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For more than ten years the United States has been in a great controversy over socialized medicine. President Clinton campaigned around the nation trying to sell his wife's creation, while opponents, both Republican and Democrat, spoke out on her plan's shortcomings. The cost of that proposed health plan was expected to absorb about 17% of the nation's gross national product. That plus the 43% spent on taxes would have sucked off 60% of our gross national product. Not much left for investing, wages, purchases and profit. Fortunately, Hillary's plan never got off the ground. Why? Money.

Considering that the United States has a national debt in the trillions of dollars (and growing every year), that was a big, expensive plan. How much is the debt in terms we can understand? If you started spending a million dollars a day, starting at the birth of Christ, it would take another 700 years to spend a trillion dollars. That's a lot of money.

Since the Republicans have taken over the White House and have majorities in both houses of Congress, there has been no dearth of new national health plan proposals. The main points of disagreement is in the manner in which the various public groups will be covered with free health care. For instance, older people need extra coverage but don't have the money to pay higher premiums, so the government is obligated to spend huge amounts of money on these people who don't have the where-with-all to pay their health costs. Younger workers can't justify higher premiums for health insurance they seldom if ever need, so they choose to avoid joining the program until they think they need it. Some plans call for free health care for those under some minimum wage level. Some plans call for credits toward such programs as college loans if the participant will just join the national health care program at a young age. Small business worries that they will be required to pay the higher premiums for their employees. Participants of some existing government health plans often find it difficult to find an acceptable physician who will accept the low payments paid by the government plan or be available within six months.

Hillary's plan would not have allowed you to privately pay another doctor if you were backlogged at your "plan" doctor. There were to be $10,000 fines imposed against both the doctor and patient for such private arrangements.

Will a new health care program be a benefit? It would be administered by the Federal Government. How many government programs are efficient? How about Social Security, a plan originally intended to supplement retired people's income. It is about broke because Congress has politicized it by giving it to all kinds of groups who are not retired in order to buy the votes of organizations representing these people. How about Veterans Hospitals? People avoid them as long as possible because of their lack of care. How about public housing? Every one I've seen or heard of is soon a run-down, crime-ridden slum. Yes, the government has a well-established track record, but not one we'd like to emulate, especially in regards to needy people's health.

Are there any non-financial problems associated with national health plans? Well, let's go back to Hillary Clinton's plan which seemed to have so much media backing. According to people who studied her plan, older people would not have been eligible for long-term care because it was too expensive and older people wouldn't live much longer anyway. Young people would have been required to pay into the plan even though they would seldom use it. What happens when the government runs short of money to support a national health plan? Again, look at the Veteran's Hospitals.

What happens when a hospital or doctors' group decides not to perform abortions? Well, if that medical group accepts government health plans, they must perform abortions, like it or not.

Current plans under consideration by both parties emphasize the availability of personal health records to people other than your physician. Much is made today over medical record implants, convenient items in case an accident victim is unconscious. But this would also make your medical records available to other government agencies. Do you want records of your private conversations with your doctor available to bureaucrats? Would these records become available to potential employers? Does this remind you of Rev. 14:9?

Rev 14:9-10 And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, {10} he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

Considering all that I have told you, how dependable is any government sponsored health plan? So what are we to do? Well, fortunately, God gave us a better plan. I won't call it a health plan, although it is that too. I will call it a health recovery plan or, in Bible talk, healing.

Let's talk about healing.

Christ died for the sins of all mankind. The Church sees this in its true perspective.

1 Cor 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, {4} and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Heb 13:8 tells us that Christ doesn't change; He's always the same.

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ <is> the same yesterday and today, <yes> and forever.

Christ performed many healing miracles. That's what he's best known for throughout Christendom. But can we in the last days expect to see great miracles like the those of the first century saw?

John 14:12 "Truly , truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater <works> than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.

Christ promised even greater miracles. Why then don't we see them? Christ said the greater works would occur because He went to our Father. Doesn't this imply that these greater works would occur because God's Holy Spirit would be given to believers. Are we to assume that the amount of God's Spirit we have will determine the greatness of the miracles Christ will work in and through us? I think so.

Acts 7:38 "This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and <who was> with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.

The "one" referred to is, of course, Moses. It was Moses who spoke with the angel of God [actually Christ] on Mount Sinai, then received the oracles [writings] as the finger of God wrote them for our edification. It is important that we remember that God provided His commandments [His instructions] for us!

Exo 15:26 And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."

Under what conditions did God promise to keep diseases from us? He said we had to do what was right and obey Him. Who is our healer? Not the government health plan (or any other health plan or doctor). No, God said "I, the LORD, am your healer" and "Do what is right". But we all know that we cannot obey the law perfectly. So, knowing that we would sin, God said he would be our healer. Isn't that a promise? It is, if we do our best to obey Him. This is very specifically stated in:

1 John 3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

It is obviously incumbent upon us to know what God wants of us.

Eph 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

As we have said before, as we obey God, God favors us with His blessings. This was well known by the leper in Luke 5:

Luke 5:12-13 And it came about that while He was in one of the cities, behold, <there was> a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." {13} And He stretched out His hand, and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately the leprosy left him.

Yes, God has always cared about His people. He cleaned up the leper's sin and He will clean up our sins, no matter how severe. Christ said it before...and it applies today. Remember what we read earlier:

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ <is> the same yesterday and today, <yes> and forever.

Yes, it even applied before Jesus walked the earth:

Psa 103:1-3 (<A Psalm> of David.) Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, <bless> His holy name. {2} Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; {3} Who pardons ALL your iniquities; Who heals ALL your diseases;

We have indicated several times that there is a strong relationship between sin and sickness. What did Jesus have to say about this?

Luke 5:18-26 And behold, <some> men <were> carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in, and to set him down in front of Him. {19} And not finding any <way> to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, right in the center, in front of Jesus. {20} And seeing their faith [not necessarily the paralytic's], He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." {21} And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this <man> who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" {22} But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? {23} "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? {24} "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"-- He said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, rise, and take up your stretcher and go home." {25} And at once he rose up before them, and took up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. {26} And they were all seized with astonishment and <began> glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today."

Yes, forgiveness of sin and healing is the same. Christ, ha Mashiach, has the ability to do both.

Does that mean we should never see a physician? Did Christ condemn physicians? Let's continue reading in Luke 5:

verses 27-32: And after that He went out, and noticed a tax-gatherer named Levi, sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, "Follow Me." {28} And he left everything behind, and rose and <began> to follow Him. {29} And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax-gatherers and other <people> who were reclining <at the table> with them. {30} And the Pharisees and their scribes <began> grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax-gatherers and sinners?" {31} And Jesus answered and said to them, <"It is> not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. {32} "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

Jesus was not kidding about the physician. He may have been referring to himself as the physician, but he certainly had an opportunity to condemn physicians if he was so inclined. But he didn't. Neither have I ever heard of Him ever criticizing Luke the physician. Was Paul describing Luke as the beloved physician because he was very successful praying for the sick? I don't know. No, I believe physicians have their place but we must depend upon God to be our healer. What does this mean? The leper very likely saw a physician long before he saw Christ. But his friends had great faith that Christ would heal him if He wanted to.

Every spring we take the Passover. At that service we read of Christ's stripes or wounds and take of the unleavened bread. What was the significance of those stripes?

Mat 27:26 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.
1 Pet 2:21-24 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, {22} WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; {23} and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting <Himself> to Him who judges righteously; {24} and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds [stripes] you were healed.

Is Peter implying that we were healed from our sins or from our sickness? Didn't we just read that they are the same?

Mat 8:16-17 And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill {17} in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES, AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES."

The scripture in Isaiah that this verse references is:

Isa 53:4-12 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. {5} But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being <fell> upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. {6} All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. {7} He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. {8} By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke <was due>? {9} His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. {10} But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting <Him> to grief; If He would render Himself <as> a guilt offering, He will see <His> offspring, He will prolong <His> days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. {11} As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see <it> and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. {12} Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

And, of course, Christ knew that he would be scourged for our healing. Notice that the sacrifices of His body was a central theme of His new Passover services:

1 Cor 11:23-24 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; {24} and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

Is healing limited to leprosy and paralysis? Does it apply to your sickness?

Mat 9:35 And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

The actual healing is caused by the work of the Holy Spirit. Notice in Mark 5:

Mark 5:28-34 For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I shall get well." {29} And immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. {30} And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power <proceeding> from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" {31} And His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" {32} And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. {33} But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. {34} And He said to her, "Daughter , your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."

In Luke 9 and Mark 16 Jesus commissions His apostles to perform miracles in Jesus' name:

Luke 9:1-2 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases. {2} And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.
Mark 16:15-18 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. {16} "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. {17} "And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; {18} they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly <poison>,it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. "

This is our commandment from James. Sick people are commanded to call on the elders for prayer and anointing.

James 5:14-15 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 offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

Notice again, that sickness can be caused by sins. Many sins, of course, are not caused by the sick person's sins but by the sins of ancesters.

Let's read of some of the miracles performed by the Apostles in Jesus' name:

Acts 19:11-12: And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, {12} so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

This of course is a reference to what we call "anointed cloths". As we read, both sickness and evil spirits can be removed (exorcised) by use of these anointed cloths.

Acts 3:1-11 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth <hour>,the hour of prayer. {2} And a certain man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. {3} And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he <began> asking to receive alms. {4} And Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze upon him and said, "Look at us!" {5} And he <began> to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. {6} But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-- walk!" {7} And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. {8} And with a leap, he stood upright and <began> to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. {9} And all the people saw him walking and praising God; {10} and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to <beg> alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. {11} And while he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement.

Notice that again, the beggar did not have the faith. Peter did. God apparently rewards those having the faith for healing, even when the healing is to be applied to someone lacking that faith.

Acts 5:14-16 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to <their number>; {15} to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets, and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. {16} And also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.

Here again, it was the believers who were rewarded for their faith. Peter's anointing consisted on only letting his shadow fall on those needing healing.

But what about those who are not healed after being anointed? Does that mean the church elder or the sick person lacked faith?

Luke 18:8 "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"

Doesn't this imply that many of us in the last days will lack enough faith? This is one big reason many people are not healed today. But there is another. Notice Paul's experience:

2 Cor 12:7-10 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me-- to keep me from exalting myself! {8} Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. {9} And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. {10} Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Here Paul was denied healing in order that he would not exalt himself too much (and feel too casual about himself). In other words, difficulties are necessary for the building of character and character was required to combat insults, distresses, and persecutions. Now we may not agree that our particular ailment is beneficial, but if God does not heal us after repeated anointings, we might need to accept God's lack of response as being for our overall character development.

So what can we conclude from all this? How concerned need we be about proposed health plans? Probably a lot. This is another replacement of our freedom by inefficient government interference. It is another way for the government to take over more of our money in exchange for promises, soon to be broken. Another incursion of socialism. Another loss of personal freedom to government; the very thing the designers of the American Constitution tried to prevent.

But our access to healing is unaffected. God promises to heal us. We need to have faith that God will heal us. If we are obedient and have faith, we have done our part. It's then time for God to do His.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
July 16, 2005
Copyright 2005, Wayne Bedwell

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