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Notes on sermon preached 12 July 2009: “The Church – a Healing Community”
Healing occurs throughout the new testament as a significant ministry of Jesus and of the early church. What does the Bible have to say to us about it?
1. What’s the Problem?
“…and it was very good” (Genesis 1 v 31 ) God’s creation of the world, was very good with no disease, sickness or death . So what went wrong?. In God’s command to Adam (“ when you eat of…you shall surely die”) (Genesis 2 v 17) we can clearly see the warning of what would follow an act of disobedience. And following Adam’s sin, those consequences are realised in an awful way. “Sin entered the world and death through sin” (Romans 5 v12). Decay, disease, sin death and judgement all follow as a result of Adam’s sin. That’s why we have sickness today. The fact is, the earth we see today is a corruption of what God created.
2.What’s the solution?
1 John tells us that “God is Love”. (1 John 4 v.16) Following Adam’s sin God could have left us to face forever the consequences of our folly. But he formulated a plan for his Son to come into the world to take on himself the consequences of our sin. (1 Peter 2 v 24; Isaiah 53 v 5). And we have the promise of future glory when Jesus returns and those who have trusted him receive resurrection bodies that will be in heaven forever (Romans 8 v 22-23) In the meantime we live between the “now” and “the not yet” – struggling with the effects of sin, but with a hope of eternal glory. So ..Is there relief for sickness today? – yes, there is:
The Record of Healing
Jesus (Mark 1 v.29-33)
The apostles (Acts 5 v. 12-16)
The church down the ages (John 14 v.11-12)
The Reality of Healing
Out of compassion (Mark 1 v.41)
As a sign of the now and coming kingdom of God
As a “down payment” of future glory
The Restriction on Healing
A “temporary” miracle (you will still die, unless the Lord returns first!)
A limited miracle (Jesus didn’t heal everyone, on every occasion)
Job completed in heaven (Revelation 21 v.3 – 4) – no sickness in heaven!
3. Where do we go from here?
• Ask God for healing (John 14 v.13-14; John 15 v 7)
• Ask Believers to lay hands on you (Mark 16 v 15-18)
• Gifts of Healing within the church (1 Corinthians 12 v.27-28)
• Church Elders (James 5 v. 13-15) – more than any other, this passage tells what believers in the church should do when they are ill.
Possible outcomes of reaching out to God for healing:
Extraordinary Grace (cf Paul and his “thorn)
The Bible clearly shows that God can and does heal today. As with all God’s mercies it is according to his Sovereign will and our faith. Are we prepared to reach out to God for healing?.
Questions for Discussion
- Why is there sickness, disease and death in the world?
- What provision has God made for dealing with disease?
- What should a believer who is ill do?
- What is the relationship between evangelism and healing?
- How do we cope with the situation where someone is not healed?