Sunday, November 23, 2008

Maturing in Christ - "Facing Serious Illness"

The Great Commission
MATURING IN CHRIST
Part 2: Facing Serious Illness
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith – www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


ANNOUNCEMENTS

6:00PM Evening Service at the church –
“Seminary Students will be preaching”

November 23rd – Lynnette Higgins
November 30th – Deacon Kurt Ulman
December 7th – Walker Spriggs
December 14th – Grace Steadman
December 21st – Lori Ulman



WHERE WE ARE AT

† Growing in the Lord : OVERCOMING The Carnal Mind
† Growing in the Lord : OVERCOMING Satan
† Growing in the Lord : OVERCOMING Worldliness
† Growing in the Lord : OVERCOMING Pride
† Growing in the Lord : OVERCOMING Your Mouth

† Growing in the Lord : HOW-TO Be Christ Centered
† Growing in the Lord : HOW-TO Praise the Lord
† Growing in the Lord : HOW-TO Have the Joy of the Lord
† Maturing in Christ: Spiritual Trials
† Maturing in Christ: Facing Serious Illness



INTRODUCTION

We were created from the dust of the earth, and what makes us “alive” is the spirit of life that God breathed into us.

We were created to live forever in perfection on earth, sustaining our physical bodies by eating of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
The only other tree mentioned by name in the garden was the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.

Why must we die?

Because God said, if you eat from the Tree of Knowledge you shall surely die.

Why?

Because if we ate from that tree, we would sin against God.

When we sin against God we are separated from Him.

God stated a fact that if Adam and Eve sinned against God, they would be separated from Him, which meant they would no longer be in the Garden because of sin.

But that is where the Tree of Life was.

And without the Tree of life, our bodies can not live forever.

Death has now become a part of life, just as God said in the times of Noah, “How long will I allow man to sin against me? I will limit them to 120 years of life”

We, who follow Jesus Christ, have redeemed Spirits, but our flesh is still sinful.

This is why we receive a NEW body after death.

As the scripture describes it, we shall take off the corruptible, and put ON incorruption, and take of mortality and put ON immortality.

We will become in our new bodies, perfect, sinless, and everlasting, our sinful flesh finally dead to us, and nothing left but our spirit, and God’s Holy Spirit.

Knowing the scriptures state that it is appointed to all men to die once, we know our time is coming.

Many will pray for the coming rapture more out of fear of dying than wanting justice.

Many of God’s people have feared the unknown.

Some fear the illness or sicknesses that come with the aged.

Perhaps some of us have had horrible experiences with loved ones passing, and it has painted a very ugly picture of what our fate will be?

But the scriptures promise that we can have victory in life, and that in all situations we should focus on the Lord alone, and His strength will be sufficient.

I. ILLNESS AND THE FACT THAT UNREDEEMED FLESH MUST DIE

Genesis 2:15-17 Warning of death to come

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

God says we will die…meaning both spiritual death, which is separation from God because of sin, and physical death because our flesh can no longer be sustained perfectly by the Tree of Life.

Satan speaks – You shall surely not die. Trying to play on words to convince Eve that she will not die…at least not immediately.


II Corinthians 4:15-18 Do not lose heart when you are wasting away

15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


II. HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IS KEY

Psalm 77:4-14
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
Selah
10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.


Psalm 48:14

8 As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.
Selah
9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.


Psalm 49:15 – Of the sons of Korah

1 Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me-
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
7 No man can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for him-
8 the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough-
9 that he should live on forever
and not see decay.
10 For all can see that wise men die;
the foolish and the senseless alike perish
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses [a] forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had [b] named lands after themselves.
12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure;
he is [c] like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.
Selah
14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave, [d]
and death will feed on them.
The upright will rule over them in the morning;
their forms will decay in the grave, [e]
far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem my life [f] from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself.
Selah
16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich,
when the splendor of his house increases;
17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies,
his splendor will not descend with him.
18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—
and men praise you when you prosper-
19 he will join the generation of his fathers,
who will never see the light of life .
20 A man who has riches without understanding
is like the beasts that perish.


II Corinthians 5:1-10

1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


Psalm 104:33-34

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.


Psalm 146:2

2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.





III. WHAT WE SHOULD DO ABOUT ILLNESS


James 5:14-20

14 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. 15 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. 16 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.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.


II Kings 20:1-7

1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 "Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.' "
7 Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a poultice of figs." They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

Some may argue that it was the figs that brought healing…but who are we to say by what means the Lord brings healing? Whether it be miraculous, through medicine or natural means? Do not all things belong to the Lord?

Isn’t everything on earth at His disposal?

Regardless the means, nothing happens without the definitive approval by the Word of the Lord.

Regardless of the means, all praise and honor must go to Him for ALLOWING those means to be successful!


Acts 3:1-8 Peter heals a crippled beggar

1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Silver or gold I do not have…..

But what I have I give you…