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Believe and Receive

October 8, 2017 Speaker: Ted Detiveaux Series: A Faith That Works

Topic: Faith Scripture: James 5:13–:20

Believe and Receive 

James 5:13-20

13 Is anyone among you suffering?

in 2017 if a person is suffering you can go to the doctor and get a prescription, get some drug that will supposing help relieve some of the suffering.

You can get a prescription for just about anything from acne to bipolar disorders, but often there is a list of possible side effects that go along with that medicine. 

Sometimes the cure can be worst that the disease. 

For example, a drug named

Alli weight loss aid

Some of the side effects include gas with oily discharge, an increased number of bowel movements, an urgent need to have them, and an inability to control them.

* depressed mood, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, crying spells, aggression or agitation, changes in behavior, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
* sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
* blurred vision, sudden and severe headache or pain behind your eyes, sometimes with vomiting;
* hearing problems, hearing loss, or ringing in your ears;
* seizure (convulsions);
* severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
* loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes);
* severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding, black, bloody, or tarry stools;
* fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, purple spots under your skin, easy bruising or bleeding; or
* joint stiffness, bone pain or fracture.

But hey, at least you won’t have pimples!

Abilify- bipolar disorder, schizophrenia

“coma or death…and trouble swallowing” (apparently no one knows what to do with bipolar)

James has a better suggestion

Let him pray. Doesn’t that sound like a much better way. Isn’t comforting to know that we can go to God in prayer, knowing that He is able to do abundantly and above all that we could ask.

He is deeply concerned about His children. 

1 Peter 3:12

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

How exciting is it to know that the Lord is watching over you and He is listening to the prayers of the righteous?

So, the instruction from James is to pray!  If you are righteous (right standing with God) then you should pray because He is listening.  His ear is inclined to you.

Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 

James is also saying, hey look not everyone is experiencing the same emotions.  Everyone is going through life differently.  Some are suffering while others are cheerful.  You may have experienced both emotions to one degree or another.

Yet his instruction for all is to turn toward God.  If you are suffering go to God in prayer, if you are cheerful then go to God with a song of praise.  Keep your eyes on Him.

Most of us have mastered the art of crying out to God after finding ourselves in a mess, but often we fail to give God praise when things are at its best.

If things are going well for you then give God praise. Even if things are not going well give Him praise. 

If things are going poorly offer up prayer, if things are going great, continue to offer up prayer.

14 Is anyone among you sick? 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 will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 

James starts with talking about prayer, then goes into praise then goes back to prayer.  As though we should be offering up praise while we are praying. 

While you are waiting for your prayers to be answered, begin to praise Him for who He is and for what He has already done.

Notice vs 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church.

It is implied to be the responsibility of the person who is sick to call for the elders to pray.

In other words, his faith must move him to action.  The action required of the sick person is to get others involved in the faith miracle.

For a moment let’s look at others in the bible whose faith led them to action.


Mark 5:34 (Woman with the issue of blood for 12 years)

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

Luke 17:19 (The ten lepers)

And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Luke 7:50 (sinful woman, alabaster box, tears, hair)

Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Mark 10:52 (Blind Bartimaeus, cried out Son of David)

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

Immediately after healing them either physically or spiritually, Jesus declared the miracle to be a result of their faith. 

Jesus could have easily said, it is because of my faith that you are whole.  After all He was a man with an unshakeable faith in God, but He did not say that.

  • Is it possible that you have missed out on a miracle from God due to your unbelief?

Because it is easier to take a drug that you can see even if you experience side effects that you cannot see, rather than trusting in a God that you cannot see to bring fulfillment to that which you can see.

Yet James says

15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick

  • Do we believe that our God is still in the healing business?

The prayer of faith is believing before you receive.  Not the other way around.

Hebrews 11:1

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Praying a prayer of faith requires you to hope for a miracle even though you cannot see it.

However, we tell God that we will believe Him if we see it. (examples) It does not work like that.

In fact, while on earth, Jesus has rebuked several people with such thinking including his own disciples. Seeing is not Believing. If you see it then there is no need to believe for it.

  • What prevents us from going to God first and praying a prayer of faith?

Unanswered prayers- Perhaps you prayed once. You stepped out and believed, and nothing happened.  Those unanswered prayers prevent you from trusting in Him again.  You put up your defenses.

Unbelief- Perhaps you really don’t think that God is able to do what you are hoping for, so you don’t even bother to ask if He would.

Distorted View of God - Maybe you are like many who have the misconception that God is too big, too busy and that He does not care or have time for you.

1 Peter 5:7 (ESV)

7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

God knows everything about you there is nothing hidden from Him.

Luke 12:7 (ESV)

7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

He is a Big God and He is a very personal God. He has placed a tremendous amount of value on your life by sending His son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins.

Pride- This attitude that you can do it all on your own and that you don’t need God.

These things can prevent you from praying a prayer of faith.

James urges his suffering audience to Pray, Praise, then to get other believers involved in your prayer of faith.

I would urge you as well, if you are suffering whether physically, spiritually or emotionally to first pray. Come to God with a believing heart, pray a prayer of Faith, ask other believers to join in prayer with you.  Have a heart of expectation.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with going to doctors, I believe all wisdom and resources that doctors have comes from God. 

What I am saying is to “Pick God First”. If He then instructs you to pursue a doctor then do so. 

From what I have repeatedly observed in scripture, God is looking to demonstrate His power in your life so that He can be glorified in the earth today. 

It starts with praying a prayer of faith.  A prayer that believes even if it does not see.

James ends out by saying

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 

He puts the focus back on things that are eternal.  He calls his audience to confess their sins one to another and to pray for one another. 

James knows that there is something greater at stake than your physical health.  That is your spiritual health or your eternal resting place.

Just as a prayer of faith is required for a physical healing, a prayer of faith is required for your eternal salvation. No one can do it for you.  It must be a declaration from your own lips.  You don’t wait to see Jesus before you believe in Him, You believe in Him with the hope you will one day see Him.

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