God's Healing Series #4

Fred R. Coulter

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I want to cover some things concerning the various aspects of healing and the various things we need to look to. Sickness comes because it's:

  • physical
  • you catch a virus
  • you catch the flu
  • you have an inherited weakness of the body
  • emotional

That's well known even in psychology today.

  • unresolved spiritual problems
    • personal spiritual problems
    • unresolved spiritual problems between one another
  • accidental

Nancy fell and hurt her hand and it's in a cast. It comes by accident.

For the physical things, we have various physical things we can do, that's why God gave herbs for the service of man. Some people say that if you use herbs you're into demonism—not true.

When it comes by accident, you need the help of someone—don't you? Yes, you do! If you break a leg you have to have it set. If you cut yourself, you may have to have it stitched. Certain accidents are irretrievable, because they cause your death. All of those are factors in sickness, illness and so forth.

Jesus said that those who are sick need a physician. Jesus is not against physicians. Most of the those who would be called physicians in the days of Jesus would be those we would put in the category of chiropractics, which some people think that they are 'quacks.' Massage—there's a 'quack-buster' group out there that really is not scientific at all and they even say that massage is demonic.

There are certain physical things you can do when you have a physical illness; that's fine, you can do those. They also now know that the body is a chemical/electrical creation. What they've discovered concerning the cells is almost fantastic in their knowledge and understanding of it. They still don't know everything about it. The long and the short of it is that there are many things they are discovering with the cells and electromagnetic system of the body.

There are also certain physical things that you can do to help restore the electrical flow in your body. That's a physical thing that you can do. Some of those things, because they are newer therapies, are on the cutting edge of alternative medicine today. Because it's so new and many people are not familiar with it, they also label some of those things as demonism, too.

Let's understand something concerning demonism. You can have demonism anywhere! You can have it in

  • the medical profession
  • chiropractics
  • massage
  • herbs

You can have it in lots of different things. In these things that you do physically, you have to have discernment and understanding that whatever is being done is based upon scientific fact and not on a demonic level. That you have to discern and judge for yourself.

I'm not talking about any of the things that cause sickness either by accident, which is obvious, or those which are physical, which are more obvious. There are certain health things that you can do with the physical that are just necessary. Even with this SARS virus that they've come up with, they've found out that if you have good hygiene, you never would have had it! Some things you can take care of with cleanliness and things like that.

I want to get into the things that are spiritual, that are emotional, which then cause us to have many chronic illnesses. Many of those chronic illnesses cause a lot of problems. Sometimes with that we don't recognize it because we don't understand what we're doing or not doing.

Before we get into that, this question was asked: When we ask a blessing on a meal, is it just thanksgiving or are we also asking God to intervene for us? Both! In today's world there are so many physical things out there—genetic engineering and things like this—we need to ask God to intervene and take care of the things that we cannot change.

God gives this promise, Mark 16:17: "And these signs shall follow those who believe: in My name they shall cast out demons..." We are seeing that more and more people need demons cast out. Yes, they can be cast out! {Note #2 this series}We need not fear anything concerning demons at all. They are totally subject to the name of Christ. Even those who use the name of Christ to cast them out, who are not going to be in the Kingdom of God, they still cast them out. It's the power of the name of Jesus Christ that does it!
Verse 17: "...they shall speak with new languages; they shall remove serpents..." (vs 17-18). Not take them up like they do in certain Protestant churches where they have the challenge of picking up poisonous snakes and handling them and so forth.

Verse 18: "...and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them in any way... [Today we can't avoid all the chemicals in food. You can't avoid all genetically engineered food. You can do your best to avoid it but you would virtually have to grow everything your own self. That's a very difficult proposition, indeed. I think the blessing covers that, when we ask the blessing on the food.] ...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." All those things are active and alive today and Christ does those!

In asking the blessing, God is not going to make white bread into whole wheat all of a sudden, and He's not going to make pork into beef, in spite of the rabbi's blessing, etc. We need to understand that, too. We need to use common sense in the foods that we buy and do the best that we can. I think that there are more and more organic foods that you can get even in regular markets. In asking the blessing on the meal, you also have to give thanks, and ask God to purge it of those things that you cannot handle.

We can use the example of Jesus feeding the 4,000 and 5,000. That blessing, with the power of Christ behind it, certainly was greater than just thankfulness for the fish and the loaves. We can leave it at that. You have to exercise your own judgment concerning it. We need to do the best we can along the physical lines, but then, on the other hand, you cannot get so fanatical that you use bad judgment in that either. There has to be a proper discernment in it.

There are some people whose immune systems are so low, for whatever reason—some are physical, some are emotional, some are spiritual—that they can hardly walk into a room without having some sort of reaction. In those cases, and in may cases, that is not just a physical thing. It is a physical reaction, but it gets down into some of the spiritual and emotional difficulties concerning healing that people have.

Let's look at the things that Christ wants us to come to. These become the spiritual and emotional attitudes that we need to have. You will notice that every one of these things follows along and backs up all of the commandments of Jesus that was covered in the sermon If You Love Me Keep My Commandments (Healing Series #3).

When He begins this, here's what He says, Matthew 5:3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit..." Not haughty or exalted, that takes an effort. The spirit of man is the lamp of God—into your heart, your mind and your life (Prov. 20:27). Being poor in spirit then, is a great and a humble attitude, a little different than meekness. This is the opposite of haughtiness.

"...for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (vs 3-4). The right kind of mourning and in some cases, mourning coupled with repentance. There's a right kind of mourning. This mourning obviously has to do with a right attitude to God; mourning because people are living their lives incorrectly.

"...they shall be comforted" (vs 4). Along with this kind of mourning is repentance and an understanding. Unless you 'leave it all on Christ,' which He 'bore all our sins and iniquities' and everything, then we will be comforted.

Verse 5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." That's a little different. Meek is a little different than being poor in spirit. Meekness means:

  • you don't put yourself forward in an unseemly way
  • you listen, hear the Word of God and you do it
  • you don't argue back at God
  • you don't accuse God

It says, "...they shall inherit the earth"

Verse 6: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." That's important! How then, do you come to have the spiritual attitudes that Christ wants you to have? They're not funneled in! We're not robotsnor are we automatons where God changes a computer chip in us so that we can be one way one time and one way another time.

  • It comes by hungering and thirsting after God's Word!
  • It comes through continuous yielding to God and repentance!

{note two sermons: Love of God—Second Calling and To Return to God}

If you are filled with the Word of God, obviously, with the Spirit of God you are going to grow in the grace, knowledge and attitudethat you need! But you cannot have those things:

  • unless you pray
  • unless you study
  • unless you draw close to God

Verse 7: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy." This ties right in with some of the things that we've covered about forgiveness. Always remember this, and I always remind myself when I get into a hickity-snickity attitude that I'm looking down on someone and unmerciful: I stop and say, do you want mercy? But of course! 'Well, get off your stinking high-horse! Sometimes you have to talk to yourself, especially if only you are around and no one else is going to talk to you. With God's Spirit you've got to talk to yourself. If you want mercy then you know that you have to be merciful!

In Psalms 136, there are 26 verses and each verse ends the same way. Psalms 136:1 "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever."

When I first looked at this Psalm I had in my mind, 'Don't do as the heathen do and have vain repetitions.' I looked at this and I thought: is this a vain repetition? Obviously, not because it's in the Scriptures—right? This shows you how 'His mercy endures forever and how great it is!' If you want mercy, do you not want others to have mercy? Yes, indeed! If you don't want others to have mercy, then you're unmerciful. You're not glorifying God for His goodness and mercy, because that comes in the way of denying that God can and will heal you!

Psalms 103:1: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (vs 1-2). When we get in an unmerciful attitude, isn't that what we're forgetting? Isn't that what we're forgetting that God has done to us? Yes, indeed!

Verse 3: "Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases." It says all of themnot to give you eternal life in the flesh. Getting old is not a disease; it is a rest stop. It talks about it there in Ecc. 11 and 12. Solomon talks to the young people and he says in modern English, 'Now look, while you're young and you have your youth and your figure, don't wait to turn to God when your 'choppers' are all worn down, your eyes are dim and your joints hurt and ache, and then you call out to God. Do it while you're young.'

Likewise, God will forgive all of our iniquities. Some people in sinning, ask God to forgive them but never forget it. Obviously, we're to learn lessons from our past experience even as the Apostle Paul did. He never forgot that he persecuted the Church, but he didn't keep that in remembrance in a way of a guilty conscience. He kept that in remembrance in a way of how great God was and how that he needed to humble himself to God. Because if God is so merciful in calling such a sinner and such an enemy of God, that God has got to be fantastic and great—right? We need to keep all those things in mind.

A little later I'll also cover what applies not to just people in our church experiences that we have been in contact with, but it also applies to many people who attend churches in this world that are so-called Christian, which is church wars and battle fatigue. Those can also kill you—can't they? Some of the things we'll cover as we go through this, we will see that that has been absolutely true; because as we go along, and part of what provoked going through this is: You look on any prayer request online concerning the Churches of God and what do you see? Sickness and cancer, cancer, cancer! Why?Could it be the result of battle fatigue and shock from the Church wars coupled with bitterness and unforgiveness?

I'll just mention this: Herbert Armstrong is dead. If you still harbor feelings against him, and anger and anxiety, are you correcting a problem? or Are you not retaining a problem? If God has forgiven him, and we could put it to anyone, any church leader in the world, any person—and we don't forgive them in our own hearts and minds, and let go and end the church war, you're always going to have:

  • spiritual difficulties
  • probably physical problems
  • sickness
  • illness

What we need to realize is that we look at all of the sins and baggage that are cluttering our lives and that we still carry with us. I have not forgotten any of the lessons in Worldwide; I remember all of those. I have not forgotten any of the lessons that we have learned in Biblical Church of God. I haven't forgotten learning those lessons. But I hold nothing against any, and I pray that they all repent. If they will yield to God and do what they need to do, that's what God desires in the long run—isn't it? Yes, it is! All you have to do is look at the example of Ahab. There's a very good example.

The attitudes that Christ wants us to have through His Spirit, through the love of God, has to be in faith, active and working. God is doing an impossible task to convert us—isn't He? Yes, He is! When you fight your own nature, you need to understand that you need God's help and God's Spirit. I do, you do, everyone does. Otherwise we end up being like Job, trying to do it ourselves.

Matthew 5:7: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (vs 7-8). How does a pure heart come? By repentance!

Never, never lay yourself open with these attitudes that you have toward God and toward each other that evil people can come in and slay you. When we're dealing with the world you have to be 'wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.' Don't let them come in and slay you by looking at your converted attitude in heart and mind. They look at you as a 'chump' and a 'sucker' and then they come after you.

If that does happen, then God is going to take care of them; but you have to be 'wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove' so that other people cannot take advantage of you that way. You don't have to be fighting and warring against them, but you have to be wise in

  • what you say
  • what you do
  • how your present yourself

In the long run, if you have the attitudes that we're talking about here in Matt. 5, who's going to be against that? Like Paul said concerning the fruits of the Spirit, 'against that there is no law.' Ultimately then, the way you have a 'clean heart' or 'pure heart' is by doing as David did with his sin.

Psalms 51:1: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion, blot out my transgressions." He had some big ones here—didn't he? Yes! This is the affair with Bathsheba, and this is the affair where he killed Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, the Hittite. That's big time stuff—isn't it? Yes, it is!

Verse 2: "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity..." Of course, you have to have the 'washing of the water by the Word' and you have to have your mind renewed and regenerated. That's why

  • we have the Holy Spirit of God
  • we study the Word of God
  • we yield to God

God has us in training to become perfect. God has us in training to become God! This takes constant effort, diligence and education. Is there enough time in any one single life to really teach you everything you need to know to become a son of God? No! That's why we do it our whole life long! We learn all the time—don't we? Yes! I learn! You learn!

"...and cleanse me from my sin... [We have a sinful nature, too—don't we?] ...for I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me" (vs 2-3). You have to go to God. You have to confess your sins. He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins (1-John 1:6-10). When you confess them and He forgives you, then you also have to do the same thing that God does for you. What does He do for you? He removes them 'as far as the east is from the west' and He forgets. He doesn't remember your trespasses.

Verse 4: "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight..." Even though he killed Uriah the Hittite, even though he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the sin was against God! Were those people hurt? Yes, indeed! Uriah was killed and the child that was conceived, died! So, it was against God.

"...that You might be justified when You speak and be in the right when You judge" (vs 4) In other words, God is never wrong! If we have an opinion concerning God that He is not right, then our opinion coincides with what Satan the devil, believes. That's not the right attitude—is it?

Verse 5: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity... [we all have human nature—'from within come evil thoughts'] ...and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You desire Truth in the inward parts..." (vs 5-6). This is how you have a pure heart.You let the Truth of God come into your heart and into your mind; and you have a pure heart and a pure mind before God! This is a continuous on-going project.

Maybe this will help us understand a little bit more why we have to repent of our sins daily. God is doing the impossible work of taking something that is diametrically opposite of His nature and converting it to His. That's why only God can do it because it's an impossible task for a human being to do it. That's why it says, 'salvation is of grace, by faith and not of works,' though we have our works we need to do—plenty of them—which God lays out for us to do.

Verse 7: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which You have broken may rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God... [pure-hearted] ...and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (vs 7-10).

Sometimes we may have so many sins and attitudes cluttering that we have to start at that place. Sometimes we have to come to the point that we have to ask God to show us our secret, inner sins, because no one else knows those but God and you. This is the result of everything that Christ goes on to say later in Matt. 5-7.

Matthew 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God" (vs 8-9). Especially within the Church, that's important! God has called us all together.

  • We all have our own problems, hang-ups and difficulties—don't we?
  • We all have our own peculiarities—don't we?
  • Yes, we do!

Then we need to have peace among ourselves by having aloving, kind, merciful and forgiving attitude. That's what needs to be. That's the only way you can have peace with God.

Jesus said that if you have something against your brother and you come to offer your gift, that's the same as praying. When you go to Rev. 5:8[transcriber's correction], it talks about the altar of incense. The smoke comes up from the altar of incense before God and it says 'these are the prayers of the saints.' Just make sure that in your prayer, that your prayer is a sweet incense, not seasoned with garlic—if I can put it that way. We have to have peace, "...for they shall be called the sons of God."

Verse 10: "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness..." So, you know that you're going to have people not like you. You're going to know that people are going to say things against you. What do you do? Retaliate? Take the same attitude? No! You can pray for them. You can forgive them. They don't know what they're doing.

Always remember this: When you come to the point that you're not willing to forgive, remember Christ on the Cross!

  • We're to become like Him—aren't we?
  • We're to become as perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect—aren't we?

Impossible things to do without the Spirit of God! If you don't have the Spirit of God and you try to do these things, you're never going to accomplish them. It can only be done with the Spirit of God! Persecution will come! I've had everything said of me under the sun. A lot of people have accused me of a lot of things down through the years. I claim the promise here:

"...and shall persecute you, and shall falsely say every wicked thing against you, for My sake. Rejoice and be filled with joy... [rather than sad and mad] ...for great is your reward in heaven; for in this same manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (vs 11-12).

This tells us an awful lot about what we need to do—doesn't it? Yes, indeed! These are the things that will help free us from the spiritual difficulties and the spiritual blocks that keep us from being healed; that destroys relationships between us. I'm sure that every one of us has some sort of peculiarity that someone doesn't like. I'm sure that you look upon others that have some peculiarity that you don't particularly care for either. What do you do? You grow in grace and knowledge and you grow in love and understanding!

If God has accepted me—which He has; and God has accepted you—which He has; should we not accept each other? Yes, indeed! That doesn't mean that we compromise doctrine or Truth. That means that we have love and forbearance toward each other. If we do, then we are also obligated—because each one of us knows our own peculiarities—

  • to work on those
  • to repent of those
  • to ask God to help you overcome them

We're all a work in progress—are we not? Who is perfect? Job got defeated.

This is not to put a 'guilt trip' on anyone. This is not to put anybody down. You have to judge yourself before God in your own attitude and your own heart! That's all a part of Christianity. This is all a part of growing up in Christ! This is what is so profound and so important!

We find in Luke 6 some of the same things put just a little bit differently. Some of these things are tied in with what Jesus says afterward. Luke 6:17: "And after descending with them, He stood on the level place with a crowd of His disciples; and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases." Jesus said on several occasions, 'go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.' We can apply that in many different ways.

Verse 18: "And those who were tormented by unclean spirits also came; and they were healed, and all the crowd sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed all" (vs 18-19). That was Christ's duty to do. That was His work to do. We can see that there is still work that has to be done today. There are probably many more millions of people in these categories than there was clear back then.

Luke 4:18—Jesus reads a place in Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; for this reason, He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal those who are broken-hearted, to proclaim pardon to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth in deliverance those who have been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (vs 18-19).

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Here are the woes; we've seen the blessings, Luke 6:24: "But woe to you, the rich, for you are receiving your consolation!"—especially if you're like the rich man who wouldn't sell all that he had.

Christ requires a total, absolute commitment to Him! (Luke 14). We can't have one foot in the world and one foot in the church. We can, but we're creating for ourselves a great deal of problems. We cannot be like a millipede and have 500 feet in the world and 500 feet in the Church. He wants a whole commitment!

Verse 25: "Woe to you who have been filled, for you shall hunger! Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep!" I'm sure all of this has to do with the fact that you look down and despise other people. That's why the woe comes.

Verse 26: "Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you! For their fathers did these same things to the false prophets. But I say to you who hear… [we've got to hear] …love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you" (vs 26-28).

Verse 35: "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again..." I talked to a man recently who said that he loaned a man several thousand dollars. He was in the Church. This went on for about two years because the man ended up where he couldn't pay him back. He said every Sabbath when he came to church he'd see the man and this would come to his mind. He would go 'bug' the man about it—'are you going to pay me, I gave it to you, blah, blah, blah.'

After a period of time, he finally came to the same conclusion as here in v 35. He said that one Sabbath he walked up to the man and said, 'Look, you don't owe me a thing.' The other man said, 'Are you kidding?' He said, 'No, you don't owe me a thing!' He told me after that, he felt so much better because he was not looking at that individual and expecting the money back.

"...and your reward shall be great... [The man did not expect it. You don't earn forgiveness. It's given from the heart and it comes from God.] ...and you shall be the children of the Highest; for He is good to the unthankful and the wicked. Therefore, you also be compassionate, even as your Father is compassionate" (vs 35-36).

We have high standards to go by again—don't we? In order to become a true Christian you have before you an impossible task unless you let the Holy Spirit of God lead you, guide you and you develop the mind of Christ!

As we started out: The things that are impossible with men are possible with God! That's what we need to keep in mind in dealing with each other. Here is:

  • jealousy
  • envy
  • hatred
  • bitterness

—everything all combined. Isn't it interesting that this comes before the 'sermon on the mount?'

Verse 6: "Now it also came to pass on another Sabbath that He went into the synagogue and taught, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against Him" (vs 6-7). What is this?

  • judging
  • condemning
  • hatefulness
  • bitterness

Verse 8: "But He knew their thoughts..." There's something we need to understand: God knows our thoughts—doesn't He? Yes, He does! Especially since we have the Spirit of God, He knows them—doesn't He? Especially when we understand that the spirit of man is the candle or the lamp of the Lord. God knows!

There's another thing, too, with our thoughts. Somewhere between the two ears in the cranium we've got some of this gray matter, which is a tremendous and unique creation—isn't it? Can you imagine what God has done in creating us after His own image and likeness? Nevertheless, somewhere within the brain and the mind is recorded everything that we have done. That's why we need forgiveness and forgetfulness and have our minds clean, to have those things erased. Only God can do that because He knows your thoughts!

"...and said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Arise and stand in the midst.' and he arose and stood in their midst. Then Jesus said to them, 'I will ask you one thing...'" (vs 8-9). Since people get all picky concerning laws and being the Lord of the Sabbath, can He not change the rules of the Sabbath? Yes, He can! Did He change the rules of the Sabbath? Yes, He did! Go back and read Exo. 16; He told them to stay in their tents on the Sabbath—didn't He? That means that if you strictly followed Exo. 16 you couldn't come to church—could you?

We need to understand that God is interested in mercy and not sacrifice. He is interested in teaching us to become the very sons of God:

  • which outweighs the effort of driving
  • which outweighs the effort of the things we need to do to gather together to learn on the Sabbath Day

That's what He's talking about, the same way with healing!

"...Is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbaths? to save life or to destroy it?" (v 9).Today the Jews in Jerusalem—the Orthodox Jews, not in Jerusalem but in their suburbs—will stone a car to death if someone dares to drive it through their neighborhood. So, they break the Sabbath by actually stoning the car to death. I use that as a little cynicism. They've actually stoned and burned cars, chased the people away who were driving them through their neighborhood on the Sabbath. Is it lawful to drive a car on the Sabbath?

  • If you're coming to assemble together—yes!
  • If you're going to some place where you can pray and meditate—yes!
  • If you're doing your business and shopping—no!

Those are judgments you have to make!

Verse 10: "And after looking around on them all, He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he did so, and his hand was restored as the other. But they were filled with rage, and considered with one another as to what they should do with Jesus" (vs 10-11).

Obviously, they were having the attitude of Satan the devil—right? Right! Were they healed? No! Even everything that Jesus did, did not convince them! Some repented. But even to the point of destroying the temple in Jerusalem. I truly believe that the final judgment was made against Jerusalem when they stoned Stephen to death. That was their last opportunity to repent. When Stephen was being stoned, he said, 'I see the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.' That was their last chance. They sealed their doom from that day forward.

God is always interested in repentance! If there would really be repentance, would God change His mind? Of course, He would! Absolutely, He would! This attitude that they had been seeking to destroy Him and so forth, carried on through to the fact that He did it.

In John 6 we understand what it is that God wants to do. There are many different lessons we can learn because we have 'precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little.' That's what we're going to do.

God's work within us

John 6:26: "Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly I say to you... [when they finally found Jesus and this is after He fed the 5,000] ...you do not seek Me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate the bread and were satisfied.'" Of course, He knows their thoughts—right? So, He's accurate in what He's saying.

Verse 27: "'Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures unto eternal life... [We are to labor for that spiritual food—are we not? Yes, indeed!] ...which the Son of man shall give to you; for Him has God the Father sealed.' Therefore, they said to Him, 'What shall we do, in order that we ourselves may do the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God: that you believe in Him Whom He has sent'" (vs 27-29). You believe on Jesus, which means:

  • You believe Who He was
  • the Son of God
  • the Son of Man
  • You believe what He taught
  • You live by what He taught

When you do this, God is doing a work in you! That's what God wants to do!

Too many times we end up fighting God, and we prevent Him from doing the work within us that He really wants to do. I include myself the same way. It's like this ad on television. It shows a whole bunch of old Vikings rowing! rowing! rowing! And there's the taskmaster at the end beating the drum—BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! They're rowing! They're working! Then it shows the picture on the horizon and here comes a boat with the sail up and the wind is driving it!

If I could use that as an analogy, because the Holy Spirit is likened to wind on several occasions—isn't it? Yes, it is! If you try and do the work of God by your rowing and rowing and you are doing the work, you're going to end up like all of those old Vikings. If you don't let God's Spirit lead you, your work is going to be in vain and exacerbated! Not totally in vain, but a great deal of it in vain, because you are doing it!

  • Can people keep the Sabbath in the letter of the Law? Absolutely!
  • Can they keep honoring mother and father in the letter of the Law? Yes, indeed!
  • Can they keep the commandment, 'You shall not commit murder'? Yes, indeed!

—and all of the commandments in the letter. For you to do them in the spirit and then to do the commandments of Jesus Christ in addition to that, you have got let Christ do it. It is a spiritual work! How many times have we said: You cannot accomplish spiritual things by physical means? We have the work that we are to do but Christ in usis to do it!That's what it means: "…you believe in Him Whom He has sent."

Here is the long and the short of the whole thing, v 57: "As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me." That means all the words of Christ! That's how we are to live. That has to be with the Holy Spirit of God. Maybe with the Spirit of Godworking with us and maybe with the attitude that we want Christ to do the work in us through the power of His Holy Spirit, then we'll be able to be in right standing with God, because of His Spirit, because of His grace.

Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith..." We all want to be saved—don't we? You wouldn't be sitting here today on the Sabbath if you didn't want to be saved—would you? Of course not! That's why God has called us. It's by God's grace, through His Spirit. Are we going to allow the Spirit of God to work in us as fully and effectively as possible? or Are we going to be double-minded?

"...and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God... [obviously, you cannot give yourself eternal life] ...not of works... [that you do, or something you decide to do that you think is good] ...so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship..." (vs 8-10). God is creating in us! He needs our cooperation—doesn't He? Yes! God is the Potter and we are the clay. If every time God tries to form something in us, we let our sins and our carnality and all of the things that choke off the Sprit of God come up, He's got to crunch it up and start again—doesn't He?

"...created..." (vs 10). That's the important thing we need to understand and grasp; God is creating His children individually, in each one of us! That's what He's doing. Our own carnality and our own lack of spiritual growth affect such things as

  • healing
  • understanding of the Word of God
  • loving each other
  • how we grow and overcome

By grace, we need to let God work in us to create us in His image! That's the whole purpose in life!

"...in Christ Jesus unto the good works..." (vs 10). What are the good works? We've been covering them—haven't we? Yes! Keeping all of

  • the 'beatitudes'
  • the commandments of God in the spirit
  • the commandments of Jesus Christ, with the Spirit of God, which perfects us

That's what He wants!

"...that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them" (vs 10). If you want a good study, take A Harmony of the Gospels, go through and see all the commands of God that Christ has given. Those are the things that He has given that we are to walk in them, living by every Word of God! That's what it means. That's what becomes so important. That's how we grow up into Christ! That's what He wants!

As Paul said we have to lay aside the weight and the 'sin that so easily besets us.' We do that through Christ! We are His workmanship! Absolutely!

Things that block God's work in us

Let's see the things that block that workmanship. Again, they have to do with our relations with other people and our relationship with God. You cannot have a hostile relationship with husband/wife or with brethren in the Church and maintain a proper loving relationship with God. Can't be done! James points that out. God inspired him to really make it clear here:

James 3:1: "My brethren, do not many of you become teachers, knowing that we will receive more severe judgment"—condemnation and judgment. For all of those who want to be teachers and we have 100s and 100s of them—don't we? They never lack for followers—do they? Some of the kookiest doctrinal ideas that you would think no one would be stupid enough to follow those. But they have people to follow them! They do not want the Truth, as Paul said, and they heap to themselves teachers, because they have 'itching ears' and they want to hear what they want to hear. So, anyone who sets himself up as a teacher, beware! God is going to judge you!

He brings a reality of life, v 2: "Because we frequently offend, every one of us...." Isn't that true? I know I've offended people. I may have even offended some of you here. If I have, I'm sorry; forgive me. Just like you, you offend people and don't know it.

"...If anyone does not offend in what he says, this one is a perfect man and is able also to hold in check the whole body…. [a life-long task] …Remember... ['I want to show you something here.'] ...we put bits into horses' mouths in order that they may obey us, and we direct their entire bodies" (vs 2-3).

Sometimes even without the bit you have it so well-trained that you can say, 'Go right, go left.' You can even get them to obey by clicking your tongue. I've even seen that on documentaries on how they train horses. You can lean to the left and the horse will go to the left. You can lean to the right and it'll go to the right. That's a tremendous training—isn't it? Yes!

Verse 4: "Consider also that ships, being so large... [big aircraft carriers recently still has a rudder] ...and being driven by strong winds, are turned about by a very small rudder, wherever the will of the one who is steering may decide. In the same way also, the tongue is a little member..." (vs 4-5). This is where all the difficulties come. There is the inner voice. Most of what we're talking about takes place before it comes to the tongue.

"...but it boasts great things. See how large a forest is set ablaze by a little fire" (v 5)—same thing—'a little leaven leavens the whole lump.' How many fights and arguments between husbands and wives, children and parents, and brethren started out to be a little, little thing? Just a little spark and look what happens!

Verse 6: "And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. So has the tongue been set among our members—the one member that defiles the whole body..." Not only just the body of the person that does it—and you could apply this to sickness, and to emotional and spiritual sicknesses—and also to the Church. What happened to the Church when they weren't preaching Christ? They had an underground, roaring, gossip link that never stopped—right? Yes! Part of it was that the only way you could get Truth because from the pulpit was coming lies—right? Yes!

"...and sets on fire the course of life, and is set on fire by Gehenna" (vs 6). In the tongue is life and death! With the tongue we're all going to be judged, and the inner thoughts of the mind before it reaches the tongue also; because we have the Spirit of God, we're held accountable for it—aren't we? Yes, indeed!

Verse 7: "Now then, every species of animals and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But the tongue no human being is able to tame; it is an unrestrainable evil, full of death-dealing poison" (vs 7-8). How many times have you seen this: Someone is nice and kind and sweet and then something happens and—BOOM! You can't believe the vitriol that comes out of that mouth and the hatefulness that spews out of the tongue! As Paul said, 'the bitterness; it's an unruly evil.'

Here is the problem we're confronted with, v 9: "With it we bless God the Father, and with it we ourselves curse people who are made in the likeness of God." There's the contradiction of human nature—isn't it? This is what we all need to overcome spiritually—isn't it?Yes! If you feel like I'm crunching on you a little bit, I'm crunching on myself. If you feel as though I'm kind of pricking your conscience a little bit, good, maybe the Holy Spirit is working. If you see things you need to change, fine; I see things I need to change and with the help of grace and the Spirit of God, they can be. That's what it's all about. That's where we are with this.

What set this whole thing off concerning healing was that someone asked, 'Why does God heal some and not others? Why did God heal this person of cancer and not that person of cancer?' Maybe this will help us understand. Let's understand that it's not the fault of God!It can be the fault of the ministry, and it can be the fault of the person—both. There are many factors involved:

  • faith
  • love
  • hope
  • forgiveness

—all of those things.

I never will forget the Feast of Tabernacles one year. I came into Tulsa and one of the first things that they announced was this: 'Please pray for this infant—has a brain tumor—18-months-old.' I about came unglued. Not at them, but at the tragedy of the circumstances that the Church was in. I think that that was kind of an epitome of how God looks at the Church: like a poor, little infant with a brain tumor.

I think maybe if we come before God and ask Him to take out the spiritual tumors from us, that God will bless us with more of:

  • His grace
  • His love
  • His Truth

and hopefully

  • His healing

Verse 10: "From the same mouth comes out blessing and cursing..." Bless God out of one side of our mouth and curse people out of the other side of our mouth. I would say probably a perfect example of this would be leaving Church all inspired to do the things that God wants you to do and you get on the freeway and the first thing you do is

  • blow your cool
  • have road-rage
  • shake your fist at someone because he cut in front of you

—or whatever. I just use that as an example. I've done that, haven't you done that? You drive along and you have a good attitude, someone cuts in front of you and you just come unglued. I know that I'm not talking to people who have not done that, or who have not experienced that.

Likewise, in going through this I also need to apply the Scripture that the Apostle Paul wrote, 'You that teach others, do you not teach yourselves?' If I don't teach myself and if I don't learn and change and repent, then all the preaching I do to tell you to change and repent is hypocritical—is it not? Yes, indeed! We're all in this together.

"...My brethren, these things ought not to be so!" (vs 10). We understand that—don't we? What do we do? We chide ourselves and say this ought not be so. That's a time for repentance!

Verse 11: "Does a fountain pour out of the same opening sweet water and bitter water? My brethren, can a fig tree produce olives, or a vine produce figs? In the same way, no fountain can produce salt water and fresh water" (vs 11-12). Using these as clear, apparent things we need to learn.

Verse 13: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him demonstrate his works through good conduct in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast... [you've got to have a heart change] ...and lie against the Truth. This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual and demonic" (vs 13-15).

Of all people that need not be doing the work of the devil are those that have the Spirit of God!

Verse 16: "Because where bitter envying and selfish ambition are, there is dissension and every evil thing." Can that not affect individual lives and also whole churches? Yes, indeed!

Verse 17: "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace" (vs 17-18). Quite a chapter—isn't it? Sometimes it's good if we go through and see everything that James said, rather than putting different Scriptures together.

All Scriptures are from The Holy Bible in its Original Order, A faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Mark 16:17-18
  • Matthew 5:3-7
  • Psalms 136:1
  • Psalms 103:1-3
  • Matthew 5:7-8
  • Psalms 51:1-10
  • Matthew 5:8-12
  • Luke 6:17-19
  • Luke 4:18-19
  • Luke 6: 24-28,35-36,6-11
  • John 6:26-29,57
  • Ephesians 2:8-10
  • James 3:1-18

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Proverbs 20:27
  • Ecclesiastes 11, 12
  • 1-John 1:6-10
  • Matthew 6; 7
  • Revelation 5:8
  • Luke 14
  • Exodus 16

Also referenced:

Sermon Series:

  • Healing Series #3—If You Love Me Keep My Commandments
  • Love Series #7—Love of God—Second Calling
  • Study Pack #1—To Return to God [cbcg.org]

Book: A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter