“And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” (Acts 5:14–16, AV)
When we were young, my dad introduced me to surf-fishing. At that time, there were relatively few who took up this sport. The ones that did were a close-knit group. So, when the fish were biting in a certain location, we would call one another so all could enjoy a good day or two of fishing. Today however, the sport has grown significantly. Now, there are many close-knit groups of surf-fishermen. When one group gets on the fish, I have noticed that the word somehow gets out to others. Then it seems like fishermen come out of the woodwork and the beach becomes so packed that it may be impossible to find a good spot to put your line in the water. The good word spreads fast.
We see this principle here in the book of Acts. God had been working signs and wonders through the hands of the apostles (v12). These works accompanied the preaching of the gospel. People were being added to the faith at an even greater rate (v14). The word of what God was doing got out and we see that people in the local area brought their friends and relatives who were sick to the streets so that they could experience the ministry happening through the apostles (v15). Moreover, the word of what was happening spread to the neighboring towns around Jerusalem and people brought the sick and afflicted to be part of what God was doing and the Scripture states that God healed them (v16). When God is at work, the word spreads.
Does this dynamic work the same way today? Yes, it does. While we do not see things happening exactly like this, God is still at work and He is still healing people. When we think of healing, we often immediately jump to physical healing. While the Lord is our physician and does heal physically, often we forget that He is also our emotional and, more importantly, our spiritual healer. He provides healing from man’s greatest disease, sin. The ministry of God’s grace brings deliverance to people plagued with this most serious illness of the soul.
When God works through the ministry of local churches, the word gets out. How does it get out? It gets out by word of mouth. Yes, it is the parishioners who are seeing God at work in their own lives, and in their small home groups, and in their churches that cannot help but speak of what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20). Moreover, they will start carrying their friends and relatives who are sick to be part of what God is doing, in the hope that He will heal them also.
There are three vital components for this to work in our modern-day church. First, every parishioner must be experiencing the powerful work of God’s grace in their own lives. Second, they must be seeing this same work in the lives of others. Third, they must, and if the former is happening, they will spread the word to others. The word gets out.
The big question in this dynamic is this. Are you experiencing the manifestation of God’s grace in your life? In other words, are you growing in Christ likeness? If you have lost that sense of awe and wonder in your Christian experience, perhaps this is the issue. Pray to seek the Lord with all your heart and experience his grace afresh and anew.