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The Promises of God (Part 6)

Help for Our Healing

Scripture: James 5:13-20

I. Introduction: Instead of looking in books, we should study what the Bible tells us about the human body. God says a believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Our bodies do not belong to us because we have been purchased with the blood of Christ. Knowing this should motivate us to maintain good health so the Lord can use us as He desires. However, since we can’t always avoid sickness, we need to understand what the Bible tells us to do when we need healing.

II. Help for healing begins when we understand basic Biblical teaching on the subject. The Lord gives us a pattern to follow in James 5:13-20. First century believers didn’t have the pharmacies or doctors we rely on. Although God has blessed us with these tremendous resources, we are just as dependent upon Him for healing as they were. When we are ill, we should ask ourselves:

A. Is sickness a result of sin? Sometimes it’s due to personal sin, but not always.

B. Is it the Lord’s will to heal everyone? No, but there are times when it is.

C. What role do physicians play? God calls many of them to help. For instance, Paul often relied upon Luke, the beloved physician.

D. How should we respond when the Lord doesn’t heal us? Knowing He promises to work all things for our good, we can trust Him to accomplish His purpose, even through illness (Rom. 8:28).

E. Can unbelievers expect God to answer their prayers for healing? Since they don’t have a relationship with Him, He isn’t obligated to answer their prayers. However, He does extend mercy and give healing to draw people to the Savior.

F. Can sickness in the life of a believer be profitable? The psalmist testifies, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:71). Although no one enjoys affliction, the Lord uses it for His ultimate purpose—to shape us into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).

III. Healing should involve other people. The early church demonstrated interdependence, and their goal was to make sure everyone’s needs were met. The pattern James outlines is a way to make sure every member of the body of Christ receives the help they need. Believers must know:

A. They are to call for help. Whenever believers are struggling with physical or emotional problems, the first step is to seek help from elders (Acts 20:28).

B. There’s a course of action to follow. James clearly outlines the steps that should be taken by the elders and the person in need (James 5:14-15).

1. The sick person is to ask for help. Those who want to receive prayer for healing must be willing to ask for it.

2. The elders are to pray, anointing him with oil. Prayer is the most important element in healing. There is nothing magical about the oil; it was a form of treatment in the first century. However, it is a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

3. This is to be done in the name of the Lord. These actions are performed in obedience to the will of God and are an indication that the elders trust the Holy Spirit to work in the person’s body.

C. The person praying must meet certain criteria. Because God’s intervention is essential for healing, intercessors must be people of godly character. Nothing in their lives can prevent the Lord from hearing their prayers (James 5:15-16). They possess:

1. Hearts of faith. This means their prayers are based on the Word of God and in confidence that the Lord will do what He’s said.

2. Pure Hearts. Since sin is a barrier to the Lord’s blessings and hinders His work in a believer’s life, it must be dealt with before effective intercession can occur.

3. Righteous lifestyles. Every believer who’s committed to Christ and desires to walk obediently in His will can intercede for those in need.

D. Why don’t Christians follow this pattern? Despite the guidelines in the book of James, many Christians fail to apply them because of various misunderstandings and excuses:

1. They think this pattern only applied to the first century church.

2. They don’t believe it works today.

3. They’re too embarrassed to admit that they need help.

4. They’re too proud to ask for help.

5. They’re afraid to pray for others because their prayers might not be answered.

6. They’re too embarrassed to confess their sins to someone else.

7. They’re so consumed with their own needs they don’t have time to sympathize or pray for others.

8. They have sin in their lives and doubt that God can heal.

9. They don’t feel worthy to be used by the Lord.

10. It’s easier to send a card or flowers than to engage in serious prayer for others.

IV. Conclusion: Are you allowing the Lord to use you as an agent of healing in the family of God? Many people are going through difficulties and need someone to listen and pray for them. You don’t have to be a pastor or elder to be used by the Lord. If you’ll allow His Spirit to give you sensitivity to the hurting people around you and seek to become a person with a heart of faith and purity who has a righteous lifestyle, your effective prayers will accomplish much.

(Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)