Here at Springfield Baptist we have a church-wide reading plan. Today our reading plan was in Luke 17. I found this passage to really speak to our human condition. How do we respond to what God does. See if this resonates with you.
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.”
A couple things that I noticed in this.
1. All recognized Jesus. The first thing that I saw was that all of the lepers recognized Jesus. They knew that there was something special about Him. They all knew that He had the power to heal them. This is powerful. In our culture today no other name sparks more controversy than the name of Jesus, even more than Donald Trump… Jesus sparks emotion in people. The name of Jesus is powerful in that way. These ten knew that healing was associated with Jesus.
2. One Gave Thanks. Only one of the ten turned back after being healed to give glory to God. Only one. Why is this significant? Honestly we don’t know much about the others. We do know that the one was a Samaritan. If you know anything about the scriptures then you will remember the story in John 4. Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman. In their conversation she is taken back by the fact that Jesus, a Jew, would even speak with her. At the end of their conversation she is transformed. This leper is transformed. He gives glory to God. He does not take the miracle for granted. He came back to Jesus and was thankful for the work of God in his life.
3. 1 or 9? The question that I asked of myself is, “are you the 1 or the 9?” Where do I commonly find myself? Am I giving praise to God for the things that He so clearly has a hand on my life? Or am I going on and even attributing this to my own doing? Being a Jesus follower means that Jesus has worked a miracle in my life. He saved me from my sin. He purchased me with a price. My response is faith, repentance, worship, and thankfulness to Him. The one showed this. Am I showing this?
”No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with it’s rays gives light.”
A few things we can take from this passage.
1. What you take in comes out. What you constantly consume with your eyes is what comes out. If you are constantly consuming dark things, social media, etc., then those are the things that will come out of you. Many are often confused to why they feel depressed or angry, and yet the things they consume with their eyes are those things. There is a reason we have a church reading plan. If you consume God’s Word, if you read it daily, we know that you will be reveal godly things.
2. Shine your light. Recently my family decided to have a family candlelight dinner (pictured above). Our children were amazed at the amount of light that was put out by candles. We talked to them about how Jesus tells us to be a light in the world. The world is a dark place and is in desperate need of the light. How are you shining your light? How are you telling others about your hope?
Luke 15:1-2; 6-7; 31-32
Luke 15 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. I love this chapter. I truly feel like in this chapter is all of mankind. In this chapter I’ve found hope and great conviction. I pray that you will be encouraged by this passage as I have.
1. State of hearts. In verses one and two you see who is in the crowd. This is truly important to the rest of the story. First we see that tax collectors and sinners are in the crowd. Tax collectors were truly terrible people. They help fund the terrorist nation that was oppressing their people. This was true treason. Sinners were not like we think of sinners today. These were people of terrible reputation and ill repute. These people were Drawing near to hear Him. Keep that in mind when you read the story. They are being drawn to Jesus. Also in the crowd was Pharisees and the scribes. These were the religious elite. Look what it says about them, they grumbled. Friends, we’ve all been Pharisees at times, but this is a terrible way to be. Pharisees are always looking for ways to criticize, they are always negative. They don’t want to celebrate, they want to criticize and gossip. If you find yourself being a Pharisee or scribe today, I pray that you would repent. You are missing so much joy!
2. True Friends. Here is something that I’ve thought about at length. In verse 6 and 7 we see true friendship. Do you know how you can tell true friendship? A friend will mourn with you, but a true friend will celebrate with you. True friends celebrate with you. They are excited when you are excited. Pharisees will try and talk down your celebration. You know people like that, you are excited about something and immediately they want to try and tell you why you shouldn’t be excited, they find something wrong. This was the type of people that wanted to take away the joy of those listening to Jesus. Sinners and Tax Collectors were drawing near to Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes wanted to rob them of their joy.
3. Repent and celebrate. If like me you’ve found yourself on both sides. You’ve found yourself being a Pharisee, I urge you to read the last two verses of chapter 15. Repent of this. Know that what you think when you don’t celebrate with the lost being found, repent and know what God is doing. You find yourself opposing the work of God. No one wants to be found in that spot. Repent and celebrate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself having to repent and celebrate. Every believer will wrestle with being the older brother in the story. The question is will you settle with staying outside of the celebration or will you come in? Jesus leaves it like that for a reason, how will you respond?
Matthew 19:16-17 “16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
There are a few things that we should get from this.
1. People are concerned with eternity. We know that every man and woman has eternity set on their hearts. We all wrestle with that question about what happens after you die. We all wrestle with the existence of the Lord and how we enter His gates. Everyone we talked to the past couple days had that thought and all said they wanted to know the answer. Everyone. Often many have the wrong idea of what grants them eternal life. Just like this young man. There are even those in the church that think that just because you walked an aisle, just because you were baptized, just because you show up to church that you are good. Those are great things, but those are not what give you eternal life. Only faith in Christ and His work on the cross. Only faith in the resurrected King.
2. No one is good. I love what Jesus said to him. Jesus gave him a foreshadow of the issue with his question in his first response. There is only one good. Only God is good. Only Jesus lived the perfect life. We all are sinners by nature and by choice. We all have fallen short of the glory of God. No one is perfect. This guy was coming to Jesus for assurance of his obvious blessed life. He had kept the law, as he thought. God had blessed him with riches. Of course he was a good man. Of course he was going to inherit eternal life. We often think if we just keep the scales tipped towards our good deeds that we will be good. The scriptures tell us that even our good deeds are filled with sin. We really do underestimate the sinfulness of our hearts. We are impure. We are sinful. Even in our “good” things we are sinning. We have no hope at all to be good. Only Jesus is good. Only He can give us righteousness.
3. Obey perfectly. This somewhat plays off the last point. To get to heaven you must obey the law perfectly. One problem… You fail. We all fail. Only Christ lived up to the perfection of the law. He came and fulfilled the law. Now we put our faith not in what we do, nor what we don’t do, but what’s been done! Christ took my place. Christ lived the life I couldn’t. Christ is the one I look to. He alone is how I inherit eternal life. I pray that you would share that message with someone today. I pray that if you are hoping in your good works, your actions, that you would stop, turn to Christ and His perfection. Only He can give you hope. Only He is good.
Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves…”
Is church membership important? If so, what are characteristics?
In looking at the first church there are many characteristics that shine forth. Though one that seems to be taken for granted is their essential salvation. To be part of the church one must be saved. That is the first qualification. We see this in previous verses after Peter preaches a sermon where they were “cut to the heart.” Their response is trusting in Christ for salvation and following through with believers baptism. So what are a few things we must see in this for the church? What do church members look like in this?
1. They are saved. Again, this should be first, but as you will see in scripture, there are some that are removed from the fellowship and treated like outsiders. This is the same with today’s church. Do they bear fruit of salvation? Are they repentant?
2. They are active. In-active church member is a ignorant statement to me. Now before you get upset, I am not talking about physically home bound people. I am talking about the folks that show up once a year or every few years. They would still be considered members when they have no desire to be with the body. Church-less Christianity is not a thing of scripture.
3. The tested church. This again is the watching of their lives. Do we see a life of repentance? Do they share their faith? Are they being conformed into the image of Christ?
All of this is important when we think of the first church as well as current church. Church membership is important. Salvation is the first characteristic we will see.
Psalm 100:1-2 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!”
What is something you see that should be prevalent in our walk with the Lord? Joy! We should be joyful! Here the writer is saying that you should be joyful in singing! You should be joyful to serve the Lord! That you come into His presence singing! With these two verses I want to give you three challenges to try.
1. Sing during your devotional time. Thats right. I want you to spend some time alone this week and just sing to the Lord. When you are reading the Word, what song comes to mind, sing it! This is a practice that I will be honest, this is difficult for me. But as believers we should sing to the Lord. When you sing, it shows the joys of your heart.
2. Serve someone this week. How can you take time to serve someone this week? What can you do to encourage someone? These are the three questions that the Lord has laid on my heart to encourage people with, you can use them too. What is the Lord teaching you in His Word? What next step do you think He’s calling you to? How can I help you in that? These are simple questions that can encourage someone to take a huge faith step!
3. Sing at church! Yep! Sing with other believers. Even if you don’t know the song, sing! Even if it doesn’t fit your style, sing! Old or new, sing! I pray that you sing so loud this week that we wake the neighbors! Let people hear your joy in the Lord.
1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
Reading this text this morning is very encouraging word for us all. A few things for us to dive into and to apply to our lives today.
1. Loving God means loving His children. Scripture makes this plainly clear. To claim to love God and to not love God’s people is an oxymoron. You cannot do it. That would be like telling someone, I like you but I can’t stand your kids… God says that part of loving Him is by taking that love and applying it to His children. This is not always an easy task, we have conflict, we are sinful, but our love for the Lord should move us to ask for forgiveness and repentance to restore relationships. We should always seek to have restored relationships.
2. Loving God means obedience. To live in blatant disregard to the scripture is to reveal your heart towards the Lord. To love the Lord means that you obey His Word. This is a fact. Our response from the grace that we’ve received from the Lord should be that of thanksgiving and love for the Father. That love should spur us to obedience to His commands. I’m always baffled how anyone could live in open rebellion to God’s Word and yet claim to love God. The truth of the matter is that if you really love God, His Word is supreme, and this means we must repent and trust and obey Him.
3. Loving God is not burdensome. Now some might look at my previous point and know that we have hard things we have to do. Repentance often means doing things that are uncomfortable. For some living in deep sin it means making drastic changes. But God’s Word says that radical obedience to the Lord is not burdensome, rather it’s quite the opposite. It’s freedom. When you finally repent and obey the Lord to do the hard thing He is calling you to, there is freedom. Right standing with God matters more than anything else.
I pray that we would be a people that take this word seriously. Let us show our love for God but how fierce we love one another. Let us show our love for the Lord by our radical obedience to Him. I’m praying for you and thankful for you.