#10  The “Names of God” Series



(The Lord That Heals!)


TEXT:         Exodus 15:25-26;  2 Kings 5:1-14;  2 Cor. 12:7-9;  Gal. 4:12-16;  1 Tim. 4:20; 5:23;  James 5:10-11,14-16;  1 Pet. 4:1-2,19


INTRO:       Healing is a subject of great interest, and sometimes great controversy.


Did you know that you are terminally ill!  Every one is going to die!  We don't like to admit that truth; we usually reserve that thinking for the one in the hospital dying of cancer!  (In fact it is this truth that enables us to minister to those who are ill, we our self are all in the process of dying!)


Men have searched for and proclaimed great cures for sickness and death; i.e. the fountain of youth, a drug that will stop the aging process, (now being done in research around the U.S.), and other miracle cures.  The trouble is that even with the great strides in medicine there is much that man cannot cure, even though he has found ways of masking symptoms!  And even with man’s incredible abilities there still remain one cell organisms that can outdo him many times!


Thank God though there is a great physician!  He is "Jehovah-Rapha" the “Lord that Heals!”  God revealed Himself as one who can heal the most incredible situations, the most horrible of diseases, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament times.  And since He never changes those promises are still good today!


ILLUS:     A friend of mine who was a minister in southern California told me recently of a woman in a mental sanitarium there.  She'd been in the sanitarium for many years with an extreme depression.  She used to just sit on a bench every day staring at the earth -- no conversation, no response.  And one day a new doctor who'd never seen her came down the hall and greeted her. He said, "Good morning!" She made no reply.  "What is your name?" he said.  No answer.  "Well, my name is Doctor Heven, H-E-V-E-N, and I'll be by to see you again tomorrow."  Then he started away.  But she lifted her head and said to him -- and because he did not know the patient, he did not know how remarkable it was that she was saying anything at all -- "What did you say your name was?"  He said, "Heven, H-E-V-E-N."  Now, somehow in the confused processes of that wounded mind, that woman confused the word Heven with the word heaven, and she began thinking about heaven.  As she thought about heaven, she thought about God, and she thought of God's love made known to us Christ.  The next day she said to everyone she met in the hospital, "This is the day which the Lord hath made."  And the day after that, "Yea, I walk through the valley of the shadow of evil, but I fear no evil."  Within six days she was saying, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Within five weeks she had been released from the hospital, and for the last fourteen years she has been carrying out her responsibilities as a leading teacher in southern California. -- Bruce Thielemann, "Christus Imperator," Preaching Today, Tape No. 55.


PROP. SENT:    The Bible teaches us that God still heals today, in answer to prayer and trust in Him and that His answer will be the one that we need the most even when it is not always the one we expected!


I.   PAST HEALINGS    Assorted texts


A.   Old Testament    Num. 21:4-9;   2 Kings 5:1-14

1.   Moses & Serpents   Num. 21:4-9

a.    This illness was related to disobedience and sin, this is not always the case with all sickness, but sickness can at times be related to disobedience.

b.    The people became ill from poisonous snakes, many died.

c.    God intervened however and provided the means of healing; conditions for healing however required obedience, humility and repentance.  It was clearly God who brought healing to the people.

d.    The people’s obedience was a sign of repentance, and their humility to obey brought them into God’s healing power.

2.  Naaman's healing   2 Kings 5:1-14

a.    Naaman is an interesting example because he is not even Jewish, though his wife had a Jewish slave that served her.  He becomes seriously ill with leprosy or some kind of serious skin disorder the Bible calls leprosy.

b.    It was his wife’s Jewish slave that tells her that her husband Naaman could find healing through the prophet of God’s help … 5:3"She said to her mistress, If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria!  He would cure him of his leprosy."

c.    Naaman like so many thought that healing would be accomplished through some mystical or magical means:  5:11 “But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.”  Naaman expected a wave of the hand and he would be healed!  Instead he had to humble himself and learn obedience to God’s Word.

d.    When he obeyed however, God wonderfully healed him!  5:14 “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”

e.    His sickness was NOT the result of sin; it was just a part of the general nature of being human.


B.   New Testament   Gospels;  Acts 28:7-9

1.   The Gospels contain many healings.

a.    Lepers were healed.

b.    Withered hand was restored.

c.    Woman who continuously bled was healed.

d.    Peter's mother-in-law was healed.

e.    Jairus' daughter was raised from the dead!

f.     Blind eyes were opened, deaf ears were restored, lame could again walk, etc.  (Too numerous examples to put here!)

2.   Publius' father on Island of Malta as well as the others on the island.  28:7 “There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island.  He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.
28:8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery.  Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.
28:9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.”


II. PURPOSE IN SUFFERING    2 Cor. 12:7-9;   Gal. 4:12-16;   1 Tim. 4:20, 5:23


A.   Old Testament    Job

1.   Teach Job and his friends of God's greatness.

a.    Sickness can serve a purpose for a time.

b.    It helps us understand the nature of our humanity, and the nature of God better.

2.   Reveal God's glory and power.

3.   To humble man and reveal our need to trust God.


B.   New Testament 

1.   Preach the grace of God.

a.    Healing would demonstrate the reality of the Messiah’s coming.

b.    Healing would confirm the Gospel.

c.    Healing would demonstrate the grace of God.

2.   To reveal God's glory and power.   John 9:1-3 (blind man)

3.   To humble.  (Paul's thorn in flesh to keep him from being puffed up!)  2 Cor. 12:7

a.    In Paul’s case it was to keep him humble because of his great revelations.

b.    It also kept him depending on God’s power, not pride.


ILLUS:    Paul wrote as if every Christian had experienced signs and wonders. -- Gordon Fee. "Paul and His Times," Christian History, no. 47.


4.   To help us understand those who suffer, to identify with others who suffer.   (Sickness is only one type of suffering, there are many types as you probably know!)


C.   People Who Suffered    2 Cor. 12:7-9;   Gal. 4:12-16;   1 Tim. 5:23;   2 Tim. 4:20

1.   Paul.  2 Cor. 12:7-9

a.    Thorn was “in flesh!”  (Greek word means physical - as flesh that was around bones)

b.    Paul's illness at Galatia.  Gal. 4:12-16

(1.   Occasion for preaching.

(2.   States clearly he was physically ill!

2.   Trophimus.   2 Tim. 4:20

a.    A companion with Paul on one of his missionary journeys – he became seriously sick.

b.    Because of an illness Paul had to leave Trophimus behind in Miletus.

c.    Though many were healed under Paul’s ministry, evidently Trophimus here was not, Paul had to leave him behind and continue ministry without him on this occasion.  Why God healed so many others Paul prayed for and not here we don’t know.

3.   Timothy.  1 Tim. 5:23

a.    Timothy was having constant stomach problems. (Probably dysentery)

b.    Paul also mentions his other frequent illnesses. (Physical)  5:23 “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” (Underline mine for emphasis)

4.   There are many others who suffered physically though not from illness.  Seems ironic that Paul had seen so many healed under his ministry and yet here was his protégé Timothy who evidently struggled with physical issues a lot – without being healed supernaturally.  Paul encourages Timothy to use wine medicinally.

a.    But this did not dissuade Paul from praying for the sick and seeing many healed supernaturally!

b.    This is a mystery why some are healed while others are not, yet the pattern is to pray for the sick that they be healed … many will be IF we pray!  No one will be if we don’t!  All those healed in the Scripture were healed BECAUSE someone prayed first.

5.   Psalm 23:4 “Walk through the valley of shadow of death … he is with me.”  This promise in the Old Testament implies God’s presence in the shadow of death, the times of sickness and disease.


III.   PURPOSE IN HEALING    Mark 16:15-18;   James 5:10-16


A.   Witness to the Gospel    Mark 16:15-18

1.   Backs up the message that was preached and points to Christ.  Healing would be a sign of the Gospel message being true.

a.    This is why missionaries often see such great miracles on the cutting edge of the Gospel.

b.    This was true with Jesus ... He was on the cutting edge all the time!

c.    Not done for a show or just to make us feel better, healing was done for a purpose. (Jesus refused the demand of the Pharisees to do a miracle for them so they would believe, they only wanted a show, not to believe!)

2.   Signs follow believers   Mark 16:15-18

a.    Even here signs follow those who are preaching the Word throughout the world ... signs confirming the message!  16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”


ILLUS:     When I travel to the interior of China, the Christian communities all claim they've seen and experienced miracles. -- Kim-Kwong Chan, "Hudson Taylor and Missions to China," Christian History, no. 52.


b.    These signs are promised not to an individual believer but to the believers as a group, God's people together will see these things happen, not that any one individual alone will have these all happen to him, “to them” (... plural in Greek)

c.    These signs shall continue until the end!  (That means today, yes healing is a real thing even today!)


B.   Witness of God's Grace     James 5:14-16

1.   Symbol of oil is the symbol of God's grace.

a.    Grace is given, not demanded or owed.

b.    Idea is that in sickness we come to receive in grace our healing not by demanding it!  If demanded it is no longer grace!

c.    It may be that suffering may go on for a time before healing, notice context:  James 5:10-11

(1.   Patience is a virtue often realized through suffering!

(2.   Even Job had to be patient, but God did heal him later!

(3.   Keep praying ... though it has been some time you have suffered, God's grace will come, note verse 11, God has some reason for it that will make you a better Christian in the end!

d.    Sometimes healing comes delayed, not immediate.

2.   What is significant here is that James says when you are sick to CALL for the elders of the church to pray over you!  There is healing available.  The prayer of faith can bring healing, it is possible.

a.    This would not be a biblical text if it wasn’t available!

b.    There would be no sense of doing this if healing wasn’t possible!

c.    The text mentions BOTH forgiveness and healing is possible!


ILLUS:      "Philip James Spener had a son of eminent talents, but he was perverse and extremely vicious.  All means of love and persuasion were without success.  The father could only pray, which he continued to do, that the Lord might yet be pleased to save his son at any time and in any way.  The son fell sick, and while lying on his bed in great distress of mind, nearly past the power of speech or motion, he suddenly started up, clasped his hands, and exclaimed, 'My father's prayers, like mountains, surround me!'  Soon after his anxiety ceased, a sweet peace spread over his face, his malady came to a crisis, and the son was saved in body and soul.  He became another man.  Spener lived to see his son a respectable man, in public office, and happily married.  Such was the change of his life after his conversion." -- N. E. Puritan -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)


3.   Why has this been so ignored by the church today when God has made it available?

a.    Most of the time we ignore it because we are uncomfortable worrying about the possibility of someone NOT being healed.

b.    Well, no one will be healed if we don’t pray in faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” … and by praying in faith someone just might be healed!  Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

c.    Maybe we should worry about what will happen if someone DOES get healed!


IV. PROGRAM FOR HEALING    James 5:14-16;   2 Chron. 16:12;   1 Pet. 4:19


A.   Prayer & Faith    James 5:14-16

1.   Pray believing God's best will be done!

a.    To pray means to ask specifically what you need.

b.    Faith means to trust that God will give you what you need!  (Even if the answer is different than what you thought you needed, it will be what you need most!)


ILLUS:     My responsibility is to pray, God's responsibility is to heal. If he chooses not to do so, then he's responsible for that. -- John Wimber, Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 2.


2.   Seek God first!    2 Chron. 16:12

a.    Asa sought help only (NIV) from the physicians.

b.    Idea:  It is not wrong to go to a doctor, but go to the great physician first!  (Might save time and money!)

c.    Prayer of faith will cause the sick person to hear from God, and God will raise him up!   James 5:15

(1.   Sometimes it is immediate.

(2.   Sometimes it is later.

(3.   Ultimately all of us will be healed of the ultimate illness (death); we will be resurrected! (The ultimate healing!)

(4.   Some who have followed the scriptures here and have not been healed shouldn't necessarily feel guilty that it is them, it may be God hasn't yet finished His purpose in our suffering.

(5.   No matter when, we should always pray for healing, believing God will heal, and then allow God to be God and to trust in Him!


B.   Thanksgiving & Trust   1 Pet. 4:19

1.   Trust God when you don't understand!

2.   Be thankful even in suffering, knowing this, that the trial of your faith will work patience, and when patience has had her perfect work we will be mature! (James 1:2-4) (And sickness like nothing else tries your faith!)

3.   God's greatest healing is perfecting us into the image of His son!

4.   It is like gold going through fire, the fire purifies gold making it more valuable and usable.

5.   Physical sickness may bring spiritual healing and not just physical healing!  1 Pet. 4:1-2


ILLUS:    I recently read a story by a woman who said that as a girl she was poor.  She said, "I grew up in a cold water flat, but I married a man who had money.  And he took me up to a place where I had flowers, and I had gardens, and I had grass.  It was wonderful.  And we had children.

   "Then suddenly I became physically sick.  I went to the hospital, and the doctors ran all sorts of tests.  One night the doctor came into my room, and with a long look on his face, said, 'I'm sorry to tell you this.  Your liver has stopped working.'

   "I said, 'Doctor, wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  Are you telling me that I am dying?'  And he said, 'I, I can't tell you any more than that.  Your liver has stopped working.  We've done everything we can to start it.'  And he walked out.

   "I knew I was dying.  I was so weak; I had to feel my way along the corridor down to the chapel of the hospital.  I wanted to tell God off.  I wanted to tell God, 'You are a shyster!  You've been passing yourself off as a loving God for two thousand years, but every time anyone begins to get happy you pull the rug out from under them.'  I wanted this to be a face-to-face telling off of God.

   "And just as I got into the center aisle of the chapel, I tripped, I swooned, and I fainted.  And I looked up, and there stenciled along the step into the sanctuary, where the altar is, I saw these words: LORD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER. I know God spoke to me that night.  I know he did."

   She didn't say how God communicated this to her, but what God said was, "You know what this is all about.  It's about the moment of surrender; it's about bringing you to that moment when you will surrender everything to me.  These doctors, they do the best they can, but they only treat.  I'm the only one who can cure you."

   And she said, "There with my head down on my folded arms in the center of the chapel, repeating, 'Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,' I surrendered to God.  I found my way back to my hospital bed, weak as I was.

   "The next morning, after the doctor ran the blood tests and the urinalysis and so forth, he said, 'your liver has started working again.  We don't know why.  We don't know why it stopped, and we don't know why it started up again.'  And I said in my heart, but I know.  Oh but I know.  God has brought me to the brink of disaster, just to get me to turn my life over to him." -- John Powell, "Prayer as Surrender," Preaching Today, Tape No. 108.


a.    The most important healing we can realize is not just the physical!

b.    Too often we limit healing to the physical realm which is only a temporal thing, what greater healing than for God through sickness to bring about an eternal healing spiritually!

c.    Physical healing is always temporary ... it is still “appointed until man once to die and after that to face judgment!”  Heb. 9:27

d.    Spiritual healing however has an eternal quality to it!  Even if our bodies continue to decay, our destination is eternity with God!

e.    In fact physical healing is a testimony of the fact that if God can heal us physically, He can also heal us spiritually!


ILLUS:    Remember the man who Jesus forgave his sins; then upon being questioned about doing this He healed the man to demonstrate that forgiving sins was greater, and if He can do that, He can do the lesser (Mark 2:1-12)


6.   God still heals today!

a.    Sometimes it is physical.

b.    Sometimes it is spiritual.

c.    Sometimes it is both!

d.    However, His power and love are the same!

e.    Don’t be afraid to come to Him for healing, he is still "JEHOVAH-RAPHA" the “Lord that Heals!”


CONCLUSION:    God is a God of healing!  There are many kinds of healing, He asks that we ask Him for our healing and then trust in Him to heal in the time and way that will be for our best interest, He will heal us because He is "JEHOVAH-RAPHA" the “Lord that Heals!”