TITLE: Be the ONE from the TEN

This past Wednesday we had a wonderful thanksgiving service. And many Scriptures were read which reveal the necessity of thanksgiving from followers of Christ. And one such section of the Bible will be our lesson this morning… 

TEXT: Luke 17:11-19 - the ten lepers. We ask ourselves,… 

Have we ever thanked our employers for having a job?
Have we ever thanked our teachers for educating us at school?
Have we ever thanked our first responders & soldiers? 
Have we ever thanked our parents, family?

When we take the time to sit down with paper and pen, we can come up with a full page of people we should be thankful for. And the Bible is filled with examples of such necessity if we are to be thankful people. And yet our greatest thanks is designated to God the Father, His Son, His Spirit. Let’s go deeper, shall we?  

In this recorded account… 

- Christ is making His way fulfilling His ministry and the prophets. He continues to walk towards Jerusalem. And in this recorded moment He identifies 10 individuals plagued with leprosy. 

Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It primarily affects the nerves of the extremities, the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract. ... Leprosy produces skin ulcers, nerve damage, and muscle weakness.”- health line .com 

  • The amount of pain, disfigurement, stench of rot and sorrow, would become common ground for those plagued with this terrible pestilence. If we can discern the amount of medical depravity these poor souls were going through, we can most certainly discern the emergent need to find a cure. And therein have our spiritual lesson this Lord’s day. 

READ TEXT LUKE 17:11-19 

These 10 souls knew who Jesus was, for they believed in Him (Luke 14:1-6 might give us insight into the fact). And so they proceed to beg for Christ’ attention. He is the source of their healing. They’ve apparently seen Him heal leprosy before.
Vs. 14 is most revealing.

Jesus recognized their penitent, submissive, and seeking heart (“when He saw them, He said to them”). He proceeded to give them conditions of an active faith (“Go and show yourselves to the priests”). They obeyed (“and as they were going”) and as a result of a working faith, “they were cleansed.” God told them what to do in order to receive cleanliness. They did what Jesus told them to do. And they were cleansed. Simple. Interesting to note, faith has always been the reason, but obedience has been the necessary bridge to reach the desired result.

- The Old Law demanded those suffering from leprosy be exiled from the community due to uncleanness (READ: Lev. 13:45-46; Num. 5:2-3).

If leprosy would be cured, they had to first show themselves to the high priests in order to have the ability to return to the people (Lev. 14:2-32). So what is the spiritual application God intends for us to learn this day? Twofold.

  1. Can’t have what is unclean, among what is clean. 
  2. We must be thankful for what is made clean. 

So, #1. You do not want any uncleanness infecting the camp/congregation, because it has a way of spreading and bearing fruit, even many years later. 

For example, one summer several years ago as I labored for the Riverview congregation in N.B. Canada. A very kind Christian couple (members of an assembly in the US) came to visit us. They worshipped and had fellowship with us for a few weeks. On the outside surface, we were greatly encouraged to have them with us. But what we were unaware of at the time was their spiritual uncleanness. You see, they secretly warmed up to members who were not properly versed in the Bible (members who had been sitting in the pews for over 30 years mind you). And they introduced dissension to them in a kind and respectful way. Masquerading as an angel of light. These thought that the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were not New Testament books, but Old Testament Books that needed to be done away with. That we no longer need to live under. And so, because these members had a lack of spiritual discernment, they found a tickling ear to know more. And more they received. This Christian couple would give these idle members, false teaching in secrecy. Until two years later, it surfaced its ugly head among us. It was bearing fruit. Separation was taking place, these members had in turn become disciples of error and were further trying to convince others to believe this falsehood. Making those they converted twice the children of hell (Mt. 23:15).

And so, we lovingly tried to study with those infected with this spiritual leprosy, but it was too late. The faithful had not addressed it soon enough. And so these members left the faith, and Brough their children, and their grandchildren with them. These proceeded to “open shop” for themselves and contact everyone to convince them to turn to their doctrines. I think you can understand that this caused much pain, sorrow, and discouragement. I then purposely-educated myself with their false doctrines and proceeded to teach the congregation. So as to never again allow the fold to be snared by such spiritual leprosy. 

If these lost souls would return to Christ, they would have to do so through the proper channels (“show yourselves to the priests”), they’d have to sit down with the leaders and show fruits of repentance (signs of healing). And once fully cleansed they’d be warmly welcomed back into the camp. And we’d thank God! 

The same is told of another example. A fornicating couple, unclean among us. We had to approach them and separate ourselves from their unrepentant behavior. Because if they’re allowed to remain in the fold while fornicating, why can’t I stay here also as a drunkard or adulterer? (see the disease spread?). For they were already separated from God, we just caught up to it. Now if they repent, they must go through the proper channels, and we shall warmly welcome them back into the fold. And thanksgiving shall be extended to our LORD and MASTER.

If you have an honest and humble heart, you’ll understand the spiritual teaching being proclaimed to you this day. And so, back to the account here… 

- Not only were these “malads” (a French word for “sickly people”) scorned in the flesh, they further had to be separated from the location of blessing because they were unclean. 

Application: Outside of the body of Christ, we are separated from Him due to our uncleanness, SIN. Oh, it may not take physical form (though sometimes it does), it most certainly is seen within (“by their fruits, you shall know them”). I’ve seen many Christians who shine bright as a new penny on the outside, but then you realize they are far from faithful within. They are caught up in a spiritual rut, not willing to grow and expand scriptural potential for sake of compromise. 

And just like Jesus tested the faith of these lepers, so He does also with us this day. Can we recognize it? Are we pierced like the Jews of Acts 2:37 who obeyed? Or are we pierced like the Jews of Acts 7:54, who murdered Steven? We move forward… 

Jesus told them to go visit the high priest before they could see the results of their healing. It takes faith to do something before identifying any results. When the doctor says, “trust me, follow this diet.” The image we see in the mirror doesn’t yet tell the tail of results. Yet, we trust in the doctor and follow the diet. And months later the image in the mirror (outward) and bloodwork, inward, tells a different tale. 

When Christ says, “go into that water so I can wash your sins away with my blood.” It takes faith to believe such a thing because we have to look with spiritual eyes. For if we don’t, all we see is water and getting wet. We’ll never see salvation (Mk. 16:16), a new birth (Jn. 3:5). And we’ll keep arguing against Christ pinning His words against each other in trying to justify our lack of faith and thankfulness. 

We move forward and recognize in this account that Jesus remains legal. A law-abiding citizen. For He knows the proper channels necessary, they must go see the high priests. He’s obedient to the law He was born under. 

One of the healed, the Gentile (Samaritan), recognizes the great turn in his life that has taken place. He was once in hopeless uncleanness, and now he is made whole, pure, cured.

This was very strong and forceful teaching from Christ, very offending and controversial, for by implication He’s saying that the 9 who did not return to thank Him, were Jews. He’s telling religious people that they are wrong. 

It what supposed to be understood that the Jews had to give thanks to God for their cleanness (Psalms 107:20-22; 103:1-4; 100:4). But yet here a point is being made, the Gentile is thankful. Another sign pointing to the day when the Greeks (that’s us) would warmly be given the gospel also (Acts 10). And how they would more quickly accept it over the Jews who ultimately brought Christ to the cross (Acts 2:36). - ——— I’ve had more success teaching Bible truth to heathens, than teaching Bible accuracy to most Christians. Because most Christians think they already know it all. They look down on you. Heathens who seek freedom in Christ, are open vessels soaking in the truth in a pure form. And these repentant heathens who come out of a sinful world, can’t get enough of the Bible, they want to know about every spiritual thing imaginable. They want their questions answered. They want to grow in their knowledge. They don’t want to remain surface. They want to lay nets in deeper water. They want to learn to discern error from the truth and defend it. They want to be able to discern fluff from meaty and challenging teaching. And this greatly offends Christians who are idle and apathetic. And that is further why preachers like myself are not welcomed in many congregations these days. 

This Gentile, which returned to Christ in thankfulness. His faith made him well. When Christ said, “go,” he went. His trust in Christ made him act upon the command. Resulting in being healed. He didn’t say, “well those Jews didn’t need to come back, so why should I?!”

Today, we too are dying in uncleanness (SIN - spiritual idleness, apathy, vain worship, the inability to discern error and spiritual threat, fornication, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, denominationalism). The cure remains Christ, He tells us “go,” and we need to “GO.” Only if we “go,” shall we achieve the desired goal,  freedom/forgiveness/salvation. It takes faith (Heb. 11). And there is no thanksgiving to be found outside of Christ. For what are you thankful for? Being lost? 

If you are outside of Christ, it takes faith to repent and be immersed in water so as to be saved (Rom. 6:3-4). If you are in Christ already it takes faith to grow, to go further in the word which challenges our accustomed thoughts which may have been within us for decades. 

Friends, I’m not here with style in order that you follow me. I’m here so that you follow the Bible. Because once I’m gone, those who follow the Bible will continue to do so. Those who follow man will fall. 

If you are the ONE from the TEN, please come forward for salvation or renewal, thanksgiving, and hope, as we stand and we sing. 

SM