This conference was my first encounter with Rob Rufus - a life-changing encounter although I have yet to meet the man! But I had such an incredible touch from God and was so moved by his teaching that I wrote to Terry Virgo to thank him for inviting Rob and enthusing about what I had heard. Terry was gracious enough to write back and made particular mention as to how Rob's teaching on the "Laying on of Hands" was really useful and revelational to him. I listened again to that session while I was driving back from my parents last night and agreed - and felt it had to be transcribed. The laying on of hands is something that I've heard and experienced a diverse range of opinions on. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught strongly that the practice should be discontinued. John Stott taught that it was symbolic. Whereas at the other end of the spectrum I've let legalists lay hands on me for prayer and allowed it far too easily. Rob Rufus's seminar really raises the importance of something the Bible clearly teaches (dare I say it - Dr Lloyd-Jones was wrong!)
I want talk about the laying on of hands today and raising the significance of this incredible truth to a higher level of expectation. The doctrine of laying on of hands needs to be raised up to a higher level. I believe currently it is operating in the church at a very low level. I don't believe we are seeing the level of apostolic understanding as to what it means to lay hands on people. It has become almost too cheap and done too quickly and carelessly and casually and we need to encourage and train and equip people. Never come up and ask people to lay hands on you lightly. Never ask hands to be laid on you without expecting to receive something. It is a foundation doctrine of Christ. Hebrews chapter 6. The laying on of hands is equal to baptism, baptism in the Spirit, judgements, resurrection from the dead, repentance and faith towards God. Alongside that is laying on of hands and you can't go on to maturity without a clear revelation of the importance of the doctrine of the laying on of hands.
We look here in Habbakkuk chapter 3 and let's read from verse 2. "Lord I have heard of Your fame - I stand in awe of Your deeds oh Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known. In wrath remember mercy ... His glory covered the heavens and His praise filled the earth, His splendour was like the sunrise. Rays flashed from His hands where His power was hidden".
I am not trying to make out that God is reduced to human shape but it does say that "rays flashed from His hands" so there is this divine image that the power of God is flashing from the hands of God. I believe that when God's immortal hands come on our mortal hands then there is a divine flash - there is a discharge of heavenly voltage that needs to be restored back to the Church in dimension that was there in the Book of Acts and we have got to recapture today!
Go to Acts chapter 8 please. There are many passages on this. Dave Holden quoted it yesterday - Romans 1:11 and Paul says; "I have come to you so that I may impart a gift to you - a gift that makes you strong". Then in 2nd Timothy chapter 1:6-7 Paul says; "Stir up the gift that is within you through the laying on of my hands ... a spirit of power, love and a sound mind".
In other words Timothy was a timid man but he got something that made him amazingly strong when Paul laid his hands on him and got something amazingly powerful that Paul put into him through the apostolic laying on of hands so that Timothy was standing up and starting to lead well but people didn't like that so intimidation was coming back on him and Paul was saying; "Stir up what you received through the laying on of my hands".
Here Philip goes down to Samaria and has the most amazing signs and wonders and miracles - the whole city filled with joy. The cripples and the paralysed were walking - demons coming out - people getting saved! Then the apostles come down and they don't start off with line upon line teaching.
They add MORE to the supernatural by the laying on of hands for the impartation of the Holy Spirit!
Here is Simon the sorcerer who had just got saved through seeing some amazing supernatural phenomeon and he had moved in psychic counterfeit demonic power and in counterfeit miracles and had impressed the village. But when Philip came down he was amazed at the power of God at work and then he sees the apostles come down and apostles lay their hands on the new converts and here is what it says; (v18); "When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of hands, he offered them money and said 'Give me also this ability'". There are many witchdoctors in Africa and some of them are cons but I have met many that are really moving in dark demonic power. I have heard from pretty good witnesss of some who could reverse the flow of a river. Their curses on people would have power. I never knew of any of those witchdoctors that came to us Christians and offered us money so they could have the power that when I lay my hands on people something happens that is so powerful!
Peter said "Your money perish with you - you will die and even if you repent" and he gets heavy on him.
A witchdoctor or a sorcerer is not going to be impressed with hands being laid on people and nothing happening! He MUST have seen SOMETHING. He must have seen the miracles that Philip did but now he is willing to offer money to get the power to lay hands on people and something is given to them!
Today you see people lay their hands on people and pray for the sick and nothing. We must recover what it means to lay hands on people. John G Lake came to South Africa in 1905 and in five years, 500 churches were planted. It is the biggest denomination in South Africa today and sadly some of it has gone into terrible heresy because unfortunately John G Lake didn't build a proper biblical wineskin and that is the sad legacy of the power without a proper wineskin. But in terms of the power - phenomenal power! Signs and wonders and miracles! When he got back to America they hooked him upto machinery and put all kinds of gadgets on him and saw electrical powers on him. He said; "Gentlemen the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is quickening my mortal body with life!".
One day he laid hands on someone who had a massive festering sore and they had to scrape the maggots of it. So he came in and laid hands on that person in one of their healing schools and he prayed these kinds of prayers; "You foul devil of infirmity - I curse you by the authority of heaven - let the lightning flashes of heaven break through and manifest the power of healing in this body!".
The person went off and two days later they got a telegram back from this person from another city. The open wound was completely healed miraculously! But there is a clear imprint burn-mark about 1mm deep and the full imprint of that hand over where that open wound was!
We don't understand! That was someone who knew how to impart something! That may not be what God wants as the norm but we have to raise the level of the miraculous impartation with the laying on of hands. I know that if I can get people to lower their resistance to the anointing and get it right down low then I know that; "Such as I have - I can give". I know that! The great One lives inside of us and in the Kingdom of heaven;
Wealth is not measured so much by what you have but how much you give away.
So in a sense I believe that when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, we ALL have the Spirit without measure! But that doesn't measure our wealth. What measures our wealth is how much we can give away. I love what Peter says; "Such as we HAVE - we GIVE to you". So if we can help lower people's resistance then when we help lay our hands on them - there comes an impartation that is so powerful it can heal any disease. What about unforgiveness and bitterness in their lives? I think we have gone too hard on that and said "People with unforgivness can't get healed". I know of people that got miraclously healed and they still were bitter! It is like God healed them and delivered them of their sins. Some need to confess their sins of bitterness but there is no formula or checklist! "Any unforgivenss or any bitterness in your life?". Then you don't get healed!
The 1st thing I am going for is to lower their resistance on their faith fuse. Because when the power of God comes into people, He can heal them of bitterness as much as He can drive cancer out their body! Some people don't have the power to get free from their bitterness! But when the power of God comes on them it destroys that root of bitterness that is defiling them and heals their body. I know sometimes that bitterness can block the power of God sometimes and be a resistance but I am not wanting to make a type category here. If we can lower their resistance and lay hands on them then great healings can take place.
I learnt this at what we called in Durban a, "New Africa Celebration". We did a protest against apartheid, sang songs about a new South Africa but we also wanted to see a demonstration of God's power. So I preached a message in this big hall with a whole load of unsaved people there and I preached on God's will to heal and God's desire to heal and called people forward. There was such a corporate anointing that I literally ran down this row just slapping people on the head! About 98% of people got flung back like a baseball bat had hit them on the head and it knocked them and the catchers over! I didn't ask them what their sickness was because you see - I don't have faith to open blind eyes or deaf ears or miracles of healing cripples. I HAVE faith to GIVE the power of God! And it makes it so much simpler! That took 30 seconds to run down this row and then an elder came to me with a woman screaming "I can see! I can see" and a totally blind eye had been opened! How long have you been blind? She said "I was born blind in that eye". I said "I am so glad that you didn't tell me that before I prayed for you".
What I am saying is that I had faith to IMPART the power and she had faith to RECEIVE it. The power of God is like a heat seeking missile and it went and did the job.
Another guy came up and said "I can hear! I can hear!". How long have you been deaf? "I was born without an ear drum!". I am so thankful I didn't know that either! Because if I had known about this ear or eye then I would have gone back to my secular university days and literally tried to work out how God was going to put an ear drum in there and how that would happen.
But I developed my faith in "Such as I have" and I laid my hands upon people and I expect power to go into them! And I had prepared them to receive power.
I have found in the last 20 years that if we don't prepare people with faith to receive then we get about 5-10% healed but if we teach the Word of God clearly then they can be raised up to about 80% and higher. Let me give you several things here and then we can close. Here is some of the things that happen when we lay hands on people and we need to raise expectations. I have watched in services and no one is prepared to EXPECT something to happen when hands are laid on. So you see begging and pleading but I don't see Jesus ever (and I could be wrong) begging the Father to heal people or even asking the Father to heal people. What I do see is Him commanding sickness to go and demons of infirmity to go and healing to come. He just commands it! When I see hands laid on and there is begging and pleading I just don't think it looks like the New Testament! Jesus said to His disicples; "Go to a village and tell them that the Kingdom of heaven is touchable and it is reachable and it is at hand and you can change the way you think - then lay hands on the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons". THAT simple! He is training them to prepare people to receive.
I think once we raise this doctrine of the laying on of hands we are going to see manifestations of God! Now I think laying on of hands is one of the lowest levels of the impartation of the supernatural. But I think if we don't get the lowest foundational Hebrews 6 doctrine right then we can't go on to the greater manifestations. We look at Peter laying hands on the cripple at the Gate Beautiful and him walking to 2 chapters later and his shadows heal the sick. I have watched when we have laid hands on a few in a meeting and suddenly the glory of God covers a whole meeting and suddenly you go into a higher level and people are getting healed in their chairs and we can go onto spitting on people's eyes! Waving clothes around! We can just speak and heal them with our words wrapped in the anointing and people get healed 200 meters back in the hall. But if we don't get the laying on of hands then we are not going to get very far.
The more we lay hands on people to impart the power of God the more we will see the corporate manifestation getting stronger.
Kathryn Kuhlman would go and stay in a hotel prior to a meeting and the people on the floor above and below her would get healed spontaneously even though they didn't know that she was in the hotel! I know of one very well documented case of her speaking at a Full Gospel Businessmen's meeting in a great forum and at the end the anointing was so strong on her and they took her out through the kitchen area so she wouldn't have to work her way out through the crowds and so as they escorted her through the kitchen area and these chefs and unsaved people in the kitchen area were falling under the power! Unsaved people just falling under the power! I think we have got to grow in the laying on of hands and then we can grow to higher levels of the greater manifestations.
Nine or ten things that happen with the laying on of hands:
1. There is an impartation of Supernatural Life.
We become supercharged with the life and vitality of almighty God. For some people it is like the divine defibrillators at work bringing them back to life! That is a heartbeat! Why can't we use a 10v battery? No some people need 10 000 volts to bring a revival into another level of the glory of God!
2. There is an impartation of a gift that makes us strong (Romans 11).
3. Vision can come.
There are five levels of vision and the highest is open vision in front of your very eyes and you can see things happening! I have had a few of those and mostly to do with my children. They used to get so angry! Both my sons got saved properly in their late teens! They were upto all kinds of nonsense although they are all serving God now. My son is a leader with us in Hong Kong and my daughter is a worship leader and my oldest son is serving God in Australia. They would try and get upto all kinds of naughty things. I would be at home worshipping and I would see a vision of my son Ryan and he is meant to be at school. And I would see him standing under a post smoking a cigaratte. So I would come home and Ryan would be there and I would say; "Ryan where were you this morning?" and he said; "Oh Dad I was at school". "No you weren't - you were standing up that post with a cigarette!". He said; "That's not fair - why does God tell on us! Why can't we get away with it!?". I said "Because He loves you and so do I!".
When you lay hands on some people they have instant vision. Revelations of God's plans and purposes for your life! An inward quiet impression is just as powerful as an open vision. Some of the most dramatic breakthroughs I have had, have not been with open vision but with quiet vision! Vision comes through the laying on of hands! People get caught up into the heavenly realm. I don't understand that - that has never happened to me but I have laid hands on people and mainly teenagers have seen the throne room! This is an amazing thing that ten to fifteen years later their lives are still changed. They saw something! I loved what Dave Holden said yesterday - don't try to catch the youth up with a whole load of entertainment to get them related to the church! They are so ready for the supernatural, the young people! When I first went to Australia, all the young people sat at the back cutting up the benches and talking to the girls. These were the youth! Within several months of releasing the power of God they were all near the front and all on the front rows turned unto God. They got under the defibrillator and said "God is real".
Trances are not just New Age - trances are also biblical. The devil is not a creator but a counterfeiter. We have so overreacted to the counterfeit that we withdraw from the genuine. I think it is Acts chapter 10 verse 10 and Peter fell into a trance! He saw things and it opened up the gospel in a wonderful way into Cornelius's home. How many of you have heard of Maria Woodworth-Etter? Amazing ministry. She was standing preaching in the United States and made a point and fell into a trance and was like that for 3 days. It was like her bodily functions were suspended. She stepped over into the realm of the glory. For 3 days! And after that she carried on with the end of her sentance and wondered why the crowd had grown! They reckoned that tens of thousands had come in those 3 days to come and see this lady frozen - a sign and a wonder and they felt the Presence of God was so sacred that they fell to their knees and repented and they reckoned that for a 100 mile radius the glory of God radiated around that whole region.
Many religious traditions would say; "That's demonic". We are so quick to label everything as demonic. It is easy to pick up when it is demonic! When it is demonic it draws attention to the fact that it is the flesh, it is irritating. When it is the glory of God it edifies you and makes you wonder. When God comes in signs and wonders - it is a wonder! What is the point? People realise God is real and it is sacred!
4. Healing both physical and emotions.
5. Darkness is removed.
Demonic presence is driven out and great peace and clarity comes. Because there were extremes in the deliverance ministry many years ago we kind of backed off casting out demons. I don't believe that any individual has a deliverance ministry. I would never categorise myself as that - I believe that ALL believers are to cast out demons. Soon as you classify yourself as having a deliverance ministry the devil says "Great I will send thousands of demonised people that don't want to be delivered to your house and destroy you and burn you out!". Your identity is not in casting demons out but in God's grace. We just cast demons out as a normal way of life! It is just the Kingdom of heaven breaking in!
6. Visitations of Jesus - intimacy, closeness with Jesus.
He becomes so real and His love becomes so real and it carries over into daily living. Many people live for the rest of their life carried by the wonder of that encounter of how real Jesus was.
7. Callings and Commissionings.
God first calls you and then He prepares you over days and weeks and months or even years and then He suddenly commissions you and activates the calling and from that moment we walk in the authority and anointing of that calling through the laying on of hands.
I don't believe someone can actually function properly as an elder unless apostles lay hands upon them - there is a missing ingredient.
8. Conferring Blessings.
"The rod of instruction drives out foolishness from the child". We never want to smack our children with our hands. I know that is a bit controversial issue today biut it says spare the rod and spoil the child. So we would never use our hands to smack our children but a rod.
Hands are not to punish - hands are to bless with. Hands are for conferring blessing, success, favour, promotion, prosperity and peace - all transferred by the laying on of hands.
9. Ordaining Leaders.
10. You bring relief and an impartation of rest.
It brings a relief from striving that can build up internally over days and even years. Often this pressure does not come out until the anointing accesses those areas like a safety valve being opened.
11. The Personality of the Holy Spirit rubs off on you.
The laying on of hands is not an immunisation. It doesn't guarantee you against challenges. But it sure is a powerful doctrine of the Bible that God wants to elevate to a whole new level of faith.