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July 25th, 2004—The Ten Lepers

Luke 17:11-19

Psalm 105:4 encourages us to continuously seek the LORD...

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

This doesn't mean to seek him only when there's a problem. It doesn't mean to seek him only when there's a need. It says to "seek him evermore."

We want our prayers answered, we want our needs met, and yet, for many of us, we only come to Christ when we NEED something. And seldom do we ever come to Him just to worship Him and thank Him for the many blessings of life.

Here in Luke 17, we find ten human beings who are in desperate need...

Luke 17:11

11: And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

Our LORD is no respecter of persons. His love, compassion, and mercy are extended to all. This is one of those blessed and precious truths made clear from Genesis to Revelation. The Jews were God's chosen people because of the faith of their father Abraham. But the Jews were not the only people God loved and cared about.

John 10:16

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Here Christ is referring to the Gentiles! Not the Mormons. The Jews made up one fold of sheep, while the Gentiles made up the other fold. And now, through Christ Jesus, both have become one fold.

Ephesians 2:14

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

If you are in the fold of Christ, you are there because of the shed blood of Christ.

You’re not there because of Abraham.

You're not there because you're a member of the local church.

You’re not there because of your goodness or your good works, or acts of contrition.

You are in the fold because of your faith in Christ, and His work on Calvary!

And so here in Luke Chapter 17, verse 11, Christ is passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. He is on his way to Jerusalem to face the cross.

Luke 17:12,13

12: And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

Here are ten men who have a desperate need. They are lepers. (Leprosy was a disease that eats away the flesh. Today leprosy is called Hansen's disease, and in spite of modern-day medical advances, approximately ten million people around the world have leprosy.) These men were marked for death! There was no cure for leprosy. There was little hope that they would ever recover. And because of the disease, they were quarantined outside of the city in some dark remote area where no healthy person would dare venture.

Sin, like leprosy, separates men! It separates man from God. And sin is a terminal illness, just like leprosy. But there is a distinct difference in leprosy and sin! Only a few in this world today have leprosy. But all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And sin is a terminal illness.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death;

And so we have here ten men who are facing a slow but certain death. They are gathered on the border of Samaria and Galilee.

Samaria, the land of Samaritans.

Galilee, the land of Christ's disciples.

For the most part, the Samaritans and the Galileans were stark enemies. But it is interesting to note that the ten were a mixture of both these cultures. The Jews would normally have nothing to do with Samaritans, but when both are outcasts, and both are facing certain death, it is interesting that their hearts and souls are joined together in calling out for help!

The world today is dying of sin, and yet few are crying out to Christ for help! Even though Christ is ever ready and willing to deliver them, they will not come to him. Christ passes by the church pews every Sunday morning with an outstretched hand, saying "come unto me," and we just let him pass us right on by.

Here in our text this morning, Christ is passing by and these lepers immediately cry out to him!

Luke 17:13-16

13: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

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.

They were standing there in scabs and blisters, and open sores. And Jesus said to GO! And the blessing came when they responded.

They started out slow and feeble at first, but no sooner had they turned to go, than their bodies began to feel new life and new strength. Their scabs and sores vanished away, life's energy filled their bodies, and they were cleansed of their leprosy.

No longer facing death, no longer suffering separation from family and friends, they could go home. They were cleansed of their sickness, and the priest would confirm it so. By the evening they would be sitting with their families at the supper table, rejoicing over their healing and praising and thanking the LORD for his goodness and his mercy...or would they?

The Scripture says that only one out of the ten turned around and came back to thank the LORD.

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

He could hardly contain himself!

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

He wasn't even a member of the Jewish temple! But he was so excited, so joyful, so thankful, that he could not restrain himself from running back to Christ, falling down on his face at his feet, and praising him!

The Bible says, "With a loud voice he glorified God."

Psalm 107:8

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

When was the last time you praised God for His goodness toward you? When was the last time you thanked Him for your family, for your home, for your job, not to mention the home that he has reserved for you in heaven?

This Samaritan could go home to his family, breathe new air, enjoy new life, all because Christ was passing by that day, and he called out to him for help! And Christ responded to His call! Here, at the feet of Jesus, is one, and only one, of ten who were healed, that bothered to come back and say, "thank you Jesus, thank you!"

Luke 17:17,18

17: And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18: There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

Is Christ talking about you this morning? Are you one of the nine? God has healed you, given you eternal life, set your feet on His solid ground, and yet you've been too busy with life in general to express your thankfulness to Him for all the blessings He has shown you and the wonderful blessings He has in store for you!

1 Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

This one leper returned to praise the LORD and to express His thankfulness. But the other nine just went on their way!

Luke 17:19

19: And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Do you have leprosy this morning? Chances are, you don't! But if you are here this morning without the assurance of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I can tell you that you have a terminal disease worse than leprosy. And it could kill you today!

The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD. You may be living as though this life is all there is!

I heard a country and western singer say on one occasion, "Life is short and we need to live it up, and have a good time, while we have the chance!" As though death is the end of it all, and yet death is the very beginning of eternity. It reminded me of the rich farmer!

Luke 12:16-21

16: And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

17: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

18: And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

19: And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

20: But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

21: So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Just like the country and western singer, the farmer thought he had time to live it up and have a good time because this life was all there is, and we need to eat, drink, and be merry. But the Bible says differently.

John 3:16-17

16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

God provides life that is everlasting. These ten lepers were all dying of leprosy. They were all healed by the Lord Jesus Christ, but only one was made fully whole.

Physical healing is one thing. Spiritual healing is quite another. Ten lepers received physical healing; only one received the additional benefits of spiritual healing. Maybe this morning, physically speaking, you are as healthy as ever, but your spiritual life is a wreck. There's no peace of heart, no peace of mind, no rest in your spirit.

If so, you may be like one of the nine, God has blessed you immensely; you've received His blessing and just walked away! This morning you can make that right by coming and saying “thank you LORD for dying for me, thank you LORD for healing me, thank you LORD for saving me.”

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