Sermon Series: Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:17 & texts Jesus, My Everything: Healer Pastor Phil Christiansen : November 23rd, 2014 Big Idea:

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1 Sermon Series: Jesus, My Everything Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:17 & texts Jesus, My Everything: Healer Pastor Phil Christiansen : November 23rd, 2014 Big Idea: Physical healing is available to us because of the atoning work of Jesus. 1 We re already in week three of our series that I m calling: Jesus, my Everything because the focus is entirely upon Him as our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. So far, we ve talked about Christ our Savior and how there s no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Only Jesus can save us from our sin. Last time we focused on Christ our Sanctifier (1Cor 1:30). The Holy Spirit brings the life of Christ to life in us setting us apart from sin and to God. Only then can we experience the fulfilling, overflowing life that God built us to have. Remember: it s not about our best efforts, but Jesus best in us. Our job is to stay surrendered and connected with the One who loves us best and most. He does the rest! Healing Stories Today, I want to talk with you about Christ as our Healer. Let me share a couple of true Stories with you. The first story is about a woman named Sue that I was friends with at my church in Chico. Sue discovered a lump in her breast. Second story is our friend Steve Luster, a good friend at re:new and our head greeter. Divine Healing and the Atonement When I hear stories like these I am reminded that Jesus is our healer. These testimonies are so encouraging because they remind us that God is interested in every part of us not just our soul or spirit, but our entire being. I want to talk to you today about Jesus our Healer. Understanding Jesus our healer begins with understanding that He [Jesus] is our atonement. This is exactly what we talked about a couple weeks ago. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (Romans 3:25a). Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. He was the substitutionary sacrifice, the spotless Lamb who took our place. His blood was shed so yours wouldn t have to be. He had the sin of all humanity past, present and future placed upon Him (remember how they placed their hands on the sacrifices made in the Old Testament?). His sacrifice on the cross as our substitute made it possible for us to be reconnected to God. Jesus sacrifice for us was done once for all. His death not only made it possible for us to be forgiven but cleansed. Because of what Jesus

2 2 did, when we trust Him as our Savior, we are forgiven, no longer on the hook for our sin, receive a full pardon and are made right with God. With Christ as our atonement, there is a boatload of blessings that come our way. Not only are we forgiven but we re made clean. We receive the righteousness of Christ. We are given the Holy Spirit. We are sealed. We are adopted into God s family. This isn t an exhaustive list, but you get the picture. One of the blessings available to us is healing not only spiritually, but physically and mentally. God wants to take good care of His kids (Exodus 15:26) Why is healing available to us? I think the answer is simple: God wants to take good care of His kids. Take a look at Exodus 15: He said, If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you. (Exodus 15:26) God is speaking to His chosen people, Israel, His kids, and tells them that if they ll stay close to Him, listen to Him, and obey Him that He ll protect and care for them. He wants to take good care of His people. Look at the word heals near the end of the verse. That word is rapha. God called Himself YHWH rapha, the LORD heals. That s His name: the LORD heals. In Psalm 103:2-3 David is writing and says, Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases (Psalm 103:2-3) There s that word rapha again. David celebrated the fact that one of the benefits, or blessings, of being God s kid is that God not only forgives sin, but He heals, too! He is the LORD who heals. Isaiah 53 The connection between having our sins forgiven and our bodies healed is clearly seen in a passage that most of you are already familiar with: Isaiah 53:4-6. We recognize that this prophetic text is highlighting what Jesus would accomplish on the cross. Beyond paying the penalty for our sins, which is huge (v 5-6), we also see the ongoing desire of God to heal us of every issue that results from the presence of sin in our world. Look again at the first part verse 4:

3 3 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4a) The extent to which God goes to provide healing in this text is stunning. The words took up paint a picture of having something lifted off one s shoulders placed upon someone else. Infirmities are physical problems like sickness and disease. We see that he carried, like a burden, our sorrows the pain, sadness and grief that we face. Sorrows seem to describe mental struggles. (Price, Roy C., Lecture Eight on Statement of Faith, Item 8 for Tozer Theological Seminary. 4-5.). What is being described in this prophecy is precisely what Jesus did for us as our Atoning sacrifice. When Jesus went to the cross He made it possible for us to be healed from our physical or mental struggles because He defeated sin. It s because of sin s presence in the world that sickness and grief exist. Since, Jesus conquered sin, He also conquered everything that results from it. The clear meaning is, that Jesus did take upon Himself our diseases and our mental trouble, in precisely the same way that He bore our sins (Carter, R. Kelso, The Atonement for Sin and Sickness, p. 32) Now stick with me. Flip ahead to Matthew 8: At the start of the chapter, Jesus heals a man with leprosy, then a Centurion s servant of paralysis. In verses Jesus heals Peter s mother-in-law of a fever. Now look at what happens in verses Matthew 8:17 16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases. (Matthew 8:16-17) See that? Jesus healed all the sick to fulfill what we read a minute ago in Isaiah 53. Remember YHWH rapha? Jesus is presenting Himself very clearly as the LORD who heals! All these healings show that He is Lord of all life. He did not come to just deal with our spiritual issues, but with our physical ones as well. He is Lord of our whole lives (Soper, John, The Fourfold Gospel: Session 4, Video Transcript. 2.). During Jesus day, people believed that all sickness was the direct result of sin in a person s life. So, when Jesus steps in to heal the sick, He was declaring His authority to forgive sin. It s like Jesus is saying, I have the authority not only to forgive your sin, but to heal your body which suffers from the results of sin.

4 4 The story of the paralytic in Mark 2 demonstrates this perfectly. Jesus tells the paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven. The religious leaders freak out because Jesus is equating Himself with God (only God can forgive sin!). Jesus, knowing what they were whining about, says, But that you may know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, He said to the paralytic, I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home (Mark 2:5-11). When Jesus walked the earth He demonstrated His authority to forgive sin and to heal. When He went to the cross He made it possible for any who would trust Him to be forgiven and healed as well. Jesus has the authority to do that! Christ s death on the cross made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sin and everything that comes with it including sickness and disease. Here s how long time Alliance pastor and leader Keith Bailey put it, The perfect atonement of Jesus Christ dealt so completely with sin as to effect the putting away of the fruits of sin (Bailey, Keith M., The Children s Bread, p. 54). As children of God, healing is available to us because Jesus atoning work covers not only a person s soul but a person s body as well (Farr, Frederick W., A Manual of Christian Doctrine, p. 114). God loves us and wants to care for us in every way. Model for Seeking Divine Healing (James 5:13-16) Understanding what is available to us through the sacrifice of Christ naturally leads to the how do I get some of that? question. Our body is full of folks who struggle with cancer, chronic migraines, anxiety and depression. Since healing is available, how do we ask for it? If we are sick what do we do? What s the path that God has given us so we can seek to be healed? Take a look at James 5:13-16 with me. I ve got it on the screen for you. Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:13-16 When you are sick and want to ask God for healing, the first thing you do is call the elders the leaders of the church. They re are called to shepherd and serve God s people. This is the part that seems hardest for so many, and I m not sure why. I have suggested to people countless times that they call for the elders to pray over and anoint them and people get all nervous and twitchy about it. To

5 5 call for the elders is a humble admission of need (Bailey, Keith M., p 134), maybe that s the problem. Don t be afraid to come to us, friends. It is a blessing for our leaders to be able to serve you by going to God on your behalf to ask Him to be your healer. Don t be shy. Go for it. When the elders are called together, it is their responsibility to pray over you. They are standing in the gap interceding and asking God to do what only He can do for you. The elders are to anoint you with oil. This text doesn t say when that is to happen, so the timing must not be crucial, but the application of oil is important. The oil is significant for a couple of reasons. First, oil in the Bible was used as a kind of medicine. If you remember the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, oil was used medicinally and applied to the injured man s wounds. Oil is also used as a symbol of the direct and immediate work of the Holy Spirit. Kings were anointed with oil as they were set apart for service to God and His people (1 Samuel 16). In the context of seeking the Lord for healing, the oil could be used by the elders to remind us of the God who heals (YHWH rapha), the presence of the Spirit with them, and maybe even serve as a request that the one seeking healing be set apart to God for this special need. A prayer of faith is offered by the elders on behalf of the sick person. This is interesting to note: The faithfulness is on behalf of the elders, not the sick person. The sick person s faith was demonstrated by their obedience even if insecurely when they asked for prayer! The amount of your faith is not up for debate. Your job is to ask, be honest about your uncertainties, and be ready to receive that which will most glorify God. Those faithful prayers make the person well because the Lord raises the sick person up (v 15b). The Lord heals the sick person. The oil doesn t heal. The prayer, though part of the process, doesn t heal. The elders don t heal. Faith doesn t heal, though we are called upon to have faith in Christ. Only Jesus is our healer. Only Jesus has the power to heal because only Jesus has defeated sin and everything that comes from it. Gentle Warnings It s all rooted in Jesus, which motivates me to offer a few warnings related healing. First, divine healing is not name it and claim it sort of thing. God has made provision for healing, but it is not a guarantee on this side of eternity. Healing power cannot be found in stones, charms or incantations only the

6 6 person of Jesus has the power to heal. (If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, run!) Healing is not about the quantity of prayer being lifted to God as if we badger God with enough people that He ll relent and heal us. That James text says the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. There s nothing wrong with a prayer chain. But the model we re given for healing is calling upon the elders for prayer & anointing. Like I mentioned earlier, healing is not dependent on your faith. Whether or not God chooses to heal is dependent upon His perfect will and loving design for your life. When God says No (gently) At this point you may be tempted to think I ve gone to the elders. They have anointed me. They did pray for me. Why am I still sick? That s a great question and you re not going to like my answer: I don t know. Let me tell you what I do know. God loves you. He only wants what is best for you. Sometimes saying, No to your request may be more loving than granting it even when we don t agree. We have to trust, because we are His kids, that He is always motivated out of love in His responses to our requests. Those of you with children understand this completely. Sometimes No is the most loving response. Sometimes God says No because there is sin in your life and it s kinked the hose of relationship with your Savior. That sin needs to be confessed and relationship restored so you can honestly approach Him and seek healing. Please understand: I am not condemning you. I am not saying that you have sin in your life. I am saying that sin can get in the way. You may remember that Paul prayed three times for the Lord to remove what he called the thorn in my flesh but God didn t heal him. Instead, God said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (2Cor 12:9, NLT). It is entirely possible, friends, for God to say No to your healing request because it will bring Him greater glory to work through you in your brokenness [than through your wholeness]. It s also possible for God to say No because the timing is wrong. Think about when Jesus showed up at Mary and Martha s after Lazarus died (John 11). They were sure that Jesus was too late, but He was right on time and raised Lazarus from the dead. Healing isn t guaranteed today. But there is a promise that one day your body

7 7 and mind will be completely and finally restored. One day, Jesus will make everything right and the blessings of complete forgiveness (which we now enjoy) and complete healing will come together. What we enjoy in healing today is kind of a down payment that whets our appetites for what is yet to come. Please don t mistake a No from God with I don t love you or I don t care about you. Nothing could be further from the truth! The whole reason healing is even available is because Jesus came to make provision for us to be healed in every way spiritually and physically. And that s entirely wrapped up in the YHWH rapha s love for you! God wants to take good care of His kids and the choices He makes are always rooted in what is best for you and what will bring Him the most glory. He loves you. He likes you. Trust Him. Seeking Healing at Church of the Foothills How do we, here at Church of the Foothills, approach God for healing? Just like James instructs us: We are always available to you for prayer and anointing. We have made our communion services a special time to celebrate what Christ has done for us through the bread and cup and by making our leaders available to pray with and anoint you. I know the same has been made available at our retreats. The bummer is that not many people take advantage of these opportunities. I m not sure why. Maybe it s fear that my heart will be broken if God says no. Maybe people are afraid to make their need known: I don t want people knowing my business. Or maybe people just want to go to the doctor and see what happens there first. Ok. There s nothing wrong with doctors and modern medicine. But why not take advantage of every available option to be restored? Too often we go the doctor first and only come to Jesus when things are dire when there s no other hope. As a body of believers, we miss out on so many things when those who are sick amongst us won t call the leaders for prayer and anointing. We miss out on the chance to bear on another s burdens. We miss out on the joy of comforting a friend in need and the intimacy and healthy interdependence that comes when we share our hurts and failures. We miss out on the opportunity to see God work amongst us. Don t be shy, friends. Jesus is our healer. He s made all the provision for you to be healed in every way. So, if you know Jesus as your Savior and you re experiencing Him as your Sanctifier, then you ve got to know that He wants to be your healer, too. In a moment, the worship team is going to play and provide space for us to make ourselves available to the healing that Jesus offers. Our leaders will be

8 8 positioned in different places throughout the room, and in the venues, to pray with you. They are prepared to anoint you, offer up a prayer of faith and ask Jesus to raise you up. If you are sick, just make your way to one of those leaders while the worship team plays. Tell them what you re asking the Lord to heal you of (chronic migraines, depression, arthritis, addiction), then rest in the amazing love of the One who invites you to bring all your needs to Him. If your body is healthy today and you don t need prayer, I want to invite you to pay attention to those around you. You may need to move to accommodate a friend as they try to get by. You may want to sing with the worship team. You may want to pray that those who are sick would be courageous and step forward. Maybe you ll need to go with them. While you may not need prayer for yourself, you are part of this process today because we are the body of Christ. We re in this together. Will you please stand with me? Those who are praying, you can take your places.

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