NOW THAT I AM A CHRISTIAN…
(LUKE 17:11–19)


INTRODUCTION:

1.       In (Luke 17:11–19), Jesus teaches us how we are to respond to Him after receiving the new life that He offers.

n        "Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.  One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and He was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well" (Luke 17:11-19).

2.       As happened so often, when Jesus arrived in a new region, many people came to Him for cleansing and healing.

3.       On one particular day, a group of ten lepers met Jesus outside a village begging Him to heal them.  Because of His compassion…Jesus did.

4.       But after the healing, only one person returned to thank Him.  This disappointed Jesus because He expected all of the lepers to return and give thanks.

5.       Jesus expected a response!  Even today, Jesus expects a response from us!

AS WE EXAMINE THE STORY OF THE CLEANSED LEPERS, LET US CONSIDER WHAT OUGHT TO HAPPEN IN OUR LIVES "NOW THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS".

I.                       FIRST, AS CHRISTIANS, OUR PRIORITIES MUST CHANGE.

1.       As we read (verse 15), let us notice the sudden change of direction made by the one grateful leper: "When he saw that he was healed, [he] came back..." The Greek word for "came back" upostrepho is most commonly used to denote someone returning home.

2.       Becoming a Christian ought to involve a recognition that our "home base"—our center of loyalties, our most basic set of priorities—have changed, and is now centered around Jesus.

3.       Nine of the ten lepers apparently had plans to "fit in" their newfound cleanness around the existing structure of their lives, without making any radical new changes or adjustments.

4.       Likewise, it seems that many new believers and Christians are content to attempt to "fit in" their new faith around the priorities, activities, and mindsets that previously characterized their lives.

5.       Yet, becoming a Christian means being willing to let Christ completely change the structure of our lives—adjusting our priorities so that we might begin daily to "seek first the kingdom of God." Our devotion to God must come before all else!

ILLUSTRATIONS:

It was reported in May 1997 that some new believers among the hill tribes of Vietnam sold off their precious farm animals.

What would prompt these poor people to get rid of such valuable commodities? They were raising money to purchase radios, so they could listen to just one daily hour of gospel programming [Commission, May 1997].

Like those folks, we must make sacrifices to put Jesus Christ first in our lives.  Our priorities must center around the Lord! 

II.                     SECOND, AS CHRISTIANS, WE MUST CONFESS THE LORD IN PUBLIC.

1.       It is significant that the cleansed leper does not lurk back to meet Jesus under the cover of darkness (like Nicodemus did in John 3?).

2.       Rather, he joyfully went back to Jesus in broad daylight, "praising God in a loud voice" (verse 15, literally, "with a great voice")!

3.       So often our public confession of the Lord is of the an all-too-human manner. We are timid, too mindful of others’ opinions, too subdued and distracted.
 

4.       Are we willing to confess God in public boldly and unashamedly?

5.       If Jesus has truly changed us, then we will look for opportunities to "praise God with a loud voice."

ILLUSTRATION:

When John Grisham wrote a book called A Time To Kill, it sold just five thousand copies in hard cover. It wasn't advertised…ever made a list or was reviewed by anybody.

Then he wrote The Firm, and it wasn't advertised either. It was hardly reviewed, and the reviews it got weren't very good. But people read it and liked it and told other people they liked it and The Firm sold seven million copies.

John Grisham has written several other books, and over the years his books have been on the number 1 best seller list.

His books were successful not because of advertising, not because of the publisher's clever marketing plan, but because somebody liked the book. I guess a lot of people liked the book and told other people, until millions of these books have been sold.

Since we love Jesus, and have experienced Him, we need to tell others about Him.  Neither newspapers, nor magazines are going to promote His love and grace, so we Christians must share Him boldly and loudly with others.

III.                   THIRD, AS CHRISTIANS, WE MUST COMMIT TO THE LORD'S PURPOSES.

1.       When the cleansed leper came to Jesus, he "threw himself at Jesus’ feet" (verse 16). The Greek "threw himself" "prostrate" (epesen epi prososon) occurs elsewhere in (Matthew 26:39), with reference to Jesus’ own submission to His Father’s purposes in the Garden of Gethsemane:

n        And going a little farther, He threw Himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want."

2.       On that night in the garden, Jesus was demonstrating unconditional commitment and surrender to the purposes of His heavenly Father.

3.       Likewise, the cleansed leper returned to Jesus and prostrated himself before his Lord to demonstrate his commitment to the purposes and will of Jesus from that day forward.

4.       So many of our world’s voices encourage us to never surrender to the purposes and will of another...
 

a.        "I Did It My Way," Sinatra sang.
 

b.        "I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change," declared Lynard Skynard.
 

c.        "Find your own road," cries the current crop of Saab ads.
 

5.       Individualism and nonconformity are more than popular opinions; you might even say that such attitudes have ingrained themselves as part of "the American ideal."
 

6.       Are you willing to buck the trend, and submit your life to the authority of the living, sovereign God of Heaven, so that He might fulfill His purposes through you?

CONCLUSION:

1.        We’ve examined the qualities that ought to characterize the lives of Christians.

2.        As Christians, our priorities must change, we must confess the Lord publicly, and we must commit to the Lord's purposes.

3.        I hope and pray that this lesson has been beneficial to you.