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A Biblical Case for Healing, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2022 7:05 am

A Biblical Case for Healing, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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September 15, 2022 7:05 am

Flying Closer to the Flame

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James, one of the apostles, wrote, Is anyone among you suffering? His answer was, Let him pray. And then he added, Is anyone among you sick? And his answer was, Let him, do you recall? Try some elixir?

Take a pill and get plenty of rest? Let me give you six statements by way of review lest you have forgotten them or have never heard them. They are all related and for that reason I want to repeat them now.

And I'll do them rather hurriedly because this is review. Primarily there are two types of sin. There is original sin, which we got from Adam, and there are personal sins which we commit. Original sin we're born with. We are sinners by nature. And because we have the sinful root within us, we act out in sinfulness.

Fruits in our daily lives. Second, original sin introduced sickness, suffering, and death. Had Adam and Eve never sinned, I am convinced they would never have known sickness, suffering, or that they would have ever died. But with the entrance of sin came sickness, disease, all kinds of human affliction, and the ultimate plague of life, and that is the reality of death. Number three, often there exists a direct relationship between personal sins and sickness.

David admitted finally when he came to the reality of his adultery and hypocrisy and the murder of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. He finally admitted to his sin and as a result he found himself getting well. Until then there had been an extended period of illness.

And heartache and guilt and shame. I believe the man suffered from insomnia. He struggled in his rulership over the nation Israel. There was a direct relationship between his sinfulness and the sickness that he went through. Number four, sometimes there is no relationship between personal sins and human afflictions. When the disciples happened along, a man who was born blind, they said, Lord, who sinned, him or his parents? And Jesus said, neither one sinned.

The man is not blind because somebody sinned. Sometimes there is no relationship between personal sins and affliction. Number five, there are occasions, get this, when it is not God's will that we be healed. Paul himself said, I prayed three times that I might be relieved. I believed of this thorn in the flesh and the Lord never relieved him of the thorn in the flesh.

I believe he died with some form of terrible eye disease, some form of ophthalmalia. It is not God's will that everyone be healed. And I think it is a weak theology that teaches otherwise. Number six, there are other times, however, when it is God's will that we be healed and he does so miraculously and immediately.

Be sure that you add those two words, for they go together. When God is involved in the healing, it is an immediate thing and it is a miraculous thing. Peter and John happened upon a man who was afflicted sitting beside the temple asking alms and he was hoping for a few shekels and they said to him, there's no money to be exchanged between us.

We have no money. Silver and gold we have done, but what we have, we give you in the name of Christ. Stand up and walk. And the man stood up and walked.

Immediately. Miraculously. And no one in that vicinity had ever seen him walk before and he walked and I'm convinced it stayed permanently a healing in his life. Now all of this prepares us for a wonderful passage of scripture in James chapter five. I'd like to have you open your Bible, if you will, to these thirteen through sixteen verses. This is verse thirteen of James five and I just kind of want to walk through the section with you and let you see with your own eyes the process a person goes through as a Christian when we get sick.

I think it might be a little bit eye-opening for some, a little bit reassuring for some. Let me read the verses. Five, verse thirteen of James. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Let him sing songs. Sing praises.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him. Anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. And the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven him. Therefore confess your sins one to another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Clearly James divides the people in the church into three categories.

Very simple division. It is certainly much more complicated than this but for the sake of the subject James speaks first to those who are suffering. See the word in verse thirteen. Is anyone among you suffering?

Let him pray. There's a period and there is not another piece of advice given to the sufferer. So this caused me to do a little word study on kakopathiah which is the term translated suffering and I found it's in this form only here in the New Testament and it is in one other form only three times and at each of the three times it is found in 2 Timothy Paul's last letter. And in those three times it is translated suffer hardship. It seemed as though the word means to be the brunt of mistreatment. To be suffering from persecution. From misunderstanding. To be suffering from hard times or difficult times.

It's not the same word as a physical disease. It is a word that means to suffer hardship. Individuals who experience persecution at work because of their faith are going through kakopathiah. They're going through a suffering. We're told pray. Pray for those people.

We're guaranteed that the suffering will stop apparently in the praying. New strength comes. Strength to endure. The ability to withstand hardship and hard times. So when such external difficulties occur the answer is pray. And I don't mean that to sound light.

I certainly don't take it that way. Any time scripture says pray I think we are tapping the source of maximum power. Lord intervene on behalf of this family or this individual or this couple. Take charge. Help me in my life Lord as I'm going through such and such. And he intervenes.

He takes charge. He by his grace brings relief. Now the second category is a happy category.

Is anyone cheerful? And there are always a few. Then let them sing praises. Let them sing praise.

We are not to hold back. I'm weary of Christian groups that feel it is sort of halfway carnal to have a great time and to laugh and to enjoy the blessings of God. I've been with couples who have been wonderfully blessed with prosperity and they want to treat it as though it's the best kept secret in the church. Don't tell anybody how nice we have it. Don't let anybody know that it's been a marvelous year for us.

Don't let the word out that our business is doing great. I mean like why not? Because in Christian circles that's looked down on. I mean there's got to be something wrong because of envy in so many people's lives. I hope you have come to the place of maturity in your life that the Lord can bless someone else abundantly without your need to feel that he must bless you the same before you can enjoy it. We have come upon terrible times when we are unable to give him praise for someone else's cheer and joy. He says, is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. Let it out. And now the subject at hand.

Is anyone among you sick? This is critical that we understand the meaning of the word and that we understand the process of the word. This word is astheno. It means to be weak, to be without strength.

It means to be disabled, to be incapacitated. It is like our friend on the airplane back in February of 75. So sick was he that they had to bring a wheelchair and put him on it so they could wheel him off of the plane. So sick was he he could not even take the meal that was served. So sick was he that he had to remain reclined throughout the trip once we took off.

It means to be set aside, incapacitated, unable to be up and around, unable to come to the place of worship and to enjoy fellowship with other believers. This person is sick. It's not a mild headache.

It's not a chronic backache. It is sick. Sick to the point of being unable to go to the elders but in fact he or she calls for the elders to come to him or to her. Now let's go through the step by step process and let's pay close attention to what God has written in his word. I'll give you three steps just as they appear here.

Not steps but parts of a process. First, the sick person takes the initiative. Is anyone among you sick? Let him, let the sick one call for the elders of the church. Sometime there are people who are sick in the church and the pastors are the last people to know about it and they feel left out. I should say the parishioner feels like the people don't care at that church when they've really never told anyone. Let me make it real clear that in no pastor study is there a massive crystal ball that has a computer within it that reads out all the names of an entire congregation on a daily basis and puts in neon lights those who are feeling badly.

I'm being facetious. There is no way for us to know anyone is sick if you don't let us know it. There is no way for anybody to know that you have need if you don't make them known. If you prefer not to, that's your business but don't blame anybody for it. If you are sick, if you are incapacitated, if you are unable to be up and around, then it is your move to take the initiative according to the scriptures.

Let him or her call for the elders of the church. Now watch closely. This is where it gets a little bit complicated. Number two, once they arrive, they carry out two functions according to what I read in verses 14 and 15.

Before describing those functions, let me point out the particular construction in the original Greek sentence that will help clarify this phrase in verse 14. Let me read it for you literally. Is anyone among or the prayer? The oil would precede the prayer. Okay, you say, well, what's the big deal? Well, it's a big deal.

Stay with me. As you see the passage unfold, you'll see the significance of it. There are two Greek words for anoint.

One always has a religious and ceremonial connotation. The Lord had David's head anointed with oil. It was a ceremony.

It was a preliminary statement. Before he came to the throne of Israel, his head was anointed with oil. However, you would never tell someone that you anointed your bike because it was squeaking or you anointed your child's tricycle with oil.

It has no religious connotation to it at all. Now of the two uses of words, it is the latter that is used here. So anointing is not really a good rendering. In extra biblical usage, this same term was used with reference to bathing when a person would rub soap and water onto the body. It was also used for giving a massage in a gymnasium, for rubbing the skin with oil for the purpose of loosening up, softening the muscles. The same term appears in ancient Greek documents and medical treatises for the use of oil for the purpose of medication. That's a major leap into an understanding of the passage.

Let me let it sink in. Medical treatises with reference to the application of proper medicine. I suggest that for today's use, it would refer to the proper use of medication and the assistance of appropriate professional help. How often this is rejected by alleged divine healers. They will tell you you do not need medical attention.

They will tell you that they are made available to us. I'll tell you how strongly I believe about it. I find it very hard to pray for someone who refuses to follow the doctors prescription. Who refuses to take the medication that he or she is given. It's all part of the healing process. Who refuses the therapy that is recommended by the doctors. The point here is that in those days elders, because there were not many medical doctors, saw to it that appropriate medication was given.

That the application of oil was applied to the body in whatever way they used to do it. It was all part of the healing process. This man has written in a book entitled, The Agony of Deceit, a marvelous statement in the chapter on faith, healing, and the sovereignty of God, from which I would wish to quote. Please listen to Dr. Coop's words. And by the way, I think just before I read that I should let you know something of his background as a medical doctor. He writes, a surprising number of Christians are convinced God will not be believed unless he makes tumors disappear.

Causes asthma to go away and pops eyes into empty sockets. But the gospel is accepted by God given faith, not by the guarantee that you will never be sick. Or if you are, that you will be miraculously healed. God is the Lord of healing, of growing, of weather, of transportation, of every other process. Yet people don't expect vegetables without plowing. They don't expect levitation instead of getting in a car and turning a key. Even for extraordinarily good and exceptional reasons. Although God could do all of this, Christian airline pilots do not fly straight into a thunderstorm after asking God for a safe corridor.

Although he could give them such safety. God could eliminate AIDS from our planet. While we pray for a speedy discovery of successful treatment, I must do all I can to employ medical science in its task, as all healthcare professionals must do. I speak on their behalf. They are not miracle workers. They are not healers. They cannot cure anything. God cures. God heals.

But they have been given training and wisdom and understanding, and many of them who are Christians have a full-orbed appreciation for the presence of God in the midst of the practice of their profession. Please, in your growth and faith, do not speak disparagingly of those in the medical profession, the medical fields. I say again, if it is stated in a passage such as this, it certainly should be applied in our day and age of advanced technology. Do I believe advanced technology heals?

Again, I must say, no. God heals. But in the process of finding relief, if I follow this instruction correctly, I would write to them and they make sure that proper medication has taken place and is being applied, and they were in the first century involved in it themselves. And then secondly, they were to pray. They were to pray fervently. They were to pray believingly. So the third thing I would write in our process of healing is specific results are left in the Lord's hands. Let them not disconnect verses 14 and 15. Let them pray over him having massaged, having poured in, having applied oil in the name of the Lord. That is a colloquialism in that day for the will of God. Have them place this on him doing it in the will of God. Have them pray in the will of God. And the prayer offered in faith when it is the will of God is the implication of the context.

You're the one who is sick. Don't yank that out of its context and then speak only of verse 15 without seeing 14 tied in with it. It's all a part of the same piece of biblical tapestry. The elders are praying over this person in the name of the Lord, that is invoking God's will, asking God's presence, God's blessing. There's much more to learn on this topic, so please stay with us. Chuck Swindoll is presenting what he calls a biblical case for healing, and this is Insight for Living. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. And then as a means for digging deeper on your own, we invite you to browse through the variety of free Bible study resources at your disposal. For instance, you've likely heard us mention the Searching the Scriptures studies that are online.

These are interactive, meaning you can type your thoughts directly into the document, or you can feel free to print out the PDF and use the notes during your personal quiet times. To access these Searching the Scriptures guides for Chuck's daily messages, go to insight.org slash studies. Bear in mind that while you're listening to Chuck's teaching today, you're joined with fellow listeners around the world.

Many of them are just learning how to walk with God, and some are hearing about God's Holy Spirit for the very first time. But there's a common thread woven through all the messages we receive, and it's one of gratitude. Let me share one of the notes we received. This listener said, Chuck, while I was stationed at Dover Air Force Base, a voice came across the radio that saved me from self-destructing. And then he adds, I'm tearing up thinking about how short my life could have been if you hadn't been there on that cold, rainy night. If I ever get the chance to meet you, I would love to thank you personally. But if we don't get a chance to meet on this side of glory, I'll be asking Jesus where you're sitting. Isn't that great?

One more person that God has saved by His grace. If you'd like to contribute right now, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

Or you can give a donation online by going to insight.org. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land using Word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life-changing.

In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 5-16, 2023. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's Word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's Table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and taught.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 5-16, 2023 and make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his message called, A Biblical Case for Healing, Friday on Insight for Living. A biblical case is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 18:55:46 / 2023-02-25 19:03:33 / 8

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