Summary: Jesus’ focus was on the message of the gospel through forgiveness of sin. We often lose our focus and then we may cause damage to the cause of Christ in our community.
Keep Your Focus
Pastor Jim May
A few weeks ago I preached on the healing of the leper in Mark chapter 1. If you will remember, Jesus told the leper in Mark 1:44, "… say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
Over in the 3rd chapter of the Book of Ecclesiates, the wisest man who ever lived made a statement. He said, “there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent”.
Somehow I get the feeling that when Jesus told that leper to say nothing to any man, that this was a time to keep silent.
Have you ever seen someone get a real blessing from the Lord? Have you, yourself, ever been really touched by God? Perhaps it was at the moment of your deliverance from the bondage of sin, when the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus Christ moved into your heart and made you a new creation in Christ. Perhaps you were miraculously healed, or maybe God answered a prayer by performing a miracle in your life. What did you do?
Most of us can’t keep silent about such things. We want to shout it from the housetop. We want the whole world to know what Jesus has done for us. It’s a natural reaction to receiving such great blessings.
I’ve seen people saved by the blood of Christ and immediately they begin to act as radical Christians. Now there is nothing wrong with being a radical Christian, but there is a problem when we want to become irrational and over zealous.
Over zealous Christians often cause more damage to the Kingdom of God than anyone else because, as one preacher said, “They have a ton of zeal and a quarter of an ounce of wisdom.” Radical thinking and over zealousness makes us too confrontational to all of the sin that we suddenly see around us. We want to take advantage of this newfound power of God in us to place condemnation on every sinner, and we consider it our duty to “straighten out” other Christians who we think are lukewarm and not on fire for God.
But our overzealous ways often drive the very ones that we are trying to witness to even further from God. When we should have been quiet and put our energy into learning the Word of God and listening to the voice of God, we let our excitement drive us and we will soon find ourselves alone because no one will want to be around us.
Is there anything wrong with witnessing for Christ – NO, of course not! Is there anything wrong with being excited about what God is doing for us – NO! But what we must remember is that other people haven’t felt what we felt and can’t understand what we are so excited about. To them, we just went off the deep end and got religion, as many have called it.
Sometimes its better to just rejoice in what God has done for you but keep it to yourself for a while until God opens the door for you to be a witness.
Jesus told that leper to be quiet, don’t go telling the whole world what happened, but go and fulfill all the requirements of the law first.
But did the leper listen? Did he follow God’s instructions? Oh, he went to the priest alright. He had to before he could be accepted back into society. But he didn’t keep quiet. In his excitement, he began to tell every body he met about his healing.
Mark 1:45, "But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter…”
In fact, he was such a loudmouth and so excited that his witnessing actually hindered the work that Jesus had planned to do.
Now sometimes its good to proclaim what Jesus has done, but other times its best to just keep it to yourself and listen to the voice of the Lord lest we hinder the plan of God in our lives.
Mark 1:45 also says that the leper talked so much, “… Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter."
Along with the miracles there comes a responsibility. We must stop for a moment, look into the Word of God and listen for the voice of the Lord. God can use our lives to be great witnesses for him if we will allow him to use us in his own fashion, but if we step out, taking matters into our own hands, and try to force things to happen, we’ll fall flat on our face and even hinder the work of the Lord in our lives and in the lives of others.