Summary: 1. Seek the Lord's mercy (vs. 11-13). 2. Strive to follow the Lord's commands (vs.14a). 3. Step out in faith (vs.14b). 4. See God's blessings in your life (vs. 15). 5. Stop to give thanks to the Lord (vs. 15). 6. Show your gratitude to God (vs. 15-19).
The Place of Gratitude
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 18, 2012
*Pastor Billy Strayhorn and his family are animal lovers with a capital "A." They feed the squirrels and birds in their back yard. In their house they have a lizard and three goldfish. But when Billy thought about today's Scripture, he thought about two more of their pets: Pearl, the guinea pig, and Midnight the Wonder Dog. Midnight is a black lab, coon hound mix, and Billy talked about his nightly routine with these pets.
*When Midnight hears the garage door open, she runs to the door wanting a treat. And Billy said: "I keep 'Beggin Strips' handy, so I reach into the bag and give her a goodie. That's when we hear from Pearl the guinea pig. The minute she hears the dog's goodie bag rattle, she goes to the door of her cage. Pearl wants a goodie, too, like some celery or a lettuce leaf. And if she doesn't get it, she starts squealing like a stuck Guinea Pig. But the one thing I can always count on from both Midnight and Pearl is an honest to goodness 'Thank you kind sir.' Midnight rubs all over you, beats you to death with her tail, and licks your hand, and Pearl purrs with this little sound of contentment and wants to be petted."
*Then Billy made this point: "What strikes me about Midnight and Pearl's gratitude is that in today Scripture we meet ten people with leprosy who Jesus heals. And nine of them, NINE of them, had less gratitude than my dog and my Guinea Pig." (1)
*This Thursday is Thanksgiving. But are we really thankful? How can we get to the place of gratitude in our lives? The Grateful Samaritan in this Scripture shows us how.
1. And the first thing we need to do is seek the Lord's mercy.
*In vs. 11-13, all of these men sought the Lord's mercy for physical healing:
11. Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
13. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
*"Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" -- And how desperately they needed His mercy. These men were in horrible condition.
*Max Lucado wrote a testimony that could have come from one of these desperate men: "For five years no one touched me, no one, not my wife, not my child, not my friends, no one. What is common to you, I coveted: Handshakes, warm embraces, a tap on the shoulder to get my attention, a kiss on the lips. . . Such moments were taken away from my world.
*I was not permitted in my synagogue, not even welcome in my own house. I was untouchable. I was a leper. Oh, how I repulsed those who saw me. Five years of leprosy had left my hands twisted. Tips of my fingers were missing as were portions of an ear and my nose. At the sight of me, fathers grabbed their children. Mothers covered their faces. Children pointed and stared.
*Some think I sinned. Some think my parents sinned. I don't know. All I know is that I grew tired of it all: sleeping in the colony, smelling the stench. I grew so tired of the bell I was required to wear around my neck to warn people of my presence. One glance from the people and the announcement began: 'Unclean! Unclean!'" (2)
*These ten lepers were miserable and hopeless. But then Jesus came to town! And when they cried out for mercy, Jesus miraculously healed them. As we read in vs. 14: "So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed." They were all cleansed of their leprosy!
*Without Jesus, those men were in a horrible condition, and without Jesus, so are we.
-As bad as their physical suffering was, it was only temporary. But without Jesus, you will suffer forever.
-They were kept out of the temple. But without Jesus, you will be kept out of heaven.
-They were separated from family and friends. But without Jesus, you will be separated forever from the family of God.
*But if you will cry out to Jesus for His mercy, He will do infinitely more for you than he did for those ungrateful nine. Jesus cleansed them physically with a word. But if you will open your heart to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, He will cleanse you forever with his blood.
*That's what the cross was all about. Jesus Christ dying to take the punishment for our sins, and rising again in everlasting victory over death. Jesus gives this victory to everyone who will receive His gift of salvation. So seek the Lord's mercy. Cry out to Jesus for His compassion. And He will give it to you.