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Is God Your PDA?

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Christ responds to the petitions of those who recognize that He has power, but sadly, He comments that those who were the intended recipients of Messianic blessing failed to recognize Him, while those who were blessed by sheer grace (instead of as an act of promise), honored Him.

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My Favorite Illustrations Worship as Only a Habit

Worship As Only a Habit

My Favorite Illustrations Worship as Only a Habit

Satan was standing outside a church building one Sunday morning. Inside, the people were singing, praying, and listening to preaching. A passerby asked Satan if that did not bother him. With a demonic, sneering laugh he replied negatively. Then he added, “They get that way on Sunday, but they will be all right on Monday. It’s just a little habit they’ve acquired.”

God save us from such a habit. Our worship is to make a difference in who we are and what we do.

If worship is our response to God's grace, how involved are you in your response?
If God allowed your heart to be seen, what would show?
William Barclay described what a leper looks like:
“The whole appearance of the face is changed, till the man loses his human appearance and looks, as the ancients said, ‘like a lion or a satyr.’ The nodules grow larger and larger. They ulcerate. From them there comes a foul discharge. The eyebrows fall out, the eyes become staring. The voice becomes hoarse and the victim wheezes because of the ulceration of the vocal chords. The hands and feet always ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of the disease is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma, and ultimately death. The sufferer becomes utterly repulsive—both to himself and to others.”
Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
In essence, to be leper...was to be like a dead man - to your family, to your neighbors, and as far as the worshipping community was concerned, to God. No one would talk to you; no one would touch you, you lost everything that gave you joy. Worst of all, you would spend your day announcing to anyone who happened upon you that you were ... UNCLEAN!
How is leprosy a picture of sin?
Suddenly, in the distance, these 10 lepers see Jesus! Where there had been the utter absence of hope, now there was a spark - enough to give energy to their hoarse voices, enough to give urgency to the words, "Master Jesus, show us mercy!"
Some of you know what I'm talking about. You know that cold, dark sense of dread that you are out of answers, out of resources, out of hope. "When you've tried everything, and everything has failed..." no longer sounds like the childishly sweet refrain to a church song, but it was your story - it looked to be your epitaph. At That moment - Jesus stepped in on time!
Touch your neighbor and say "Won't He do it?"
For others, keep living! There will come a day, when you will recognize that you need the Lord to show you mercy. There will come a day when you will move beyond the dry recital of the Corporate Confession on Sunday morning. There will come a day when your tears will accompany your words, and the words on the page will become the word in your mouth - the word of faith which we preach! (Romans 10:8)
I can't make your worship become real for you. I can show you that it's real for me. I can encourage you, teach you, preach to you. Only when you see just how much like those 10 Lepers you are:
- unclean in your sinful nature
-unclean in your thought
-unclean in your words
-unclean in your deeds
Those 10 lepers KNEW that they needed Jesus. They didn't drone out a phrase that had no meaning to them. They didn't put their lips on auto-pilot. They begged the Lord to show them mercy!
Psalm 107:20 ESV
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
Isaiah 61:10 tells us about the robe of righteousness that Jesus gave to us.
Isaiah 61:10 ESV
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
The Word of the Gospel cleanses you as you take heed to it. The lepers took heed to Christ's word and went to the priest. "As they went," the text says, "they were healed."
To be healed is a beautiful thing. Whether we are talking about sickness, sin, indebtedness, anger, fear, doubt, whatever it is in the physical, emotional, financial, relational - whatever the area of life, it's good to know Jesus.
As you know, there is a postscript to this event. Of the 10, only one returned to give the Lord thanks. Jesus said, "Were not 10 cleansed?" God knows what He has done in your life, and He notices when you don't. We don't know what consequence was suffered by the other nine, but one was SAVED. 10 were healed, but 1 was saved!
Lord, don't just fix me up, make me whole!
What is there, in my life right now, that I would like to see God not only show mercy, but actually heal?
I want to pray, not only for myself, but for someone else. How do I approach them so that they can feel safe to share, rather than concerned for their safety?
Close: To come back meant to recognize the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Christ's death on the cross and Resurrection from the dead is the assurance that our debt is paid. Now, it's a brand new day! So Let the peace of God...
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