"We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God..." Acts 14:15
When Paul and Barnabas preached, the favor of God was upon them. Paul had the ability to see spiritual hunger in a person, with his eyes of faith, and speak physical healing into the limbs of the same lame man. The argument will never end, over whether this kind of power has ended or continues to be manifested among God's people. The one thing that should never be in doubt is Paul's response to being used as an instrument of God's grace. He turned the focus on the living God, and away from himself.
I was raised to believe that the wise preacher will always give God's Spirit all the elbow room He wants, and not try to fit Him in a box. When the Holy Spirit is treated as a lap dog, on a short leash, His power does not diminish, but the usefulness of the preacher does.
The preacher's ability is limited only by His availability to be of use to The Spirit of God. The preacher who is full of himself will never be filled with the Spirit, no matter how much ability, education, eloquence, or experience he may have.
When any usefulness of a preacher is immediately hijacked as the means for self-adulation, or self-promotion, the Holy Spirit lifts God's hand of favor from the self-appointed expert. The Holy Spirit feels no obligation to inflate a preacher's delusion of grandeur. He moves God's hand upon any available preacher who is not in a self-deluded daze. This always results from preachers breathing their own ether.
Paul and Barnabas were relatively new at the missionary game, but in their earliest days of usefulness, they learned to GIVE GOD THE GLORY. They "preached the gospel." This meant that they called people to turn to the living God. Too many preachers believe God is alive, but preach as if He is dead. They talk about God in the past tense. Paul and Barnabas were convinced God was I AM, not I was. Preach it!
The gospel is good news to people who hunger and thirst to have a God shaped vacuum filled in their hearts. The lame man's terminal disease was not physical, but spiritual. Jesus knew this. When He healed people, Jesus often marveled at their unbelief. He still does.
"Faith healers" often forget that people who are healed without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, may not limp into hell, but they go there anyway. The Gospel was the focus of Paul and Barnabas, and it turned people to a living God.
Note to self: This kind of preaching also turned people to the rock pile. They threw stones at Paul, for preaching the saving grace of the gospel. Put on your helmet of salvation. You are going to need it.
"...with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them...but they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city." V. 18-19
Fame can be fleeting. Every preacher who experiences some portion of it, should memorize this statement. "THIS TOO WILL PASS!" The same crowd that sought to worship Paul was able to be whipped into a mob that tried to kill him. People can be fickle. Preachers who seek their sense of self-worth from a crowd of people will never find the peace that comes from being grounded in the favor of God.
Sometimes being grounded in peace comes from being face down in the dirt. "Supposing him to be dead...while the disciples stood around him, he (Paul) got up and entered the city." v. 20
Healing is an act of God. Make sure if God does it through you that you give all the glory to Him. Praying for healing is honorable. Trusting God for it is faithful. It may make a name for you on earth, but preaching the gospel will make difference in Heaven. Prayer and preaching bring Heaven and earth together at the junction of God's unction and man's dysfunction.
Spiritual healing trumps physical healing...EVERY TIME. Just ask Jesus.
"And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief." Mark 6: 5-6
Praying and preaching are the twin towers of The Gospel. Healing people physically and spiritually comes from God pouring out His favor on people who do both. Pray for your preacher. Preachers need it, and their people need the practice. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!