Summary: God say if we want healing then we need to do as instructed.
Brothers and sisters as I look around and see the situation that we are in today, abroad and here at home. We just recently remembered the events of 9-11 from two years ago. We are in the midst of wars and rumors of wars, kidnappings and killings, downfall of corporate entities, political posturing, terrorist attacks; it causes me to wonder what can be done. It makes me think what will it take to stop the downward spiral that this world is in. I mediate on how can we pull out of the nosedive that we find ourselves in.
What will it take to become the people we once were? This morning I believe that I have the answer. And I believe that the answer is in the word “if.” Some of you may say, “pastor I’ve heard this sermon before”, which may be true. But it seems that even though we have heard it and many others also, we still aren’t putting it into action. My bible says in James 2:26-faith without works is dead. Just for a few moments this morning I want to talk to you about “if”.
If, one of the smallest words in the English language, yet can have some of the biggest effects on or in a person’s life. The dictionary defines “if” as the cause or reason or motive for something to happen. “If”, is the word that evokes a response for action. The word “if” is considered the cause portion of the cause and effect in English grammar. When “if” statements are used, they are generally followed by “then” statements, which are the effect part of the cause and effect.
The “then” statement tell what can or will happen do to fulfilling the “if” statement. An example of this is seen in our text this morning. God said, if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Notice that the Lord said, “His people.” And called by “His name.” God was only stating that if anyone is going to turn around, it should first begin with those who consider themselves children of God.
The word “if” is a conditional word. It gives a condition that must be fulfilled before a result is seen. God’s conditions were for his people to become humble, pray, seek his face and turn from their wicked ways.
The result or benefit or gain was that then would god hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land. We must realize that god has conditions to be fulfilled before he does his work. One of god’s conditions is humbleness. Pride only leads to destruction. Jesus says in Matthew 18:3, “unless you become as little children, Ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Humbleness, as defined by the new Webster’s dictionary, is having or possessing the virtue of humility.
Humility, as defined by nelson’s bible dictionary, Is a freedom from arrogance that grows out of the recognition that all that we are and have comes from God. Some look at humbleness as a sign of weakness or worthlessness. But this is not the meaning that the bible gives. Biblical humility is not a belittling of oneself, but an exalting and praising of others.
It is recognition that by ourselves we are nothing, but because we are created by God and in his image and are believers in Christ, we have infinite worth and value.
True humbleness does not produce pride but thankfulness. Humbleness is a condition that god requires. God also wants prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with god. James 5:16 says, “ the effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Prayer is our way of expressing our thanks, supplications, our adoration, and our confession to god. When we sincerely pray, bodies are healed, walls are torn down and people are lifted up. God wants us to be in constant communication with him.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray without ceasing”. God wants us to pray. God wants the people to seek his face. God wants total commitment. God wants to lead the path of the people. Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek ye first the kingdom of god and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Yes, the things that you tried to attain but couldn’t; was God sought first? The decisions that were made but turned out to be the wrong one; was god sought first?
Do you make god first in everything you do? Seeking god first is just like a ship in a storm being guided to shore by the light from the lighthouse.