As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
(Matthew 10:7, 8)
Update on Jack: Since we posted the call to prayer, things in the natural have gone downhill rapidly. The doctors have now said that he has only days left. But we do not trust in the natural, nor what we see, but in the Lord Who is our Healer. Many of you sent me the following verse:
This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. (John 11:4)
We declare this verse over Jack continually. And we stand in faith that the Lord only will be glorified in this. We all know that Jack is a firm believer in healing and he is a man of strong faith. We also know that the devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy. He uses fear, intimidation and control to keep us from fighting in this war in the heavenlies and experiencing God’s promises to us. So we stand and we fight. We are not afraid. We are not intimidated. And we put God and His Word only in control. We are the children of the King. We put on the full armor of God and remember that we fight from the victory won for us 2,000 years ago on the cross. Please continue to join me in this fight. We pray and we fast and we stand. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.
On that note, I thought it appropriate to bring back an old article Jack wrote in 2003:
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he 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 man is powerful and effective. (James 5:14-16)
From time to time friends ask me to pray over them for healing. Usually it’s a serious matter where they don’t feel comfortable trusting the medical community alone for their healing. The last time this happened I was led to connect four passages in scripture where the subject is addressed directly and gained some interesting insights.
The first reference is the one I’ve opened this article with. It’s a clear instruction from the Lord’s brother James to seek healing through prayer. No conditions, no weasel clauses, just clear admonition. The central thought, “the prayer offered in faith” seems to be the most critical one. In the Bible the same Greek word is translated both faith and belief, and the word for unbelief is also translated disobedience. (Hebr. 3:18-19) The only variable in the equation seems to be our faith; “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” No “might make the sick person well,” no “in His time,” no “if it’s His will.” Does the Lord view our lack of faith in the face of all the evidence of His healing power as disobedience? If disobedience is a sin, do we ever ask forgiveness for our lack of faith?
Got Faith? Scripture #2
We know the Lord can heal illness. There are too many examples in the Gospels to believe otherwise. And in the Old Testament we’re told that healing the sick would be a characteristic of the Messiah’s ministry. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5). Some try to spiritualize the passage but the intent of the original language does not permit anything other than a literal interpretation.
In Mark 9:21-22, the Lord’s ability was questioned by the desperate father of an epileptic child. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Here is one who did confess his lack of faith, and the Lord responded with proof of His ability.
What About Me? Scripture #3
So the next question has to be, “OK the Lord can heal sickness, but will He heal me?” The only place in scripture where this issue is addressed directly is in Matt. 8:2-3. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. No hesitation, no pre-conditions.
But some believe their illness is a result of their sinfulness, that they’ve been singled out for special discipline by a God Who loved them enough to die for them while they still hated Him, (Ephesians 2:4) but now that they’ve become His, He’s decided to punish them. Somehow they’ve come to believe that they deserve to be sick. It’s an extract from the Eastern Mystical notion of karma, that they’re being cleansed or purified by their suffering, as if the blood of Jesus wasn’t sufficient purification for them.
For others the sympathy or other special attention they get while they’re sick becomes a powerful motivator to prolong an illness or even invent one, especially to a person who is otherwise ignored or taken for granted. The medical profession calls these people hypochondriacs, and drug companies make billions selling them medication they don’t need.
And among those driven to extraordinary achievement it’s held that illness is the only excusable cause for failure. Even though many diseases are brought on or made worse by stress or other self-induced causes, illness is viewed by some as an uncontrollable factor that relieves them of responsibility for their lack of achievement.
So in the Gospels John shows the Lord asking a disabled beggar, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) Good question. If as humans we truly have agency (freedom of choice) allowing us to override even God’s desire for us, will He heal us if deep down inside we don’t really want to be well? This was the 4th scripture.
Put all these factors together and it seems that we’re the only variable in the equation. Do we really believe He can heal disease? If so do we believe He’s willing to heal us? Do we really want to be well and accept full responsibility for our lives?
One More Thing
And that brings me to the final point. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective,” James told us above. Have we really given all our sins to God, or do we still harbor some resentment, rebellion or self-justification? Is our self- righteousness preventing the Lord from restoring us to His righteousness? We’re pretty big these days on asking for all God has to give, but in the process have we overlooked our side of the bargain? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:9-10). Perhaps before we start blaming God for not healing us, or misreading His word to conclude that He’s lost the power to heal us (or never really promised to in the first place) we ought to take another long hard look inward. Perhaps we’d better be sure we don’t have some secret sin lurking there, something our pride has not permitted us to finally give up to Him.
If we really believe He can heal disease and that He’s willing to heal us, if we really want to be well and accept full responsibility for our lives, then the next step is to be absolutely sure we’re in full fellowship with Him and through our confession have been purified from all unrighteousness. One of the hardest things to remember in our relationship with God is that He’s the strong and faithful one; the One Whose word never fails, Whose promises always come true and Whose commitments are always met. We’re the weak and unreliable partner, arbitrary, capricious and unreliable. So if something’s going wrong in the relationship, it’s a good bet that we should look to ourselves first as the probable cause. Selah