Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ten Lepers - Part Three

.... the final installment of this three part series based on Luke 17:11-19

Verse 14 "And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed."

Jesus told the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest. The priesthood and the command for the leper to show himself to the priest was established by the law of Moses
Notice that Jesus did not tell them "I am here now, you have no use for the law, you're cured!"
Instead, it might be said that in a sense, he sent them to the law. Isn't it our duty likewise to send those who are seeking a cure for their sin problem to the law?

Romans 7: 12-13 "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."

Here we see another purpose of the law: the blackness of sin shows up best next to the holy light of the law.

It seems that much of modern Christianity wants to give a cure without a diagnosis. They want to give you the answer to your sin problem without ever telling you that you are a sinner!
You may say "only the doctor really needs to make the diagnosis, not the one with the disease." But verse 19 of our text says "thy faith hath made thee whole." If this was what we might call a real live "faith" healing in the purest sense of the term, then the one with the disease does need to agree with the physician's diagnosis in order for him to have faith!

also in Verse 14 "As they went, they were cleansed."

These ten lepers were cleansed of their leprosy. Does this mean they were saved, born again, cleansed of their sins? If the leprosy here is a symbol of sin, then perhaps the cleansing from it is also symbolic in nature, however that does negate the lessons we can learn from it.

Verse 15 "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,"

One of these ten, when he saw that he was healed glorified God. This one leper recognized that only God could have performed this miracle of healing. Did he recognize that Jesus was God? I don't know. He certainly at least recognized that Jesus got his power from God.
Recognizing God's mercy in salvation will certainly cause a saved man to give God the glory!

Verse 16 "And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."

This one leper fell down on his face and gave Jesus thanks. We can only assume that this leper saw how lowly he was in relation to Jesus. True salvation causes one to have a right view of where you are in relation to a holy God . This leper was truly thankful for the cleansing that he received. True salvation will cause one to be ever mindful and ever thankful for that salvation. True salvation will cause one to be ever mindful and ever thankful for being saved from sins. Not just the penalty for sins, but the bondage of living in sin.

Verse 17 & 18 "And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger."

The other nine were cleansed, and they did as the law commanded, in fact as Jesus commanded them, to go and show themselves to the priest. I find it interesting that they went to the Jewish priest, the one who was the administrator of the ceremonial law. Could this be a symbol of those who merely trust in the trappings of religion, but never stop to worship Jesus. How many are there out there today who find their comfort in the rituals and ceremonies of religion, in their baptism, in communion, but never stop to truly worship Jesus?

Verse 19 "And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
faith hath made thee whole. Jesus does not say this about the other nine. The other nine were cleansed, but I suspect that they were not made whole. How many today come to Jesus "asking him into their hearts" in what has become known as "easy believism". 1, 2, 3, pray after me. Do you think some of them may only receive an outward cleansing, but are not made whole?

I think we've all known at least someone who has made a change in their life; they have "cleaned up their act. Maybe they started attending church and to most outward appearances they have turned their life around, but then something happens and they return to their old ways, or you catch them off guard and find that maybe they haven't changed as much as it appeared. Perhaps those were just outward changes, a cleansing, but there is never any inward change, no new heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

All things are become new; could that really be the cleansing that happened to the nine of these lepers? Could you really become a new creature in Christ without it causing you to return to Jesus to worship him? The one who was made whole turned back to worship Jesus.

In closing I would just like you to consider a few questions. How do your experiences compare with those of these 10 as touches leprosy being a symbol of sin? Have you ever experienced a cleansing?

If so, did you do as the one out of the ten and glorify God with a loud voice? And when I say with a loud voice, I mean that symbolically. Its not a matter of volume so much as sincerity and boldness. Have you ever testified to someone about the miracle of God making you whole?

Have you ever fallen at Jesus feet? And again, I mean that symbolically; have you seen your lowliness compared to a Holy God?

Or, instead have you gone on to find your comfort in the ceremonies of religion like these other nine lepers did?

Are you sure that you didn't just receive an outward cleansing, rather than being made whole?


Dennis said...

Another great message. Thanks, Lee!

Anonymous said...

I've heard many sermons on the healing of the 10 lepers, but never with such a powerful comparison to an everyday 'average Joe' Christian and the contemporary religious mindset.

Great sermon! I think you've found your certainly challenged me. Thanks!