Weekly Word from Bro. David
March 17, 2016
From The Pastor's Heart:
For several months now from the book of James we've been thinking under the heading: CHRISTIANITY IN SHOELEATHER for good reason! You talk about being practical! You talk about being personal! You talk about being pertinent! The book of James is all three!
Practical, Personal and Pertinent.
For example, last time James helped us to know what's involved in doing right when wronged! Every one of us could relate to that because all of us have been wronged.
Practical, Personal and Pertinent.
Today from James 5 we're going to learn what to do when sickness strikes. What are we to do when sickness strikes? There are some people who will travel halfway around the world to get in touch with those who claim to have the gift of healing.
Still others say that when you're sick that you can simply pray it away. That if you spend enough time praying about your sickness, then eventually your illness will go away.
Then there are those who say that when you're sick that you're really not sick at all. That's all in your head. That if you can convince yourself that you're not sick, you won't be.
And there are those who say that when you're sick, go immediately to your nearest faith healer for him to lay his hands on you and be healed.
But let me say that when I get sick I don't want to know what others have to say, I want to know what God has to say. Yes, there is a mystery in divine healing. And there are many things about it that I don't fully understand. But there is one thing that I am certain of: there is no healing except divine healing! God says in Exodus 15.26, “For I am the LORD who heals you.”
And THAT is what we find James talking about here in chapter 5 beginning in verse 13. Look with me there as we find an answer to this question: When sickness strikes ... what then?
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 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 of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 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.“
Verse 13, “suffering” is a word that refers to physical suffering, adversity, emotional illness and other difficulties for which there seem to be no answer or help.
Now somebody says, “Pastor, are you saying that a Christian can have physical suffering and adversity in their life where there seems to be no answer or help?” I am! Nowhere in the Bible do you find God saying, “Come to Me and suffer no more... Come to Me and be sick no more.”
In fact, coming to Jesus may mean bringing sickness and adversity into your life. We read in Acts 14.22, “We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.” John 16.33, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus said that!
Job Fourteen.1, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Suffering and sickness are a fact of life and being saved in no way exempts you. In fact, more often than not, God provides His children with strength to endure affliction not a way to escape it.
Let's face it, there are some days that nothing goes right. It's like that man who was seated in an airplane and while in flight over the intercom he heard this message: “Sit back and relax. This plane is fully automatic. The pilot is automatic. The food service is automatic. The landing devices are fully automatic. You are perfectly safe. Enjoy your flight. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing can go wrong.”
Sometimes everything that can go wrong goes wrong. And yet we learn from James that every affliction, every sickness, every set-back is a summons to pray.
Now before we consider these verses, let's consider at least three reasons that we sometimes experience sickness and suffering.
*Our decisions can cause sickness.
You say, “What decision?” Those decisions you make to sin. For instance 1 John 5.16, “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for thosewho commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.“
Did you know that there is a sin unto death? Well there is. And John was saying this to believers people like you and me! It is possible for a saint to exhaust God's patience! You can embarrass the name of Jesus for just so long. You can embarrass His church for just so long until finally God says, “That’s enough! You're coming home early.” And God will take your physical life to stop you from embarrassing Him anymore.
Listen to 1 Corinthians 11.30, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” For what reason? Why were the saints getting sick and dying? Because of their sin. Their decision to rebel against the Word of God. Their decision to sin caused them to get sick and for some to die.
The decision to drink alcohol will cause sickness. What do we call somebody who has had too much to drink? INTOXICATED. Do you know what a toxic is? It's a poison. If you drink alcohol you're poisoning yourself. That's why you vomit when you drink too much. Your stomach has more sense than your brain! Your stomach says, “This stuff is killing me and up it comes!”
Smoking cigarettes will cause sickness. Doctors are now saying that 99% of all lung cancer is related to smoking cigarettes. They also tell us that if you begin smoking at age 20 and smoke one pack a day you will shorten your life by 8 years. For every cigarette you light up you're saying goodbye to fourteen minutes of life. Fourteen minutes of being a witness for Jesus. Fourteen minutes with your children. Fourteen minutes with your grandchildren.
Your diet can cause you sickness. We eat everything in sight. Somebody said that we live off of everything we eat and the doctors are living off the other half.
Worry causes sickness. The last count I had was that worry is tied to 58 known diseases. We're worrying ourselves into an early grave. I'm just saying that one reason we get sick is because of the decisions that we make.
*The devil can cause sickness.
Job 2.7, “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” Who was behind Job's sickness? Satan was! And he did it in hopes of destroying his faith in God.
Acts 10.38, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” And a Doctor wrote that! How the Devil loves to attack God's people physically.
*Our development can cause sickness.
2 Corinthians 12.7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was give to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” Three times Paul asked God to remove that thorn and three times God said “No.” Why? Because Paul didn't have enough faith? Because Paul was out of the will of God? NO! God didn't remove it because He was using it in Paul's life to develop and mature him into a man that knew the power of God in his life. Had God removed it, Paul would have never been able to say, in 2 Corinthians 12.10, “For when I am weak, then I am strong. “ in 2 Corinthians 1.3-6, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Now what does that mean? It means that God takes our affliction and suffering and sickness and uses it in our lives to minister to those around us. God uses our suffering to help other people. Seven years ago this past Friday marked the 7th year I was told that I had a malignant cancer in my body without much hope of survival. I cannot begin to tell you the dozens of cancer patients that God has brought into my life for me to minister to them. People I could have never ministered to had I not experienced it myself. Had I not experienced cancer, they would have had one less person to minister and comfort and encourage them.
I'm just saying that God uses our sickness and affliction to develop us into people of purity and power and productivity and praise.
Yes our decisions can cause sickness. The Devil can cause sickness. And our development can cause it. What the Devil means for harm God uses for good!
Now having said that let's go back to James 5 and find out what to do when we get sick. “Pastor James, tell us, when sickness strikes- what then?”
And I hear James say, “Well, first…” call for God's people to pray, next cooperate with God's laws of healing, then commit to the will of God. We will look at each of these in details in the days to come.
Upcoming Events at Aspen Park:
March 20– Bring a Friend Day at Aspen Park and Palm Sunday celebration
March 26– Easter egg hunt at Indian Springs Apartment complex
March 27– Easter celebration at Aspen Park with Easter egg hunt
to follow the morning Worship service.
April 3– Adult 1 Sunday school class cookout
April 8 – 10– Youth DNOW weekend.
April 17– Aspen Park Community Festival
April 23– Women’s Ministry conference at the church
April 29–30– Young Men's Bible study retreat
May 8– Mothers' Day
May 19 – 21– Tentative dates for Branson trip
Thank You for the Candy for Easter Eggs:
The children’s department would like to thank you for the generous outpouring of candy for our Easter egg hunt that you donated. Be sure and invite your friends to be here on Easter Sunday to participate in this great outreach opportunity.
No Weekly Word Next Week:
Don’t look for a Weekly Word next week as I will be with some of the men from our church in Branson looking for the elusive monster trout. The Weekly Word will continue the following week.
Word for the Week:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”. —Hebrews 10:25
God is moving at Aspen Park, in a very special and sweet way. See you Sunday as we celebrate Palm Sunday together!