The Most Neglected Place

The Power of a Grateful Heart

Luke 17:11-19


DATE: 11 May, 2008 AM

PLACE: BBC Ballincollig


I.       Introduction (Psalm 107:8)


A.    Theme this month - Bow the Knee in Delight, Praise – Learning to be Thankful – learning how to have more fun as a Christian than ought to be legal!

B.     Learning to enjoy God

C.     True religion radiates with happiness and joy. The ungodly never look upon Church as a joyful thing;


1.      To them it is service, duty, or necessity, but never pleasure or delight.

2.      If they are religious at all, it is either that they may gain from it, or else because they are just afraid of not doing it.

3.      The thought of delight in religion is so strange to most people, that no two words stand further apart than "holiness" and "delight."

4.      But believers who know Christ, understand that delight and faith are so blessedly united, that the gates of hell cannot prevail to separate them.

5.      They who love God with all their hearts, find that His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all His paths are peace.


D.    Let’s find out why!


II.    Background


A.    As Jesus travelled through the border area between Samaria and Galilee (MAP) on His way to Jerusalem, He came to a small town. This was His last trip from Galilee down to Jerusalem, where in just a little over a week, He will be crucified.

B.     On the outskirts of the village were ten lepers. They “stood afar off” from Him as He approached the gate of that village (17:12). Lepers were required by Old Testament law to stay far away from people so that others would not get infected by the disease. “The leper…shall cry, Unclean, unclean…he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be” (Leviticus 13:45-46).

C.     These men should not have been there. They would normally have just stayed away from the crowds.

D.    These ten men should have had no hope – because leprosy was incurable – only a MIRACLE could have changed their situation – they were “terminally ill” – and miracles didn’t happen every day!

E.     Yet something was about to happen this day that will change their lives – they are going to get cured! It seems when anyone gets close enough to Jesus, their lives are changed! Amen?


1.      But let me say this, out of those ten men who get HEALED, only one man gets MADE WHOLE!

2.      Oh it is wonderful to be cured of an illness or disease…

3.      Oh it is wonderful to get a large amount of money given to you to pay off your debts…

4.      Oh it is wonderful to become famous and popular…

5.      But none of any of that can make a person “whole”


F.      We are going to see THE most neglected place in the world in this Scripture. And it is so amazing how neglected it is, because when you understand just how much power to save and to transform is there, you would think millions upon millions would be fighting to get to this place!

G.    What place is it? Well, let’s see if you can figure it out as we read…


III.             Message – The Most Neglected Place – Luke 17:11-19


A.    Their Condition (Luke 17:11,12)


1.      All these men had “Leprosy”


a.       A vicious bacterial infection that only gets worse with time!

b.      It begins invisible, under the skin, and it slowly spreads

c.       When it becomes visible, it is then that you are terminally ill, and that you have only months or a few years to live

d.      These ten men were alone, outcast from the rest of society

e.       They were very contagious

f.       No one could do anything for them

g.      They were only waiting to die


2.      Leprosy is THE greatest illustration of sin in the Bible! Understanding leprosy helps us understand what sin is like, and how it kills!


a.       Sin is usually invisible, and it works away in our hearts even when we don’t know it is there – like germs and bacteria

b.      Sin only gets worse with time – oh we get cuter and are able to disguise our sins, but sin only multiplies in our lives with time

c.       When sin starts manifesting itself: we start stealing, lying, lusting, hating… then we are doomed!

d.      Condemned by God’s laws of being sinners – damned

e.       And NO ONE can do anything for us – Ophra Winfry can’t, Dr. Phil can’t, Deepak Chopra can’t, Rhonda Byrne (author of “The Secret”) can’t! Neither the HSE, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, Meditation, Yoga, or drugs can stop sin’s ruin of our lives!

f.       Nothing can cure the sinful heart, the sinful eye, the sinful tongue!

g.      No! Without a true blue miracle, all anyone can do is wait to die, and face God’s wrath!


B.     Their Cry (Luke 17:13)


1.      These ten lepers had somehow heard that Jesus performed miracles.


a.       They had heard of a demon infested teenager up in Gadara getting his right mind back

b.      They had heard of Peter’s sick mother-in-law getting instantly healed by Jesus

c.       They had heard of a paralyzed man who had been healed by Jesus when his friends had dropped him through Peter’s roof in front of Jesus!

d.      They had heard of a Centurion’s servant being completely healed by Jesus

e.       They had heard of Lazarus being raised back up from the grave, even after being dead for four days!

f.       They had heard about two blind men getting their sight back because of Jesus!

g.      But the most important thing they had heard about, that gave them such hope, was that even a leper had been healed in Luke 5:12-19!!!


2.      So, from a distance, they approached Christ Jesus, and cried out with all their might, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13).

3.      What a cry!


a.       It was not a hesitant prayer, or a mumble or even a frustrated grunt

b.      It was a loud and clear YELL to make sure Jesus heard them!

c.       And you know what? It is just good to be able to get God’s attention! To be able to be emotional with God, and yell out “HELP!”

d.      AMEN!


4.      Their cry was for MERCY! Didn’t specifically ask for healing!


a.       They knew they didn’t deserve His help

b.      They knew they rightly deserved trouble in their life

c.       The thief on the cross knew he was getting what he deserved (Lk 23:40,41)

d.      Oh if only people knew that God owes us nothing! Whew! This sinful world’s attitude about God is SO, SO WRONG!

e.       Mercy is a plea-bargain with God


1)      You accept your condition

2)      You accept God’s judgment

3)      But you ask for mercy – for Him to be better to you than you deserve!

4)      And do you know what is amazing, HE WILL NOT REJECT YOUR PLEA (John 6:37)!!!

5)      Did you EVER know Jesus to reject anyone who came to Him and asked for MERCY?


a)      He had to reject people who wanted eternal life, because they thought they deserved it

b)      He had to reject people who wanted Him to put on a circus show of healings, just for entertainment

c)      But He NEVER rejected ANYONE who asked for His compassion and help!


5.      Hey… Who are we, that we should draw near to him that is infinitely pure? Yet He has made a way for any and all sinners to come to Him! If only they ask for the right thing!


C.     Their Cleansing (Luke 17:14)


1.      One moment, they were lepers…


a.       The disease of leprosy had left them filthy, stinking - their flesh was rotting, they were in danger of being run off by the crowds

b.      And Jesus offered the only hope for cleansing – clearing away all infection, and restoring their skin to perfect health!


2.      And the next moment, they were cured! They were completely healed! And it happened so fast…


a.       It was not “starting” to heal

b.      It did not show signs of improvement

c.       AS they went… AS they started to walk in obedience, they were completely healed! Full Stop!


3.      But how did it happen?


a.       Had Jesus touched them? No. Jesus had actually reached out and touched a leper before… but He didn’t do that here!

b.      There was a three-fold process to their healing


1)      They accepted the reality of their leprosy – start there! Didn’t try and ignore their condition, and make like it wasn’t that bad!

2)      They asked Jesus to cleanse them – to have mercy on them

3)      They turned in obedience to Christ’s command away from their old way of life, and trusted that they would be healed


c.       Jesus told them to go and show themselves as healed to the priests in the village! It is called, acting our your faith! Not just what you believe, but what Jesus actually said for you to do!


4.       Jesus did that for two reasons:


a.       To test their faith


1)      He could have just healed them, and THEN asked them to obey Him. That would have been easy. Most people would have agreed to that arrangement…


a)      God… you do this for me first…

b)      And then I will do whatever you want


2)      But God asks us to BELIEVE before we can see anything happening - It is called, “Trusting Him!”

3)      He who will not believe till he gets what he asks for, is probably never going to get anything from God.

4)      The highest, the most sovereign reason, that can be given for believing, is that God has commanded it.

5)      If I have faith in God, I will obey what He says to do, whether anything good is happening or not!

6)      Remember Naaman’s leprosy? He was told to go dip in the Jordan River seven times. Nothing happened to his leprosy until he had enough faith to just simply obey.

7)      If these ten men really believed Jesus could heal them, then simply because Jesus commanded it, they needed to start walking as if healed!!! That’s faith!


b.      To testify to the religious


1)      It was not enough for a leper to say that they were healed – the priests were supposed to examine and verify that a person actually was no longer contagious

2)      Plenty of people probably really believed they were not sick, when they were simply fooling themselves

3)      But here was a rare chance for a priest to see that there was someone out in the desert named Jesus who could heal the leper – and not just one of them, but TEN at a time!

4)      Even the devoutly religious priests need to be told about Jesus!


5.      So, the ten lepers obeyed Jesus and started walking toward the gate of the village to go find the local priest. And it was in that decision to obey Jesus, to start to act like they were going to be healed, that they became healed!

6.      This shows that they had a certain amount of faith, or they would not have obeyed Him.

7.      Great Truth – People who obey this Bible are much better off than those who live in disobedience to it. People who are obedient to Christ are cleansed from many of the plagues that trouble those who are not obedient.


a.       Did you know that those who come to church, and at least outwardly conform to the basic rules of Christianity, discover that their lives become more regulated, their study habits at school produce better results? Did you know that their emotions become more controlled? In general, they become more successful and productive in their lives than those who are “tossed to and fro” by the confusion of modern society (Ephesians 4:14). Did you know that bible reading men are better men? Did you know that soul-winning teenagers are more stable teenagers?

b.      People often think coming to church will hamper them in life, by taking away too much of their time from work or school or play. But you couldn’t be more wrong! Learning this Bible, and renewing your mind, and growing in grace makes for a better people all around! period!

c.       When young people attend the regular meetings of church, I have found, without exception, that they actually become far better students! Do you really think the students who drink and stay up all hours and play around, and toy with drugs, and fry their brains on loud rock music are the best students? REALLY? You have got to be kidding!

d.      Do you REALLY THINK that men who stay in bed on a Sunday, and putter around on the golf course, and go fishing instead of learning to follow Christ are the better men? Wow! I have found the exact opposite!


8.      Hey! Changed lives, and BETTER lives begin here! Not because of anything magical in this place, but because of learning to obey God – learning to fear God and keep His commandments as Solomon concluded in Ecclesiastes 12! Learning to live like he designed us to live!

9.      BUT, as we shall see, their faith was not “saving faith.” Oh yes, they obeyed Christ outwardly; “And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14), and received outward healing. But there was a healing that they had not experienced yet, and probably never experienced!


D.    Their Carelessness (Luke 17:15)


1.      Now I begin to focus in on our main subject this morning


a.       Question: How many of the lepers were healed? All ten!

b.      How long did it take for them all to be healed, and healthy again? Only as long as it took for them to turn towards the village in obedience to Christ’s command!

c.       And what do you think went through their mind, when they saw healthy, vibrant, clean skin on their hands and feet?


1)      Joy! Such Joy!

2)      These men probably started to run! Why?


a)      Because once they were seen by the priest, they would be heading HOME!

b)      They would be hugging their wives and children!

c)      They would be putting on clean clothes, and eating together as a family once again!

d)     Can you blame them for breaking out into a sprint towards the village to find the priest?

e)      Can you blame them for beginning to shout and call for him to meet them and see what Jesus had done for them?


3)      They were probably ripping off their putrefied filthy rags of garments just to get a good look at their arms, and legs, and chests, and stomachs – all completely clean from any sign of leprous sours and scars!

4)      These men would have been some sight as they came running into the village that day!


2.      But something was missing – do you know what it is?


a.       I believe it is the reason why so many even Christians are miserable today…

b.      Not because they have not experienced great things from God in their lives… answered prayers, miracles, gifts of children, and homes, and jobs, and friends, etc

c.       But because they have forgotten – no, they have neglected the place of praise in their life!


1)      In the place of praise is busy-ness, stress, bills, pressures, time-constraints, family, travel, work, play, sleep, eating, TV, ipods, friends, worry, smoking, drinking, drugs…

2)      And we wonder, where has all the joy gone?

3)      I believe it wasn’t lost… It was simply neglected!


d.      The western world, Europe, America… is spoiled rotten and yet obviously blessed by God!

e.       Something is terribly wrong when…


1)      Christians are experiencing divorces at almost the same rate as unbelievers

2)      Christians are fighting depression and suicide at almost the same rate as unbelievers


f.       And it is NOT because God died! It is NOT because God stopped answering our prayers. It is NOT because people are not getting saved anymore.

g.      It is because people who have been so blessed by God don’t turn back around, and fall at the feet of Jesus and cry and weep and sing for joy!

h.      The best is saved for last in this lesson! One man did, and is the example for us all!


E.     One Man’s Conversion (Luke 17:15-19)


1.      This man was healed! As were all of the men. There was none Jesus couldn’t heal! The leprosy was gone from all ten of their bodies as they ran into the village!

2.      This man was a Samaritan!


a.       The implication is that the other 9 were Jews

b.      Funny how Jews and Samaritans couldn’t get along normally, but leprosy put these men together – made them the same – no one superior – brought them together in dependence upon God – troubles work for our good every time!

c.       Funny how it was only the Samaritan who returned though!


3.      This man was grateful


a.       But one of the men turned around when he was cleansed and ran back to where Jesus was. “And with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his [Jesus’] feet, giving him thanks…” (Luke 17:15-16).


4.      Most importantly, that one man was truly changed – converted!


a.        “And he [Jesus] said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:19).

b.      Biblical, Spiritual cleansing MUCH better than physical healing – I know you don’t believe it, but it is true! (1Cor 6:9-11)

c.       All of God’s healing powers can never change a soul, until gratefulness pours forth from it like a flood!

d.      God cannot make you grateful… there is no way for Jesus to make you delight in Him! God continuously blesses us, and helps us and keeps us, yet we are losing the battles with sin, and with sorrows

e.       Everyone in this room, no… everyone in this world, needs to know the power, the life-changing power of gratefulness!


5.      What could be better than getting healed from leprosy? Getting made WHOLE!


a.       These men were respectful, obedient, and trusting in the words of Jesus. What they weren't, was thankful.

b.      Only one of the men, was grateful enough to return and publically praise Jesus.

c.       Do you think he was the only one that was happy? I doubt it.

d.      Do you think it was easy for him to be the only one to return to Jesus? Probably not. He wanted to be declared clean by the priests so he could return to his family, his job and his friends. But he was thankful enough to stop right then and turn around, and go back to the place of healing, and thank Jesus and praise God for this marvellous gift.


6.      So, how does a person become whole – healed inside and out?


IV. Application – The Most neglected Place in Our Lives is the Place of Praise


A.    How many millions and millions attend their churches, and sit on the sidelines, never crying out for God’s mercies, never seeing themselves as lepers, never humiliating themselves enough to come out of the closet and approach to the God who loves them, and simply ask for God to have mercy on their lost soul?

B.     So, How does a person become Whole – healed inside and out?


1.      If you are not born again… if you have never been made fully whole…


a.       Accept the way God sees you – as a sinner – start there!

b.      Turn from sin in you – reject your own self-righteous attempts at trying to deceive God, and start putting down all your sins on the table so to speak – no hiding them, clinging to them, protecting them

c.       Actually, ask God Almighty to cleanse you, and forgive you at the expense of Jesus Christ.


2.      Hey Christian!!! You need to Get to the place of Dependency too! Prayer. People pray to Jesus for everything. They are desperate, and that’s good!

3.      Believe in God for Mercy most of all! Just meekly turn to Him, and begin to earnestly plead, and beg for Him to do what He does not have to… ask Him to help you, and to heal your heartaches and problems!

4.      Act on Christ’s commands – live the Bible. Whatever He says to do… not what YOU think you should do!

5.      Stay in the attitude of Praise! Crucify/ Mortify every other attitude! It will most definitely change your life – make you whole!


a.       Start thanking Him!


1)      Thanking Him for the priceless gifts of salvation

2)      Thanking Him for even wanting sinners like you and me

3)      Thanking Him for coming to OUR “Samaria


b.      Psalm 119:164

c.       Psalm 34:1

d.      Psalm 107:20-22

e.       *** PSALM 22:3




Craig Ledbetter |  Pastor  |  Bible Baptist Church  |  021-4871234  +353-21-4871234  |