1. Ifelt very awkward and uneasy just being there. First heali1ng service I had ever been to and I was very skeptical about the whole thing. Heard about phonies who pretended there were healings when there were not This man from England was at our Saturday morning full gospel meeting to heal people. Almost felt like we were expecting a performance - focus on man not God. If God wanted people healed, why should he do so through this man? Healing part of the service began - I felt even more uneasy. He pointed to areas of the room and told us there were people with specific problems. A man with a stomach problem. A woman with chronic back pain . He prayed for them and claimed healing in the name of Jesus.
2. Were these people really healed? Was it a set-up, was it all in the power of the mind?- they thought they were. Henry had back prolems - I had know him for years - his pain was real. He was healed of a back problem -as time went on healing remained.
3. I have come to accept that God has given some people the gift of healing and that the miracle of healing does happen through them. Yet still uneasy, skeptical - for there are true healers and phonies.
4. Many of us are very skeptical when it comes to healing services. If someone is healed - we rationalize it away . Like the story of the child coming home from SS to tell his father about Moses at the Red Sea. Described how the Israelites had put down pontoon bridges for their jeeps to cross on. Then, as Pharaoh approached and his army came over the bridges, they were dynamited and the whole Egyptian army sank in one fell swoop. Father calmly asked the excited son if that was really the way it happened. Child's response was, "No, but if I told you what they really said at church, you sure wouldn't believe it."
5. Perhaps we believe that Jesus healed people when he walked upon this earth. May even believe what we read in the book of Acts -that the early apostles performed the miracle of healing. But we may find it hard to believe that the miracle of healing still takes place today. We are told in Corinthians that some people, like the man from England I experienced, have been given the gift of healing- God does heal through them.
6. But as we read in our scripture lesson today, God also performs the miracle of healing through the local church. Through the elders of the church and through you and me. It is our responsibility, our duty is as a church to provide a healing ministry to those in need. I believe this happens in different ways - word heals us of sin, bitterness, forgiveness, confession, counsel and encouragement.
7. These important but not our focus today. Today we focus on the words of James 5.
James 5:14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Again, we may feel uneasy about us being used for healing - if God wants to heal someone, He can do it directly. command the body to be healed, and as all of nature, the body has to obey Him. Or He can heal that person through a doctor. But to use the elders of the church - that makes us uneasy.
8. So much for our feelings - let's look at the word of God.
1. James presents 3 situations to us. Is Anyone..
2. 1st, James asks if anyone is in trouble. Experiencing some misfortune, some physical circumstance or personal situation that is causing us distress? Perhaps a financal problem, a worry, a problem with someone. What James is really looking at is the inner experience of having to endure misfortune rather than a specific problem. Our circumstances may create problems for us, but the real pain and turmoil is the inner struggle we face as we deal with things - our reaction rather than problem itself.
3. It is so easy to complain, to strike out at someone, or perhaps indulge in self-pity and quietly resign ourselves to our situation. James says that all of these responses are wrong. We must respond in prayer, asking God to help us with the trouble and then trusting that He will.
4. God, in repsonse to our prayer, may not always remove the problem but He most cerlainly will transform it by bringing any trouble . He will either remove it or give us a new perspective on the trouble - or give us strength to endure it.