Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 29 January 2017

For more sermons and other writings, please check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

 

Receiving by Faith

 

Kenneth Hagin, fifteen years old at the time, was lying in bed paralyzed, incurably sick and dying (according to the doctors), when he discovered the Bible verse – Mark 11:24, and I give you the whole passage where Jesus makes amazing (I don’t want to say “unbelievable”) promises about faith:

 

Mark 11:22-24 [NKJV]: So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 

These verses are not that complicated to understand, but it took Kenneth Hagin another twelve months of lying on his back, paralyzed in his bed (full of frustration and many tears), before he learned the truth of this Bible verse – before he learned to pray with faith, believing God in such a way that things come to pass. Then, after one year of painful trial and error (wrestling with this one Bible verse), he had faith and got up healed.

This morning, I continue with Kenneth Hagin and what he learned, and how God made the lessons stick in his life. On occasion, he needed reminding by God, and so do we.

However, first I tell you about another incident.

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions, p91-65: It was nearly five years later, 1957, when the Lord appeared to me again in my fourth vision of Him. My wife and I had just returned to our home in Garland, Texas, after spending 15 months in meetings in California. We then held a meeting for our home Full Gospel church in Garland. It was during the third week of this meeting that I had another supernatural visitation

from the Lord.

At the close of my message one night, a spirit of intercession descended upon the congregation and we all gathered around the altar to pray. We prayed for quite some time. After a while I got off my knees and sat on the steps to the platform. I was sitting there with my eyes open, singing in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance, when suddenly I saw Jesus standing about three feet in front of me. He said, “I have come to answer your prayer.”

I knew exactly what He was talking about. I had been praying for some time for my wife, who had a goiter. It was growing larger and larger until now she was having choking spells.

From the time we were first married, I had sensed in my spirit that Oretha would die at an early age, and I thought that perhaps this time was approaching. I prayed the rest of the night about this and said to the Lord, “I have obeyed You and have done your will. I have left my church and my family and have been in the evangelistic field for many years. My wife has stayed at home and has been faithful to raise our children. I am still a young man (at that time I was in my 30s), and we have been married for many years. Please let me keep my wife.”

In the vision the Lord said to me, “I have come to answer that prayer. Tell your wife to be operated on, for she will live and not die. Although I didn’t mention it to my wife, I had felt all along that if she were operated on she would die. She later told me that she had known for several years that she would die when she was operated on for this goiter.

But the Lord said to me, “She will live and not die. It was divine destiny that she should die, but I have heard your prayers and have come to answer them. She shall live.”

Then Jesus said something that absolutely melted me, and I have never been able to forget it. It blessed and helped me then, and it still blesses me. He said, “I did this, son, just because you asked Me to. You don’t know how I long to do for my children if they would only ask Me and believe Me. Many times, they beg and cry and pray, but they don’t believe. And I cannot answer their prayers unless they have faith, because I cannot violate my Word. But how often I long to help them if only they would let Me by taking Me at my Word and bringing Me their problems, trusting Me to undertake for them.”

Again, He said, “Tell your wife to be operated on, for she will live and not die.” With those words, He disappeared. Even though the doctors were greatly concerned about my wife’s condition, Oretha and I had great joy through it all because we knew the outcome in advance.

 

Kenneth Hagin’s wife did not die. Jesus answered his prayer, and did you notice how powerful this prayer was? It even changed the plans of God. According to the good will of God, the wife was meant to die, and both – Kenneth and his wife – knew that this was the case (they sensed this truth), but because Kenneth prayed, she lived. In the Bible, we have a few instances, where ordinary people changed the mind of God. [You may also note how, in this instance, God worked with a medical procedure rather than a healing miracle without any human assistance.]

 

Matthew 15:24-28: But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

 

John 2:3-5: And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

 

Deuteronomy 9:12-29: Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made themselves a molded image.’

Furthermore, the Lord spoke to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed they are a stiff-necked people. Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’

So, I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God—had made for yourselves a molded calf… And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also…

You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.

Thus, I prostrated myself before the Lord; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the Lord had said He would destroy you. Therefore, I prayed to the Lord, and said: ‘O Lord God, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin, lest the land from which You brought us should say, “Because the Lord was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.” Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched arm.’

 

Prayer is absolutely powerful – God listens and responds – Jesus longs to help because he loves us – and Jesus impressed on Kenneth Hagin how much more would happen, if the children of God made up their minds and asked things of him, believing him to respond:

 

Then Jesus said something that absolutely melted me, and I have never been able to forget it. It blessed and helped me then, and it still blesses me. He said, “I did this, son, just because you asked Me to. You don’t know how I long to do for my children if they would only ask Me and believe Me. Many times, they beg and cry and pray, but they don’t believe. And I cannot answer their prayers unless they have faith, because I cannot violate my Word. But how often I long to help them if only they would let Me by taking Me at my Word and bringing Me their problems, trusting Me to undertake for them.”

 

Cf. For instance, this could apply to Christians begging and crying out for daily bread, simply hoping for these provisions instead of believing Jesus’ assurances that daily bread would be provided and they need not worry.

 

This reminds me of Yonggi Cho and his experience of Jesus requesting him to be concrete with his prayer requests, because you can only believe for concrete things which you can see with the eyes of your imagination:

 

Paul Yonggi Cho: Successful Home Cell Groups, New Jersey: Logos International, 1981, p163-167: At that time the greatest necessities in my life were a table, a chair and a bicycle. So, I knelt down and asked God to give me those three things, and I really prayed with great faith. Then I waited for God to supply them. Day after day, month after month, I waited, expecting. But nothing happened.

Eventually, completely frustrated, discouraged and despondent, I cried out to the Lord. Then God began to speak to me. It was the first time God ever spoke to me that I was certain I heard Him. I still do not know whether it was in an audible voice or by an impression in my spirit.

I know I saw a bright light, and I did receive the message.

God said, “My son, don’t cry. I have heard your prayer, and I have given you a table, a chair and a bicycle.”

So, I said, “Father, you’re kidding me. I don’t have a table, a chair or a bicycle, although I have been expecting them day after day.”

“Yes,” God said, “I have given them to you potentially. But you have been asking them of me in such vague terms that I cannot fulfill your request. Don’t you know there are a dozen kinds of tables, a dozen kinds of chairs and a dozen kinds of bicycles? Which ones do you want? Be very clear. I have so much trouble with my children, because they keep asking me and asking me and asking me, yet they themselves do not know what kind of thing they want. Make your request very specific, and then I’ll answer.”

So, I said, “Father, prove that to me by the Scriptures.”

Then the Spirit told me to open the Bible to Hebrews 11, and I did, beginning to read from the first verse: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for . . .”

Immediately my eyes fell on the word things. Then the Spirit said to me, “Without having a clear-cut goal of the ‘things,’ or a clear-cut vision of the objects, how can you hope? How do you have faith?”

Then Scripture after Scripture began to flow into my mind, all telling me I should always have a clear-cut goal. For instance, when Jesus was on the road to Jericho, He was approached by a blind man, Bartimaeus. Now Jesus and everybody else knew what Bartimaeus wanted—to be healed of his blindness. But Jesus clearly asked the question, “‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!’

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well’” (Mark 10:51-52, NASB).

Time and again I saw in Scripture that Jesus asked specific questions, expecting goal-oriented answers. And throughout Scripture God did miracles in response to clear-cut requests with specific goals in mind.

So, I began to make a specific request in my prayer, describing the size and type of table I wanted, made of Philippine mahogany, with an iron-frame chair on casters that would enable me to roll around. Then I asked for an American-made bicycle with a gearshift on the side. I went into specific detail in my request.

And I believed! In a few months, I received all of those things exactly as I had requested.

 

When I first came across this testimony by Yonggi Cho, I was sceptical but Hebrews 11:1 is quite strong: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In this verse, the word “things” (Greek: pragma) does mean concrete realities (concrete deeds, matters or events). For instance, the word is also used in Matthew 18:19: “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything (Greek: pragma) that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” And here it seems quite clear that if two Christians want to pray in agreement with one another, they have to work out what precisely they agree on. And then Jesus promised them that their concrete requests would be heard. “Faith is the substance of things (– concrete things –) hoped for.”

 

Yonggi Cho: Make Your Faith Work, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications 1985, p41: Faith is like your arm. If your arm has nothing to reach for and grab hold of, then your arm is hanging useless on your shoulder. When you have a clear-cut goal, then your arm can rise up and reach out and grab hold of that objective.

Faith is like that. You are not going to feel faith at every moment. I don’t constantly need to feel my arm hanging on my shoulder. When I want to reach for something, then I need to feel my arm moving toward that goal. I don’t always feel faith.

 

Martin Luther had a similar understanding of needing to spell out precisely what we want from God and then believing him for the answer:

 

Martin Luther: Large Catechism, Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House 1983, p136: A person who wants to ask for something has to actually say, present, and spell out what he wants. Otherwise, it can’t be called a prayer. This is why we have been quite right in condemning the prayers of the monks and priests. They wail and mumble frightfully day and night, but not one of them thinks of asking for the smallest thing… Not one of them has ever made up his mind to pray, obeying God’s command and trusting his promise, nor considered his own need. Instead, the best we can say is that they only thought of doing a good deed as payment to God…

 

Martin Luther: Large Catechism, Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House 1983, p161-162: But it all depends on our learning to say “AMEN” to it, too. This means not to doubt that God hears our prayer, and that we ask for will come about. “Amen” is nothing but an expression of the faith of a person who doesn’t doubt or pray on the off-chance, but knows God doesn’t lie, because he has promised to give. Where this faith is missing, there can be no proper prayer.

So, those people make a big mistake who pray without daring to say a whole-hearted Yes to their prayer, and aren’t sure whether God hears them. They keep on doubting and say: “How could I be so bold and flatter myself that God hears my prayer? After all, I’m just a poor sinner”, and so on. The reason they say this is because they don’t keep their eye on God’s promises, but on what they do and what they think they are entitled to. This means that they look down on God, and make him out to be a liar.

So, they get nothing, as St James says: “Anyone who prays must pray in faith and not doubt. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown around by the wind. A person like this must not think that he will get anything from God” [James 1:6-7].

You see, this is how much it matters to God that we are sure that we aren’t asking all for nothing, and in no way look down on our prayer.

 

In another vision, Jesus revisited what Kenneth Hagin had learned on his sick-bed. And it is all about faith? Earlier, Jesus had commissioned Kenneth Hagin for the ministry. He knew that he was called to heal people and drive out unclean spirits:

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions, p53-55: Then Jesus told me to kneel down before Him. When I did, He laid His hand upon my head, saying that He had called me and had given me a special anointing to minister to the sick.

He went on to instruct me that when I would pray and lay hands on the sick, I was to lay one hand on each side of the body. If I felt the fire jump from hand to hand, an evil spirit or demon was present in that body causing affliction. I should call him out in Jesus’ Name, and the demon or demons would have to go.

If the fire, or the anointing, in my hands did not jump from hand to hand, it was a case needing healing only. I should pray for the person in Jesus’ Name, and if he would believe and accept it, the anointing would leave my hands and go into that person’s body, driving out the disease and bringing healing. When the fire or anointing left my hands and went into the person’s body, I would know he was healed.

I fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded, “Lord, don’t send me. Send somebody else, Lord. Please don’t send me. Just give me a little church to pastor somewhere. I would rather not go, Lord. I have heard so much criticism of those who pray for the sick. I just want a commonplace ministry.”

Jesus rebuked me, saying, “I’ll go with you and stand by your side as you pray for the sick, and many times you will see Me. Occasionally I will open the eyes of someone in the audience and they will say, ‘Why, I saw Jesus standing by that man as he prayed for the sick.’”

Jesus went on to ask who had called me: He or the people? “Well, You did, Lord.” He explained that I should fear Him and not people, because even though people may criticize me, they are not my judge. I will stand before His judgment seat one day to give an account to Him for what I have done with this ministry, whether I have used it rightly or wrongly.

“All right, Lord,” I said. “I’ll go if You’ll go with me. I’ll do my best and be as faithful as I know how to be.” Then there swelled up within my heart a love such as I had never known for those who criticize this type of ministry. I said, “Lord, I’ll pray for them, for they don’t know, or they wouldn’t say the things they do. Lord, I’ve said similar things, but I didn’t realize or see as I do now, and neither do they. Forgive them, Lord.”

Then He said, “Go thy way, my son; fulfill thy ministry and be thou faithful, for the time is short.” As I walked away from the throne of God, Jesus told me, “Be sure to give Me all the praise and glory for all that is done, and be careful about money. Many of my servants whom I have anointed for this type of ministry have become money-minded and have lost the anointing and ministry I gave them.

“There are many who would pay much to be delivered. Many parents in the world have children whose little bodies are twisted, and they would give thousands of dollars for their healing. Many of them shall be delivered as you lay your hands on them, but you must not accept a charge for your ministry. Accept offerings as you have been doing. You must go your way. Be faithful, for the time is short.

Jesus then journeyed with me back to the earth, and I realized that I still lay on my face on the floor. He talked with me there a moment and then disappeared.

My hands burned for three days just like I had a coal of fire in each of them. Now when I wait upon the Lord in prayer and fasting, the same anointing comes upon me again.

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions, p57-58: In the vision, when Jesus told me about the special anointing He was giving me, He said, “If the anointing leaves you, fast and pray until it comes back.” Now whenever the anointing wanes, I wait upon the Lord in prayer and fasting, and the same anointing comes upon me again.

However, I no longer lay one hand on each side of the person I am praying for to determine if an evil spirit is causing the affliction. Two years later the Lord gave me further instructions in a vision which I will discuss in another chapter.

In the first vision, the Lord told me that He would appear to me again, and He has on several occasions. In the vision two years later He said, “From this moment on, the gift that is known in my Word as the gift of discerning of spirits will operate in your ministry.” With the operation of this gift, I can know when a person’s body is oppressed by an evil spirit; therefore, I use this greater ministry gift.

 

Jesus had commissioned Kenneth Hagin for the ministry. He knew that he was called to heal people and drive out unclean spirits. But nothing would work without faith, and faith was no easy thing:

 

Kenneth Hagin: I Believe in Visions, p61-65: One night while I was ministering to the sick, a man

in the healing line told me he had tuberculosis of the spine. He said he had been through three clinics and all the doctors had given him the same diagnosis: He was beyond medical help at that time. The man’s spine was as stiff as a board.

In praying for him, I laid one hand on his chest and one hand on his back. When I did, the fire, or anointing, jumped from hand to hand. I knew immediately that his body was oppressed by an evil spirit. I commanded the spirit, saying, “You foul spirit that oppresses this man’s body, I command you to come out of his body in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
  And then I made a terrible mistake: I got into unbelief. It is easy to get into unbelief sometimes, no matter who we are, and not even realize it.
  I said to the man, “See if you can stoop over and bend your back. Try to touch your toes.” The word “if” is the badge of doubt. When I said, “See if you can,” that was doubt. (God will put up with a certain amount of doubt in a young Christian who doesn’t know any better, but when one is enlightened in God’s Word, the Lord won’t let him get by with it.)
  The man tried to bend over, but he couldn’t. His back was as stiff as ever. I laid my hands upon him again, one hand on his chest and one hand on his back, and I felt the fire jump from hand to hand. Again, I commanded, “You foul spirit that oppresses this man’s body, I command you to come out of him in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!”

Again, I said to the man, “See if you can stoop over. Bend your back and touch your toes.” His back was as immovable as before, because I was acting in unbelief and didn’t realize it.
  Then I said, “Well, we will try (which is unbelief, too) the third time.” I laid one hand on his chest and the other on his back. Again, I had the manifestation of the anointing in my hands.
  For the third time, I said, “You foul spirit that oppresses this man’s body, I command you to come out of him in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!” To the man, I said, “Now see if you can stoop over. See if you can bend down.” He couldn’t, of course.

I gave up and went on to pray for the next person. The man walked back down the aisle. I was standing on the platform about three feet to the right of the pulpit. As the next person stepped up to be prayed for, I looked over to my left for some unknown reason, and I saw Jesus standing there as plainly as any man I had ever seen in my life! I thought everybody saw Him, but I learned later that no one in the congregation saw or heard Him except me. The congregation heard what I said, but they didn’t see or hear anyone else.
  Jesus was standing beside the pulpit. I could have reached out and touched Him. He pointed His finger at me and said, “I said that in my Name the demon or demons will leave!” “Lord, I know You said that. It has been only a month since You appeared to me in Rockwall, Texas, and told me to command the demon or demons to come out in your Name. I told the demon to come out of that man, but he didn’t.”
  Again, Jesus pointed His finger at me and said, “I said, in my Name call out the demons and they will leave the body!” “I know You said that, Lord, and I commanded the spirit to leave this man’s body in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but he didn’t go.”
  Jesus put His finger in my face and said for the third time, “I said in my Name the demons will go. Call them out in my Name, and they will leave the body in my Name!”
  Weakly, I replied again, “Lord, I know You said that. It happened just a month ago, and it is as fresh in my mind as if You said it last night. I know what You told me. And I did tell that demon to leave this man’s body, but he didn’t go. I think I know how Jesus looked when He drove the money-changers out of the Temple, as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Mark’s Gospel. Suddenly it seemed as if His eyes shot fire; I could see flashes of lightning in them.
  For the fourth time, He jabbed His finger at me and said emphatically, “Yes, but I said the demons will go.” Then He disappeared.

I realized then that I had acted in unbelief. We sometimes think that if we have a special gift or anointing to minister, it always will work — but that is not the case. No matter how much authority we might have, no matter how many special gifts we might have, or how much power we might possess, it works by faith and faith only.

When I realized that I had exercised doubt instead of faith, I saw my mistake. I called the man to come back to the platform. He was standing at the rear of the auditorium and hadn’t gone back to his seat yet. I pointed to him and said, “Come back up here, brother.” He retraced his steps back up the aisle. I stood on the platform waiting for him to come around to the altar to where I was. The instant he stood before me, I slapped him on the back, and with my other hand on his chest I said, “Satan, I told you to leave this body! Out you go in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!” Then I said to the man, “Now, my brother (I didn’t put an “if” in it this time), stoop over and touch your toes!”
  Instantly his back was limber. The tuberculosis of the spine was gone. The spine which had been as stiff as a board was healed. He could stoop over and touch his toes as well as any normal person. He was completely well!  Because this man had come to our meeting from Arkansas, we didn’t see him until two weeks later. He came back to be in the last Saturday night service.
  I asked him if he was still able to stoop over and touch his toes. “Yes, I am still free,” he said with a big smile lighting his face. He stepped out into the aisle, stooped over, touched the floor, and went through several exercises to prove that he was still limber and free.

This experience demonstrated to me once and for all the importance of following God’s Word explicitly. And I learned that no matter who we are, if we move in unbelief, we will stop the flow of God’s power.” [However, Kenneth Hagin also knows – because Jesus taught him in another vision – that not every demon can be expelled (e.g.: woman and man that wilfully sin) and that sometimes special techniques (e.g.: Jesus taught him that sometimes the demons need to be named and their number specified) need to be employed for successful expulsion.]

 

Kenneth Hagin had faith to try three times. He prayed and then asked the man to bend down three times. But it did not work. And then Jesus was a little upset. He pointed the finger at Kenneth Hagin and reminded him what he had said: “I said that in my Name the demon or demons will leave!”

Kenneth knew what Jesus had said, and he knew the authority which he had received (the gift of Holy Spirit fire jumping from hand to hand when an unclean spirit was present), but – despite receiving visions and experiencing the Holy Spirit – he struggled with faith. He was still not sure whether the unclean spirit would leave and whether the man would be healed. Therefore, he put in a disclaimer and asked the man: “Now see if you can stoop over. See if you can bend down.” Instead of being certain – believing and trusting that the healing of the man was his by faith – he was merely hoping for a good outcome, sayingifwhich is not committing yourself: “If possibly anything happened, maybe stoop down.”

No matter how anointed you are – no matter how much power of the Holy Spirit is on you – you will achieve nothing without faith. Everything in the kingdom of God operates by faith, trusting God:

 

Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

 

Martin Luther: The Freedom of a Christian Man (1520), in: The Protestant Reformation, edited by Hans J. Hillerbrand, New York: Harper & Row 1968, p10: Faith… honours him whom it trusts… The very highest worship of God is this that we ascribe to him truthfulness, righteousness, and whatever else should be ascribed to one who is trusted. When this is done, the soul consents to his will…

On the other hand, what greater rebellion against God, what greater wickedness, what greater contempt of God is there than not believing his promise? For what is this but to make God a liar or to doubt that he is truthful…

 

I share one more testimony that makes the same point:

 

Kenneth Hagin: Bible Faith Study Guide: I was preaching many years ago in the state of Oklahoma, and in one of my services a woman was brought to the service who hadn’t taken one single step in four years. She was an older woman, in her seventies, and the doctors said that she would never walk another step again. Her knees had just simply worn out and wouldn’t function properly, and they couldn’t carry her weight. Sitting with no exercise, she had grown quite large.

When it came time for the healing line, they brought this woman forward and sat her down on the altar. I came and knelt in front of her and laid my hands on her knees and prayed. Then I said to her, “Now, Sister, arise and walk in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

That dear woman did her best to get up; but all the time (and I’m not making fun of her) she was crying and praying, “Oh, dear Jesus, please heal me. Lord, I know You promised to heal me. You know what a burden I’ve been to my family, and I can’t do one thing for myself. Dear Lord, please heal my knees; please heal my limbs; please let me walk. Oh, please, please.” I said, “Wait a minute, Sister. Wait a minute,” but instead of listening, she just got louder. I said the second time, “Wait a minute, Sister. I have a word for you. I can help you.” But instead of listening, she just got louder and louder. The third time I said, “Wait a minute, Sister. Wait a minute. I can help you.” But instead of listening, she was becoming almost hysterical.

Then I just took hold of her shoulders and shook her, and said, “I command you to shut up in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” She stopped and looked up at me, rather startled, and the congregation put the brakes on me. Did you know a congregation can put the brakes on you? I don’t care who you are, when the people put the brakes on, you can’t do anything. For instance, people put the brakes on Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth, and He couldn’t do much there in the way of miracles or healings. The Bible says so. [MARK 6:5: And he [Jesus] could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.]

Notice it didn’t say He wouldn’t do any mighty works, it said He couldn’t do any mighty works. The Greek reads that Jesus laid His hands on a few folks with minor ailments. In other words, the only ones God healed in Nazareth under the ministry of Jesus were a few people who had minor ailments. Why? Mark 6:6 gives us the answer: “And he [Jesus] marvelled because of their unbelief ...”

Well, this congregation put the brakes on me, and before I could do anything, I knew I had to get the brakes off. If I couldn’t get the brakes off, then I wouldn’t be able to do anything. If people could only recognize that, what a difference there would be in our services and in our churches. So, I knew I had to work on the congregation before I could go back to the woman in the wheelchair and help her.

Some folks thought I was being rude to this woman, or getting smart with her, and some of them spoke right out and said so. I said to them, “Now I want to ask you a question. If someone asked you directions to a certain place, but instead of following your directions, you saw that they mistakenly went the wrong way, wouldn’t you try to stop them or flag them down and try to get them straightened out?
If you knew they didn’t know where they were going, wouldn’t you try to get them going in the right direction?” They all agreed that they would. I said, “All right, this woman was on the wrong road. She wasn’t on the road to healing. She was on the wrong road, and all I did was just flag her down. Now I have her attention.”

 

What does Kenneth Hagin mean by the congregationputting the brakeson him? The faith of the congregation is important for ministry. Again, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit and you can be commissioned by Jesus to pray for healing and preach salvation, but if the congregation does not receive you and agree with you in faith, you labour in vain – even Jesus experienced this truth (see Mark 6:5). Many a time, what happens in a worship service has less to do with the minister than the community of faith. (And Living Grace can make anyone look good.)

 

Jesus cleared the room of unbelievers first before he raised a girl from the dead – Luke 8:50-55: But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.

But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately…

 

I continue with Kenneth Hagin, or maybe you can tell me already what was wrong with the woman:

 

Kenneth Hagin: Bible Faith Study Guide: When I explained that, most of the people in the congregation took the brakes off, and I felt a release in the spirit so I could go back and minister to the woman. I said, “Now, Sister, did you know you are healed?” She looked up at me, her eyes got big, and she said, “Oh, am I?” “Yes,” I said, “you are healed, and I can prove it to you by the Bible.” So, I got my Bible, opened it to First Peter 2:24, handed it to her, and said, “Would you read this verse aloud please?” She read, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” I said, “Read that last clause again.” And she read, “… by whose stripes ye were healed.” I said, “I want to ask you a question. Is `were’ past tense, present tense, or future tense?” She said, “It’s past tense.” Then I said, “If you were healed by Jesus’ stripes then you are healed, aren’t you?” “Yes,” she said, “I am.” I said, “Will you do what I tell you to do?”

“Well,” she answered, “I will if it’s easy.” “This is the easiest thing you ever did in your life. Just lift your hands and look right up to heaven, and begin to praise God because you are healed, present tense. Praise Him because you are healed, not going to be healed; you are healed.”

She just looked up, and as a little child, she said, “Dear Lord Jesus, I’m so glad I’m healed.” She hadn’t walked a step yet. She had no evidence of healing whatever, but she said, “I’m so glad I’m healed. I’m so thankful, dear Lord Jesus. You know how tired I got sitting around all those four years. Thank God, my knees are well and my limbs are healed. I’m so thankful.”

Then I said to the congregation, “Let’s thank God with her because she is healed – not going to be healed – but because she is healed.” You see, faith is present tense, not future tense. You’ve got to get your believing in the present tense for things to work for you. Most of the crowd raised their hands and praised God with her because she was healed. Some probably said, “She’s not healed. She hasn’t walked a step yet.” But don’t you remember what our text said, “. . . faith is the ... EVIDENCE of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). If you’re going to wait till you see something before you believe it, then that’s not faith at all. That’s leaning to the evidence of your senses.

After I told the congregation to praise God with this woman, I turned to the woman and said, “Now, Sister, arise and walk in Jesus’ name.” Immediately that woman jumped off that altar like a sixteen-year-old and walked and leaped and ran and praised God!

We had to get that woman’s believing in the right tense. The Word won’t work for you unless you get it in the right tense. As long as you’re struggling to receive healing, for example, and you believe you’re going to get it sometime in the future, you are not in faith. If it’s future tense, that’s hope. Faith says, “It’s mine. I have it now.”

 

You may use other Bible verses to make the same point as Kenneth Hagin. And you may have the Bible promises confirmed by what you are sensing and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit in this moment, but the outcome needs to be the same: Faith is believing that you already have what you are asking. You first believe that you have received your requests and then you will have them. Faith is not hoping but being certain.

 

Mark 11:22-24 [NKJV]: So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 

This is also how you receive the infilling with the Holy Spirit:

 

Kenneth Hagin: Bible Faith Study Guide: I was holding a meeting in Pomona, California, in 1950, and there was an eighty-three-year-old man who came forward to receive the Holy Spirit. I learned that he had been seeking the Holy Ghost for fifty years. In fact, he said to me, “Brother Hagin, my wife received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the revival fifty years ago here in Los Angeles at the old Azusa Street mission.” He went on to say, “Some people have said that everyone who went there got the Holy Ghost, but I went through that whole meeting for three years, three services a day. I was in every one of those services. I sought the Holy Ghost every time, and I didn’t receive.”

I knew the second time I laid my hands on him, in my spirit by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, just exactly what his trouble was. He was hoping to receive the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t in faith. But I also saw that I wouldn’t be able to get him to accept that. He wouldn’t have believed that. Sometimes you can tell what’s wrong with folks, but just because you know what is hindering them, that doesn’t always mean they are ready to receive it. They’ve got to understand and know it also for themselves.
I’d had a revelation about this man’s situation, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get him to see it until he saw the truth of it for himself in God’s Word. But he came day and night, and I began to teach the Word. I taught on the difference between hope and faith.

Finally, the truth dawned on him. (It’s a strange thing to me that he heard me teach for about a week and didn’t get it. He had to hear it over and over again. That’s the reason I keep teaching certain truths over and over again. Folks don’t get it just because you say it once.)

After about ten days, this eighty-three-year-old man came to me at the close of one of the morning meetings (I’d already taught on faith the first week, but I was going over the same teaching again the second week). He said, “Brother Hagin, you know, I just caught it this morning. I see now why I haven’t received. I have never believed. I’ve just been hoping for fifty years that I’d get the Holy Ghost.” I said, “I knew that, Brother. I knew it the second time I laid hands on you and prayed. The Holy Spirit revealed that to me, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to get you to see that. I also knew if you’d keep coming to the services, you’d eventually see it for yourself.

“Now,” he said, “you’re going to have to give me a little more time.” “That’s all right,” I said, “take all the time you need.” He said, “You know I’ve been on this road for fifty years, and it’s going to take me a little while to get stopped, turned around, and headed back in the right direction.” I said, “That’s all right, Brother, just take all the time you need, but keep on coming to the services.” “Oh,” he said, “we’ll be here every service, day and night.”

I said, “All right, keep coming and when you get that hope changed into faith, I’ll know it, and you’ll know it. Then you will receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” About three days later on a Friday night after we had dismissed, this man came up to the pastor and me, and said, “Brother Hagin, I wonder if I could get you brethren to lay hands on me. I’ve changed my hope into faith. I’m ready now to receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost. I’m ready!” I said, “Are you expecting to receive?” “Yes,” he said, “just put your hands on me and I’ll receive right away.”

That pastor and I just laid our hands on him, and almost immediately his hands were in the air and he was talking in tongues! This man had been hoping for fifty years that he’d get the Holy Ghost”

 

Sometimes God fills people with the Holy Spirit in their sleep, and I myself received the gift of tongues against my will. But, at other times, God insists on people receiving the Spirit by faith – the regular way of receiving all of his promises. For the man in the testimony, it took fifty years and then another ten days – and he was eighty-three years old – but it did not matter. God was patient, and he finally learned the lesson.

How long will you take for your faith to grow and change from hope to a kind of certainty? All of these testimonies, including Kenneth Hagin’s own experiences, encourage us when this is not happening for us over night. We can take time and enter into a process of reminding ourselves of the promises – listen to the Word and listen again – and entering into a time of discernment where we get confirmation from the Holy Spirit that the particular Bible promises are applying to us now (we receive confirmation of God’s directions for now), then stir ourselves up to make a commitment to believing the promises, and then step out in faith (act on what we believe).

 

Kenneth Hagin: Bible Faith Study Guide: So, when it comes to receiving the Holy Ghost, healing, or any answer to prayer, Christians might ask, “What’s the difference between heart faith and mental assent? How can I tell whether I’m really believing from my heart or just mentally agreeing that the Word of God is so?”

If you are only mentally agreeing, you will say you believe that the Bible is true, but you don’t believe it is true for you. You conclude by saying, “I believe the Bible is true, but I don’t have my petition, and I don’t understand why.” But faith says, “It’s mine. I have it now.” Faith believes the Word and acts on the Word of God.

People come in the healing line in my meetings for healing or the baptism in the Holy Ghost, and say, “Brother Hagin, I know all these scriptures you have given are true. But can you tell me why I can’t get healed?” or “Can you tell me why I can’t get the Holy Ghost?” I always say, “Yes, I surely can.”

They look at me and their eyes get big. I respond, “It’s because you just said you can’t. The Bible says, `... out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh’ [Matt. 12:341, and you just got through telling me why you can’t get your answer to prayer – because you said you can’t. You said that because you believe you can’t get your answer, and as long as you say you can’t and believe you can’t, you can’t. But just as soon as you start believing you can receive from God and you believe you receive whatever it is you need, you will get your answer.”

 

Cf. Martin Luther quoted in: Faith Alone by James Galvin, Grand Rapids: Zondervan 2005: “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (Romans 3:28).

People are not justified and do not receive life and salvation because of anything they’ve done. Rather, the only reason they receive life and salvation is because of God’s grace through Christ. There is no other way.

Many Christians are tired of hearing this teaching over and over. They think they learned it all long ago. However, they barely understand how important it really is. If it continues to be taught as truth, the Christian church will remain united and pure—free from decay. This truth alone makes and sustains Christianity.

You might hear immature Christians brag about how well they know that we are justified through God’s grace and not because of anything we do to earn it. But if they go on to say that this truth is easy to put into practice, then have no doubt they don’t know what they’re talking about, and they probably never will. We can never learn this truth completely or brag that we understand it fully. Learning this truth is an art. We will always remain students of it, and it will always be our teacher.

The people who truly understand that they are justified by faith and put it into practice don’t brag that they have fully mastered it. Rather, they think of it as a pleasant taste or aroma that they are always pursuing. These people are astonished that they can’t comprehend it as fully as they would like. They hunger and thirst for it. They yearn for it more and more. They never get tired of hearing about this truth. Similarly, Paul admits in Philippians 3:12 that he has not yet reached this goal. In Matthew 5:6, Christ says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed.

 

 

You may think that God is asking us too much when he is asking for faith. But this is not true. It would be far worse, if he based healings, the gift of the Holy Spirit and eternal life on anything else that we could offer him. Faith is trusting him, believing that he does what he promised. If God was not working by faith, there would only be the alternative of trusting ourselves, our own ability, performance, good achievements and works. I rather have faith in God and commit myself to believing his promises than rely on myself.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 

 

Mark 11:22-24 [NKJV]: So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 

And Jesus did not want to make this difficult. All of history proved that humans fall short of the glory of God in what they are capable of doing themselves – their own performance and works – but faith is encouraged (look to Jesus, not to yourself) and Jesus longs to answer what we ask him in faith. All of the testimonies above told stories of how God helped people to come into faith. And how much help did Kenneth Hagin get? He will do the same for you, because he loves you.

 

Then Jesus said something that absolutely melted me, and I have never been able to forget it. It blessed and helped me then, and it still blesses me. He said, “I did this, son, just because you asked Me to. You don’t know how I long to do for my children if they would only ask Me and believe Me. Many times, they beg and cry and pray, but they don’t believe. And I cannot answer their prayers unless they have faith, because I cannot violate my Word. But how often I long to help them if only they would let Me by taking Me at my Word and bringing Me their problems, trusting Me to undertake for them.”

 

You can ask Jesus for faith.

 

Mark 9:20-27: Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”

And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

 

Jesus promised – Mark 11:24: “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Amen.