As he (Jesus) entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Luke 17:12-13
Leprosy is a terrible disease. It starts with a little yellow dot. The dots or lesions began to grow looking like boils on the skin. It causes damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes (blindness). Infection follows that become so severe that fingers, toes and other extremities are deformed and deteriorate. In Jesus’ day, after someone had been confirmed with leprosy, they are banned from the city. They had to live in the leper colony just outside the city gates. To this day, there are still leprosy villages in China, India, and Africa.
Can you imagine a life like that? Terrible!
They say that in Alcatraz that the worse part was not the cold cell or the haunted hall ways, but the fact that the prisoners could see San Francisco. They could see the parties, smell the food, and hear the music. The same was the case for the lepers. They were abandoned, on the outside looking in.
Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. Luke 17:14
On their way, fingers and hands reappeared, and tingled with life! The parts of them that had wasted away began to grow back!
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Luke 17:15-19
Let’s stop for a second and think about what God has done for each of us! Spend a second and think about what God has delivered you from: Selfishness, anger, bitterness, greed, addiction, loneliness, depression, sickness. God has blessed us with so many miracles that we forget about. We take for granted.
The power of Luke 17 is not healing or how to be healed. It is not even about “Having” thanks. Or being ThankFULL. The main message of Luke 17 is about GIVING thanks or thanksgiving.
All TEN of the men that were healed were thankful or full of thanks. But, only one of them took the time to give that thanks. Having thanks is pretty useless unless you give it back.
Humans are really good about forgetting the blessings of God. We forget OR we take the credit. “Look what I did. Look what I accomplished.” Paul warns us about it in his letter to Timothy
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money… 2 Timothy 3:1
STOP AND LET THAT SCRIPTURE SINK IN… READ IT AGAIN.
…They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 2 Timothy 3:2
I think it would be very wise for us to take this scripture and simply meditate on it this week. Lately, I have been reading scripture so slowly. I have read the Bible through 6 or 7 times, but this year, I decided to only read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I have read them slowly all year long. Sometimes, I just read one verse a day and sit there and let it soak until I hear God speak to me through it.
This is one of those texts in 2 Timothy. We Don’t need to waltz through Thanksgiving 2016 without this passage make a difference in our perspective. A wake up call.
In this season of Thanksgiving, we should:
REALIZE who PROTECTS and PROVIDES for Us.
Wake up! Remember!
Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
God opens the windows of heaven for you. He pours out a blessing so great you don’t have enough room to take it in!
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
We realize who God means to us.
We wake up to the truth that God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son.
Jesus Christ not only healed people in the Bible, but he lived a life that transcended the 33 years he was on the planet. His innocence and humility earned a life with God forever. Yet, instead of keeping that blessing to himself, he willingly offers his prize of eternal life with anyone who calls on His name… “JESUS! Save me! I surrender my life to your life. Take me as I am.”
Many of us have been at that point and without giving it a second thought, God willingly traded his perfect life for your broken, rebellious life.
Look Where we Are! Look what God has done! We realize that Jesus you have saved us, provided and protected us!
Once We REALIZE that JESUS IS OUR SOURCE. Let’s be like the one out of 9 and:
RETURN and GIVE THANKS
We do not SIT with a full heart. Instead, we RETURN and GIVE Him our all.
Let all that I am praise the lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
In Acts ch2 we see HOW it works in a healthy church. After these people were saved by the power of God they begin to PAY IT FORWARD. They gave into the local church so that the blessing of God from their life would be like a seed sown into someone else’s life.
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity… Acts 2:42-46
The verbs of the first church: Dedicated. Devoted. Sold. Shared. Worshipped
When the first believers in Acts 2 experienced the life changing presence of Jesus in their life it was NATURAL for them to “pay forward” the love they received.
Malachi (prophet of the Old Testament) said it like this, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse (local church) so there will be enough food in my Temple.”
When believers return to the source and give “Thanks”, it is creating a miracle for someone else. Doors are opened for others.
When the house if full, we are able to make a difference in the lives of people all over city, county, state, nation, and world. Next week we are going to show you all the places we have touched and how we are going to continue making a difference here locally.
Because people at PromiseLand (out of a heart of gratitude) have returned to the house and given financially, I was able to go to Cuba last week and sow into hundreds of pastors. Check out this video (Cuba outreach to pastors)
It is time that we REALIZE and RETURN to our first love. Our main thing. Our provider and protector. Jesus, we return to you. We commit ourselves to you. We will put you FIRST in everything.