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Prayer and Healing February 18 07

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Prayer and Healing

James 5

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Introduction: Open your Bibles to James Chapter 5 and let’s begin in verse " Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (James 5:13-20, NIV)

          Giving thanks to God, singing songs of praise, and prayer are all spiritual responses to all that life throws at us!  Are you in trouble? Pray! Are you happy? Sing songs of praise!  Are you sick? Call for the elders of the church to pray! Prayer and sickness!  Notice that James not only ties the two together—that when there is sickness we should pray, but he also establishes some other aspects with sickness—and that is sin, confession, and forgiveness. I confess every time I read this passage, I feel like I am in uncharted water. Because I understand there are a myriad of reasons for sickness— the world because of original sin is now full of diseases and sickness, Satan, self, generational issues.  I don’t understand them, but I know that we get sick—I also know that God heals sickness—the current passage and all the passages in the New Testament where Jesus and the disciples heal people.   Look at also Exodus 15:26.  "He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”" (Exodus 15:26, NIV) Healing and prayer just go together. And yet we know that never everyone who we pray for is healed!  All of us wonder about that—don’t we? 

Let me suggests some possible ways that we might look at this passage on praying for the sick.  I think what may be at issue is does this particular passage of Scripture refer to physical healing? If so, then the prayer of faith will heal the sick.  And if that is the case, why does James tie in sin, confession, and forgiveness?  The answer may be in how James uses the particular Greek word for “sick”.  It has two distinct meanings.  It first means—to be weak, feeble, without strength, to be in a state of incapacity—Acts 20:35 and Romans 4:19 Secondly, it can also be used for some one who is physically ill, to be sick—Matthew 10:8, Acts: 9:37, 2 Timothy 4:20. 

Let’s examine these ideas:

1.                             Sick means sick—a physical illness.  Call for the elders, anoint with oil, the prayer of faith heals the sick person.

2.                             Sick means weakness—can be moral weakness, any kind of sin that causes a person in the body to be ineffective and in a state of incapacity—unproductive in their Christian walk.  Call for the elders, confess the sin, forgiveness of the sin, anoint with oil, and the prayer of faith brings healing to the ineffectiveness of the person.

3.                             Sick means both ill and ineffective.  The illness is making the person unproductive. Elders, anointing, prayer of faith, confession, forgiveness, and healing takes place in terms of the person being healed of the incapacity to be a witness for Jesus,

The word for made well or saved is the word sozo (sodzo) To bring wholeness to, rescued from danger, to be made healthy from an illness.  Also means salvation (were saved, are saved, will be saved).

Healing is  immediately, eventually, or eternally!

Perfect body, enough money—quick fix society. Outside niceness.

What is it that is causing the sickness—which in turn produces an incapacity to serve and be ineffective and unproductive?  If so, understand that   Jesus wants to heal the cause of the unproductiveness—whatever that is—illness, sin—whatever it is?

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