The Greatest Blessing - OUTCAST

The Greatest Blessing

Luke 17:11–19 ESV

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Title our my message today: The Greatest Blessing

Big Idea of the Message: The greatest blessing of following Christ is the relationship we get to have with God, rather than the gifts He gives us.

It’s one thing to receive expensive gifts from a king/ruler but it is far better to have relationship with a king (as a son or daughter).

God knows where the nine lepers went. He knows where Adam and Eve are hiding. It is a question for you and me today. Do you know where you are in relation to God? Do you know what God wants for your life?

What can we learn from this story regarding the heart of Jesus for the outcast.

I.  God wants to give us a change of  heartmore than a change of  status

HEART VS STATUS

We need more than a change of status. We need a change of heart

Luke 17:11–13 ESV On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

a. The disease - Leprosy

The Lexham Bible Dictionary Leprosy

LEPROSY (צָרַעַת, tsara'ath; λέπρα, lepra). An infectious skin disease. The word often translated as “leprosy” in the Bible should actually be translated generally as “skin disease” because the exact type of skin disease is unclear; few, if any, of the cases mentioned align with the modern understanding of leprosy. These skin diseases cause uncleanness to the one bearing the disease.

The most dangerous disease in history according to Wikipedia

Smallpox (430 BC? - 1979): ...

Spanish Flu (1918 - 1919): Killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide in less than 2 years. ...

Black Death (1340 - 1771): Killed 75 million people worldwide. ... Malaria (1600 - today): Kills about 2 million people per year. ...

AIDS (1981 - today): ...

Cholera (1817 - today): ...

Typhus (430 BC? - today): 

Having one of these will make you an outright OUTCAST

 

b. The impact of leprosy to a person.

What happen when a person is declared to have leprosy?

Leviticus 13:45–46 ESV “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ 46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.

    a. His outfit must show that he has the disease.

    b. He will live alone

    c. He will live outside of camp or community

    d. He will them become an OUTCAST

    e. Not to mention the emotional, psychological, economical and spiritual impact in a person’s   

        life.

c. The hunger for a status change more than a change of heart

If you are in this desperate situation, I think you will also do what the 10 lepers did. A change of status from being an outcast to accepted will be the first priority. The nine lepers only wanted the miracle so they could finally be accepted by the society that cast them out in the first place. They merely wanted their status changed. The tenth leper found something more valuable. Sadly, there are false teachers preaching to the outcasts about how Jesus can change their status. The prosperity gospel is all about a status change.

d. The real status change is the change of heart

His response to the healing is the evidence of change of heart

Luke 17:15–16 ESV Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary 17:15–19 He was praising God and he threw himself at Jesus’ feet, a posture of worship. He apparently understood that Jesus is God, for he placed faith in Him. Whether or not he understood that Jesus is the Messiah is not mentioned by Luke. The lack of gratitude by the other nine was typical of the rejection of His ministry by the Jewish nation. He alone had the power to cleanse the nation and make it ceremonially clean. However, the nation did not respond properly to Him. The nation accepted the things that Jesus could do (such as heal them and feed them), but it did not want to accept Him as Messiah. However, those outside the nation (such as this Samaritan leper—a person doubly repulsive to the Jews) were responding.

c. Jesus is the only one who can give us a real change - a change of heart.

Luke 17:19 ESV And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

The Samaritan’s faith has made him well, so that the healing here was more than physical. Are you asking God only for a change of status not a change of heart?

Are you seeking temporary relief rather than a permanent solution to a permanent problem - the problem of the heart/

II.  Gods Blessingsfinds its purpose back to  Himself .

BLESSING VS CURSE

Luke 17:17–18 ESV

17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

a. The pursuit of the blessings more than the blesser

The nine lepers who didn’t return to thank Jesus were only in it for the blessing. However, the one who came back knew that Jesus Himself was even greater than anything He could do for him.

In his book, God is the Gospel, John Piper poses this question: “The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?” Sadly, the other nine lepers from this story would answer yes.

This is what our society is championing today. We kive in a vert self-centered, materialistics society. The world teaches that, “we can be good, we can have a good life, we can experience fulfillment without God in our life”. This is totally FALSE and opposite to what the Bible teaches.

b. The danger of the blessings turned to burden (curse)

God is the source of real gift

James 1:17 ESV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

The end of God’s blessing is, “to the praise of glorious grace

Ephesians 1:3–6 ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Matthew 11:28–30 ESV Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The parable of the rich fool trapped by the burden of the world

Luke 12:16–21 ESV And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Yes the blessings that we received from God though we are underserving can turn into curse.

The relationship that God so blessed you today either you are married or not, with children or not will turn into a burden if not surrendered under His Lordship.

The jobs that you have, the material things that you have, the financial resources that you have will turn into a burden if not surrendered under His Lordship

The strength that you have, the spiritual gifts and abilitites that you have will turn into a burden if not surrrendered under His Lordship

All given for the benefit of the body of Christ, the church for the glory of God.

DO YOU WANT GOD’S BLESSING TO BE A REAL BLESSING OR A BURDEN?

 

III. God is more  concernedwith our  characterthan our  comfort

CHARACTER VS COMFORT

Luke 17:16–17 ESV and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?

Luke withholds this information until now. Samaritan Jews and Samaritans despised each other. For Jesus’ audience, the idea of a good Samaritan would have been a contradiction

Samaritans: The people of Samaria were of mixed Israelite and foreign descent, so the Jewish people did not accept them as part of the Jewish community (see note on John 4:9). The hostilities between Jews and Samaritans dated all the way back to the late sixth-century BC. The Samaritans worshiped Yahweh and used a version of the Pentateuch as their Scripture, but they worshipped on Mount Gerizim, not in Jerusalem. Thus the Samaritans were despised by Jews for both ethnic and religious reasons; there was mutual hatred by the Samaritans toward Jews.

The one the came back to thank Jesus was a Samaritan,  a foreigner.  Jesus healed his leprosy but at the end of the day he is still an outcast.

The reality is, Jesus might keep you an outcast, but will make that life more meaningful than anything else you could pursue.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they were about to be thrown into the fire, told the king that the Lord would save them, but even if He didn’t they would still serve Him (Daniel 3:16-20). Their relationship wasn’t built on what God could do for them, but on who He was.

The narrative of Hebrews 11 ended this way...

Hebrews 11:39 ESV And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,

God’s grace is sufficient to all

2 Corinthians 12:7–9 ESV So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

300 Quotations for Preachers Circumstances Can’t Repair Character
No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character. RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Romans 5:1–5 ESV Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Remove character in the process of our christian maturity and we will end up with disappointment. God is more concerned with your character than with your comfort. You might be in a hard place right now. Thinking that your at an outcast, thinking that you are alone and no body loves you. God loves you

Big Idea of the Message: The greatest blessing of following Christ is the relationship we get to have with God, rather than the gifts He gives us.

What will it be for you?

•     A change of status or a change of heart?

•     A blessing or a burden?

•     Character or Comfort?

Discussion Questions:

1.    What is one thing you are thankful for today?

2.    Why do you think the other healed men didn’t come back? Why is it significant that the one man who was thankful was also a Samaritan?

3.    Have you ever experienced God answering a prayer of yours or blessing you in some way that you knew it had to be God? What happened?

4.    When is it the hardest for you to be thankful? Is there anything in your life right now that is a hindrance to your genuine gratitude?

5.    Why is it tempting to believe our relationship with God is all about our prosperity?