SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 03/05


Reading: James 5


Despite all the advances of medicine, the increase in knowledge, the availability of sophisticated equipment, disease is still with the human race. No sooner has science found a cure for one sickness when an even deadlier one looms on the horizon. Now it is AIDS, a disease that will be the talking point of millions in the next few years. Tens of thousands are expected to die of this disease in the coming years. But I will not bombard you with statistics; the news media is making a good job of that. Instead we will examine the problem of disease from the Bible standpoint. Standby for some amazing revelations.

1. What Causes Disease?

Yahweh has built the human body in such a way that it has in-built resistance to disease. A normal healthy body carries within it defence organisms capable of overcoming known or expected attack. But, and here is where the system breaks down, when the body is weakened (through starvation, exhaustion, accident, chill, etc.) our in-built defences are overcome by germs, viruses, bugs or whatever, and we go down with a sickness or disease. All this is well known: so I'll not amplify. There is however another cause for disease.
Exodus 15:26: : And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

This means that blatant disobedience (sin) is another cause for disease. The Most High can give permission for a person to be smitten with a disease - for whatever reason. Consider the case of king Jehoram who greatly sinned in the eyes of the Lord. The result was he and many of his family were smitten with disease.
2 Chronicles 21:12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father,
Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
13: But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself:
14: Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:
15: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.

v18-19 "And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers."

Here we can see that disease was sent from above as a result of sin. But we should not conclude that disease is always the result of sin. In the case of the patriarch Job, a perfect and upright man in God's opinion, disease was sent as a test of faith. Satan claimed that God was bribing Job; and that Job's faith and obedience were only expressed for gain. Yahweh disagreed and allowed Satan to strike Job with terrible boils from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot. Read the book of Job for details. Also see Section 4 in the SBS Lesson on Human Suffering.

2. Is Yahweh's Design Faulty?

The physical bodies we inhabit are designed to illustrate great spiritual truths. One of these truths concerns the matter of disease. Here are some well known facts from which we will draw a few comparisons:

On the Lower Physical Plane

There exists a great host of alien organisms constantly ready to attack the human body. They are in the air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat.

On the Higher Spiritual Plane

Is Yahweh's design faulty? The answer is no. The Most High has designed the human body perfectly to illustrate great spiritual truths. And if we learn and apply those spiritual truths - even if we ourselves are physically sick or in poor health, then Yahweh's overall purpose will have worked in our lives, no matter how bad our physical health may be. In other words, the Most High has designed the human body as a blueprint, an illustration of the spiritual realities which concern our salvation. And though we must not think that every physically sick or diseased person is also spiritually sick, we must look at this whole matter of disease as a great spiritual object lesson from which we can all draw spiritual lessons.

3. Healing

The four gospels contain more stories about the Saviour's healing ministry than his sermons. Why? Simply because those physical healings all have higher spiritual lessons. Indeed many of Messiah's miracles are called 'signs' because of this fact. Consider these verses which tell of his power:
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

The Saviour's miracles are recorded not just to show that he can heal every physical disease. They are recorded to prove that he can also cure every spiritual disease. He can heal all our diseases - even spiritual AIDS. Many groups suffer from spiritual AIDS, an 'Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome' which leaves them unable to resist the alien spiritual attacks of sin.

4. A Divine Health Warning

Faithful obedience to Yahweh's commandments is the best defence against spiritual disease and death. It is the only way to stay spiritually healthy. Just as faithfulness to your spouse is the only sure defence against physical AIDS. The vital relationship between obedience and good health is emphasised in passages like these:
NOTE: Do not be afraid to warn your people of these facts.
Deuteronomy 7:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13: And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14: Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
15: And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

Deuteronomy 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
59: Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
60: Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
61: Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
62: And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.

5. Spiritual Power

The followers of Jesus Christ had - to varying degrees - an enormous freedom to heal. They were not only healthy people themselves, but were able to heal all manner of diseases.
Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Note the close connection between disease and the influence of evil. Evil agencies (angels) depart when they come into contact with God's power.

6. Spiritual Responsibilities

Believers have responsibilities. One of them is to bring the spiritually sick and diseased to Christ for healing. He will gladly forgive and heal the broken heart. He is the only one able to heal the leprosy or AIDS of sin. He is the Master Physician. Come to him for healing before it is eternally too late.
Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
34: And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
35: And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;
36: And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.

No matter how spiritually sick you may be, healing is possible in Yeshua (Jesus). He can heal you. As regards physical healing, you could do no better than follow the advice of the apostle James.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17: Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18: And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
19: Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20: Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

SBS     Sermon Notes

Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet Dec.1995 ... Updated with KJV references July 1999