HEALTH AND THE GIFT OF HEALING

Pastor Floyd Koenig

I Cor. 12:9

Jas. 5:14-16

INTRODUCTION

There is a difference in "the gifts of healing"(I Cor. 12:9), and in "Divine healing"(Jas. 5:14-16). Many have erred in this area because they include the whole topic of Divine healing under the heading of "the gifts of healing." The gift of healing was a temporary sing-gift, and only makes up a part of the subject of Divine healing.

Those who teach that the "gift of healing" is still in operation accuse sound preachers of believing that God no longer hears prayers. This of course is a groundless slander perpetrated by those who refuse to search the Scriptures.

People who are suffering from pain, fear of death, or grief for a sick loved one are often at the mercy of those men who claim to have the gift of healing. Surely every saint needs to be will-grounded in the teaching of Godís Word concerning health and healing.

I. THE BLESSING OF HEALTH

A. Our benevolent God has made many provisions for the will being of His people.

1. Obedience to Godís Word will normally bring better health.

2. The Christian is to avoid worry, undue stress, fear, hatred, gluttony, and drunkenness.

a. All of these are enemies of good health.

b. The Lord even promises long life to those who honor their parents (Ex. 20:12).

B. The nation Israel was given a sound program for better health years before the findings of modern science. 1. Godís commands to them included sanitation, quarantine of the sick, washing in running water, and the Sabbath rest.

2. The prohibition of sexual immorality was a bar to the many social diseases that plague our country today.

3. Godís chief desire for His people is that they live holy lives, and, generally speaking, those who obey His Word will be blessed with good physical health.

II. THE REASON FOR SICKNESS

Modern "faith healers" would have us believe that all sickness is a result of unbelief and that none need ever be ill. In a world where both the good and the evil often suffer, this view contradicts our experience as well as the Bible.

When we look into Godís Word, we find that sickness may have many reasons.

A. Sickness may be a punishment of God.

1. God sent the plagues upon Egypt because they would not let Israel go and worship their God (Ex. 6:1-8).

2. The apostle Paul smote the sorcerer with blindness (Acts 13:6-12).

- Here sickness was a sign of Godís displeasure.

B. Sickness may be permitted for Godís glory (Jn. 9:1-3). 1. God permitted this individual to be born blind so that Christ might be glorified in his healing.

2. God also permits some illness so those saints may glorify God in the exercise of Christian patience during trials.

3. Some thought that this manís illness was a result of some sin (v. 2).

4. Likewise modern day healers make the sick responsible should they not find healing.

C. Sickness may be given to keep Christians humble (II Cor. 12:7-10). 1. Paul received this thorn in the flesh in order to keep him from becoming proud.

2. It was through this affliction that Paul experienced the power of Christ.

D. Sickness may be given to chasten saints (I Cor. 11:29-31). 1. We are to search our own hearts and confess our sins.

2. If we fail to turn from our sins, then we will fall under the chastening hand of the Lord.

E. Sickness is sometimes not explained (I Tim. 5:23). 1. When a believer has no knowledge of the reason for his illness, he must remember that the Lord is in control of every situation.

2. He must claim the promise of Romans 8:28.

F. Sickness is sometimes produced by circumstances (Phil. 2:25-30). 1. Epaphroditus became ill because he considered Godís work more important than his own health.

2. He was from Philippi but had gone to Rome to bring assistance to Paul.

3. While he was in Rome, he became deathly sick.

G. Sickness may be from Satan. 1. The Lord set a woman free whom Satan had bound with illness (Lk. 13:10-17)

2. There are many other Scriptures, which speak of demons causing physical and mental infirmities.

III. THE GIFT OF HEALING

A. The gift of healing was the ability to heal at-will through the power of God.

1. This was a sign gift that accredited the preaching of Christ and His disciples (Mt. 11:2-5; Acts 2:22; 4:29-30; Heb. 2:3-4).

2. The early apostles preached the gospel and healed (Mk. 16:17-18).

3. The healing was to bring attention to and verify the veracity of the gospel (unlike the modern healers who emphasize and preach healing as an end in itself).

B. The gift of healing ceased as the Bible was completed and the message fully accredited. 1. The gospel is not in need of continual accreditation.

2. In the later books of the New Testament, we see a decrease in the mention of healing and an increase in unhealed sickness (I Tim. 5:23; II Tim. 4:20; Phil. 2:25-30).

3. New Testament Christians always viewed healing as a sign and never a mere personal blessing.

4. Even in the church at Corinth, which was so prominent for its possession of sign-gifts, there were sick people who were being chastened (I Cor. 11:30).

C. God has never promised His people perfect health this side of glory (Rev. 21:4). 1. Those who claim to presently possess the gift of healing, not only make a false claim, but display a serious ignorance of the nature and purpose of this gift.

2. To teach that it is always Godís will to heal is to cruelly tantalize and deceive those who hurt, and to confuse the saint who is suffering according to the will of God.

IV. DOES GOD STILL HEAL?

A. While we must reject the claims of modern healers, yet we cannot deny that God still heals.

B. Even though the days of sign-gifts are past, God will ever remain a miracle working God.

C. God can and still does heal all forms of sickness.

D. We may not always know whether or not it is Godís will to heal, but we can never doubt His ability.

E. Many in our day can testify to having experienced the healing power of God.

V. OUR DUTY IN REGARDS TO OUR HEALTH.

A. We should exercise due regard for our physical well-being.

- To needlessly harm our health is to tempt God.

B. We should pray to God when ill (II Cor. 12:7-9; II Chron. 16:12).

C. We should examine our heart for sin when ill.

- Sometimes illness is a result of chastisement for sin (I Cor. 11:30-31; Jas. 5:16).

D. We should call on others to pray for us when we are ill (Jas. 5:14-16).

1. Note that these are elders not faith healers who are called.

2. The sickness in question here seems to be a result of chastisement.

E. We should use proper means for healing. 1. We are to take the proper medicine for the particular ailment (I Tim. 5:23).

2. We certainly should be willing to call a physician when necessary.

3. We are to do what we can to care for our ailments (Lk. 10:33-34).

F. We should submit to Godís will. 1. God does not always heal His people.

2. Sometimes they are given the opportunity to glorify God by displaying true Christian behavior during trials

a. We are to give thanks in everything (I Thess. 5:18).

b. We can experience the power of Godís grace in time of affliction (II Cor. 11:27; 12:7-10).

3. True faith can be displayed in sickness as well as in healing.

a. Some of Godís faithful saints were delivered by faith (Heb. 11:33-35a).

b. Others suffered and died in faith (Heb. 11:35b-39).
 
 

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