Through the Roof!
© 1998 Mike Druckenmiller (Sr.)
James begins a discourse of Faith and Works in chapter 2 starting at verse 14. (Read through verse 26.) Many times we have seen a few people doing all the work in a great number of churches.
If we accept James' discourse on face value it would seem that a possibility exists for Works to over shadow Faith. This would not be a good thing. Paul continuously talks about not being justified by works of the law. But, even Paul talks about the entire ministry team being put into place to prepare God's people for works of service.
Much of the faith teaching and especially the "Super Faith" teaching seems to emphasize a faith that is for one's self which James decries as unproductive in James 4:2-3.
So then just what are acceptable works of a righteous and faith-filled person? We all know about visiting the sick, feeding those who can't feed themselves, esteeming another as better than yourself, building up another person, and even teaching Sunday School.
But, I would like you to consider another form of manifesting one's faith through actions.
In Mark we have an interesting story about four friends that brought their friend to Jesus so he could be healed.
MAR 2:3-12 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
Things to notice:
I would like to submit to you that faith that is self-centered and is not strong enough to touch another, to stand in the gap as it were, is juvenile faith, not even worth mentioning at the Father's throne. We all have gaps in our faith. We all have weaknesses. We all have the potential of failing. Especially if we try to stand alone in our own faith.
God ordained the church as a mutually inclusive and co-dependent organism. And, it's time we stopped acting like lone rangers, and started acting like a unified Body of Christ. In James we have a collection of scripture often used as a proof text for healing in the church.
JAM 5:14 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. 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.
I would like to connect these two scriptures and ask the question, when someone gets healed, whose faith is it that obtains the healing?
Sometimes we are so quick to place the blame on the faith "paralyzed" sick person when healing doesn't occur. Perhaps it would be better to express our faith for one another in the same terms the four friends did?
After all when was the last time someone else was so important, that you were willing to claw your way through the heavenlies for them. It cost the friends time, (they had to travel some distance) and money (they had to have the roof repaired) to get their friend healed. But, time and cost were of no concern to them.
One final question, How do we develop such strong relationships in the body of Christ that this would be a more natural occurrence? Especially in light of the latter half of John 17 and the sacrifice of Barnabas in Acts 4.
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