November 6, 2016    James 5:13 – 18   Healing and Prayer  


     I believe that God is the God of miracles today.  I believe that God wants to heal today not because of me but because God delights in blessing his children.  God is a good, good Father.  Jesus told Martha in John 11 did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?   Let’s consider some verses on healing.  

     Exodus 15:26  He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”    Psalm 30:2  Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.   Psalm 103:3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,   Psalm 107:20  He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.    Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Isaiah 53:5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Hosea 11:3It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.  Hebrews 12:13Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 

   I am going to share the healings that Jesus did that Luke records.  Luke was a doctor and that is why I picked his gospel.  As you might expect Luke records the more healings than any of the other gospel writers.    Luke 4 starting with verse 31 Jesus drives out an evil spirit.  In Luke 4 starting with verse 38 Jesus heals Simon’s mother in law and people brought all who were sick and Jesus laid his hands on the sick and healed them and cast out demons.  In Luke 5:12 and on Jesus heals a man with Leprosy.  In Luke 5:17 and following Jesus heals a paralytic and forgives his sin. Luke 6:6 to verse 10 Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand.   Luke 6:17 and on people came to him from various places and sought to touch him because power was coming out of him to heal them all and those troubled by evil spirits were healed.  In Luke 7:1 on Jesus heals the centurion’s servant. 

    Starting in Luke 7:11 Jesus raises the widow’s son.  Luke 7:21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.  Beginning in verse 8:26 the demon possessed man from Gadera was set free.  Starting in verse 8:40 Jesus raises up the dead girl and heals the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years.  In Luke 9 Jesus heals the boy with an evil spirit.  In Luke 10 Jesus gives power to the 72 to heal and to cast out demons.  In Luke 11 Jesus casts out a demon who caused a man to be mute.  In Luke 13 a crippled woman healed on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees did not like him working on the Sabbath but all he did was put his hands on her and tell her you are set free from your infirmity.  In Luke 14:1 to 4 a man healed of dropsy which is abnormal collection of fluid in the body or what we call edema.  In Luke 17 the 10 lepers were healed.      In Luke 18 the blind beggar receives his sight.  Jesus tells him your faith has healed you.   In Luke 22:50 & 51 he restores the high priest’s servants ear that Peter had cut off. 

    That is pretty neat I think.  Jesus is the same today.  He continues to heal today.  Jesus has not changed.  Jesus still does miracles today.  In the Old Testament in II Kings 3 the Children of Israel needed a miracle and God provided water for them and delivered their enemies to them.  Elisha said this is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord.  GOD DOES NOT HAVE TO WORK HARD TO DO SOMETHING.  MIRACLES ARE EASY FOR GOD.  I think the hard thing is for us to believe.  In Acts 14 we read in Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked.   He listened to Paul as he was speaking.  Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.   Your faith is really important.  Jesus talked about faith like a mustard seed which is a little seed.   A number of times Jesus said your faith has made you whole or your faith has saved you. 

    In James 5:13 we read is any of you in trouble?   There was trouble in those days and guess what there is trouble in our days.  We are troubled.  The trouble can be emotional, physical, financial, mental, health or other people issues.  Sometimes it is personal and sometimes we are troubled and concerned about others.  God does not say what kind of trouble.  If we are troubled about something I think it falls into the category of trouble.  I suppose it can be just about anything.  If you have trouble or are troubled God invites you to pray.  The troubled person should pray.  Prayer might be the last thing we do but God tells us to pray.  That is the first thing we should do.  In the next book after James in I Peter 5:7 we read in the amplified bible casting the whole of your care – all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all – on Him for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.  I think that covers most things in our life.  God cares for you affectionately.  He is involved and watching all of us.  Trouble and cares should point us to God.   We need to seek God with all our heart and He can be found.  In verse 17 we see that Elijah prayed fervently and God responded to him.  God responds to fervent prayer.  I believe when we pray fervently we pray in faith and God responds to faith.      Also in verse 13 the bible tells us if we are happy we should rejoice and sing songs of praise. 

   In verse 14 the question is asked is any among you sick?   T hey should call on the elders of the church to pray and anoint them with oil.  Verse 16 tells us to confess sin and pray for one another.  During the healing service we all need to be in prayer for each other.   A person may have sickness and trouble and not be in sin.  The blind man in John 9 is an example of someone who was blind not because he was in sin.   He was blind for the glory of God.    Paul had his thorn in the flesh that God used to humble him but it was not the result of Paul sinning.  God told Paul that God’s grace was sufficient for him and that his power is made perf3ect in weakness.  Paul then welcomed his weakness.  We need to be careful and not critical of others when things are difficult.   I am reminded of reading once where a tornado went through a town and ruined the deacon’s home.  The deacon called the pastor who was traveling and told him.  The pastor said I have warned you about this thing in your life.  Then the deacon told him the tornado destroyed your home also.   Job is another example.  He was righteous man who suffered.   Jesus was sinless and he suffered.   Some people are born with things before they became accountable for sin. Scripture here tells us that we need to pray for one another.  God is the righteous judge.  Let him deal with the judging. 

    What is the result of the elders anointing and praying?  The bible tells us that they will be healed.      This is a tough passage here.   Does that mean that God wants every person healed?   Does God want all deformity to be restored?    Does God want every blind person to see?   If so we are dropping the ball because it is not happening.  Warren Wiersbe tells of 2 sick people who were in his church and they were prayed for in the same week.  One of them was restored almost miraculously and the other had to have surgery and later passed away.   Certainly it is not the elders who heal the person.   It is not the oil that heals the person.   It is not the prayer that heals the person.   It is not the doctors or the medicine that heal the person.   I would say that doctor’s assist but ultimately it is God who heals.  While these things may help first and foremost we look to God

      I am not going to say everyone is healed immediately.  If several come forward today we should expect God to heal them.   He does it in his time.   Tyler Clarensau, fifteen, shuffled to the altar in Park Crest Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, to ask for healing.  The surgery he’d had to correct his malformed knee joints had left him with swelling and terrible pain.  Forty Pentecostal teenagers formed a circle around Clarensau and began to pray.   Gradually, the whole congregation joined in.   Some forty-five minutes later, silence fell.   Then one of the church volunteers announced that God had healed Clarensau.    Clarensau shakily stood up, then did deep knee bends — something he hadn’t accomplished in years.  Today Clarensau can walk — even run. “I’d heard about people getting healed,” he says. “I thought it was pretty cool.  But I didn’t know for sure about such healing until it happened to me.”News Week May 1, 2000.  The healing service today may last one or 2 hours today.   Some folks may think well I come up and they pray and anoint and then I leave.  God works in his time.  

      Jesus at times would heal and then warn them not to continue in sin.   The sickness could have something to do with their sin.  The bible is clear that we reap what we sow.    Paul tells the Corinthians that some of them were sick and some had fallen asleep or died because of the way they acted at communion time.    But God’s goal is to restore wholeness to his creation and that also means man.   That includes our bodies and full restoration and redemption will not come until the end time.   I do not believe that believers can always expect perfect health.   Handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul were passed to sick people who were healed and evil spirits left them.   But to Timothy he encouraged a little wine to help settle his stomach.   As Christians we certainly believe in God’s ability to heal and we claim that in many cases.   God desires to heal.   But God looks for faith and without faith it is impossible to believe God.    

    Well it is interesting that James talks about sin here.  James talks about confession.   If the sickness is the result of sin and the sin is confessed and repented of and people pray in faith then God will restore the person.   The prayer of faith will be heard by God and God will restore them.  If you remove the situation (sin) that is causing the sickness then healing and restoration should come.   Perhaps at times God may have something else in mind.   We like to put God in a box.  I think we need to discern what God wants us to do. 

    This is an interesting and encouraging report for a church in Washing State.  Cindy Riches shares our friend Debbie was dying of leukemia at a cancer center in Seattle.   She had slipped into a coma.  Her two adult children had flown in to say their good-byes.  Now her husband invited me to come and pray.  I asked a friend to drive with me to Seattle.  As we drove, John 14:12 – 14 ran through my mind: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.   He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Could we really do the things Jesus did?   Would he really do the things we asked in his name?  At the hospital we approached Debbie’s bed. I silently asked the Lord what to pray.   Debbie was a sad sight.  What I was about to pray seemed impossible. Nevertheless, I prayed, “LORD, I COME TO YOU BASED ON THE AUTHORITY AND POWER YOU HAVE GIVEN ME BECAUSE OF JESUS.   Jesus, you said we would do even greater things because of your power in us.   You told me in John 15 that if I abide in you and your words abide in me, I can ask anything and it will be granted.  So, right now, in the name and authority of Jesus in me, I rebuke the cancer and death.   In Jesus’ name I pronounce healing and abundant life.”

    We left the hospital and drove home.   Debbie continued to be on my mind, but I also knew the Lord had heard my prayer. A week later my phone rang.   It was Debbie.  She had awakened from her coma and asked the medical team to unhook her life support.  She was told that I had visited her several days before and had prayed for her. “Would you please come back?” she asked.  So the next day I drove back to Seattle to see what the Lord had done.  Debbie — alert and smiling — told me the story.  For three days after we prayed for her, while still in a coma, she sensed that an angel was standing by her bed.  On the third day she woke up and knew that the Lord had completely healed her. The doctors’ tests showed no sign of any cancer whatsoever.   We shared the gospel with her family.   As a result of Debbie’s healing, her son and his wife received Christ and are now joyfully serving him.  Four years later, Debbie is still in remission.  Clover Creek Bible Fellowship, Tacoma, Washington.   God is still doing miracles. 

    Here is another story.    In April 2000, my son Nathan was in a near-fatal car accident while trying to avoid a deer. When he arrived at the hospital, he had a broken leg, spinal cord damage, numerous lacerations, and a collapsed lung. To stabilize him, doctors put him into a drug-induced coma.   Nathan was in a coma for four days, but when the drugs were discontinued, he didn’t come out of the coma. That night I prayed and read the Bible to Nathan, repeating the words Jesus said to Lazarus: “Come forth.” I told him, “You’ve got to fight. You’ve got to wake up.”  The next morning he came out of the coma. We were beside ourselves with joy.  But the spinal cord damage was a major concern. Nathan had a fracture in his neck, the same vertebra that actor Christopher Reeve had injured several years ago. The doctors gave Nathan a protective neck collar to prevent further separation of the vertebrae. He was in danger of full or partial paralysis. 

     For two weeks Nathan prayed earnestly for healing. One night as he was falling asleep, he heard and felt a popping in his neck. The next morning physicians performed three sets of X-rays to see if the vertebrae were continuing to separate. Instead, the tests showed that the vertebrae had fused back together. The doctors were stunned; there was no medical explanation for the healing.  Three months after the accident, doctors cleared Nathan to resume his participation in athletics, including football, wrestling, and track and field.  Pentecostal Evangel   

      I think there are things that can hinder healing.  Matthew 18 and other passages warn us against unforgiveness.  If you have unforgiveness in your heart there is a good chance God is not going to heal you.  Faith is very important.  Confessing sins is important.  Jesus said if you had faith the size of a mustard seed.  From what I read it would take 45 or so seeds to make up an inch.   Some may say I do not have much faith.   Jesus responded to the father who said I believe help my unbelief.  Come with the faith that you have.  We can ask God.   Let’s remove things that may hinder the Lord form healing us and at the same time be reminded that it is not the elders, not the anointing oil, not our prayers which are good and important but God is the healer.  I believe that God does not want Shellie’s arm to shrivel up.  God will heal her.  God wants to use her.  God has given her talent to lead people in worship and I believe he will restore her arm.  I believe God wants to heal people today.    WE COME ON THE AUTHORITY AND POWER YOU HAVE GIVEN US BECAUSE OF JESUS.