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Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon speculating why 9 of the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus did not return to give Him thanks, dealing with many of the reasons we do not properly express a spirit of thanksgiving for God's blessings in our lives.

Where Are The Nine?

Thanksgiving Sermon

Chuck Sligh

November 18, 2007 & November 23, 2014

(A slide presentation is available for this sermon upon request by emailing me at chucksligh@hotmail.com.)

TEXT: Luke 17:11-19 (TO BE READ LATER)


Opening Illus. – As we approach Thanksgiving this week, I’m reminded of the man lost and walking in the desert for about five days when he comes to the home of a preacher. Being a good Samaritan, the preacher nurses him to health and then offers to loan him his horse to get to the nearest town, an offer the man accepted.

“However,” the preacher says, “there’s something special about this horse. He’s a Gospel horse. He doesn’t understand ‘Giddy up and Whoa.’ You have to say ‘Thank God’ to make it go and ‘Amen’ to make it stop.”

“Just like a preacher,” the guy thinks to himself, but he says, “Sure, okay” and gets on the horse.

He says, “Thank God” and sure enough, the horse starts walking. A little later he says louder, “Thank God” and the horse starts trotting. Feeling really brave, the man say REAL loud, “THANK GOD!” and the horse is soon up to a full run!

About then he realizes he’s heading straight towards a cliff and yells “Whoa!”— but the horse doesn’t even slow down! The cliff’s coming up REAL QUICK and he’s doing everything he can to make the horse stop. “Whoa! Stop! Hold on!”—but nothing works!

Finally, he remembers “AMEN!!!” The horse comes to a screeching halt a mere two inches from the cliff’s edge, almost throwing him over its head. The man, panting and heart racing, wipes the sweat from his face and leans back in the saddle. Gasping for air he says with relief, “THANK GOD!” [PAUSE TILL THE JOKE SINKS IN.]

Illus. – That’s a humorous story, but now let me tell you a sad, but true one. One day in 1860, a crowded passenger steamer foundered off the shore of Lake Michigan. A man named Edward Spencer, who was a student of a nearby Bible College, was one of many gathered on the shore that day.

Seeing a woman about to drown, he threw off his coat and swam out through the heavy waves and succeeded in getting her back to the land in safety. SIXTEEN times during that day young Spencer braved those fierce waves, rescuing SEVENTEEN people. Then he collapsed in a delirium of exhaustion.

Ed Spencer never completely recovered from that day’s exposure and exertion. With broken health he was unable to enter his chosen life work of the ministry. He died in California, at eighty-one years of age. But the tragedy of that story is this: In a notice of his death, one paper said that not one of these seventeen rescued persons ever came to thank him.

That reminds me of our text this morning: (READ TEXT NOW) – Luke 17:11-19 – “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Ten lepers were healed, but only one gave thanks. Isn’t that amazing? Ten people healed, but only ONE out of ten came back to thank Jesus. Jesus asked, “Where are the nine?”

You would think that with something as life-changing as being healed of leprosy that all ten of them would have returned to give thanks, but out of ten lepers, only ONE exercised what the writer of Hebrews called “the sacrifice of praise.” Have you ever wondered why the other nine did not return? Let me speculate a little today and suggest to you some reasons the other nine might not have returned to give thanks:

1) Maybe one said, “I’d go back, but it’s just NOT CONVENIENT.”

It’s never really convenient to be grateful. That’s why the writer of Hebrews referred to it as the “sacrifice” of praise. A sacrifice is by definition something that is not convenient. So to give thanks to God, or to anybody, is never really convenient.

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