These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the book of James. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.

Today we are concluding a three part series we have called Broken. This series examines three types of healing and they are all mentioned in James.

Types of Healing


Emotional Healing

James 5:13

Physical Healing

James 5:14-18

Spiritual Healing

James 5:19-20

We took a look at what to do when our emotions are broken and they are getting the better of us, especially when you feel depressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. We learned that we are to pray and talk to God about it, but specifically we discovered the power of a type of prayer called a lament – where you are gut wrenching honest with God about how you feel toward Him, toward your situation, and toward yourself but in the end you trust His power, His wisdom, and His timing.

The second lesson, on physical healing, addressed what we are to do when we are seriously sick. Call for the Elders of the church asking them to pray over you, get the best medical treatment, and manage your body, diet, and exercise. This is called the interaction of God, where God uses all these to bring healing into your life if He desires.

Today, we are going to take a look at spiritual healing. What do you do with those people in your life that you love and care about that have wandered away from God? We are talking about believers who are spiritually slipping. Their desire to be with other believers is dropping, their hunger for God’s Word is declining, and their conversations with God is becoming less and less. Their love and commitment to God is waning. You are seeing them spiritually drift from God. We are not talking about losing their salvation, the Bible is real clear that cannot happen, but believers can become cold, apathetic, and distant with God. When that happens, they are in need of spiritual healing. That’s what we are looking at today.

This spiritual drifting reminds me of when Pam and I took the kids (when they were little) to a beach at a nearby lake where we lived. Our beach ball had been kicked out into the water and was drifting away. I thought it was the wind that was taking the ball out, but as I began to swim out to the ball I realized the ball was getting further and further away and I was caught in a current that was pulling me out and I started swimming and swimming trying to get back. I began to yell but no one could hear me and I literally thought I was going to drown going after that beach ball. I flipped over on my back and back to swim on my back because I was exhausted and that was the only way like I could stay afloat. The strange thing about this was, I didn’t realize I was drifting away from the shore until I decided to swim back.

And being in the ministry and helping people come to know Christ and grow spiritually, I can confidently say that every follower of Jesus experience a spiritual drift away from God from time to time. Sometimes it’s a little drift, but sometimes it’s a deadly drift where it not only hurts you, but hurts those who are in your life. Today, God wants to teach us how to come back when we have drifted or how to help others comes back when they have drifted.

James 5:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins” (NLT). From those two verses we see several important truths about spiritual healing.

Spiritual healing brings people back to truth

Number one, spiritual healing brings people back to truth. James says, “If someone among you wanders away from the truth….” Notice, it says they have wandered “away from the truth.” Wandering from the truth can take two forms.

  • Wandering from the truth in our beliefs. This refers to the complete body of Christian truth contained in Scripture. They start to believe things about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, themselves and other significant truths that cannot be supported by Scripture. They are wandering away from sound doctrine.
  • Wandering from the truth in our behaviors. This refers to the application of God’s truth in their lifestyle. They are starting to practice and do things that are not honoring to God, others, or themselves. They are not living by the truth.

If a follower of Jesus wanders away from the person of Christ and the teachings of Christ. Your moral, ethical, and thought life is no longer on that path of following Christ. You know what’s right but you have wandered away from doing what is right. The goal of spiritual healing is to bring them back to the truth.  

Spiritual healing is needed because of seduction

Number two, spiritual healing is needed because of seduction. James 5:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering “will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins” (NLT). Let’s look closely at two words.

  • The word “sinner” (in this case) refers to a Christian who is sinning. This is not a “sinner” in the classic sense, it is someone who has received forgiveness from God for their sins, when they die they will go to heaven, they are a believer in Christ, they are born again. The context of James 5 is talking about believers. James is telling us something about what happens when a believer wanders away from their walk with God. This is not talking about a believer losing their salvation. The Bible is very clear, that cannot happen. Once you are born again, you cannot become unborn again. Once God adopts you into His family, you can’t become un-adopted. But the believer can still sin and some cases wander away from their walk with God.
  • Let’s take a look at the word “wandering.” This spiritual “wandering” can take the form of seduction – It happens little by little over time. At one point in your life, you said that you would never do that, but over time the enemy was able to get you to compromise in that area a little here, a little there, a little more latter until one day you realized you had wandered off the path you knew God wanted you on. Let’s say you decided to attend Genesis Church more regular and that means your goal was 3 out of 4 Sundays a month. One Sunday you didn’t feel well, another Sunday was really nice so you decided to do something outside, and then another Sunday you needed to go visit family. The next thing you know you are attending every now and then. You feel disconnected to other believers, you noticed you aren’t reading the Bible as much, or thinking about what God wants you to do as much. You find yourself doing things and saying things and thinking things you thought you had overcome. You seem less spiritual than you use to be. Here is what I have noticed over the years, one of the last people to notice this seduction and how it affects you… is you. You receive an email, phone call, text message from some one at church saying, “Hey man, missed you. Just wanted you to know I was thinking about you and missing you.” Then some closer friends, say “He man, is there something wrong?” No, no. Everything is good. I’m fine. Other believers in your life can sense when you are drifting. That person may be a friend, a parent, a grand-parent, but they are there. One more thing, if you are spiritually drifting you may find it offensive or annoying when someone brings it up. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…” (NLT).

We can apply this to anything that pulls us away from God’s plan for our lives. This seduction away from God’s will for your life can range from how you manage your money, to how you protect your sexual purity, and to how you respond to people in your home. This is why God’s Word says things like Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception” (HCSB). If we are not careful our spiritual drifting causes us to become hardened toward prayer, hardened toward worshipping with other believers, hardened toward doing what is right and bringing glory to God.

That’s the problem, but what’s the solution? This takes us to observation number three.

Spiritual healing is spiritual restoration

Third, spiritual healing is spiritual restoration. This is getting people back on the right path. James says, “If someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back….” Here is some hope, because the person can be brought back. They can get back on the right path from wherever they are standing. Let me ask you two questions.

  • Are you wandering right now? From what I have described have you taken a left when God said keep going straight? I don’t mean you have wandered far away from God, I mean you are here this morning aren’t you? But you sense in your life that you have stepped away from God in some areas of your life. You find yourself drifting from the beach, drifting from God. Some type of spiritual under current is slowly pulling you away from God.
  • Do you know of someone who has wandered from God? At one point they were following God and their life was on tract spiritually. Do you know someone? Spouse, mom, dad, child, coworker, friend, grandparent, grandchild? Whose responsibility is it to help bring them back? It’s yours and mine. If you know them go have a loving and gentle and compassionate conversation with them. Find out what’s going on.

But how do you do this? How do you help someone come back to God? How do you bring them back to God? James really doesn’t tell us how.

But Galatians 6 gives us some insight on how to do this. It says, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (vs. 1-2, NLT).

Restoration Involves… (Galatians 6:1-2)

Recognition of sin

“if another believer is overcome by some sin”

Spiritually minded believers

“you who are godly”


“should gently”


“should gently and humbly”


“be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself”


“share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ”

Spiritual healing rescues us from unnecessary pain

Number four, spiritual healing rescues us from unnecessary pain. James says, “…you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death….” Given the background of the entire book of James, it seems most likely that “death” here does not refer to physical death, but the “way of death” – a dark, deathlike existence. James is using the word “death” figuratively. This “death” is referring to a destructive, harmful, and painful kind of lifestyle.

The Message version of the Bible paraphrases the idea for us when it says, “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God” (vs. 19-20).

When a believer wanders away from God they can bring about a lot of destruction in their marriage, pain in their family, financial hardship, damage to their career, and a host of other harmful things in their life. We all need to listen carefully to Proverbs 14:12, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (NLT).

When we reach out to those who have wandered away from God and God uses us to bring them back to the right path we save them from a lot of pain. When others reach out to us and bring us back they rescue us from a lot of pain as well. That’s what spiritual healing does.

Spiritual healing restores relationships

Number five, spiritual healing restores relationships. James says, “…you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” When a believer comes back to God they will apologize and genuinely ask for forgiveness from those they deceived, lied to, hurt, and sinned against. Usually, those people give the person forgiveness. In a way, their sins are covered with forgiveness. Healing can begin to happen in those relationships.

Spiritual healing is universal

Number six, spiritual healing is universal. Notice James says, “If someone among you wanders away from the truth….” James is talking to believers, he is talking to us. He is talking to you and me. There are going to be believers who are loving Jesus right now, who are on fire spiritually, they are in the Word, they are praying faithfully, and they are walking the right path. But then, they begin to be seduced, they start wandering away from God just a little and then a little more and then a little more and before long they are walking on some very dangerous lifestyle paths. No one is immune to this. We all need to look out for one another. It’s universal.


Do you know someone: Is there someone in your life that you see is slipping away from their walk with God? They are drifting and wandering away spiritually? What can you do this week to encourage them back? Easter is next week, what a great excuse and opportunity to talk to them about coming back to church and where they are spiritually.

Yourself: If you sense yourself drifting away from God and you want to talk with someone or pray with someone about what’s going on in your life then come talk to Ben Schnipper and Kate Shaw will be up front and they would love to talk with you.

Our online audience has been growing significantly the past few weeks and if you need someone to talk to email us with what’s going on with you and we will get with you as soon as possible.