This is the video I played on Saturday night at worship.
This is the video I played on Saturday night at worship.
I recently received an email question:
In James 5:15. It says–the prayer of faith will save the sick [with anointing and prayers by the elders] but noticed it doesn’t say “healed”. Do you think it may mean salvation rather than healing? Food for thought!
I thought my best way to respond was to pull out the sermon I preached on that passage. It is below:
A minister said to a child: “So your mother says your prayers for you each night. What does she say?” The youngster replied, “Thank God he’s in bed.”
Prayer is very important in our Christian life. A man named William R. Newell said this about prayer: “kneeling is a good way to pray because it is uncomfortable. Daniel prayed on his knees.” Jim Elliot [who was killed as a missionary in Ecuador] said, “God is still on His throne, we’re still His footstool, and there’s only a knee’s distance between!” He also said, “That saint who advances on his knees never retreats.”[2
Many others have written on prayer. Why? I think that is obvious, prayer is our connection with God. I believe people write on prayer because prayer is so difficult for us, all of us, including pastors. One reason I believe prayer is difficult is because it takes faith. We are having faith that our prayer is heard. Another thing about prayer is humility. It is humbling to ask for help and confess our sins to God. Of course another reason is time.
In James 5:13-18 we see James wrapping up his epistle. Here James writes about prayer. As we discuss this passage I hope you will be encouraged by James instructions on the power of prayer.
Read James 5:13-18
If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subject of conversation. They do not weight their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God. 
Recall that James was the half brother of Jesus and he was called James the just. It is said that he spent hours on his knees in prayer so much so that his knees were callous like a camel’s flesh. So it is only fitting that as he closes his epistle he writes on prayer.
God is right there ready and waiting on your prayers
I want you all to know that whether you are battling a physical ailment or a spiritual problem I am here to help you. More than that, I am willing and ready to have our church leaders pray over you. That could be in a special service or in our worship service.
E. Stanley Jones said of prayer: Prayer is surrender—- surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boat hook from a boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God.
Let’s pray now
 Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 456.
 Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 453 (cited from Elizabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty)
 Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 451 (cited from Charles R. Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip)
 Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 453 (quoted from E. Stanley Jones, a Song of Ascents)
This discussion came up in Bethel:
In the Old Testament, the Israelites are God’s chosen people to carry out His purpose of redemption through Christ and to be a blessing to all. Abraham was credited for his faith. “If God is a loving God and loves everyone, what happens to those people in the Old Testament who are not His chosen ones? If they just happen to be born into a foreign family and not a descendant of Abraham are they just doomed? Is there no hope for them?” This is perplexing because the New Testament teaches that all can come into the family of God through Christ, but the Old Testament paints a different picture.
I have a few thoughts on this, but first let me affirm that this is a very difficult question. This is quite perplexing and near impossible to understand. So, that leads to my first answer which relates to the sovereignty of God. God is in control of all things. People may wander and ask, “Is God in control of who has eternal life in Him?” This question could lead to that answer. Certainly, if the Israelites were God’s chosen people and one is raised and not an Israelite then how can they be saved? Below is a section of Romans 9:
6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”[c]
10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[d] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[e]
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]
But even that passage is showing that salvation is still about faith. Even for the Israelites it was about faith. If you read the first few chapters of Romans the Bible is saying that we are saved by faith and the law was given to show us that we must have faith. Romans 3:23 and 6:23 are important in this matter. So, even the Israelites were not given a free pass.
Galatians is a key letter in this discussion:
23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
(from New International Version)
In the first century there were Jewish people who thought that the Christians should live by the law. These people had a show down with Paul in the letter to the Galatians.
Okay, so we are saved by faith, not by works which would include keeping the whole law. (see also Eph 2:8-9) But I started this blog entry talking about God’s sovereignty. See the passage below:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
(from New International Version)
I believe that there is no way for God to not be entirely and completely in control. God is God. But how do we reconcile our free will? I think that God is so awesome that He can bring together our freewill and His sovereign plan. So, God being outside of time, and knowing all things, knows who will receive, trust and commit to Him, given the opportunity. This is the individual’s freewill. Then, in our timeline, God makes sure that can happen. I don’t believe anyone is lost who wants to be found. The Bible say that if we seek God, we will find Him. (Deut 4:29) But we are still told to preach the Gospel to all nations as we are God’s instruments. Many times we pray that many others will come to know Christ, but we may be forgetting that God will answer your prayers with you sharing the Gospel. In the Old Testament God called Jonah to declare repentance to a pagan land. That was Old Testament mission. In the New Testament we see God communicate Judaism and then the Gospel to Cornelius. (Acts 10) It seems that God worked supernaturally in Cornelius’ heart. I have heard and read stories of Muslims in extremist countries who have a dream about the cross and a Savior. So, though we are God’s instruments, He is not limited to us. God may reveal Himself to someone and then send them to a missionary or a missionary to that person. God’s ways are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55) Some may have some basic understanding of the Gospel that is supernaturally revealed by the Holy Spirit even though they may not understand Jesus or the Gospel in a way that we would expect. Who knows, in the Old Testament time God may have revealed to a tribal people in southern Africa that they are a sinner in need of a Savior. The heart of the matter is that God is sovereign and we are saved by faith. Lastly, we are most accountable as we do know the Gospel. We are also accountable to follow the great commission.
A source: Easy Chairs, Hard Words by Douglas Wilson
I hope this helps more than confuses. It is a difficult topic to grasp.
This was a recent devotion which I read:
16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. —2 Corinthians 3:16-18
On fire, white hot, rocked to the core, gripped by His greatness, unbelievably contagious; these are all phrases describing one who has experienced a breakthrough, victory over sin, and transforming growth. Great! The question is, “How do I get there?”
The answer lies in beholding God’s glory . . . with unveiled face. This is defined earlier in the passage as trusting in Him as Savior. When sin and self-reliance are put down and God is lifted up, God’s children with unveiled faces can be more than formed through raw human effort. They can be transformed by His glory pouring over them. This divine transformation (also known as sanctification), purifies us from one degree of glory to another.
We may think, “Yeah, I believe in Jesus, but I still feel stagnant.” Here’s what we do:
Think of God’s glory as sunshine and get a “glory tan.” Bask in His glory with nothing veiling His impact. Give Him control over your life. We say, “Great, I get that, and I have been trying to give Him control, but I am holding back or something.” That’s common. Here is a secret; there is one simple step to basking completely unveiled, allowing His glory to pour over you.Breathe. Spiritually breathe. It’s a Bill Bright term, and man, does it capture the essence of that thought. To spiritually breathe we must exhale and then inhale.
Exhaling is breathing out the junk, confessing and repenting of any known sin. Exhaling is getting it clean before God. Exhaling is completely removing the veil between us and God’s glory. It is essential to transformation. To seek any change without being unveiled before God’s glory is just fleshly behavior modification. Remember, God’s glory is where the divine power of change resides.
Inhaling is then claiming any promises of His character, of His person, of His relationship with us. Inhaling is setting your feet on the Rock, our Savior and standing firm. Do not be satisfied with one breath a day, week, or month. You are spiritually suffocating if you do.
So it’s time to start breathing. It’s time to start exhaling and inhaling regularly throughout the day. You will be basking in the radiant glory of the Almighty. You will be on fire! You will betransformed from one degree of glory to another! —Tim Harkness