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Church = A Hospital


We live in a broken world, but our God is a God of restoration. The restoration that God is bringing to our world and to us individually, is a theme running through all the pages of Scripture. Therefore, the church should also be a place where people experience this healing and restoration – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Between the beauty of Eden and the perfection of the New Jerusalem, God is constantly at work to restore this world and to heal lives.

Let me take you on a quick journey through Scripture to show this, and then end by talking about how our church can be a place of healing and restoration.

Restoration in the OT – conditional promise

In the Old Testament, we find many passages that beautifully describe the restoration that happens when people turn away from their sinful ways and toward God. Often, these are promises God puts in the mouths of prophets in times of desperation, pointing them to a future of restoration following the people’s repentance.


Between the beauty of Eden and the perfection of the New Jerusalem, God is constantly at work to restore this world and to heal lives.

One of the best-known examples of this is found in 2 Chronicles. It is a promise of future restoration, when the people under the condition that the people will return to the Lord.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT) Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

In the Old Testament then, restoration is often a promise of something that will happen in the future under certain conditions.

Restoration in Jesus – a present reality

In the ministry of Jesus we see restoration coming in a different way.

When Jesus began His ministry, He did so by reading a specific passage from Isaiah in the midst of a crowded synagogue:

Luke 4:18-21 (NLT)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

that the blind will see,

that the oppressed will be set free,

and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

And after this He said: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

This is just an excerpt of a much longer chapter, full of the promise of restoration. The original passage in Isaiah 61 would continue to speak of beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and praise for despair.

It is a chapter full of the promise of restoration – and Jesus says that this is fulfilled in Him, because restoration is what happens when the Kingdom of God comes.

In the ministry of Jesus, restoration was more an invitation. Take a look with me at these verses.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus invites you to come and find restoration in Him. He went around healing people from their physical defects, but also offered healing for their souls, which was more of an invitation into a way of living than an event of supernatural instant healing.

Restoration in Revelation – an unconditional promise

In the final book of the Bible, we get a revelation of the future, when God will bring a final and complete restoration to the earth. When Christ comes again, He will make all things new, rid the earth of evil, wipe away every tear and install God’s rule and reign completely.

Restoration is something we can experience now, yet not in the completed sense of the new world of Revelation 21-22, but in the sense that the Kingdom of God is breaking into the here and now.

So, restoration in the Old Testament is a conditional promise, in the New Testament it is an invitation to a present reality and also an unconditional promise of the future.

What does this mean for the church in the time between Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension and His Second Coming?

Restoration in the Church – a mission

For the church, this means that restoration is our mission.

As Christians, we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Responding to His invitation to come and receive this restoration for ourselves first, we then become agents of restoration in this world. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can help others to find restoration and healing in Jesus – both physically and spiritually.

Therefore, the church is called to be a Hospital.


Church should be a place where people come in to experience the presence of God and receive the healing and restoration that God has for them now, and also point people towards the future reality of the restored earth when He comes again! It should be a place where what is wrong is set right, where was is sick is made better and what is broken is repaired. This is at the core of our mission as a church.

Shalom

The word I’ve used a lot so far is the word ‘restoration’. To restore means to ‘make complete’. There is a Biblical concept that relates closely to this idea: shalom.


Shalom means a complete wellbeing of body, soul and spirit; the way God intends it to be. In this sense, the restoration that God brings is a restoration to His purposes.

Shalom is what we experience when the Kingdom of God enters our lives.

The Church as a Hospital

In the remainder of this message, I want to briefly reflect on how we can be a church that is a place of physical and spiritual healing and restoration.

A place of physical healing

Wherever Jesus went, people were healed. There was nothing He couldn’t do. He would open the eyes of the blind, even those born blind. He would even raise the dead.

As disciples of Jesus, we are His apprentices. This means that we also can minister physical healing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We don’t have time today to explore all the details and guidelines right at this moment. If you would like to learn more about operating in the gifts of the Spirit, such as healing, I invite you to stay tuned because in the coming week we’ll announce the start of the School of Kingdom Ministry late September. This is a year-long program in which we explore both the theory and practice of operating in the gifts of the Spirit.

What I want to leave you with today is that God is still a God of miracles, and healing is still available to you today. If you are ill, we’d love to pray for you, believing that there is healing available to you today.

A place of spiritual healing

When we talk about healing and restoration, many of us immediately think about the healing of physical defects. After all, these are the most visible and noticeable healings.

Yet, I believe that much of Jesus’ ministry and also of the ministry of the church, is aimed at healing a deeper pain then any disease could cause – and that is the healing of the soul.

And this is what we experience when we engage in relationship with the living God and bring our lives under His Lordship. A deep restoration within. Often, this is not something that comes suddenly and in a spectacular way – yet, it is nonetheless supernatural.

This healing is sometimes experienced in a moment of peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of a crisis, and sometimes after a long process of crying, struggling and embracing God’s truth and comfort.

We’re not the doctors

As we talk about the church as a hospital, I do feel I need to make one final thing clear. We are not the doctors, Jesus is. And yes, our doctor is also letting us help to run the hospital, but ultimately, we are fellow patients recommending the best doctor in the world.

My prayer

This is my prayer for Vineyard Groningen:

I pray that we may continue to be a place where we can minister restoration to people.

I pray that we will always be open to receive the weak, the vulnerable and the lost.

I pray we will learn to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, baldly believing that God is able to do the impossible.

I pray that we will learn to operate in the comfort and sensitivity of the Holy Spirit, speaking words of life and restoration over people.

I pray that many will find physical and spiritual healing through the ministry of our people and that we will continue to seek God’s presence, experiencing His ongoing restoration over our own lives.

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