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Caring for the poor is the church’s mandate, not politician’s.

Caring for the poor is the church’s mandate, not politician’s. When politicians only fight for the plight of the poor, it will always be at the cost of those who are not poor. The mandate of politicians is providing good governance, for ALL it’s citizens! Poverty alleviation is a complex task, that cannot be addressed through a factory approach like SASSA, and one size fits all housing projects in SA. The poor is crying for true friends, that gets involved, and stay involved. Taking care of the poor is going to cost your all. You cannot approach it like sport-fishing, catch and release, where the prize is an photo trophy. This is why we all have to get involved as the church, no one person, philanthropist, or humanitarian can save the poor.

Summary of “When helping hurts” How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself. Steve Corbett

What was the focus of Jesus’ Ministry?

And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17–21 NKJV

When Jesus’ Ministry was tested and questioned by John the baptist:

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Luke 7:22–23 NKJV

Jesus Focussed on the poor: and wants us to focus on the poor:

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:44–46 NKJV

This is the fulfillment of the OT plan God had for Isreal:

Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:17 NKJV

except when there may be no poor among you; for the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance— Deuteronomy 15:4 NKJV

God gave Moses numerous commands instructing Israel to care for the poor. The Sabbath  guaranteed a day of rest for the slave and alien (Ex.  23:10–12). The Sabbath year cancelled debts for Israelites, allowed the poor to glean from the fields,  and set slaves free as well as equipping the slaves to  be productive (Deut. 15:1–18). The Jubilee year  emphasized liberty; it released slaves and returned  land to its original owners (Lev. 25:8–55). Other laws about debt, tithing, and gleaning ensured that the  poor would be cared for each day of the year (Lev.  25:35–38; Deut. 14:28–29; Lev. 19:9–10). The commands were so extensive that they were designed to achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty among God’s people: “There should be no poor  among you,” God declared (Deut. 15:4).

God’s form of Government, and productive enterprise is always considering the poor.

God judges our worship as fruitless and futile if we neglect the poor: Read Isaiah 1:10-13, 16-17; Isaiah 58:1-3, 5-10

Personal piety and formal worship are essential to the Christian life, but they must lead to lives that  “act justly and love mercy” (Mic. 6:8).

Throughout the New  Testament, care of the poor is a vital concern of the  church (Matt. 25:31–46; Acts 6:1–7; Gal. 2:1–10; 6:10;  James 1:27). Perhaps no passage states it more succinctly than; “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

1 John 3:16–18:

God’s answer to the poverty question of mankind is His kingdom:

The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty, and freedom. Jesus Ministry started preaching the Kingdom: Mat 4:17 instructing His disciples to do the same: Luke 9:2; Luke 10:9 and the first church did the same: Acts 4:34; 10:45 The way God shows His Kingdom to the World is by using the poor, the weak and simple to display His glory: Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? James 2:5 NKJV For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:26–29 NKJV

Poor people typically talk in terms of shame, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation, and voicelessness. God established four foundational relationships for each person: a relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation. These relationships are  the building blocks for all of life. When they are functioning properly, humans experience the fullness of life that God intended, because we are being what God created us to be.

Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings. Every human being is suffering from a poverty of spiritual intimacy, a poverty of being, a poverty of community, and a poverty of stewardship.The materially poor are trapped by multiple, interconnected factors—insufficient assets, vulnerability, powerlessness, isolation, and physical weakness— that ensnare them like bugs caught in a spider’s web.  Imagine being caught in such a web.

According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, it is this lack of freedom to be able to make meaningful choices—to have an ability to affect one’s situation—that is the distinguishing feature of poverty. Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.

Material poverty alleviation is working to reconcile the four foundational relationships so that people can fulfil their callings of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of that work. We are building people, leaders, community, an economic base, and capacity, not a product for profit.

God’s Order of Priorities

The focus Of Jesus Ministry for 3 years was: Preaching and demonstrating the Kingdom, in power, and signs and wonders following.  Acts 10:38 This should be the primary focus of the church too! It is the keystone habit and focus that pulls all the other things we do in line.

The fruits of this focus will be:

  • People giving and sharing Acts 4:34-35
  • His love overflowing out of a healed heart.
  • Fruit of the Spirit, goodness. Gal 5:21-22
  • Rebuilding of the hut of David – Nations added Acts 15:16-17
  • Continuously being filled with the Spirit Eph 5:18; Col 3:16 and resulting spontaneous expressions of worship.

The danger of abandoning the First Command, leads to all the other acts becoming dead rituals of humanitarian philanthropy without the Spirit, people being taken cared for, but never hearing the gospel, never getting filled in the Holy Spirit, never seeing the Kingdom Demonstrated and thus never come to the faith. This is a great paradoxical mystery, but the church should always be actively and seamlessly involved in both the supernatural and the humanitarian, like Stephen who was working at the tables serving the widows, and did mighty signs and wonders. Acts 6:8.

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Do we have a Biblical Mandate to pray for the Sick?

Do we have a divine mandate, command to heal the sick? Do only certain people get to be used who have these gifs of power? What is the conditions, spiritual criteria to operate in signs and wonders?

ONLY BELIEVE

Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

these signs will follow those WHO BELIEVE

SIGNS OF AN APOSTLE

Paul was not only an accurate theologian, dividing the Word, but he operated in the supernatural!!
Spirit & Word is the divine ingredients for new creations to take place
Acts 5:12 through the HANDS OF THE APOSTLES many signs and wonders were done among the people.
Acts 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
James 5:14 And the PRAYER OF FAITH will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
He who believes: John 3:18, 36; Acts 2:38; 16:30, 31; Rom. 10:8–10
2 Corinthians 12:11-12 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in SIGNS AND WONDERS AND MIGHTY DEEDS.
Acts 14:3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, GRANTING SIGNS AND WONDERS to be done by their hands.
Rom. 15:18-21 in mighty signs and wonders, by the POWER OF THE SPIRIT of God
Acts 15:12 DECLARING how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.
Acts 19:11 Now God worked UNUSUAL MIRACLES by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

GOD BEARING WITNESS CONFIRMING THEIR WORDS

God does not confirm the person, he confirms His word. The word of our testimony.
Declaring the gospel of salvation stirs faith for people to get saved, in the same way declaring god is present to heal, stirs faith for healing.
Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.
Acts 4:29-30 grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
Heb. 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
You cannot theorize the work of the supernatural. If you never have done it, you have no right to even an opinion.
The Kingdom is not in words only but power 1 Cor 4:20; 2:4 but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
If their is thus no signs and wonders, no miraculous, people put their faith in vain in the wisdom of man.

PEOPLE CAME TO THE FAITH AFTER THEY SAW THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH VARIOUS SIGNS AND WONDERS.

Many churches are losing the young people, falling away because there is no miracles:
We will not hide them . . . ; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God . . . and that they should not be like their ancestors . . . whose spirit was not faithful to God. . . . They forgot what he had done, and the miracles that he had shown them. Psalm 78: 4–11 NRSV, emphasis added
The disciples believed in Jesus after He turned water into wine in John 2: 1–11: “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him” (verse 11 NIV1984, emphasis added).
People believed in Jesus after He healed a royal official’s son from a distance in John 4: 43–54: “Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he and all his household believed” (verse 53 NIV1984, emphasis added).
There is no record that the healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda in John 5: 1–9 caused anyone to come to faith, but this healing is followed by a passage in which Jesus deals with people believing in Him in order to pass from death to life (see John 5: 10–47, especially verse 24).
Five thousand people believed in Jesus after He multiplied bread and fish to feed them in John 6: 1–14: “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world’” (verse 14 NIV1984). The term Prophet here is a messianic title. During the interbiblical period between the Old Testament and New Testament eras, one of the views was that the Messiah would be a Prophet. Another view was that Messiah would be a King, and another was that He would be both Prophet and King.
A man born blind believed in Jesus after Jesus healed him in John 9: “Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (verse 38 NIV1984, emphasis added).
People believed in Jesus after He raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11: “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him” (verse 45 NIV1984, emphasis added).
Likewise, look what the chief priests and Pharisees were thinking after that miraculous sign: “‘ What are we accomplishing?’ they asked. ‘Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation’” (verses 47–48 NIV1984, emphasis added).
John 12 also records more fruit of belief from the raising of Lazarus: “Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him” (verses 9–11 NIV1984, emphasis added).
Following the resurrection, the disciples put their faith in Jesus again in John 21: 1–7, after they miraculously caught so many fish by switching the net to the other side of the boat, as He had instructed them to do: “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” (verse 7 NIV1984).