Healed from the leprosy of sin

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Introduction Michael Ngubane
We thank God for what He has done for us these days. We can only look in awe at God’s great works. Is there anyone who does not see God at work? This auditorium was filled with young people who attended the Youth Conference last week. God’s works are wondrous. They cannot be compared to anything else.

Many of these young people came to church for the first time and that they could listen to God’s word is in itself amazing. God provided three meals per day; the diesel needed for transport - everything is truly God’s work.

People prayed without ceasing and we saw God achieving His will and the confirmation that this is indeed God’s work. He also knows the needs. This should encourage us to put our last ounce of energy into serving God. We can do this faithfully until the end. Each person can play their part, even if it is small. We thank the youth who gave their all.

I sat with a young man who told me that it was the first time he had ever entered a church. He asked, ‘What does one do in a service? I hear I must confess my sins. How does one do that?’ he asked. Before I could even explain to him, he began confessing his sins out of himself.

It is amazing how the Lord opened the children’s hearts to the Gospel. Young people came from different branches. KwaSizabantu is like a mother hen who covers people under her wings. May the Lord continue to work, even in government. They are at a loss of how to help the youth involved in drugs.

It is wonderful that Rev Stegen’s dream of the gospel going forth is being fulfilled. Rev Stegen said it has never been his intention to take people out of their own churches but rather that people are changed and become an example in their churches. (In the same way KwaSizabantu cannot tell you which political party to vote for, that is between you and God.)

Dietmar Joosten

This morning’s text is from Luke 17:11-19

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.”]

Africa has been a dark continent. The west and the east have misused Africa. Often Africans are at one another’s throats and while we are busy with each other, people who are greedy remove things from Africa. This morning we pray and say, ‘Oh Lord, can’t you raise Africa once again as a shining light in this dark world?’ We are all part of Africa. There are many people in Africa. ‘Lord, You sent the Gospel to the tip of Africa – may Your will be done. May You raise men and women who will bring light and life to this continent.’

In this Youth Conference young people have sought the Lord in a more amazing way. When you listen to what they say, God is doing something new. May it be, that like this one Samaritan leper, Africans (and indeed the world) may experience healing from sin.

We are approaching the end of time. Evil is increasing and worsening. People say and do things blatantly. God reached a point where enough was enough regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. What does He say of the world we live in now? Parents, there is no better time than today to help your children. They are growing up in situations where you can only pity them. The devil wants to trap the youth. Live for Christ in your families. Mother, it is not the father’s job. Father’s it is not the mother’s job. The parents must work together. If you have not done so, then repent and start.

The new world order is set on destruction of especially the young people. If they can destroy them, there is no future. This could be why God started this revival, to revive the church and people. Only Christ can withstand these powers. His work can do that. We should remain fixed on Him. ‘All power has been given to Me,’ Christ said. If it were not like this, we would have given up and everything would be to no avail. We do things and help people because all power has been given to Him; that power defeats any evil work and spirits. Do not lose hope. If Christ is in us, then no person can overcome us. Do not allow anything to influence you and steal your heart from God. At the end of the day, nobody, no world power controls this world. The world and its people are in God’s hand. That is what we believe and that is what the Bible says.

(Farmers are ordinary people and a farmer sent me the following: The only people mad at you for speaking the truth are those living a lie.)

In today’s text we read about 10 lepers. Birds of a feather flock together. How often haven’t we heard that idiom? With whom do you spend your time? Who surrounds you? Who is the one who moves your heart? There was a group of lepers who were living on their own, away from other people.

Leprosy can be compared to sin. The cleansing of leprosy is comparable to the cleansing of your sins through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our family, before we were born, a relative of my father contracted leprosy. My father visited him at the place he was taken to. This relative was transported to Pretoria by rail in a cattle truck. This man went through hell because the disease was so infectious. Can you imagine what it was like to be a leper?

Leprosy might begin with the loss of sensation. Sensation can be lost in any part of the body, just like you lose spiritual sensitivity when sin enters your life. Nerves are affected, muscles waste away and tendons contract until the hands are like claws. Ulceration begins on the hands or feet. There is a progressive loss of fingers and toes and eventually hands or feet waste away. Imagine the pain and heartache when you see your body wasting away? This can take place over 20 - 30 years. It is a slow disease and a terrible death - which is why people were so afraid of it. Lepers were not permitted to live among people. Social distancing was very important. A leper was not allowed to comb his hair. He had to wear torn clothes. He wore bells to warn people that he was near. He had to cover his body. A leper had to keep 2 metres away from healthy people. If the wind blew from the leper’s direction, he had to remain at least 45 metres away from healthy people. They had many rules that governed their lives. These people were wretched, forsaken, disheartened people. They had lost all hope because they had received a death sentence while they were still living.

This is an image of sin. If you have a spiritual eye, you will realise that this is what sin does?

In the Middle Ages, a priest would take a leper into the church and hold a burial service for him. For all human purposes the leper was dead. He was buried alive.

But Christ saw these men. Christ specialises in reaching out to the worst of mankind, those whom we despise and regard as dead. Christ brings hope into a life. Christ draws to Himself those who are pushed aside and despised. A leper had no pride. He was forsaken, downtrodden, without hope. In all these circumstances, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ entered those lives.

This ‘leprosy’ has filled this world and penetrated all spheres of man. If it is so very dangerous, why do I go as close as possible to the worst kind of leprosy? Those who have never been in a church before understand, but do we really recognise the danger of leprosy and the effect it can have on our spiritual lives? Read more about how it affects the body and destroys it. How much more something that you take so lightly as sin?

Then Jesus said to them in verse 14. 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. This was an act of obedience. When last did you hear the Lord Jesus speaking to you? When last did you hear Him touching something in your life? Possibly when Christ speaks to you, you doubt and ask many questions, ‘Must I go? Now?’ Do you still hear that voice burning in your heart as you used to? How will you be helped if you do not hear the voice that tells you, ‘Go. Do this. Make that right. Uplift the name of Christ.’ You doubt. You are ashamed. You withdraw. How can the Lord Jesus help you?

15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice… 

The one who returned was a Samaritan, a person of a despised nation. Never, ever give up. Never, ever take it to heart when people despise you. The despised are often the people whom Christ finds and who react upon what He says.

This man recognised the saving grace from disease, not only from leprosy, but from sin - which is why he came. This man experienced more than just healing from leprosy. Some commentators say that he was the only one of the ten men who was saved from sin. The others were healed physically but this man experienced something different. We never hear about the other nine again, but something took place in the heart of this one man that changed him. The first thing he did was lift his voice to Christ. This is how you recognise a person saved by grace. If you meet Christ and you do not uplift Him, ask yourself whether you have really met the Saviour. Something will happen within. I know this from my own life. The day I met the Saviour and He changed my life, it was not the end of His working but the beginning of a change. The first thing you do is tell others. My grandmother had a place in Greytown and while others were visiting her, I was outside looking for a soul passing by with whom I could share this good news.

Paul warns in Romans 1 against not thanking and praising God. If we do not, God will give us over to lustful pleasures and evil desires. The desires of the evil heart have no end, no parameters. If you experience something, what is it like today? Do you know how to praise and thank God?

In Luke 19 Zacchaeus met the same Christ. Zacchaeus had a leprosy of his own. He was a thief and corrupt to the highest degree. He stole from the poor. God will never forget that and that is why the Lord had time for Zacchaeus. After he invited the Lord into his home, he said, ‘Lord, I have done wrong. I have stolen. I will give back four-fold back to those I have stolen from.’ This action was a miracle. He found all the people he had stolen from. It must have been a humbling experience.

Often, when you ask somebody if they have ever gone back, to apologise and make right, they say they have not done this. Is that possible? If Christ comes, who must tell you to do this? Christ did not tell Zacchaeus to do this. But why don’t we know? Zacchaeus confessed his sin, but that was not the end. He made restitution and the result - salvation entered his house. Amazing. It was the same with this leper. The Lord said to him, ‘Salvation has entered your home. Go, you are cured.’ What an experience. He was the worst of mankind and then he entered a glorious new life. What do you think his relatives said about him? What will heaven say about you? The Bible says if one sinner is converted, there is rejoicing in heaven. What is heaven’s reaction to you. Don’t take this lightly.

When we were young, the Lord often spoke to us about heaven. He said, ‘Those thoughts in your heart are not right.’ What about your life? Have you been truly healed of leprosy? If not, why not? Christ could heal this leper so why can He not heal you? You may have a grudge or hatred. You may have no respect for others. Has that changed in your life? Has the Lord completely healed that?

Christ wants to work in the last days and He needs His people through whom He can work. Don’t you want to be part of that group? Don’t you want Christ to change your life and use you to help others who have leprosy? The wonderful thing is, He can do it for your life. It is up to you.

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

Where did it all start? By crying aloud and standing afar off, saying,’ Lord, here I am, save me from my leprosy.’ And then when He has saved you, you will be able to uplift His name.

I will end with the story of a young boy, William, who went to his mother after a service and told her that a certain person would not experience the Saviour. ‘Why?’ asked his mother. William answered, ‘Mother, he was only down on one knee. He’ll never get peace until he is down on both knees.’

Do you just kneel on one knee and babble off a prayer? A person who realises his disease and sees the danger of it, knows how to cry and find help. Until conviction of sin brings us onto both knees, until we are completely humbled, until we realise that if we continue in this way, there is no hope. Until there is no more pride. Pride causes you to gossip about others. Social distancing is needed when it comes to gossiping. You behave and talk the way you do because of pride. You are proud because of who you think you are, where you are, who you belong to. There is no respect. You do not have regard for people who are older than you. Take these things to heart and if you put them into practice, you will see a difference in your life.

The world is an evil, leprous place. If you do not keep your distance, you will be infected. There is no worse situation than being infected and wasting away. Do you understand why it is so important to always cleanse yourself? You must disinfect your hands, mind, eyes through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot do without it.

It often happened when Christ healed someone in the Bible, He told the person to sin no more. What if one of these men fell sick again because Christ asked a pertinent question? Where are the other 9? We do not know their end, but we can confidently say that this one man received something totally different which carried him to the end.

When you meet Christ and He saves you from your sin, you will experience a burden lifted. Let us take it seriously. Young people, we pray for you because this leprosy is so infectious and if you are not careful it will quickly cling to you.

Conclusion Michael Ngubane
This matter is wonderful! It is sweet and it touches the heart.

I once saw someone with leprosy. There was no nose – a cloth covered the face, no fingers. There was no feeling. All the nerves were wasted. A finger in the fire could not be felt. This is the damage caused by sin. Although a person is helped, nothing goes in. When you are reprimanded, you feel nothing because everything is fine with you. The world is evil. That leprosy can cling to us. Woe to us if we continue in the world. We will end up in the fire. If you have lost all sensitivity, sin enters and you do not even realise it because the world has engulfed you.

Wonderful things have come from the Samaritans. The people of this world have more feeling than those who are known as children of God. How tragic when the people of the world see things more clearly than children of God. This man’s leprosy ended, and he was thankful.

May the Lord help us to thank Him. We are indebted to Him. If the Lord has saved and set us free, may we never return to that which the Lord has saved us from.

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