“The Important Labor of Healing” 9-6-15
?The important labor of healing for the People of God?
Exodus 15:20-26; Jn 14:11-14; Ps. 103:1-3 9-6-15? Preached at LMPC by Dr. Ben Sloan ?I? am the Lord who heals you.?? (Ex. 15:26) ?Forget not all his benefits. He forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.? (Ps. 103:3) ?At least believe in the evidence of the miracles?whoever believes in me will do the works I am doing, and even greater things.? (Jn. 14:11,12)
On this Labor Day Sunday I wanted to especially have us think about the Labor of Healing.? Healing is very important in our world.? Medicare and Medicaid spending by the Federal government was $800 billion (21% of federal spending).? Overall spending on Healthcare in the United States is at $2.5 trillion about one sixth of the entire economy- more than any other industry.? If you ask most Americans what you want in life they would say to be healthy and happy.? If you are healthy you have the opportunity to be happy.? This is not new.? Jesus understood that he would make an impact on people if he could heal the blind, the lame, the deaf, and raise the dead to life.?? We all know that there is a problem.? One of the signs that death is coming for us is that our bodies get old and tired.? In the Bible it indicates that God?s original intention was that we be healthy and that we be able to live and communicate openly and freely with God.? Sin entered the picture and poisoned our DNA and muddied up our health and prospects.? The tree of life was taken from us- and instead by the sweat of our brow shall we till the land fighting thorns and thistles as we go.? Labor is important for us- and labor is also difficult.? This also applies to healthcare.? There are lots of hygiene rules and lots of healthcare malpractice suits.? A Harvard Business study found that $55 billion is spent annually on protecting from malpractice.? In heaven there will be no more lawyers, nor will there be physicians or preachers.? When sin is removed lawsuits, unfairness, sickness, and sin are gone. ??? I have talked to some in the healthcare business who are afraid that they can do everything right but mess up one little thing and it can cost them their job or the health of their patient.?? Working on people is not like working on a car.? People are more valuable and life is more valuable.
- THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALING- Healing has gotten better- perhaps that is the ?greater work? of Jesus (14:12). The average male in my grandfather?s generation in 1900 lived until they were 48 females lived to 46 (many died in childbirth). Today longevity in the U.S. is pushing 74 for males and 80 for females basically giving us two thirds longer to live than two generations ago. Not many would turn that down.? That is the difference between seeing your grandchildren be born and seeing them grow up and have their own children.? Polio, smallpox, and measles are virtually gone.? Not many would call them back. 70% of Americans believe that by 2050 there will be a cure to cancer and by that time artificial joints will perform better than natural ones.? Now what does this have to do with God?? God is the One who gives us life, protects life, who helps us in life, and He is- as the Bible says, ?The God who heals us?.? When Jesus came, he didn?t just teach like some religious leaders- but hundreds of witnesses- even his physical and spiritual enemies testified that he healed people.? It is like the Lord of life had come to earth to strengthen the weak and fainthearted.? In some ways it was giving us a foretaste of what heaven will be like- and what the resurrection means. ?????? I know many people who have no or little hope.? They are sad.? They feel that their end is close and that there is nothing around the corner. Some are depressed, irritated, unable to rest or sleep because of pain- with little hope of that pain disappearing with time.? Jesus says, come to me you who are weary and heavy laden.? It is not that God ignores our sickness or doesn?t care about our pain.? In fact, Jesus came to earth to feel our pain, to understand and sympathize with our weakness. ?Life, ideally, is meant to be lived in good health. II. NOT EVERYONE IS HEALED- It is great to see people strengthened and helped through their problems.? We have several in this church who had been helped either totally or partially in really remarkable fashion against all the odds- to the point that the word ?healing? could be used.?? God sometimes says yes to prayers.? But that also means God sometimes says no.? To not allow God to say no means we think God exists to serve us and do things the way our limited minds think it should be done.? Paul said, that three times he asked for his illness- his thorn in the flesh- be taken from him- and three times God said no.? More than no, God said, ?My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness.?? Job suffered.? Jesus even died.? God gives variety in life and variety in the way He answers prayers and heals.? However, when Jesus walked this earth- there was no one he could not heal- including the dead- like Lazarus.? There is not a sick person that is too sick to be healed by God if it is His will.? Nor is there a dead person whose death is too tragic for God to raise them.? In heaven every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more sickness and death- the curse of life ? of labor ? of imperfect medicine- is gone.? Yet we are not in heaven yet.? It is good for us to try to make this earth more and more like heaven- eliminating sickness and holding off death.? I remember when my mother?s twin died, the pastor came to our house.? My mother asked him how could God allow her to die- she was such a good and godly person- why didn?t God answer the prayers for her to be healed?? He answered, and I will never forget it, ?She is healed.? Just not in the way we want.?? Anyone healed here will die eventually.? But in heaven there is no more death or sickness.? This is real hope for right now. III. THE WORK CONTINUES. ??Jesus work of healing continues.? He says as much in John 14- that those who believe will be doing his work and even more.? This is specifically true of healing.? The breakthroughs of modern medicine, I believe, are an answered prayer of many hundreds and thousands who have faced a health problem with no hope for a cure and begging God for a cure.? The healing we do here is not done in a vacuum.? We use the materials God has given us- like turning the bark of a tree into aspirin.? We observe what helps and what hurts to treat others.? Now we can observe better with Genetic and immune therapy.? But these are still the genes and systems God has made.? But this is not on our own, and the wisdom we have is a gift. Medical healing continues the work of Christ.? But in many ways- all that we do- when we do it to glorify God- continues the work of Christ.? He does not say the healing things you do will continue the work.? He says the work you see me do?? But medical work is amongst that great work. ???? Kent Brantley was a missionary for Samaritan?s Purse- a Christian organization that works among the world?s poor.? He contracted Ebola in Liberia- while he risked his life to treat patients of the deadly disease that had no cure.? He was flown back to Emory University Hospital- and wrote there of his concern for his patients in Liberia and that the world not give up on their care just because some doctors get infected.? Brantley was cured and gave plasma from his blood to at least three other Americans who had contracted the disease.? Some people were angry and scared that these American doctors had brought the disease back to the United States.? But Dr. Brantley?s willingness to share his plasma has resulted in the best treatment practices for the deadly Ebola virus.? If you asked Brantley and other missionary doctors why they gave up their lucrative US salaries to work among the poor at risk to their own lives- they would say for the glory of Christ. This Wednesday a lot of our members that work in the medical field are offering to you a service in Christ?s name as we have our first every LMPC Health Fair. ????? I have said many times that we seek to care for people spiritually- but we know that our whole self- physically, mentally, socially, spiritually are intertwined.?? Sometimes knowing you are forgiven for your terrible past can bring healing.? Sometimes when Jesus healed the sick he said, ?Your sins are forgiven.? ?Not all ailments are caused by guilt, but some are.? So Jesus turns to a guy who cannot walk and says, ?Pick up your mat, your sins are forgiven.?? There is real healing in forgiveness. ?Isaiah reminds us that our punishment was upon Jesus so that by his wounds (or stripes in the KJV) we are healed.? Jesus offers us a second chance- a clean slate- forgiveness.? Communion is a way we remember this.? The bread symbolizes His body broken for us.? The cup symbolizes his blood shed for us- so that we may have ultimate healing in heaven, but also his hope and forgiveness and assurance right now.