Summary: My point is this, change is a natural part of life, but we do not have to accept all change. What changes should we accept? What changes should we go after? What changes should we praise God for when they come? How do we identify those changes that wi
INTRODUCTION… Change (http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/c/change.htm)
On June 4, 1783 at the market square of a French village of Annonay, not far from Paris, a smoky bonfire on a raised platform was fed by wet straw and old wool rages. Tethered above, straining its lines, was a huge taffeta bag 33 feet in diameter. In the presence of "a respectable assembly and a great many other people," and accompanied by great cheering, the balloon was cut from its moorings and set free to rise majestically into the noon sky. Six thousand feet into the air it went -- the first public ascent of a balloon, the first step in the history of human flight. It came to earth several miles away in a field, where it was promptly attacked by pitchfork-waving peasants and torn to pieces as an instrument of evil!
We certainly don’t like change!
INTRODUCTION II… Change (http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/c/change.htm)
When the railroads were first introduced to the U.S., some folks feared that they'd be the downfall of the nation! Here's an excerpt from a letter to then President Jackson dated January 31, 1829:
As you may know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.
Martin Van Buren Governor of New York
We certainly do not like change!
Change is one of the most difficult aspects of life that happens to all of us. Things do not stay the same because technology, relationships, jobs, prices, our health and just about everything else changes at one time or another. People die and things change. We lose a job and things change. Leadership changes. Our kids and grandkids get older and things change. Computer processing gets faster and faster and things change. The list could go on and on.
It really does not matter what aspect of life you want to look at, change is part of it and we have to either accept it or resist it. Change basically means something has ended and there is a chance for a new beginning. It occurs to me, however, that not all change is good.
* Coke tried to change their formula in 1985 and it lasted 3 months and changed it back after protests.
* Taco Bell changed its prices from .49, .59, .69 in the 1980s and it is certainly more expensive now… poor college students and large families could all go out to eat at Taco Bell for just a few bucks… not anymore.
* I remember gas at .99 a gallon. Now .99 worth of gas won’t get you out of the parking lot.
My point is this, change is a natural part of life, but we do not have to accept all change. What changes should we accept? What changes should we go after? What changes should we praise God for when they come? How do we identify those changes that will indeed give us a new beginning? These are not necessarily easy questions to answer because most of us dislike change so much. Yet there are times when change is desperately needed or when change is thrust upon us. Luke 5 is a portion of Scripture which concludes with three pictures of change that give us a great perspective on accepting change.
I. ACCEPT CHANGE THAT HEALS YOU FROM THE PAST
We find our first perspective in Luke 5:12-15 and it is one that deals with healing.
READ Luke 5:12-15
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.
“Leprosy” is a word that is not used much in the United States because we have advanced medicine that treat these infectious and damaging skin diseases and it has become an issue that we do not deal with. For others in Brazil, India, and parts of Africa it is a real issue that is still being worked on (http://www.who.int/lep/en/). In Jesus’ day, there was no cure and no medicine to ease suffering and people stricken were separated from those who were not infected. They were considered “unclean” and should have no contact with people who were “clean.” It’s just safer that way. You may remember in MGMs 1959 film “Ben Hur” which showed that lepers were kept outside the city in a colony… this was accurate of what life was like in Jesus’ day. Lepers had to be separated from their families. Lepers could not work. Lepers relied on charity. Lepers were the lowest of society and shunned at all possible times.