A Grateful People: 2016 Gospel of Luke #67
This is an exposition of Luke 17:11-19. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 30, 2017.
We, as the people of God, are to be a separate people; distinct and different from the world around us. Set apart for God’s purposes and God’s glory. As such we are to see life from a different perspective. We are to respond in a different way from those who do not know God. One of those distinguishing characteristics is a sense of genuine gratitude. We are to be a thankful people. Grateful for every act of kindness we experience. Thankful for the slightest blessing. Humbled by simplest gift. Regrettably, that is too often not true of us. We are like the woman whose son was swept up in the tornado. The storm blew up quickly. The woman grabbed her young son, who was playing in the yard, and began to run for the shelter. The winds overtook them and the son disappeared into the swirling debris as he was sucked out of her arms. The woman feel to her knees and cried, “Dear God, bring back my boy. He’s all I’ve got. I’ll do anything to have my boy back.” She began to sob. Suddenly her son dropped at her feet. She jumped up, took the boy in her arms and began to dance with joy. Abruptly she stopped and stared at her child. Then she glared into the heavens and said, “Lord, he was wearing a hat!” Some people just can’t be pleased. No matter how much they are given – it is not enough. Ingratitude is an ugly thing especially when considered from the vantage point of faith.
Biblically, we know everything we have and all that we are we owe to the grace of God. Ingratitude is born in the heart that believes God owes us something. The truth is God doesn’t owe us a thing. Yet we owe Him everything! Our text this morning is found in the 17th chapter of Luke’s Gospel.
Text: Luke 17:11-19
Our Lord is on his way to Jerusalem. He is going there to die. To give his life a ransom for many. He is marching to the cross. Along the way he has been teaching, preaching and healing. Hostilities are mounting as he continues to engage with the religious establishment. They are determined to find cause to get rid of him. Meanwhile he popularity is growing among the people.
In the immediate context he has been talking with his disciples about the demands of the Christian life. This is what I expect of you because you belong to me. He lays out for them in the first 10 verses of Luke 17 requirements of “normal” christian living. Cause no sin, confront all sin, forgive any sin. That’s awfully demanding. In fact it is well beyond our abilities. We must trust the grace of God to do the very things he demands of us. This is crucial to our understanding what it means to be Christian. The christian life demands exacting obedience fueled by total dependance. Apart from his enabling we cannot even do the basic things required of us. Thus Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.”
Following that teaching session our Lord continues his journey toward the holy city. Along the way he encounters a group of lepers. It is here we discover another of the marks of genuine faith.
[Read the text]
This encounter serves to remind us that…
Thesis: Profound gratitude marks the heart genuinely transformed by the touch of God’s mercy.
We are to be a grateful people. In our text we discover three characteristics of genuine, biblical gratitude.
- Gratitude begins with an understanding of just how desperate the need. (17:11-13)
- Gratitude sees Christ as the only hope of relief. (17:14)
- Gratitude expresses itself with praise and thanksgiving. (17:15-19)
Note Luke 17:18 – this foreigner. Only use of this word in the NT yet a prominent word in that day. It was on a sign warning Gentiles not to enter the temple. This cleansed leper would not have been welcomed at the temple but he was welcomed at the feet of Jesus!
He is told his faith has made him whole. His faith saved him. This one had saving faith. He was made well, made whole. All were cleansed but apparently the other 9’s healing was only skin deep! This one was made whole evidenced by a grateful heart overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of God.
Profound gratitude marks the heart genuinely transformed by the touch of God’s mercy.