The human body is a marvelous creation designed to house the Spirit of God. But how should believers respond when their bodies fail to work properly? All too often, Christians react by immediately turning to modern medicine for answers. While there is nothing wrong with using the resources available to us, our trust and hope needs to be firmly placed in the Lord, not doctors or medical treatment.
Dr. Stanley teaches about healing from a biblical perspective. He answers common questions such as:
– Is sickness a result of sin?
– Is it God’s will to heal everyone?
– Where do physicians fit in the Lord’s plan for our healing?
– Can a lost person expect God to hear his prayers for healing?
– Can sickness be profitable in the life of a believer?
Dr. Stanley reveals the Bible’s teaching on how to handle illness. Using James 5:14, he challenges Christians with health concerns to ask church elders ton anoint them with oil and pray for them in the name of the Lord. Dr. Stanley challenges all believers to consider themselves healing agents of the living God, ready and willing to be used by Him to intercede for others.
start your day off. Right with the free in touch devotional subscribe today In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley, celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness and sharing the gospel worldwide. Next on in touch help for our healing. Well, we’re the richest nation in the world will be probably about one of the sickest. And if you think about it, we spend billions of dollars every year on medical research and all kinds of medicines and pharmaceutical this and that and why is it we’re still so sick, What is it that’s going on inside of us that we can’t get healthy? And so when I think about what the bible says about the human body and its place in the eyes of God, and think about the fact that we could put a man on the moon and in space and somehow we can’t even stay healthy. In fact, there’s something not right about all that. The question is this, what does God say about the human body and about healing? And so often people don’t want to put those two together, They say, well that healing ministry and not talking about the healing ministry, we’re talking about being a child of God and having something happen to the human body that caused us to be sick or some emotional issue that goes on that causes us to be thrown off course a little bit. So what I want us to do is I want us to look at the scripture to see what God says and to see what he says when you and I need healing in our life. Now. First response is called the doctor. First response go to the pharmacy, let’s get I can’t get enough pills of this, enough of that, enough of the other. Then I don’t need anything else. You realize what that means, that means. My first choice is what man made instead of what god made. And so I want us to be open and honest and look at this according to what God says in his word. So I want you to look if you will in James this fifth chapter, the last chapter of James and he tells us how we are to respond when there is illness, when there is sickness in our life and in this fifth chapter he’s been talking about lots of things. We are familiar with trials and so forth. Then he comes to the 13th verse and he asked this question, is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He’s to sing praises, Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and then to pray over him, anointing him with all in the name of the Lord and the prayer, often in faith will restore the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he’s committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore on the basis of all that confess your sins to one another, pray for one another so that you may be healed effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. So what I want us to look at for a few moments, here is the help for our healing, whoever we are can involve other people. Now think about this, we talk about the church being the body of christ talk about the church being an organization. The church is also a family and every single local church is a family of the people of God and family members relate to each other. Family members should care for each other. Family members should love each other. Family members should be available to each other and accept each other. There are many characteristics we can save a good family and so that’s what the church is like. And so in this chapter of James, he gives us a pattern. Now won’t you listen carefully because this pattern affects everything, not just sickness, not just emotional things, not just physical things, but notice what he says. And I want us to look at it again, read it just for a moment and I want us to look at what’s involved here. And so he is asking this question is anyone among you suffering, Then he must pray, is anyone cheerful, Then he’s to sing praises is anyone among you sick? So what I want you to notice, first of all here, he separates sickness from suffering because we need each other, not only when a person is physically sick because there are many, many emotional distraught people who are suffering far more intensely than people who may be physically sick. There is emotional hurt and pain suffering, There is rejection and hatred and bitterness and resentment and unforgiveness and all the rest and people suffering loss, loss of their home, loss of the Children, lost their family, all kind of things going on. So when he says, is anyone suffering and if we were to ask this morning, is anyone suffering raise your hand? Most people would probably raise their hand about something. So what I’m saying all that to say this and that is we’re not just limiting what he’s saying here to somebody who has some physical ailment, physical sickness. Yes, emotional sickness. Yes, indeed, and I think often times it could be even worse on the emotional side. So we asked the question if they are So the condition we’re talking about here is a physical condition or it can be an emotional condition. And he says, in light of that, this is the way we have to operate. And he says, we have to call for help. And so what does he mean by that? And notice what he says, he says, if anyone among you is sick, then he must call for the elders of the church and they had to pray over him, anointing him all in the name of the Lord. He says, here’s what you’re to do. So he doesn’t leave his for us to guess what to do. He makes it very clear. And so I want us to look at this couple of verses here because he makes it so very clear. He says, here’s the course of action, he said, then he must call for the elders of the church and then to pray with him. Now watch this. The elder doesn’t call the person, the person calls out of the church. For example, if you become ill and you want somebody to pray for, you don’t wait for somebody to guess that you’re sick. He says, you call for the elders of the church there to pray over him, anointing with all in the name of the Lord. That was his old business got to do with it. Well, somebody says, does the oil. He’ll know the oil and the prayer. It’s the prayer that’s important here, not the oil though. The oil for example, is a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit in some places. And then you’ll recall also with the good samaritan when he found this man lying on the side of the road, he poured oil in his wounds and wine. And so uh, that helped him. And so they didn’t have many things that would help. But those two would. And so he says, we’re to anoint them with oil. That’s nothing magical about that. It is a symbol. It is an indication, it’s it’s a reminder anoint them with oil, he says and he says do it in the name of the Lord. That is, I’m doing this in obedience to the will of God, the word of God indicating that we’re trusting the Holy spirit to work in your physical body or in your emotions, whatever happens to be going on in your life. And then he says, and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who’s sick. The Lord will raise him up if he’s committed sins, they will be forgiven him. And the most important part of all of this is right here because we’re talking about what makes the difference. It isn’t the oil, it’s the praying. Now I want you to think about this, let’s say for example that you were sick and you wanted some, some elders to come and pray at your house for you. What kind of people do you want? Well, you want people who certainly believe that God heard an answered prayer and so you probably have some characteristics. You think people I know I want people that that I know the word of God. I want people to live a good life and so forth. Well, he doesn’t leave it. He doesn’t leave it for us to guess. Listen, he says, there are three things here that very important. This prayer. Prayer that’s prayed over a person who is ill. This prayer should flow out of a person with three characteristics. First of all, he said often in faith and if you go back to the first chapter of James for a moment and listen and all of us probably know this passage pretty well. But I want you to look at the first, the first chapter of James and he asked the question and speaks here of wisdom in the fifth verse. When he says, if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach, and they’ll be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting. No wavering back and forth. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. Yes, he can. No, he can’t. He says, no, wavering back and forth, he says, let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach, it’ll be given to him. He must ask in faith without any doubting. For the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind, as he says, the man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord. So he says, the prayer of faith, that is a watch this. A prayer of faith is a prayer based on the word of God, based on our experience, with God. An answered prayer. The prayer of faith. So if there’s going to be healing, there must be a prayer that flows out of a life of faith which means watch this. We need to be in the world of God, continually reading the word of God. Listen, listening to him, being reminded by him challenged by him directed by him, we need the word every single day of our life and if you’re like, listen, the truth is your effectiveness as a follower of jesus is absolutely related to your relationship to his word. So if I’m gonna be praying a prayer of faith, it’s gonna be based on the word of God, and if I haven’t read the bible for about a week or two weeks or whatever it might be, I guarantee you, if you just stop and think about in your own life, you don’t read the scripture, your faith level starts down and the longer you stay away from the word of God, the less less faith, you have to genuinely trust him in those serious times. So he says, first of all that, that prayer must flow out of a life of faith and then watch this part, he says not only that, but he says, the Lord will raise him up and if he’s committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. Now. For example, if you’re going to pray for somebody, you have to deal with sin. Problem, because there is a direct relationship between sin, sickness, healing. There’s a direct relationship that doesn’t mean that everybody who is sick is living in sin, but when a person is living in sin, here’s what God said, he said. If you regard, which means if you hold on to it, you know it’s there and you keep it there. If you regard iniquity in your heart, he says, I will not hear, you know, people don’t believe that people live like the devil. Sometimes they pray and say, well I’ve been talking to God and I know God’s going to answer my prayer, no, he’s not. He says, if you regard iniquity in your heart, I’ll not hear you now. I want you to think about this. Those elders, whoever they may be when they meet with somebody to pray for them. For example, they have to deal with sin in their own life. If it’s there and the person who is sick or distraught or whatever the issue may be, they have to deal with the sin issue. Sin is a barrier to the blessings of God and the ways and the work of God. And let’s say, for example, if I were to come to your house and pray for you or wherever we’re praying, you come to church, whatever and we’re praying for you and I’m living in sin, God’s not gonna hear that. And so this prayer to be effective has got to come out of a clean heart and it flows out of the heart and a man of faith that’s clean and the person for whom you’re praying has to deal with it, I come to you and I ask you to pray for me and I’ve got sin in my life and I’m holding on the sin and praying for God to heal me, I’m wasting my time and not being fair to the person who’s praying for me sin. Sin is an enemy of God, It’s an enemy of your life, It’s an enemy of your relationships and we have to deal with it so that we can be fit to pray for other people and we and God listen, God desires to answer our prayer, He desires to heal, he desires to help people through difficult trying times so that it’s emotional or physical, but he wants to listen, he wants those prayers to be at the hearts that are pure. So first of all it’s gonna flow out of the heart of faith. 2nd it’s gonna flow out of a heart that’s pure. And thirdly notice what he says in this passage. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Now, what’s a righteous man or woman? A righteous man or woman is a person who has been saved, who is committed to the Lord, jesus christ and listen, whose lifestyle, whose lifestyle is obedience not perfect, whose lifestyle is obedience, whose desires to walk obedience before God, whose desires to walk in the will of God and who listen and whose desire to walk in the will of God is a part of their everyday thinking, it’s their attitude is their spirit about things and so when he talks about effective prayers, they’re ineffective prayers, their prayers that are just words than their effective prayers, he says the prayers of a righteous person and so he says in this passage that this prayer must flow out of a person who is a person of faith with a pure heart as a righteous life, a testimony of Godliness in their life. Now, I want you to think about this. Are you listening? Say amen? Because when you and I live out our lives trusting God and walking in obedience to his will, watch this. That means that every single one of us are walking healing agents of the living God, but for that to work three things are necessary. You gotta trust him. His faith hearts gotta be pure, your lifestyle has got to be righteous and that’s what transforms somebody’s life. And when somebody says watch this, I need you to pray for me, they just express confidence in you, they just expressed confidence and watch this in your relationship to God. They just expressed confidence in your walk with him, they just expressed confidence in your ability to communicate to him, their need that they just communicated to you, that makes you a very special person. Every single one of us are walking healing agents of the living God. That means all of us have a big responsibility to keep their life right before Holy God now, what would happen in churches if people live like this? Well, do you know what? We don’t I’m gonna give you 10 reasons and then maybe we all need to repent. Let’s think about why, why is it when we have this awesome potential? We don’t well I just want I just want to give you a number these reasons because I think I’m gonna put them on the Mac screens so you can jot them down. Number one, a lot of folks say, well that was just for the first century church. That doesn’t that doesn’t work today, that’s first century living and in the bible at the end of the first century, they didn’t do that anymore. Secondly, they don’t believe it works today regardless of first century. I just think well, you know that that used to work then doesn’t work today. Besides that we have doctors and so forth. The third is that so many people are too embarrassed to admit, admit that they have needs to other people. Let me just say this. I heard somebody on the phone yesterday, weep and weep and weep and weep and I just had to listen. Just listening was all they needed. Then of course we’re too prideful to call on others to help us when you get too big, too important, too smart, too rich to ask for help. You are in dead serious trouble then of course one of the reasons we don’t pray for people like we are is because we’re afraid we may fail. And then what will they think of us? Well I asked them to pray for me and it didn’t work. And now what you see a lot of projects mixed up in all this and then we’re too embarrassed to confess our sins before other people. And this doesn’t mean we have to get up and just say, well I’ve done this and I’ve done that. But there ought to be somebody some person that you can trust. Then of course we’re so consumed with our own needs. We don’t have time. We’re so busy with their own things. We we we don’t have time to feel for somebody else. If you can’t feel for somebody else, you’re not gonna pray for them. Seriously. Then of course somebody says, I don’t know why, but I just can’t. And the reason is because sin in their life, they know that they don’t have the faith to believe that God can heal somebody or that he could help them through something. Now let’s let’s move from the disease. For example, say somebody’s lost their house. They’re going through a difficult time emotionally. They, it’s just like they wanted, they worked hard at it. They raised their kids there and at this point in their life they thought they’d be secure and all of a sudden it’s gone and they don’t have anything that’s a distressful, difficult time. And what they need is to be heard, loved, listened to assured and not offer a quick response. And I went through, here’s what I would do. You don’t know what you do in some situations. And so instead of saying, here’s what I would do, the right answer is let’s find out what God wants us to do because he has the right answer. And then somebody says, I just don’t feel worthy. Let me ask you a question. How worthy do you feel about anything that were the business is a cop out. It’s not a matter of worthy. We’re Children of God. And so we can’t we can’t let that bother us. And I’ll give you one last thing. The reason we don’t do it, it’s easy to send them a get well card or flowers. You get in real trouble in life. Do you have anybody in mind today that you would call that you’d say, I’m gonna call her, I’m gonna call him because I know they pray a prayer of faith, their heart is clean, They’re living a Godly life. And I believe in God will answer their prayer. Every believer needs somebody and somebody’s in their life that match that requirement. I think about it, a church is a family and a family, you care for each other, love each other, support each other, help each other. It’s all each other each other each other and I think they’re about 11 or 12 each other’s uh and uh paul mentions in his epistles, that’s what that’s what the church is about. It’s about each other. So I just want to challenge you. Whatever church you belong in wherever you go to church. Ask yourself the question, are you allowing yourself to be a walking agent of healing in that family? That’s who we are. That’s our best testimony. Walking agents of healing, hurt, pain, suffering, sorrow, loss, whatever it might be, because we know the one who can change all that and that’s jesus. If you’ve never trusted him as your personal savior, you’re missing out on life’s best. If you’ve never trusted him as your savior, what kind of relationship do you have with God? You don’t have one? Do you have any idea how God could possibly use you? If you let him straighten your life up? And that begins with asking him to forgive you of your sins and surrendering your life to him, belongs to him anyway, surrendering your life to him and allowing him to give God in some direction. For your life. Your life will change. You’ll be happier you you have a joy in your life, the more you give yourself away, the more God gives you in return. Why just waste away your life on yourself when God can transform you and in the process he can change the lives of other people. That’s my prayer for you, father, how grateful we are and your wonderful patience, loving kindness, tender mercy. And we pray today that the Holy Spirit will impress upon each one of us that we have a responsibility to be one of those walking agents through whom you can absolutely change someone’s life, alter their whole future, improve their health, strengthen their relationship with you and I pray at each one of us would purposely make ourselves available so that air prayers would be like the prayer that James speaks of effective, fervent, strong, sincere life changing in jesus name.