Healing and DesperationBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, September 5, 2021.
A. It is possible to despair of life. 2CO 1:8. 1. Conditions may be such that a heart fails. LUK 21:26. 2. desperate: Of a person: Having lost or abandoned hope; in despair, despairing, hopeless. Driven to desperation, reckless or infuriated from despair. Hence, Having the character of one in this condition; extremely reckless or violent, ready to run any risk or go any length. 3. Without the temper of gospel hope, desperation can drive one to irrational and/or unscriptural reactions. ACT 16:27. 4. Paul tempered his desperation with God’s power and performances. 2CO 1:9-10. 5. Our view of our trying circumstances and their remedy should be shaped by our knowledge of the truth of the gospel. JOH 8:31-32. 6. Forget not that we are saved from whatever life throws at us by faith, hope and patience. ROM 8:23-25; JAM 5:11.
B. All disease, infirmity, injury, deformity and bodily pain are ultimately owing to sin. ROM 8:20-22 c/w ACT 10:38. 1. As noted in a recent sermon, the primary issue of salvation concerns sins. MAT 1:21; 9:2-6. 2. There is indeed healing for the body in the atoning work of Christ. MAT 8:16-17. 3. The Holy Spirit emphasizes the sin issue from the same text in Isaiah. 1PE 2:24. 4. If sin were not cured, there could be no true healing from bodily griefs. Any relief of the body’s griefs would be little more than a stay of execution. 5. Believers should be certain that Christ is compassionate and the atonement will definitely heal their bodies in time. MAR 1:41; 1CO 15:52. 6. If God heals us before Resurrection Day, consider JOH 5:5, 14.
C. Beware of indifference to the sin issue when bodily griefs come along. 2CH 16:12. 1. Jeroboam sinned away his blessing and still expected God’s favor by subtilty. 1KI 13:33 – 1KI 14:3. a. “At that time, when Jeroboam prostituted and profaned the priesthood (1Ki 13:33), his child sickened. When sickness comes into our families we should enquire whether there be not some particular sin harboured in our houses, which the affliction is sent to convince us of and reclaim us from.” (Matthew Henry) b. Not all bodily grief is punitive (JOH 9:1-3; 2CO 12:7), but it would be foolish to not examine one’s soul when trouble comes. 2. Punitive affliction may be direct, as when one’s sin causes the bodily affliction (e.g. alcoholism causing liver damage or sodomy causing HIV). Such are considered fitting recompences of error. ROM 1:27. 3. It would be vain to beg God for healing from sin-produced affliction without repentance, for prayer should not be contrary to His will. PRO 1:24-28 c/w 1JO 5:14. 4. Repentance, confession and forgiveness prepare us for positive interaction with God. 2CH 7:14; 1PE 3:12.
D. Beware of desperate thinking and action because God is not doing what you want. 1. Saul in desperation resorted to the occult rather than repentance. 1SAM 28:5-7. 2. Some abandon the faith. HEB 10:35-36. 3. One might be tempted to curse God and die. JOB 2:9. 4. Assume not that the miraculous signs (like healing) of the First Century are still in effect. a. They were to last forty years. MIC 7:15 c/w ACT 7:36. b. False prophets can do miracles (REV 19:20) but are exposed by doctrine. DEU 13:1-3. c. Many such “healings” are illusions, temporary, psychosomatic or cons. Satan likes to counterfeit healing by temporary leaves similar to MAT 12:43-45. d. The apostolic power to heal the sick was also the power to raise the dead (MAT 10:8), even one in advanced state of decomposition (c/w JOH 11:39). If one can’t do the latter, why think he could do the former? e. JAM 5:14-15 is associated with the sign gifts of that era (MAR 6:13) and speaks of guaranteed healing, not “better odds” of healing or temporary relief. f. God is still able to heal by a miracle directly from His hand (LUK 1:37) and indirectly through His blessing upon good sense, witty inventions, etc. in displays of mercy towards them that love and fear Him according to HIS will. ROM 9:15. 5. Praying for one’s health is appropriate and should be with a view to the well-being of the soul. 3JO 1:2. a. Paul understood this. 2CO 12:8-9. b. All pleas should be subject to the will of our loving God. MAT 26:39. c. Faithful prayers of the righteous avail much. JAM 5:16.
E. “God teaches us, in the midst of life’s greatest comforts, to be willing to die, and, in the midst of its greatest crosses, to be willing to live.” (Matthew Henry)
Guidelines of Prayer A. Prayers should be offered in faith: according to God's will as revealed in His word (ROM 10:17) and so with full trust that He will honor His commitment to hear such prayers and answer them. 1JO 5:14-15. B. We may thus pray boldly. HEB 4:16. C. Prayer demands actions in harmony with its desires. LUK 11:9-10.
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