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What We Believe
When we look at the people around us what do we see? While people are adept at putting on faces and putting up fronts, the truth is that we see people who are hurting. We see people who are troubled and in need of peace. We see lonely people in need of relationship, people without hope in desperate need of hope, and sick people in need of healing.
People are hurting in many different ways. They may be financially in debt, or emotionally scarred because of some past trauma. They may have a physically ailment due to disease or illness, or have suffered the loss of someone dear to them. Their family relationship may be strained to the breaking point, or they may be discouraged and exhausted due to living in this crazy mixed up world.
But there is hope. Jesus said,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)
Now, let me just say that Jesus may not heal every problem, hurt, or need. In fact, Jesus promised that in this world we will have these sorts of trials, but also that He has overcome this world, which should bring great joy to our hearts (John 16:33). God can heal us immediately and miraculously, but He may also give us the power to endure the difficultly, problem, and triumph over it even while we’re still in it.
Divine healing is all about becoming well, but healing in the Bible isn’t becoming what we were, rather it is becoming what God intends for us to be. This is probably the most important thing for us to understand, because maybe that illness or problem is God working within us His divine purpose, and thus, His divine healing.
Today, I’d like to talk with you about Jesus’s healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda and how it applies to our healing. And then I’d like to look at what the Bible says about God’s provision for healing. So let’s begin with the healing of the lame man
Read John 5:1-15
1. Identify the Need
“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” (John 5:6 NKJV)
Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” Sounds absurd doesn’t it. Of course this man wants to get well! You wouldn’t ask a starving man, “Do you want food?”
But actually, it was a very valid question, for there are people who, if given an opportunity for healing, might actually choose to remain sick.
People have become comfortable in their sickness, and any healing will change their environment if not their whole way of life. They’ve developed relationships through their illness, and when healed they will have to learn how to deal with life and others in a completely different way. And this is what scares people.
In other words, if we’re healed our life will do a complete reversal. Are we ready for that change? And so the first thing we need to get settled in our minds and hearts is “Do we really want to be healed?”
The second part of this question is “What do we want?” They say the first step in gaining anything is to want it.
If we want it then we have to stop saying that we can’t have it. We have to move from our doubts to belief, and from our fears to faith. So instead of saying, “I can’t,” what we should be saying is what the Apostle Paul found out for his life, a life filled with pain.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
And so, the first thing we need to do is to identify what we need and want.
2. Quit Blaming Others
After Jesus asked if the lame man wanted to be healed, the lame man replied,
“Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” (John 5:7 NKJV)
It’s so easy to blame other people for our problems. This has been humanity’s scapegoat from the beginning.
• When God asked Adam why he disobeyed, Adam replied, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Not only was Adam placing the blame on Eve, but also upon God who gave her to him.
• When Moses asked his brother Aaron why he permitted the Israelites to worship a golden calf, Aaron said, “It was the people’s fault, they made me make this idol because you didn’t come back. So they gave me their gold, and when I tossed it into the fire, out popped this golden calf” (Exodus 32:22-24 paraphrased). And so Aaron blamed the people, blamed Moses, and he even blamed the fire. He blamed everyone and everything but Himself.
How often do we blame other people, the environment, or circumstances for what we did wrong?
King William once visited a prison in England. Every prisoner brought before him claimed to be innocent and pleaded for a pardon, that is, except one man who admitted his guilt. King William said to the warden, “Get this guilty man out of the prison before he corrupts all these innocent men!” And the man was set free.
We have such a difficult time saying, “I’m responsible.” We blame others, our heredity, our environment, and circumstances, that is, everything and everyone but ourselves. Yet the Lord wants us to accept responsibility. The Bible says, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Yes, heredity, past relationships, and the environment play a part in what we are going through and what is influencing us, but we can rise above it through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
3. Stretch Out By Faith
Once the man finished identifying his desire to be healed, and finished the blame game, Jesus said to him,
“‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” (John 5:8-9a NKJV)
Often God requires a response of faith before a healing takes place.
• To the ten lepers Jesus said, “Go show yourself to the priests,” and as they went they were healed (Luke 17:12-14).
• He said to the man with a withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand,” and when the man made the effort, his hand was healed (Matthew 12:9-13).
• And Jesus put clay on the eyes of a blind man and said, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam,” and when he washed he could see (John 9:1-7).
In fact, when you look at the healings throughout the Bible there is generally a stretching out by faith.
• Namun the Leaper was told to go and wash in the River Jordan seven times, and on the seventh plunge he was healed (2 Kings 5:1-19).
• After being bit by poisonous snakes, the children of Israel had to look at the pole with the snake upon it before they were healed (Numbers 21:4-8).
• And when Moses healed the waters at Marah, he had to first throw in a stick (Exodus 15:22-25).
I don’t know about you, but when God says to do something; we just need to do it. Sometimes it may be absurd, but we need to stretch out our faith and do it.
This guy couldn’t walk, and hadn’t walked for 38 years. But he stretched out his faith, stood up and walked.
How badly do we want it? Do we want it so badly that we’re willing to look a little bit foolish? Are we willing to fall on our faces, willing to swallow our pride; willing to stop wallowing in self-pity, and willing to stop what we’re doing?
Are we willing to stretch ourselves out by faith?
On Hudson Taylor first missionary trip to China, his ship neared a channel when he heard an urgent knock on his door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship.
The captain said, “Mr. Taylor, we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals.” “What can I do?” asked Taylor.
“I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind,” said the captain. Taylor responded, “All right, captain, I will, but you must set the sail.”
“That’s ridiculous!” said the captain. “There’s not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I’m crazy.” Nevertheless, the captain agreed. Forty-five minutes later the captain returned and said, “You can stop praying now. We’ve got more wind than we know what to do with!”
The captain by faith had to be willing to look foolish. He had to stretch out his faith so that Taylor’s prayers would be answered.
4. Give Credit to God
After he was healed, the man gave credit to Jesus, that it was Jesus who healed him.
The healing happened on the Sabbath, and so the religious leaders confronted the man saying that carrying his bed was unlawful. But the man replied, “He who made me well said, ‘Take up your bed and walk’” (John 5:11).
When they asked him who healed him, the lame man, now healed, didn’t know because Jesus had left the scene. But later, wanting to make sure that the man became more than physically healthy, but spiritually healthy as well, Jesus returned, and so the man went and made it known who it was that healed him.
“The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” (John 5:15 NKJV)
When healing takes place in our lives, we need to give God the glory
A woodpecker was pecking away at a huge tree. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the tree and split it from top to bottom. The woodpecker flew off, and minutes later returned with several of his woodpecker friends saying, “Look at what I did!”
When healings take place, we are often tempted to give thanks to the doctors and/or medicine. Now, I’m not saying they didn’t help or that they didn’t do the work, but what we must remember is that it is the Lord who gave these individuals their wisdom, and so we need to give credit where credit is due, and that is to the Lord God, but also let’s not forget to thank the doctors and nurses as well for the part they played in making us well.
Or when things go right in life we’re inclined to forget God’s blessings and take credit ourselves. We talk about how hard we worked, or how well we invested, or how much we worked out and ate right. Instead we need to give credit to God and stop being so self congratulatory.
There is healing in Jesus’s touch, and He is reaching out and asking, “Do we want to get well?”
How Does God Heal?
A. Through The Miraculous
We see this throughout the Bible, and many of us have also seen God’s miraculous healing in our own lives.
I also know that most have seen or heard of a miraculous healing that has taken place. It’s actually one of the signs that the Kingdom of God is near.
As Jesus sent the disciples out to minister He said,
“Heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:9 NKJV)
B. Through God’s Word
Solomon gives us this piece of advice,
“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
Giving thanks for God’s wondrous healing and deliverance of the children of Israel, the Psalmist tells us that it was God’s word that brought it all about.
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:19-20 NKJV)
Actually, this verse does double duty giving us a third way that God brings healing when it says they cried out to the Lord in their trouble.
C. Through Prayer
The Apostle James gives us a wonderful passage about our need to pray for healing. It is found in James 5:13-16.
i. Pray for a healing
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” (James 5:13 NKJV)
This is as straightforward as it gets.
The word James uses for suffering, refers to suffering of any kind, which would include not only our sicknesses, but also the loss of love ones, persecutions, and just the general disappointments of life.
ii. Call the elders to pray
“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.” (James 5:14 NKJV)
The word sick is also a broad word including physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual sickness. The anointing oil is a visible symbol for the presence of God the Holy Spirit. And so to those who are sick, by anointing them with oil it is meant to build faith saying that the Holy Spirit is present to heal them.
James goes on to say that prayer offered up in faith will save the sick. When we pray we must believe that God is faithful to His promise, and it is with this attitude that the elders are to come and pray for those who are sick, and that God will do whatever is needed for that healing, and whatever is needed in the situation.
iii. Confess our sins
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16 NKJV)
Not only are we to confess to God, but also if we want to be healed, we must confess to each other and then pray for each other.
Now, not all sickness is caused by a particular sin, but some illnesses stem directly from our sinful actions and attitudes. These need to be confronted and confessed if we want a healing to take place. This is why a lot of people remain in their sickness, they are afraid of confessing and letting others know.
In the end, there is no sickness or suffering that is beyond the Lord’s ability to heal. We are then to confess our sin and cry out to God, and let God’s healing take place His way.
D. Through Worship
“Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” (Exodus 23:25-26 NIV)
Some may question this because of what we’ve made the word “worship” into. Today we consider worship the singing and praising of God during church services, and also when we listen to praise and worship music outside the church environment.
And please don’t get me wrong. This sort of worship does do great things, and it does bring healing.
When I was going through the loss of everything I owned, along with my marriage. It was during this time that God gave me a song of worship where I found myself thanking Jesus for His sacrificial death upon the cross for my sins. This helped my get back to church where I was touched by the Lord’s healing hand more by the worship than the message.
But worship is more than merely lifting our voices in praise to God. It also is the way we live our lives. We worship God in the way we live. And when we live our lives as a form of worship to God, we’ll live for Him instead of ourselves, which will bring God’s healing touch, because we’re living our lives God’s way instead of our own.
Let me end with what the Bible considers to be a healing.
It begins with coming into a right relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord then works in a believer’s life to bring about the healing that is needed, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual.
It is this that will eventually see our ultimate healing, which is eternal life in heaven, which is referred to as the land of no mores, because this is where there is no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more suffering (Revelation 21:4).
Let me conclude with how we began, and that is, healing in the Bible, or divine healing is not becoming what we were, but becoming all that God intends for us to be. Healing is all about being made well in whatever way that may look like in God’s sight, and not our own.
So we need to allow God to do His healing work His way instead of our own way.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study