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21 Luke 7.1-10

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A Perfectly Simple Faith

Luke 7:1-10

v    Illustration:

Ø     Jerry McGuire

Ø     Sports agent

Ø     Loses all his players except two

§        A loud talking wide receiver “Rod Tidwell”

§        A #1 draft prospect – “Cush”

·        Scene when Jerry goes to try to sign Cush

¨     Father will not sign, but gives his word that Jerry will represent his son

Ø     “I don’t do contracts, but my word is Oak”

§        Your word used to mean something

·        Today’s text deals with that subject

READ Luke 7:1-6a

v    Here we are right after Jesus teaches his “sermon on the flat”

Ø     Enters Capernaum

§        There lived a Centurion who had a slave near death

·        So he sends some of the Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his slave

·        Here we find a centurion that was quite unusual

¨     Unusual attitude toward slave

Ø     Slaves were defined by roman law as
”living tools”

§        Thrown out when they no longer were useful

¨     Unusual attitude toward Religion

Ø     True…

§        The Romans often encouraged the religions of the conquered peoples

·        Opiate of the state

Ø     But he built a synagogue!

¨     Unusual Friendship toward the Jews

Ø     Anti-Semitism isn’t new

§        Roman called the Jews a “filthy race”

·        But this centurion “loved” the Jewish nation

¨     So much so that he could ask them for a favor

¨     Go and ask Jesus to heal his slave

v    And the Elders did just that…

Look at what the Jews said…

v    V. 4

Ø     They “pleaded earnestly” with Jesus

Ø     But they pleaded the wrong things

§        Indeed the centurion did build a synagogue

§        And perhaps he was a true friend to the Jewish people

·        But they were pleading the externals

¨     Look at what they said ~ “This man deserves…”

Ø     But that is not what Christ looks at

Ø     Just like those Elders…

§        We like to pleading the externals too, don’t we

Sophia Loren

I'm not a practicant, but I pray. I read the Bible. It's the most beautiful book ever written. I should go to heaven; otherwise it's not nice. I haven't done anything wrong. My conscience is very clean. My soul is as white as those orchids over there, and I should go straight, straight to heaven.

Ø     Did you hear what she said!

§        I haven’t done anything wrong

§        I’m a good person

§        I have done good things

·        She is pleading the externals

¨     She looks at her life and sees that she does good things

·        But had Sophia really read her Bible as she said…

¨     She would have looked internally and seen a different picture…

Before the 17th century, when people looked at a lake or a pond or a glass of water, they judged it clean if they could see through it. But in 1674 the Dutchman Leeuwenhoek filled a glass vial with water, began curiously looking at it through his newly acquired piece of technology, a microscope, and saw, as he quaintly put it, "very many small animals:' He then examined a drop of water and jotted down his findings:

“I now saw very plainly that these were little eels, or worms, lying all huddled up together and wiggling; just as if you saw, with the naked eye, a whole tubful of very little eels and water, with the eels squirming among one another: and the whole water seemed to be alive with these multifarious animals.”

Many times we are like those living before 1674 in regards to sin.  We look at ourselves externally and say just like Sophia Loren, “I haven’t done anything wrong…I’m good…I’m clean…I should go straight to heaven”

But when we turn the magnifying glass of God's Word onto what is inside us, we find a whole universe of squirming critters and realize what  Paul said in Romans 3:23 is true, " for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


v    When you take God at his word, you begin to comprehend your own sinfulness, your own unworthiness…

Ø     That you don’t deserve anything from God

§        And that is what the centurion began to realize after he had sent for Jesus…

READ 7:6b-7a

What the Centurion said

v    The centurion had obviously taken a look inside himself

Ø     And even though he was a Roman citizen and a Centurion…

§        Realized his position in relation to Jesus Christ

·        V. 6b-7 ~ “I do not deserve…I am not worthy”

¨     The centurion understood true humility

§        True humility is knowing who you are as well as knowing who you are in comparison to Christ

·        Centurion knew who he was…

¨     A man of great power and influence

Ø     Centurion means “in charge of 100 men”

·        But he also knew who he was in comparison to the Son of God

¨     Undeserving, unworthy

§        The key to humility is…

·        Knowing who you are, but also knowing your place

·        This humility should be applied to all parts of our lives

¨     Gifts & Talents

Ø     Knowing who you are

§        Christ wants you to know what he has given you

·        Spiritual gifts

·        Mental gifts

·        Physical gifts

Ø     Know your place

§        Realize that it is God that has given them to you

·        Use them in his service

·        Illustration: Eric Liddell Story

¨     God gave him amazing physical ability

Ø     I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me
fast, and when I run, I feel God's pleasure

¨     But refused to run on Sunday

Ø     Knew his place

§        1924 Paris Olympics

·        100 meter dash run on Sunday

¨     Prayer

Ø     Know who you are

§        Eph 1:5 ~ The adopted sons and daughters of Christ

§        Rom 8:17 ~ Co-heir with Christ

·        Heb 4:16 ~ Approach the throne of grace with confidence

Ø     Know your place

§        We don’t ask it in our name, but…

·        “In Jesus’ name”

¨     We are not deserving or worthy

¨     But Jesus Christ is

v    Not only did the centurion understand true humility, but look what else this amazing man understood…

READ 7:7b-8

v    But he understood the power and authority that Jesus had

Ø     That it would only take a word from Jesus and his servant would be healed

·        V. 7 ~ “But say the word and my servant will be healed”

v    The centurion was literally taking Christ at his word

Ø     He was trusting Christ at his word

§        And that amazed Jesus…

READ 7:9-10

What Jesus said

v    “I have not found such great faith even in Israel”

Ø     William Hendrikson (the great commentator)

§        “To be sure, also in Israel Jesus had found faith, but not a combination in one person of a love so affectionate, a considerateness so thoughtful, an insight so penetrating, a humility so outstanding, and a trust so unlimited.”

Ø     Look @ 7:7

§        “But just say the word and my servant will be healed.”

·        Centurion was taking Jesus at his word

¨     That is what Christ calls each and every person to do

Ø     Take him at his word

A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers' word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.

What a vivid picture of the Christian life! In this world, we are in reality blind about what course to take. We must rely solely on the Word of the only One who is truly sighted--God Himself.

v    Just as the blind skiers did…

Ø     We have to rely on the word of God

§        We have to take God at his word

·        We are blind, but God sees clearly when he says not to worry

¨     Not to worry about

Ø     Finances

Ø     Your next meal

§        We have to take God at his word

·        We are blind, but God sees clearly when he says he will preserve you during affliction

Ø     Isa 43:2

§        When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

§        We have to take God at his word

·        We are blind, but God sees clearly when he says he will guide you

¨      Isa 42:16

Ø     I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them

v    We are especially blind when it comes to salvation

Ø     We have to take Jesus at his word when he says…

§        I am the Gate, whoever enters through he will be saved (10:9)

Ø     We have to take Jesus at his word when he says…

§        I am the living water, whoever drinks of me will never thirst again

Ø     We have to take Jesus at his word when he says… (Jn 4:13-14)

§        I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me

v    We have to take Jesus at his word when he says

Ø     Jn 6:39-40

§        I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life

Roger Simms was just discharged from the army and was hitchhiking his way back home. And he was picked up by a guy driving a Cadillac. The driver introduced himself as Mr. Hanover. He said he was headed for Chicago on business and would give him a ride.

After talking about many things, Roger felt led of the Spirit to share Christ with him. But he kept putting it off, until he realized he was just thirty minutes from home. It was now or never. So, Roger cleared his throat and said, "Mr. Hanover, I would like to talk to you about something very important." Then he shared the gospel.

After he had finished, Roger asked Mr. Hanover if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior. There was silence as the Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road. Roger thought he was going to get kicked out of the car, but the businessman bowed his head and received Christ right on the spot. And then Mr Hanover said, "Roger, this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you so much." Before they parted, Mr. Hanover gave Roger his business card and told him to look him up if he ever came to Chicago.

Five years went by, Roger married, had a two-year-old boy, and a business of his own. On day, while packing his suitcase for a business trip to Chicago, he found the small, white business card Mr. Hanover had given him. While in Chicago he looked up Hanover Enterprises and decided to stop by.

Once there the receptionist said, "His wife is here." So she came out. And extended her hand and asked how he knew her husband.  Roger told how her husband had given him a ride when hitchhiking home after the war. She asked, "Can you tell me when that was?" He said, "It was May 7, five years ago, the day I was discharged from the army. I shared Christ with him. He pulled over to the side of the road and wept against the steering wheel. He gave his life to Christ right on the spot."

All of the sudden Mrs Hanover’s body began to shake as she broke down crying. She said, "I prayed for my husband’s salvation for years. I took God at his word and really believed God would save him."

Roger said, "Where is your husband?" She looked him square in the eyes and said, "He’s dead. He was in a car crash after he let you out of the car. He never made it home. You see, I thought God had not kept His promise so I stopped living for God five years ago because I thought He had not kept His word!"

v    Heb 10:23

Ø      Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful

v    The centurion was ready to take Jesus at his word…

Ø     Are you?


Ø     Have you ever been lauded by the crowd?

§        Pride

Ø     Jesus never does something because it is owed to you

§        Cathedral illustration

·        Humility

Ø     There is only one work that we can do which earns merit of God’s sight

§        Jn 6:29

·        The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent


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