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Summary: James gives instructions for those who get sick which puts a responsibility upon the sick to let other members of the church know that they are sick and not to leave it up to others to find out about their sickness by accident.

INTRODUCTION #34

1. Open your bibles to James 5:14. Here, James ask the question: “Is anyone among you sick”? Let those of us who are not sick think about this question for a few moments.

2. Most all congregations have a large number on the sick list at all times. James’ question reminds those who are not sick that they have responsibilities to those who are sick.

3. It is important that the well and healthy members stay alert and attentive to the needs of those who are sick.

4. We need to call and send cards and make visits. If it is necessary we need to take food to them. We need to clean their house. We need to wash their clothes and their linen and their dishes.

(1) All of these things are to be done with their permission. However, we should not wait until they ask.

(2) We should volunteer to do these things and insist that the sick let us help them. If they agree then we should do these things with a cheerful and merry heart.

5. Each sick person will require different kinds of help. Some may need us to take them to appointments to their doctors. Some may need us to go pick up their medicine.

6. Each sick person is a person we definitely should pray for regularly and do whatever else is necessary to help them get well and be as comfortable as possible while that they are getting well.

7. James’ question, “Is anyone among you sick?” has brought to our attention many things that those who are healthy ought to do for the sick. However, interestingly, James’ question is followed up by James with some instructions for those who are sick.

8. Let’s begin our discussion of the instructions that James gives to the sick.

DISCUSSION

I. FIRST, JAMES 5:14a INSTRUCTS THE SICK TO CALL FOR THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH ONCE THEY GET SICK.

1. Let’s read James 5:14a, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church….”

(1) The word sick is different from the word suffering in verse 13. Sick in verse 14 refers to illness or bodily ailments.

(3) James instructs those who are sick to call for the elders of the church. Every congregation of the Lord’s people should strive to have qualified elders. However, many congregations don’t.

2. Who should the sick call if the church that they are a member of does not have elders?

(1) The sick could call a close friend or just any member of the church in the congregation and ask them to let the other members know of their sickness.

(2) The sick could call the preacher and/or the preacher’s wife and ask them to let the other members know of their sickness.

II. SECOND, JAMES 5:14b INFORMS THE SICK OF WHY THEY SHOULD LET THE ELDERS AND THOSE OF A LOCAL CONGREGATION KNOW THAT THEY ARE SICK – THE MAIN REASON IS TO REQUEST FOR PRAYERS ON THEIR BEHALF!

1. Let’s read James 5:14b, “and let them pray over him…”

(1) For a few moments we will skip over the phrase “anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord”.

(2) The statement, “let them pray over him” is not binding some special bodily position on the elders as the prayer is offered. To pray over someone is simply to pray for him [or her].

2. The Bible speaks of people, as they would pray, lying prostrate on the ground, standing up, kneeling down, etc., as they prayed; therefore, no special bodily position is the only position that one must be in before the prayers of the elders would be effective.

3. Today most people who pray for those who are sick will lay their hand on the body of the one that is sick, or they may hold the hand of the one who is sick. This is scriptural and yet one could pray just as effectively if they were required to stay at a distance from the sick person, due to the sick person being quarantined or other restrictions for not touching.

4. It is true that there are many bible examples of Jesus and the apostles praying for others with their hand on them or with them taking the other by the hand and yet we also have examples of Jesus and the apostles praying for others when they were not in the immediate presence of those who were sick. {Matt. 8:15; 9:18,25; 14:31; 19:13,15; Acts 3:7; 5:12; 9:41; 19:11}.

5. Turn to 2 Kings 20:1-7. This passage provides the example of Hezekiah being at the point of death. Isaiah the prophet is told by God to go tell Hezekiah that he is to get his house in order because he is going to die. Hezekiah immediately expresses repentance and humility and tears and pleads with God to remember his former faithfulness. God hears the prayer of Hezekiah and has Isaiah to go back and tell Hezekiah that he will be given fifteen more years to live. Let’s read this wonderful example of the power of prayer from 2 Kings 20:1-7, “1 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’” 2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”’” 7 Then Isaiah said, “Take a lump of figs.” So they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.”

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