Healing Points
Sermon Summary
This message is the first in a two part series on the topic of healing. It speaks of the need for spiritual healing due to the disease of sin and it’s terrible effects on our lives. The Bible clearly states in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the suffering servant, that “He (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” When Jesus was here on earth He used His power to heal physically, but He made it clear that the biggest healing need in humanity was the need to be forgiven for sin. The big question is whether or not we are willing to accept the healing God wants to give us. God call us to repent and to receive His forgiveness, but He has given us a choice. We must respond to His gracious offer!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. What are some of the symptoms that develop from the disease we call sin?

2. Listen to the first thing Jesus said to the paralytic. “Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” Matthew 9:2 Although Jesus did heal the man physically, read the following passage and discuss why Jesus was more concerned with the man’s need for forgiveness than his need for physical healing.
James 1:13  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
James 1:14  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
James 1:15  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

3. When the religious leaders began to think evil thoughts towards Jesus because He had spoken words of forgiveness to the man, Jesus asked them which was easier, to heal or to forgive. Jesus was God in the flesh, so a physical healing was not a difficult thing for Jesus to do. However, in order to forgive sin, Jesus would have to go the cross and make the ultimate sacrifice. When you think about it, humankind has made great strides in the area of medicine and physical healing, but we still have a hard time with the concept of forgiveness. Why do you think this is?
1 John 1:8  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

4. When Jesus heard the Pharisees complaining about His fellowship with the sinners, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Discuss what He meant by this.



Full Sermon Notes

Mercy, Mercy, as endless as the sea! And when I stand on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, I am always amazed at the vastness of that great body of water. That's where the picture on your worship guide was taken. But, what amazes me even more than the great oceans of our world is the vastness of God's healing mercy poured out on the Cross which is the place where healing originates. We'll see that in our message this morning.

Let's pray and ask God to teach us the truth about the Biblical concept of healing!

"Father God, I thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace poured out for us on the cross many years ago! How could You love sinners like us so much? How could You let Your Son Jesus suffer such humiliation for a people who had rejected Your guidance, Your truth, and even Your love? But You did! But why? You knew we were sick! You knew we were lost! You knew we were separated from You because of our sin and You wanted us to receive the ultimate healing, Spiritual healing. Teach us today about Your desire to heal us in more ways than one! I love You Jesus and I want so much for Your Holy Spirit to speak through me this morning so that we can understand Your truth. So that those who need Your healing touch will receive that touch today! Hide me behind Your Cross so that only You will be glorified today! I thank You in advance for answering this prayer for it is in Jesus' Name I pray, and believe! Amen.

This morning and next week we will look at the topic of healing and what God's Word actually says about it and we may touch on some things God's Word doesn't say, but others have tried to make it say! We are going to go directly to the source of God's Word for our teaching. It will be our main source throughout the series. Our text for today is found in the Gospel of Matthew 9. Your worship guide states we'll start at verse 18, but we're actually going to start with verse 1. My bad, I told them wrong. Just owning my mistake. Anyway, these verses are a rapid fire set of stories that occurred in the beginning of Jesus' ministry on this earth.

Let's look at the first story…Matthew 9:1-8

Matthew 9:1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town.
2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

Point # 1
Our greatest healing need has to do with a disease called Sin!

The man's need for physical healing was obvious. He was paralyzed and needed others to tote him around. What was not so obvious was his need for spiritual healing, but while man looks on the outside, God looks at the heart so Jesus saw what others couldn't see and knew the more pressing need was forgiveness of sin.

I'm sure there were gasps in the crowd. Maybe whispers like, "How insensitive! Bringing up the man's sin when he clearly has other more pressing issues!" But let me tell you why Jesus was so concerned with the man's need for forgiveness. It was not because he had committed some specific sin that caused his paralysis. When someone is sick or disabled or injured, that is not God punishing them. Even if they did something that had a bad consequence, it's not God punishing them. It is a consequence. I had a good friend who went out drinking and driving and wrecked his car. He lost both legs. That was not God's fault and my friend will tell you that. God actually used the accident to bring him to Christ and he has shared his story all over the world. He's a strong Christian who has represented the U.S. in wheelchair volleyball, and has run marathon's in his racing chair, for which I had the privilege of building a flight case!

Here's why Jesus was so concerned with the man’s sin issue in our story...

Romans 6:23a For the wages of sin is death...

Sin kills spiritually! It destroys God's plans for our lives here on earth and unless we receive God's healing for our sin's, it will destroy us for eternity. Our greatest need in the healing department is healing from the horrible symptoms and effects of sin. Let me give you a few examples...

The sin of anger has symptoms. Like, saying hurtful words, doing spiteful things, actually hitting someone, or in worst case scenarios, anger leads to murder. The sin of hatred has some of the same symptoms as anger, but additionally leads to being judgmental, racist, bitter, and just downright mean!

The sin of selfishness has symptoms too. Like the attitude of I deserve what I want more than you deserve what you need!  Selfishness leads people to routinely put themselves above others and can even lead to abuse of others. The sin of covetousness leads to dissatisfaction and the pursuit of things over every other goal in life. Left unchecked, it will lead some people to take what does not belong to them and some even to the point of violence. And the sin of covetousness, wanting what is not yours, leads many down the sordid path of lust. Mental and emotional adultery has never been easier to engage in than in our internet connected society.

"But Pastor Larry, I thought you were going to talk on the subject of healing, not sin!"

Let me say this: The greatest miracles of healing that Jesus ever did were healing's from sin and what He had to do in order to do that was nothing short of mind boggling!
You see, He could physically heal because He was God in the flesh. He was the Creator, so reworking something physically so someone could be healed in their body, while amazing to us, was easy for Him! However, in order to work the miracle of spiritual healing Jesus had to do the unthinkable. Look with me at Isaiah 53:3-6...

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

While this passage has been used many times in regards to physical healing, and certainly includes this aspect, the context clearly speaks to our need for healing from the disease of sin. Listen again to verse 5…

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Now I want you to see something else in our first healing story. When the religious leaders started questioning Jesus, He started questioning them! And this leads us to our second healing point…

Point # 2
Jesus physically healed because He cared, He could, and to prove a point!

Matthew 9:3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?
5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
7 And the man got up and went home.
8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God,  
who had given such authority to men.

Jesus healed while He was here on earth because He had compassion on those who were sick and hurting. He healed while He was here because He had the power to do so, but the healing power of Jesus was also a sign to the unbelieving Jews that He was in fact the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning The Messiah.

And one of the most important points Jesus was trying to make was humankind's need for forgiveness of sin. This was the point the Pharisees were missing. They didn't think they needed forgiveness and they certainly weren't very generous with giving forgiveness! In fact they looked down on others with great disdain.

And think about this modern day application of this story. Jesus asked the question which is easier, to heal, or to forgive? Have you ever thought about this…we've made huge strides in the science of healing. We can do lung, eye, liver, and heart transplants, but we still have a really hard time having a forgiving heart!

Forgiving others, ourselves, and accepting God's forgiveness is still one of the most difficult and perplexing issues facing humankind. But here's another healing point...

Point # 3
Jesus calls out to the spiritually sick, but they have to answer the call!

Matthew 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples,  “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew was a tax collector. Jewish tax collectors had in essence placed money above everything else. They were seen as collaborators with the occupying Romans and as extortioners of money from the people. They were considered ritually unclean. They had chosen this lifestyle and put up with the ridicule. Why? It was lucrative! It put food on their table. It kept them in the money and they had the power of the Roman Government to back their greedy dealings. This makes this story of Matthew's response to the invitation of Jesus even more impressive. Jesus said, "Follow me," and he rose and followed him!

If you think you're too spiritually sick, to far gone, maybe even terminal when it comes to your sin, let me say this as powerfully as I can…"You are dead wrong!" If you keep believing this lie, Satan will use it to destroy you! Jesus came to call those sickened with sin, those stained with the guilt of sin, those gasping for spiritual breath! He came to call you to life. To call you to stand and walk away from the sins that are making you sick, to the life of the Spirit which can make you whole again! But you have to answer the call. You have to take up your mat and walk! Take up your Cross and follow Him. You can do it with His help, His strength, His healing!

God's Word tells us how in Romans 6:6-13

Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin —
7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again;  
death no longer has mastery over him.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

And then look down just a few more verses and listen closely, you have to choose to obey wholeheartedly. In other words, it is by faith in God's ability to heal us spiritually that we find the strength to obey God and receive the spiritual healing he wants to give us! Listen...

Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey —whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin,
you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So here's the big question of the day. Do you want to be healed? For people who are physically sick, that's usually an easy question. Yes! But for the spiritually sick, it's not so easy! Why? Because sin has a blinding effect. It can numb us to it's devastating impact. It's kind of like this...

Sin is killing you, but it taste so good! The Bible doesn't try to hide this fact either. Sin can be fun, but there's a catch…it's only fun for a season and then comes pay day. Check this out…a former pastor of First Baptist New Orleans said this back in 1926...

Dr. R.G. Lee

But here's the good news, if you want Jesus Christ to heal you of your sin condition, He will, and while this doesn't mean you will never sin again, or be tempted again, it does mean this: you will be given a medicine that can cleanse you of your past sins, give you strength to say no to today's temptations, and will assure you of future victories!

And what is this miracle medicine for the soul?

Hebrews 10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Last question for you today. Are you willing to take the medicine. God's Word says clearly unless you repent, you will perish. And Godly sorrow brings about repentance. In other words, if you don't take the medicine it won't do you any good! But if you desire to be healed spiritually, He will heal you!

Let's pray!