Summary: In the life of Christ we see desperation, faith and love.
INTRO.- ILL.- A lady wrote a letter to Dear Abby. “Dear Abby, I am 44 years old and would like to meet a man my age with no bad habits. Signed, Rose. Abby replied: ‘Dear Rose: So would I.’” Could that be called desperation?
If any woman or man is trying to find a mate that has no bad habits, I say, “Good luck, God bless you, May the Force be with you, break a leg, go for it,” and everything else. It’s not going to happen.
There are a lot more important desperate situations in life that we should be concerned about.
Job 14:14 “If a man dies, will he live again?”
When an unbeliever is on the brink of death, that’s a desperate situation or should be! If it’s not a desperate situation to them, then they are either stupid or are completely hardened to God and Christ.
This message is also about faith.
ILL.- Occasionally, someone will ask me a question (Biblical or otherwise) that I have no answer for. I generally answer like this. I say, “I’m in sales, not management.” Some people might consider an easy way out. For me, it’s a matter of faith.
There are some things in life for which we have no concrete answer. We must accept by faith that God is God and He is in control and knows exactly what He is doing. HE IS THE MANAGER. We must walk by faith in Him whether we have an answer or not.
This message is also about love.
ILL.- W. Carl Ketcherside was a church of Christ preacher many years ago. As you know, many church of Christ preachers are ultra-conservative, as was Carl. Finally, one day Carl discovered that life was not about perfect doctrine but rather about a perfectly loving God. It wasn’t that Carl stopped preaching the Word of God. He did that, but he tried to emphasize the fact that all who came to Christ would be accepted by Him. He believed in immersion but he believed it was not just “for the remission of sins.”
Someone said to him one time, “By the way you talk you would think that love is the most important thing.” Carl replied, “Thank God, you finally got it.”
I Cor. 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
PROP.- In this text about the life of Christ we see desperation, faith and love.
I. DESPERATION – THE LEPER
Matt. 8:1-4 “When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
This leprous man was desperate. He was diseased and dying.
ILL.- Fausset’s Bible Dictionary: "Leprosy is a disease of the skin brought on by heat, drought, the absence of a nourishing diet and personal cleanliness. It begins with a little pain, goes on until it mutilates the body, deforms the features, turns the voice into a croak, and makes the patient a hopeless wreck. A poison in the blood ferments there and affects the skin, and destroying the sensation of the nerves."
Anyway you look at it, leprosy was a horrible disease, making a person desperately hopeless. Can you imagine how that leper must have felt?
ILL.- One old preacher said, “The soul that walks alone wanders along the borders of Hell.” No one could touch the leper, not even family. The leper was left alone with his pain.
As one writer put it, “If anyone had a right to doubt God’s love, it was the leper. If anyone had a right to doubt God’s willingness to forgive and cleanse the most wicked sinner, it was the leper.”
ILL.- Preacher Chuck Swindoll tells the story of his time in the Marines in 1958. He was serving with the Marine Corps band in Okinawa when their tour took them to a leper colony on the island. Swindoll said he was totally unprepared for what he encountered at the leper colony. He saw stumps instead of hands, clumps instead of fingers. He saw half faces, and he saw one ear instead of two. So heinous were those who lived on the colony that they were unable to applaud the band’s performances. He said he could literally see the anguished cries of the men, women and teenagers who made that place their home. He said, "We could play music for them, but we could not cleanse them of their disease."