Summary: Some things we need to do in order to receive healing. What are conditions to our receiving healing?
"When You Need Healing"
vs 14 "Is any sick among you..."
INTRODUCTION: The problem of sickness and disease was evident in Old and New Testament times just as it is today. There are examples of many kinds of treatment and resulting healings. Jesus devoted a great part of his ministry to healing people, and He used a variety of methods. Sometimes He just spoke a word, sometimes He laid hands on them. There was not a set pattern because He was dealing with many different types of personalities and needs that they brought to Him. Some people received from Him through the spoken words and others more readily through His touch. Some received when they were asked to DO something--to rise and pick up their beds and walk. One man had mud put on his blinded eyes, one woman touched the hem of his garment. James speaks of anointing the sick person with oil and praying over the person. Different things helped people to focus more clearly on the ONE who brought the healing. There was no magic in the mud or in the oil, but it helped people to grasp healing and make it a reality. In scripture oil was often used as a medicine--the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30 used oil when he bandaged up the wounds of the man lying along the roadside. It is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit--used to anoint kings. (I Samuel 16:1-13).
In the New Testament scripture, James asks a question, "Is any sick among you?" He followed up his question with some instructions to the sick person. He didn’t simply say, "I’m sorry. Nothing can be done about yur sickness. I’m afraid it’s terminal." No, he followed his question with some things that are still applicable for 21st century Christians. That means US.
The study of healing is such an extensive study, and it is something we need to be more knowledgable about. We need to read and make a study of it not only for ourselves but in order to help others who are experiencing illness. Today I want to focus on what we find in this particular scripture. How did James answer people who were sick and who needed to get well? There are three main things in this short scripture that I would like to point out.
1. ASK--First of all the sick person needed to ASK for prayer. Many people ASSUME that their pastor KNOWS that they are sick and in need of prayer, but this is not always the case. More than to make someone aware of the fact that someone is in the hospital, or is in need in some way, by asking for prayer a person takes the first step to acknowledgie his/her need for help. A person may ask his/her pastor or the leaders in the church or others for prayer. This is important. Scripture shows that when people SOUGHT OUT Jesus for a need that He listened to them and worked in the situation.
Many people do not bother to ask or take any kind of initiative. If someone else will do it for them, then itat;s another story. Have the church to pray. Ring up the preacher. I don’t go to church, but you can pray if you want to. Or some people feel like if God wants to heal me, He can do it. I’m not going to pray about it. Whatever will be will be. Sometimes in His mercy to people, He does exactly that, but usually the sick person has an active part in the process. Sometimes if a person has been in an accident or is in a coma and is unable to pray for himself/herself, others can carry that person in prayer, and it will move the hand of God in his/her behalf.
STORY: Accident victim lying in the middle of the highway. Nurse who stayed with him and prayed until the emergency van came.
Sometimes people who have not come to the Lord yet will depend upon others to carry them in prayer. This goes for little children also. If we have knowledge about God and healing, we are instructed to ASK for prayer. I often think we want to help people so much that we say, "Oh, I’ll pray for you" and the person is not always ready for it. Everybody who is sick does not WANT to be healed. Why?
1. Some people who are sick now would have to take on new RESPONSIBILITIES if they were well.
2. Some people who are sick now get ATTENTION. If they were well, they might not get the same attention.
STORY: A preacher’s wife--always sick. Her husband would give her lots of attention and cook and take care of the house and children. When the crisis was over, he was not giving her much attention and was spending more time with his parishioners. Then she would have another crisis and she would bring him back to her side. This was a way she was getting the attention she wanted. This went on for years and became their lifestyle.