Making the Sick Well

Jesus showed interest in making sick people well. It was not the focus of His ministry. Nevertheless, several cases of His healing the afflicted are recorded in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in giving accounts of His work, all mention cases of His making the sick well. For instance, when Jesus met a man with a shriveled hand in a synagogue, He told the man to stretch out his hand and the record says, “So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other” (Matthew 12:9-13). On another occasion, a lame man was “made well” (John 5:15). A woman drew power from Jesus to address her aliment and Jesus, commending her faith, said, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34). Careful to mind the Spirit’s authority, the apostle, Peter, healed a lame man (Acts 3:6-8). Later, defending himself, Peter said, “It is by the name of Jesus of Nazareth…. that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:10).

In many of the cases where healing of the ill is mentioned, a word for ‘wholeness’ is used. Jesus and his apostles were interested in restoring folks to wholeness. The word hugies. The modern word hygiene is derived from it. Good, sound health was the result of the interventions Jesus exercised.

A form of this same word is use by the Lord to describe the nature or character of His teaching. For instance, in 1 Timothy 1:10, and Titus 1:9 and 2:1, the word hugiaino (sound, healthy) is used to qualify the doctrine of Christ. To be healthy a man must give heed to the doctrine of Christ. And it must be the doctrine of Christ for health to result. This is the word used in 2 Timothy 1:7 to tell us what it is God gives instead of and to displace “a spirit of timidity.” God gives “a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” self-discipline literally being, “soundness of mind.” It is also the word used in 1 Peter 4:7 where the Christian is urged to be clear “clear minded and self-controlled;” clear-minded being the translation of hugiaino. And the text relates why this is important. The Christian must be healthy in mind in order to pray because “the end is near.” The term is also used in 1 Timothy 3:6 where this warning is sounded by the Lord: “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.”

Jesus is interested in making sinners whole. Yet, wholeness depends upon attending to the correct material. The doctrine of Christ is healthy. It is given to make men whole. To deny the doctrine of Christ is to invite the visitation of ill-health. To change or modify the doctrine of Christ is like changing a prescription. The wrong chemical, or the incorrect dosage could maim, injure, or kill. At best, the wrong prescription will be ineffective in effecting a cure. Only the correct medicine, applied in the prescribed way, will restore health. The great Physician, Jesus, knows what ails us. He knows best what will achieve our health. So, why do men and women want to do other than what His word says? Sinners who are converted to saints are those who “agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus and to godly teaching.” And saints who slop into sin are those who do not “agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus and to godly teaching.” For excellent health choose the correct prescription. Choose – and agree with – the doctrine of Christ.

Frank J. Daniels, pulpit teacher and preacher

Churches of Christ offering livestream worship | The Christian Chronicle

For those of you still quarantining due to health concerns or other issues, you can watch livestream worship services online. The link below is not an all-inclusive list, but does include options from a lot of places. You may also be able to find services broadcast on your local TV, cable, or satellite channels.

Another option is ‘In Search of the Lord’s Way’. This is a Church of Christ TV program.  It has audio and video of recent programs; links to donate, and to request transcripts, CDs, DVDs, and Study Guides; a map to find a TV station to watch the program; an interactive map to find a congregation if you travel out of town and want to find a church where you are; links to Social Media – like Facebook – to connect with and follow “In Search of the Lord’s Way”; links to their monthly newsletter, and lots of other resources.

We hope you find this information useful and uplifting. May the Lord bless each of you according to his will as you have needs.

Who is a Christian?

The term “Christian” is used very broadly today, but it was not always so.

The name Christian refers to a follower of Christ. It is only used three times in the New Testament: in Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and  1 Peter 4:16. There is a similar thought expressed as “I am of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 1:12. In fact some translations fo the scriptures have this as “I belong to Christ.” Therefore, it is understood that the term Christian refers to a person who is a believer and a follower of Christ; not just one who believes in Him, but also one who follows Him.

Out of concern for the error of men following religious leaders, Paul was severe in his correction of such and error. People in the city of Corinth, who were Christians, had begun to set themselves up in camps of people who claimed loyalty to one or another of the men who preached the gospel about Jesus. Some said that they favored Paul, others said that they preferred Peter and still others said that Apollos was the man. So, Paul asked them “Was Paul crucified for you?” and “Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” In other words, he was saying you must only be loyal to the one who was crucified for you. And who was that? There was only one who did – Jesus [see Romans 5:8]. So, the only religious person who deserves to be followed is Jesus Christ.

Also note that Paul asked whether anyone had been baptized into the name of Paul. If that name was to be worn a person would have to believe that Paul had been crucified and raised from the dead and to have been baptized “in the name of,” or by the authority of, Paul. But Paul had not died for anyone’s sins and he had not been resurrected. [Neither had Peter or Apollos]. What is plain is that to wear the name of Christ one must have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Also, as He died and was raised again, the form of that baptism must be like that of a death, burial, and resurrection – see Romans 6:4. Only one form of baptism meets those requirements – immersion.

Also, Jesus said that is “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Thus, the whoever who is baptized must be old enough to believe for the person believing must be the same person being baptized. These rules out baby christening/baptism.

Are you a believer and follower of Jesus Christ?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Lord of the Universe and thus of your life?
Do you believe that Jesus died to save you?
Have you been baptized in such a way that you were immersed?

Submissive Obedience

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

When will men and women learn that submissive obedience is the only act of human will that will save them?  It is God who saves through His Son.  There is no salvation except complete acceptance of His will for your life.  Being baptized is one indicator of submission to His will … but only one.

Acting out of love, God mercifully makes every penitent, immersed, submissive “alive with Christ”.  This action of His was pre-formed before actual obedience was exercised by man.  The Lord Jesus accomplished the favor of God in order that men and women would have that to which they could respond.

Salvation is not automatic.  There are two aspects of it, i.e. that of God’s and that of man’s.  God acted first in order that man might have that to which he might respond.  Salvation is based upon the action of Jesus; it is not initiated by man.  It is based in the will of God, not the will of man.  Man’s possibility for eternal life is to accept – without quibble, nor reservation, nor modification – what God has done and what God orders.  That is faith – the complete and utterly unreserved acceptance of the will of God.  This is why repentance is such a vital part of the process, for it is the utter admittance that all reservations about the will of God are unacceptable and that all inclinations of selfish regard and desires are to be discarded.

Submission is key.  A man might be baptized and the human assumption may be made that he is saved.  But is he?  Whether he is or not is not a matter of human decision.  We can only assume from the evidence set before us that he is saved.  But God knows more than we.  Whether salvation has been granted will depend on whether God has seen a heart bowed low with godly sorrow and whether He has observed a will which has utterly surrendered to His will.

As John urged those he baptized to show forth fruits of repentance, the fruit of a person’s life after baptism indicates the genuineness of the repentance.  If a man is truly submissive, he will continue to desire to know the word of God and to do it.  Those who are baptized, but who show disinclination or reluctance to study more, to worship regularly and to walk in the pattern of the New Testament, may have understood the significance of baptism, but not of submission.

Without submission, baptism is reduced to ritual, an act of getting wet.  Faith in the validity of baptism can be expressed, but the faith that saves is expressed in submission to all the will of God, not just a portion of it.

  • Frank J Daniels, pulpit minister & teacher