Summary: To be clean we need to hear clean words, thoughts and ideas that enrich our spirits and enhance our minds and improve our condition and position with God.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
“Be Thou Clean”
Text: Matthew 8: 1 – 4
Today we examine the second step in our walk with Jesus. Last week Jesus suggested to us to Come and rest awhile. This week he commands us to Be Thou Clean.
Many of us misunderstand the commands of God. His commands are non-negotiable. That is the reason we find ourselves collectively as a society and individually as a person in trouble so often. We act as if God will make compromises with His word. God says I am a God who changes not. If there are to be any changes they must be in our actions that are brought into conformity with His Word. God’s commands are non-negotiable.
Jesus says with a clear voice. Be Thou Clean.
Given the current political debate I was tempted to change the title of this sermon.
You may remember that on the national scene Senator Specter made the comment that Senator Barrack Obama was clean. Immediately there was a response from African American Leaders all over America asking him exactly what did he mean? Rev. Al Sharpton was on national television proclaiming that he takes a bath every day.
I was concerned that today’s message may get caught up in the trivialization of the current political debate.
Jesus is commanding in this text that some specific actions be taken by saying, Be Thou Clean.
An important element in this text that you must understand is that Jesus’ command to be clean is after the man with leprosy has come to worship him.
The nature of God’s prevenient grace is that you can come to God just as you are.
We sing it so often, Just as I am – Thou will receive, will welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come.
That why you cannot forsake the assembly of the saints. It really doesn’t matter the condition you are in, God wants you to come and worship him. Too often we think we have to get ourselves together before we come to God. God wants you to come first, then with him you will get yourself together. That’s why the Revelation text says, I stand at the door and knock and if anyone opens, I will come and sup with them. God is always available to you all you need to do is to come and worship him.
What is interesting is that the man did not wait for a convenience time or place. Jesus had just come down from the mountain teaching the Beatitudes, explaining righteous living, expounding on the parables to communicate God’s will.
Jesus had just completed those series of teachings and the man with leprosy stops Jesus with his worship and because of his worship Jesus listens to his concern.
Worship is not to attract God’s blessings. Worship is to attract God’s attention. Because when God makes his face to shine upon you, then you are blessed.
Something about true worship attracts God’s attention. God loves worship. God seeks those who worship him. God will response to those who worship him.
The man brings his concern to Jesus. He is unclean. He has leprosy. Leprosy by definition is one with a condition that would make them unclean and therefore, unfit to enter the temple.
Too many people feel that they are unclean and unfit to enter the temple. Don’t you realize that there are people within a stones throw from here who think that they are unclean and unfit to enter the temple. They will come during the week, but on Sundays they feel unclean and unfit.
Is it because they have leprosy or is it because they are treated as if they have leprosy.
It is a shame and a sin, if we who are members of the fellowship of faith cause those who need Jesus the most not to come because we make them feel unfit or unclean.
It is an undeniable fact that if one doesn’t have physical leprosy; at one time of another we have all had spiritual leprosy.
This is the spiritual condition that renders one unfit or unclean. But, Jesus who paid it all and he looks beyond all of our faults and sees our need; and he touched us and he healed us.
In II King 5 you find one of the first cures for leprosy. Naaman a captain in the Syria Army needs to be cured of the disease. Through his wife Israelite maid, he finds out that there is a prophet named Elisha who can call upon the name of the Lord and cure his disease. Naaman travels to Elisha’s tent and stands outside,
Elisha sends him a note that tells him to go wash in the waters of Israel. Naaman’s first thought is the Israel waters are dirty and why can’t he wash in cleaner waters in his own land.