:

Step one is to come to Jesus by faith, just as you are.

Step two is to take hold of His merits.

Step three is to place our sins on Jesus, the Sin Bearer and place our will into His nail-scarred hands.

Step four is to accept His pardon, and accept His will for me today.

Beloved, it is a sin against Jesus to neglect or to misuse your body. It is a sin against Jesus to do your own thing that is against the will of God - no matter what area of life - including the most simple, basic, physical level of what you eat and what you do in the care of or use of your body.

The other side of that same coin is that whatever you do in your body that is to the glory of God that is a blessing to others is gospel medical missionary work. Whatever you do that follows the example of Jesus in living for and in blessing others is gospel medical missionary work. This is why we are told that every member of the church should be involved in gospel medical missionary work.

In answer to the question how to do gospel medical missionary work, let me share one experience from our clinic in West Seattle. Almost a year ago, Dr Arnott and I had a bi-weekly hour radio talk show program on one of the local stations in Seattle for a few of months. The first visit to see the doctor was offered free in an attempt to get patients to come and see us. One of the first patients that came to the clinic as a result of hearing us on the radio was a Baptist minister 56 years of age. He had despaired of life. He was grossly overweight at 5'6" weighing 255 lbs. He could not sleep without assistance from a machine to help him breath. He had severe diabetes and was on 200 units of insulin daily. He had had severe three vessel coronary artery disease and had suffered a heart attack a couple of years ago. He had cerebrovascular disease and had a stroke in 1990. His blood pressure was 170/90 while taking two blood pressure medications. His ankles were swollen while taking 120 mg of lasix twice a day. He had so much fatigue that he was disabled. He was taking 11 medications including insulin and he knew that he was getting worse. He had medically retired from his church pastorate in order to go onto to welfare to await his end. He came into the clinic and saw Dr. Arnott with the question: "Can you do anything for me?"

If this pastor had come to Jesus, could Jesus have been able to anything for him? Yes! you all say. This man came to Dr. Arnott - could he do anything for him? Some say "Yes", some say "No"! And some just sit and listen! Well, Dr Arnott did what each of you could do. Dr Arnott prayed with this pastor and told him to look to Jesus. Now this pastor had been coming to Jesus and praying to Jesus for years and he just kept getting sicker and sicker until now he realized that he was at the end of the road. Was there anything else that Dr. Arnott could do? Is there anything else that you could do for your sick neighbor or friend or relative – perhaps ourselves? Well, that depends upon your knowledge and belief. If you believe the prevailing idea that medical science has a pill for every disease, then you probably don’t think that you could do anything, because you may not have that pill knowledge, license and training. It is written in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Well, Dr. Arnott had knowledge of what to do. Did he get the knowledge of what to do in medical school? Yes and no. Dr. Arnott got knowledge of what to do mostly from the "red books". Have you heard of the "red books"? Do you have any "red books"? Are the books you have "red" or "read" books?

This pastor was in dead earnest. He had been brought by his driver from about one hour's distance to see Dr. Arnott. Well, Dr Arnott told him to drink more water in spite of the swelling of his ankles. He told him to eat whole, unrefined, plant foods. He told him to exercise to the maximum of his capacity. Dr Arnott had some blood drawn to measure his sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. And the man left with hope in his heart and a determination to do what he had been told to do. And beloved, this dear man did what he had been told would give him life. The next visit just three weeks later revealed a different man. Before the first visit he could not walk from the wheelchair to the bathroom without having chest pain. Now he was walking a block with no chest pain. He had lost about 15 lbs. weight in three weeks and what was so impressive to the Baptist pastor was that he felt so much energy that he had not felt since he was a teenager. By the next visit, he told Dr Arnott that he had cancelled his medical retirement plans and had accepted a call to another church and was feeling well again with no chest pain, no shortness of breath and energy like he had as a young person. The cook that was with the pastor that looked after the pastor said that he had begun to eat what he was cooking for the pastor and that he felt more energy and that he had lost weight. The blood sugar levels came down so much that the pastor went off insulin. His blood cholesterol and fat levels came down. This was almost a year ago. Today this pastor has a new church and is working to the glory of God. He is not medically retired. He is not living on welfare. His blood cholesterol dropped from 200 down to 148 in 6 months. Off insulin his blood sugars ran fasting between 90 and 105. Still on blood pressure medication, his blood pressure came down to 125/78. Off his Lasix his ankle swelling was gone. He lost 76 lbs. weight. His chest measurement went from 52" to 44". His waist measurements went from 48 to 38". Six months ago he was running 20-30 minutes a day; walking one hour/day, and lifting weights 1Ë? hours/day. This is gospel medical missionary work.

I will never forget, I had presented the message one Sabbath morning in the church in Africa. The Lord blessed, and I sat down. There was an elderly African minister on the platform and he looked at me and said something I do not remember exactly what. But it was clear to me that I had left undone what should have been done. And seeing it did not appear that I was going to do it, this minister jumped to the platform and made an altar call. And the people came forward. So we are going to make an old fashioned altar call.

Who would like to send a message of love to God, telling Him that they want to follow Jesus’ example to be a gospel medical missionary worker starting with themselves? If you would like to present your body a living sacrifice to God, this is your opportunity to come forward to the front and let God and yourself know that by coming forward. Your head elder will pray for you asking God that you may receive a greater filling of the Holy Spirit and to give you more of the power to be the sons and daughters of God that will glorify God in your bodies in gospel medical missionary work.

Please stand for closing song. Number 153, Prince of Peace Control my Will

While we are singing this prayer of dedication, those who are impressed by the Spirit of God to determine to give God complete and total freedom in their bodies, come forward.

Mary brought an alabaster container into a party. She was unnoticed until she broke the alabaster container. It was not until the container was broken, that its contents could be used. Our hearts are like that. It is not until they are broken that Jesus can fix them with His spirit. It is not until they are broken, that we can receive the Holy Spirit in its fullness. Allow Jesus to speak to your heart at this time, and submit your wills more fully than you ever have before, to God.