The congregation at Full Life Assembly of God in Franklin, Tennessee had been unusually hungry and had sought the Lord in prayer and fasting for an entire month. And so it was not surprising that the Lord’s grace was in such abundance at The Elijah Challenge Training event the last weekend of January 2015. The Lord enabled us to teach very effectively. We began by asking the believers why the Church had not completed the Great Commission in over 2,000 years. If we look around today, especially at the world-wide resurgence of Islam, it would appear that we are losing ground instead.
We argued that the major reason for our failure was our inability to preach the gospel as recorded in Acts, where powerful miraculous healings confirmed the message of the gospel to turn the known world upside down for the kingdom of God. For cessationists, the ceasing of such miracles is attributable to a decision on the part of God. But for non-cessationists such as the Assemblies of God they were looking for answers as to why the miracles in the gospels and Acts are no longer seen today.
Our explanation was that believers today are not ministering to the sick and demonized as did Jesus and his disciples in the New Testament. Instead, we are following a tradition handed down by charismatic leaders of the past generation, who while most sincere and godly, were not following the model of Jesus and his disciples. We then examined the gospels and Acts to determine exactly how Jesus and his disciples ministered to the sick and demonized. From this examination certain principles came to the surface. Then we applied these principles to minister healing to believers present at the Training who needed healing. The results were most encouraging.
The first person ministered to was a young lady who had fractured her ankle bone and limped along with pain. We called two young women in the front row to come forward to minister to her as Jesus might have by exercising authority and laying hands on her. Then we told the young lady to get up from her chair and walk. She stood up and walked down the aisle to the back of the sanctuary with no sign of limping. In the back she began jumping up and down—something she was totally incapable of just a minute earlier—while screaming with joy and excitement. The Lord had miraculously healed her. That was simply the first miraculous healing of many more to follow during the weekend.
Man with heart condition runs & picks up adult man off the floor
The next day a man in his forties appeared. He had fused vertebra in his back and was completely unable to bend down to touch his toes. In addition to that he suffered from heart disease and was told not to run or lift heavy objects. Some of the men laid hands on his chest and ministered to him with authority. Immediately afterwards he was able to bend down all the way—something that should have been impossible for him with the fused vertebra in his spine. Then we told him to run around the sanctuary. After the second circuit he returned to us at the front and testified that he felt fine. He was not at all out of breath. Then he went to one of the brothers who had just ministered to him—who weighed about 150 pounds—and lifted him up off the floor. After ten seconds he set him back down. He testified that he felt fine, and to us looked fine as well.
The next day he was continuing to do well and testified at the Sunday morning service what the Lord had done for him. When asked later in the year in the month of April how he was doing, he said he never felt better in his entire life. Later that same month he went on a mission trip to Ecuador with a team from the church. One sister in Christ there made the following observation: “The Lord is doing an amazing work in his heart. He is just not the same man he used to be.”
A middle-aged woman who for five years was totally deaf in her left ear testified that she felt something happening in the ear as a sister ministered to her. She could hear from that deaf ear. (See her testify near the end of the video below.) In Luke 7:7 we see Jesus healing the servant of the centurion at a distance simply by “saying the word.” According to John 14:12, believers can do the works that Jesus did. And so during the third training session we ministered healing to infirm people who were not physically present. The Lord was gracious to confirm his word over and over. Among those who testified was Pastor Nick Serban II, Pastor Emeritus and the father of Senior Pastor Nick Serban III. Over his mobile phone during that part of the session he ministered to a man who had a serious pulmonary disease. He could barely walk a few steps inside his home without running out of breath. But after Pastor Nick “said the word” to him over his cell phone commanding his lungs to be healed in Jesus’ name, he was excited to walk around everywhere inside his home without running out of breath.
Healing at a distance as Jesus did – without a telephone
At the same time there was a Hispanic couple who ministered healing at a distance to a female relative who was far away in Cancun, Mexico and who had been undergoing kidney dialysis. They had been unable to make contact with her by phone, so they ministered to her simply by “saying the word” to her at a distance without her knowing what they were doing at the moment. Now normally after each dialysis the woman would suffer severe physical aftereffects of the treatment. But that day after her dialysis, she was amazed to experience no aftereffects at all but instead felt great. Astonished, she called her relatives up in Tennessee and asked them, “what did you do?”
Senior Pastor Nick Serban II of the church, hearing the teaching and witnessing what the Lord did through his people as they simply did what Jesus did in the gospels, was most gracious to honor us before the congregation at the Sunday morning services with the title “generals of the faith.” It would appear the Lord is showing us why we are not seeing the miracles recorded in Acts when we preach the gospel. It is not because He has sovereignly withdrawn them as taught by cessationism. It is rather because in this area we have drifted away from Scripture into man’s teachings and traditions for ministering to the infirm. For some reason, our spiritual eyes were veiled to the simple truths that are clearly written in Scripture. But now the veil is being lifted because we have entered the last days when we must fulfill the Great Commission—even against the considerable odds the Church is facing today.
The understanding of one of the most powerful weapons entrusted to the Church for the Great Commission—authority and power over disease and demons (Luke 9:1-2, 6 and Luke 10:9)—is now being restored. Full Life Assembly of God under Pastor Nick Serban is a congregation that means business with God, and will most certainly apply what they have been taught for reaching out to the lost, both locally and on the mission field for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.