Luke: Living in Grace & Gratitude 02/24/19

Message: ‘Living in Grace & Gratitude’            Text: Luke 17:11-19

Introduction: What are you thankful for? I asked the Pioneer Girls the same question last week. What is it that you are thankful for?… Today!

PP: I got to thinking about getting lost in the woods.

PP: So as not to be stereotypic, I thought I’d put a picture of a woman lost in the woods..

PP: But the truth is a woman would never get lost in the woods, she’d have a map and cell phone with GPS and she would Use them.

  • PP: OK, who am I kidding, today she’d probably be taking a selfie, but, she still wouldn’t be lost.

So I decided to use a man. Who would never think of using a map or cell phone to get help. Why? Because men never get lost… am I right ladies?

Anyway, later, after the guy finally got out of the woods, he described his horrifying experience this way:

  • PP: OK, I admit I was afraid. I even knelt down to pray.
  • Someone asked if God answered his prayer and he said ‘Oh, no. Before God had a chance, a park ranger came along and showed me the way out.’ PP:

PP: Next Slide

Like that man, so many fail to see God at work around them… even if it’s immediately after they pray and it’s the exact answer they were looking for.

  • And because of that, they also fail to give God thanks for His gracious answer to their prayer.

Understand something, whether you’re a follower of Jesus Christ or you’re just checking Him out, the truth is;

  • God has and continues to bless you,
  • He extends His amazing grace in your life…
  • more than you realize and far more than you deserve.

To fail to recognize that or even worse, to take credit for God’s blessings in your life, is an offense to God.

The only right response to God’s showering of grace and blessings in our lives is gratitude, to give Him thanks. These two responses,

  • failure to recognize God’s grace
  • and giving Him thanks for His grace,

Is what we’ll see illustrated in our text this morning.

PP: 1. Luke 17:11-14  Grace extended

On the way to Jerusalem He was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When He saw them He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.

This text appears to be a simple healing passage. But this miracle isn’t like most;

  • in that it’s not the healing that’s emphasized,
  • it’s the response to the healing that’s highlighted.

The text takes place sometime after the events in verses 1-10. Jesus and His disciple are traveling near the border of Israel and Samaria.

As He neared the entrance to a village, 10 lepers basically got in his way. I know that because the Greek phrase He was met can mean ‘to stand in front of’ or ‘to block a path’.

Yet, they were still a distance from Jesus and His disciples.

  • PP: Remember, lepers were very often deformed by the disease.
  • And as such they were considered unclean.
  • Scholars believe they couldn’t come closer than 50 feet to a healthy person.

PP: Next Slide

Lepers were social outcasts. They lived outside villages in small camps. If they came near the village and there were any people around they would need to yell ‘Leper, leper!’

  • Besides being totally humiliating,
  • it was also painful as leprosy deteriorated the vocal chords.

PP: This time instead of crying out ‘leper, leper’ they cried out Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

  • Yes, the lepers lived on the outskirts of town, but they still heard what was going on
  • and they heard about Jesus and the miraculous healings He did.

They knew that Jesus was their only hope for a return to some normalcy, to be reunited with their families and friends, to be able to worship once again in the temple and learn at the synagogues.

Jesus was their only hope.

Notice that they called Him Master which is a title of authority. I’m fairly sure since they knew He had performed many healings, and that He had God’s authority for the healings.

Jesus, hearing their cries for mercy, tells them Go and show yourselves to the priests.

  • Notice, He didn’t touch them, nor did He heal them, at this point.

His command to show themselves to the priests gave them an implied assurance that they would be healed, before, they got to the priests.

  • Understand, that took faith. They were not allowed by Law to enter the city, let alone go to the priests.
  • And Jesus was telling them to go to the priests to show they’re no longer lepers, yet, they were still lepers.

Sidebar: Isn’t it a coincidence, that just a few verses ago, Jesus’ disciples asked Him for more faith and here, seemingly unbelievers had enough faith to obey Jesus’ commands and be healed.

  • This was a visual picture of what He told

Them and us.

  • It’s not how much faith you have that’s important,
  • it’s using that faith to walk in obedience to God.

The 10 lepers held on tight to the little faith they had, and obeyed Jesus… And the result of their faith and obedience? Somewhere on the way to the priests… they were all healed.

  • Can you imagine how they felt when they saw their fingers and toes restored, the white patches of skin go away, their voices become strong for the first time in years?

I would bet good money that they started to run to the priests!

Look, whether you’re a follower of Jesus Christ or just checking Him out, know that God delights in showing mercy to those who cry out to Him!

  • And each time He does, it’s an extension of His amazing grace.

Why grace?

  • Because we’re receiving something we don’t deserve.

Grace, God’s amazing grace was showered upon those 10 lepers that day, and they all knew it.

PP: 2. Luke 17:15-19  Gratitude given

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Two true stories that illustrate the point being made in verses 15-19.

ILL: When multimillionaire Andrew Carnegie died, he left 1 million dollars for one of his relatives, who in return cursed Carnegie because he had left $365 million to public charities and had given him just one measly million dollars.

(Brian Bell)

ILL: The hymn “Now Thank We all our God” was written by Rev. Martin Rinkhart who endured years of Isolation and pain in a city called Eilenburg in Saxony (Germany) during the thirty years war.

In that walled city, with the enemy surrounding it, there was no escape. Famine and diseases killed a lot of people. At a certain point, the pastors in the city were burying as many as fifty bodies each day. Then some of the pastors themselves succumbed to illness and death.

When the war was over, only Rev. Rinkhart had survived. His fellow pastors all had died.

In the service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the end of that war, Rev. Rinkhart wrote the hymn ‘Now Thank We All Our God’ for that service. He had lost so many and had buried so many, but he developed an attitude of gratitude to God for all that God has done. Not because all was well, but in spite of what he had endured and seen, Rev Rinkhart wrote:

  • Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
  • Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way. With countless gifts of love, and

(Dr. Ezekiel Ette)

Do you see the difference? Which illustration best describes your ‘go to’ response to God’s grace?

Our text shows us that one of the lepers, once he finds himself healed, stops in his tracts and instead of running to towards the priests, runs towards Jesus. Why?

  • First, he was a Samaritan. He didn’t have to go to the priest, since he wasn’t Jewish he wasn’t under the law.
  • Second, he realized, Jesus, had healed him.

So, he did a 180 and started to run back to Jesus to thank Him for His amazing display of grace in his life.

Sidebar: I don’t believe the 9 lepers who didn’t return were ungrateful to Jesus for healing them. They were Jews, they were under the law, so they obeyed the law, rather than give thanks to Jesus.

  • Sound like a group of people in Israel what Jesus has been confronting about that very same thing during most of His ministry?

PP: I believe the 9 lepers represented the religious leaders who were so fixed on obeying the law, that they failed to see Jesus’ acts of grace.

  • Yet 1 leper, a Samaritan, one who was not under the law, knew in Jesus, he had encountered grace.

PP: Next Slide

Let’s make it a bit more real for us today. Sometimes, as followers of Jesus Christ,

  • We’re all too happy to enjoy the gifts of God’s grace,
  • all the while, forgetting the giver of grace.

Play CD: More than anything: Natalie Grant PP:

PP: Next Slide

Often, we’re quick to pray but slow to praise.

Spurgeon once said:

  • We often write our blessings in sand and we engrave our complaints in marble. (Brian Bell)

If you were honest, does that ever ring true in your life?

One last thing. Jesus ends with this comment to the Samaritan: Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Wasn’t he already healed when the other 9 lepers were? If so, then what does Jesus mean?

  • A literal translation of your faith has made you well could be Your faith has saved you.

These were the very same words Jesus said to the woman at the well in Luke 7:50.

  • It’s a wonderful thing to experience God’s healing grace.
  • It’s a much greater thing to experience God’s saving grace!

Friends, I pray you’ve experienced BOTH!

Conclusion: Living in grace and gratitude

You know, we hear people say, all the time things like:

  • Thank God I’m healthy. Thank God for my children. Thank God for my job.

But listen:

  • If that thanks doesn’t lead you to the feet of Jesus where you bow down to Him as your Lord and Savior…
  • Then you’re are still on the path that leads to Hell.

When the 9 lepers were healed and went to the priests but not to Jesus, they were no better spiritually, then when they were still lepers.

When the 1 leper was healed and returned to give thanks to Jesus, he found life, not just physically and relationally, but eternally.

  • Giving thanks to God for His amazing and extravagant grace
  • is a sign that you’ve received God’s saving grace and are living for Him.

Take a look into your life… I hope that’s true of you. And if it isn’t… why not receive God’s gracious gift of forgiveness and eternal life right now.

And Christian, think about this:

  • when you live in grace and gratitude,
  • you make Jesus visible to those around you.