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The Power Of Prayer

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:11
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MAY 20, 2020 STUDY NOTES JAMES 5:14 BIBLE TEACHER: CLIFTON JONES THE POWER OF PRAYER Most Bible scholars admit that James 5:14-15 are difficult to interpret Interpretations vary among scholars and result in various applications of their interpretation Some popular Bible teachers argue that James is not talking about physical healing at all That his teaching concerns Christians who are spiritually weak and need spiritual restoration Listen to the message, study it, pray about it, and come to your conclusion Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? 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: Do Christians ever get sick? How many Christians do you know that are physically afflicted? Is there ever a time when we have prayer requests that the sick, are not mentioned? There is always someone among our church family and friends that are sick Just like in the previous verse James does not ask the question to find an answer He already knows the answer, he knows that Christians do get sick James also knows the answer when Christians get sick Many religious leaders today cause a great deal of confusion concerning sickness Teaching that Christians are not supposed to get sick or be physically diseased Some go so far to say that if the Christian is not healed of their sickness-They have a lack of faith or an unconfessed sin and are out of the will of God Then when Christians, who follow their teachings get sick, they experience defeat They feel guilty, they become mentally and spiritually discouraged, they face depression And that is the very opposite state of what James just described in the previous verse Regardless of our current circumstances of life or our present health, we must rejoice in Jesus So why do Christians get sick? Because we live in the same world that everyone else lives in All suffering, physical and otherwise, is a result of original sin inherited from Adam The same is true for physical death, Christians are not healed from every cause of physical death Christians die from physical diseases just like the lost do and it is not because of a lack of faith Just as sure as you are going to experience death, you will also experience sickness All sickness is not due to personal sin, Joh 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. His blindness was not caused by a specific sin, it like all other needs revealed our need for God The word translated “sick” means “To be without strength,” to be weak and feeble It is used to refer to any kind of weakness, it can be mental, moral, physical, or spiritual Physical sickness often awakens the spiritual weakness in a person When people get seriously sick, they seriously search their spiritual life and seek God’s help People who were sick with serious diseases were brought to Jesus for healing, Mar 6:56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. Jesus graciously healed them as they exercised faith in Him by touching Him Jesus is the One who heals, Luk 4:40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. (Here it was Jesus who touched them) When Jesus sent out His disciples, He said, “Heal the sick,” Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. The word translated “sick” is the same word James used in James 5:14 John applied the word that James used to those who were sick in general, Joh 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on “them that were diseased” (same word) It is important to see how the word translated “sick” is used in the NT It is found 14 times in the Gospel accounts referring to “physical sickness” In Acts we find the sickness and death of Tabitha, Act 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. Act 9:37 And it came to pass in those days, that she “was sick,” and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. In the NT Letters, there are three references which refer to “physical sickness” Paul spoke of the sickness of Epaphroditus, Php 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that “he had been sick” Php 2:27 For indeed “he was sick” nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Paul also spoke of the sickness of Trophimus, 2Ti 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletus “sick” Elsewhere in the Epistles the word is used to refer to emotional or spiritual weakness, Act 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the “weak,” and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Rom 4:19 And “being not weak” in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that “it was weak” through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Rom 14:1 “Him that is weak” in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, “who is weak,” eateth herbs. 1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them “that are weak.” 1Co 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the “weak” brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1Co 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their “weak” conscience, ye sin against Christ. 2Co 11:21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we “had been weak.” Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 2Co 11:29 Who “is weak,” and “I am not weak?” who is offended, and I burn not? 2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when “I am weak,” then am I strong. Paul speaks of the weakness that comes through the various difficulties of daily life, 2Co 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward “is not weak,” but is mighty in you. 2Co 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also “are weak” in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. So, the word translated “sick” in James 5:14 is often used in-reference to those who are: Emotionally, mentally, or spiritually weak In each state the Christian can become despondent, depressed, and defeated In such a state of mind, many lose their desire for prayer, Bible study, and church attendance They hit bottom spiritually and will then began to follow the old ways of life Paul had those people in mind in, 1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. “Warn” means “to give instructions” Those instructions must come from a heart of concern for their spiritual welfare It means guide them and encourage them to do what is right according to God’s Word “Unruly” refers to those who are neglecting their Christian duties They are spiritually lazy, spiritually idle, and not serious about their Christian life They are like a soldier marching out of step with the rest of the troop We must step up beside those Christians and help them to get back in line The word translated “feebleminded” does not refer to those who have a mental problem It refers to those who have a “spiritual problem,” the word means “of little soul” It refers to those who are “fainthearted,” they are feeble or fretful spiritually There are those who are easily worried, easily discouraged, and they give up in a hurry They need “comfort,” they need the guidance of God’s Word They need “Kind words” from God’s Word, convincing words that they can do it So, the “weak” are the Christians who need to be strengthened spiritually The first chapter of James warned us that Christians could be defeated spiritually There are Christians who find themselves defeated spiritually through various trials James instructed us, Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Which describes a Christian life that is sound and solid, a life that has it all together In-order to do that, we are to call upon God, Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Now in James 5:14, we are told to also call upon our Church Family That reveals to us how important a spiritual Church Family really is If you have a specific need, call upon the church to pray for you let him call for the elders of the church; Pay attention to the order of events that James outlines “Let him” indicates that the sick one is to take the initial step it is their duty to call He is to “call,” the word “call” means to summon someone to your side, “to call alongside” He is to “call for the elders of the church,” the elders are to go to the one who is sick The “Elders” represent those who are spiritually strong and spiritually mature A spiritual maturity that has come through a living experience with the Lord They are the ones who are accustomed to praying, those who believe in and practice prayer It is important that a church leader is a person of prayer The “Elders” are those who have experienced “Victory In Jesus” They are the ones to “call,” call them to come to your side The responsibility of the “Elders” is the same thought found in, Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. This is one of the most neglected ministries of the church today There is a need and a place for professional counseling today But that which needs to be “in place” is prayer, God’s Word, and Christian fellowship We find that importance in the early church, Act 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. The ministry of the church is versified, every Christian is gifted to serve God in some way There must be those committed to prayer and study of God’s Word, Act 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. So, James and Paul give us examples of why it is so important to have spiritual church leaders It is important to have a Church Family that you can call upon It is sad when a minister gets a call from a troubled family that he does not know They call him because they do not have a Church Family We all need a Church Family that we know and that knows us A Church Family that can and will pray for us and with us, and minister to our needs and let them pray over him, The sick, those unable to come to the church, are to call the church Elders to pray for them Prayer is the most important thing that the elders can do, at church or with the sick Those who are sick should always call upon the church family to pray for them The strongest emphasis upon this passage is prayer The Elders are to pray “over him,” that probably refers to a physical touch in some way Maybe by hands laid upon the sick, or hands extended over the sick It could be hands joined-together with the sick and the Elders (a circle around the bed) The physical touch represents a united purpose and a united faith in God It is one thing to say to someone, “I am praying for you” But it is much more meaningful to that person to physical touch them as you pray When they can see you, hear you, and feel you, prayer will strongly touch their heart Your touch upon them identifies with your concern for them It also gives them an assurance of your trust in the promises of God Everything the Elders were to do was to be accompanied with prayer Prayer was to accompany the “anointing with oil” But what does the “anointing with oil” mean? anointing him with oil There are two different Greek words translated “anoint” in the NT Many Bible scholars identify a contrast between the two They say that the word that James uses here is the general term for “anointing” It is the term used for the anointing of any kind, meaning “oiling with oil” The thought then would be rubbing the sick with oil That view teaches that the anointing with oil was a medical procedure The conclusion is that the rubbing with oil had a medicinal purpose An example is found in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luk 10:34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The Good Samaritan applied oil and wine to the wounds of the injured man for healing Oil was used as a medical treatment in those days by rubbing the body with olive oil So, some believe that James is prescribing prayer and medicine for the sick Teaching that both prayer and medical treatment should be provided for the sick They say that the word James uses, is never used in the NT in a “sacred sense” They also say that the other Greek word is used only in a “sacred sense” Which is commonly used of “sacred anointing” and James did not use this word in verse 14 But it is doubtful that such a distinction between the two words can always be found Look at the word that James uses in verse 14, how is it used in other verses? It describes anointing one’s head with oil, Mat 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, Anoint thine head, and wash thy face; (this reference is not for a medicinal purpose) It identifies with a person’s desire to be obedient to God’s will, to be concerned spiritually A woman in a Pharisee’s house anoints the feet of Jesus, Luk 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Jesus explained her actions, Luk 7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. Luk 7:46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. (again, it does not refer to a medicinal purpose) Anointing the head with oil was a way of welcome, a showing of hospitality Anointing the feet was an act of love and appreciation for what Jesus had done for her Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, Joh 11:2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Joh 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Anointing the feet of Jesus was a way of showing her love and devotion for Jesus Women came to anoint the dead body of Jesus, Mar 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. The Jewish people did not embalm their dead like the Egyptians did Anointing the body was an act of love, a symbolic expression of loving devotion Jesus sent out His disciples and they anointed the sick with oil, Mar 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. The disciples were not sent out to be doctors, they did not represent the works of man They were gifted to identify with the power of Jesus The anointing with oil represented the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in them So, we must agree that the word is used for anointing in different ways, and in a general way But it cannot be stated that it is never used in a sacred sense It seems to be related to the desire to be united with the Presence and Power of Jesus “With Oil,” the oil that was used was “Olive Oil,” it came from the fruit of the Olive tree In that day it was used for a number-of purposes, for cooking, lighting, and medicinal purposes I believe it was also a symbol of the blessings of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit No verse indicates that there is healing power within the Olive Oil In Mark 6:13, the healing power was not in the oil, it was within the disciples Their power and authority had been given them from Jesus Himself, Mar 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; The power to cast out demons and the power to heal was of the same authority The promise of healing is not attributed to the sacred qualities of the oil Jesus once used clay in a miraculous way, Joh 9:6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, Joh 9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The healing power was not in the clay, but in Christ Himself The man who had received his sight did not understand it all, but there was one thing he knew, Joh 9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. After the resurrection of Christ, the disciples continued to have the power of healing But there is no mention of anointing with oil, Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. The Apostles healing ministry in Acts makes no reference to anointing with oil, Act 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. Act 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. Immediate describes miraculous healing and there is no mention of anointing with oil, Act 9:34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. Paul looked at a lame man and commanded him to stand up and walk, Act 14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: Act 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Act 14:10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. Compare the healing of the lame man with the healings described in, Act 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. Act 28:9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: Scripture reveals only one set pattern of divine healing, Jesus is the Divine Healer The power to heal came from Jesus, it was according to His power and authority That power and authority of Jesus is represented in the “Name of Jesus,” Act 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. Exactly what James says next, in the name of the Lord: This expression, “in the name of the Lord,” means more than the conclusion to a prayer Almost every prayer you speak or hear is concluded with, “in the name of Jesus” A “Name” designates someone in a special way, it identifies them in a unique way The characteristics of the person is identified with their “Name,” the “name” is the revelation of a person “In the name of the Lord” represents the total person of Jesus It identifies with all that Jesus has done, all that He can do and all that He will do To claim the name of Jesus is to believe in the total Person and Work of Jesus It is a declaration of faith in the Person of Jesus James makes it clear that his promises are not based upon the power of man His promise is not based upon the power of the anointing with oil The power for healing was in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ Healing is according to the will of God and by the authority of Jesus Christ Healing will only be through the Person and work of Jesus The disciples recognized the power and authority of the name of Jesus, Luk 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. Paul commanded a demon in the name of Jesus, Act 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. All that we say and do is to identify with who Jesus is, Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Peter explained that the miracle of healing was in the name of Jesus, Act 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? Act 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. We are to pray in the name of Jesus, Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Our prayers are not to be for selfish reasons, but according to His purpose for our life Prayer should never be a desire for something that is outside of the “Will of God” When we say, “in the Name of the Lord,” we are saying, “thou will be done” Our prayer should be that our life will be lived in a way that will glorify God That is what James is telling us, “To God be the Glory” Whether God heals us physically or not, our life is still to honor and glorify God UNDERSTANDING VERSES 13 &14 (Thoughts that come from these verses) Christians do get sick and not necessarily because of personal sin Many Godly Christians who are living a faithful Christian life are sick and diseased When people get seriously sick, they often seriously search their spiritual life Because of physical weakness, many grow spiritually weak The word “sick” can apply to physical, emotional, or spiritual weakness A Church Family is to minister to those who are sick, physically, or spiritually We do that through prayer and God’s Word to comfort, strengthen, and encourage the sick This passage does not commit to the church, what is called today, a “ministry of healing” It does not authorize the church to conduct miraculous healing services Anointing with oil does not release the sick from medical treatment God will not punish you for going to see the doctor The power of healing is not in the oil, the oil is not mentioned in verse 15 The Apostles healing ministry in Acts makes no reference to “anointing with oil” We will learn from verse 15 that the power to heal belongs to God The oil identifies with our faith, it is an agent to identify with our faith in God It is a symbol of our Faith in the “Name of Jesus,” faith in the touch of God upon our life Showing that we have “Faith” in the purpose, plan, and will of God for our life Another example is baptism, we are baptized through faith in the “Name of Jesus” There is no power in the baptismal water, but it identifies and represents our faith in salvation We partake of the Lord’s Supper, there is no power in the elements of the Lord’s Supper But they identify and represent our faith in the person and work of Jesus The oil is a physical and public identification of the faith that we exercise in prayer Our faith is in the Lord, so we pray and anoint in the “Name of the Lord” Should we as Church Leaders go and anoint someone in the Name of the Lord? If we are called upon to do so and explain and follow the instructions of James, “Yes!” We must understand that the promise of verse 15 is based upon the truth of verse 14 The “Prayer of Faith” is the prayer “in the Name of the Lord” Believe that the healing power belongs to God, it is His choice, if-and when He wills to do so Bow your heads, think about the message, James said, “in the name of the Lord” Listen to the song and thank God for its truth WHERE COULD I GO BUT TO THE LORD
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