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Title: Don’t count me out just yet

Text: Mark 1:40-45

Introduction: We all have felt like the odds were against us at one time in our lives because of a personal issue that we struggled with and could not handle.  The severity of your issue has caused people not only to turn there backs on you but also put you in a place of isolation.  You are looked down upon and people have made you feel like an outcast. And in your time of need nobody who wanted to help you but people were quick to push you away and labeled you.  You are no longer known by your name but by your issue.  (Expand on details) Here comes Shirley the crack head. That is Dave the drunk.  There goes Depressed Sally.  People have counted you out because of your issues.  You have been crying out for help only to have doors shut in your face.  All that you were looking for was a helping hand to touch you in your time of need.

Relevant QuestionSo what do you do when people count you out and nobody wants to touch you?

Background:  Here we have Jesus in the beginning of his public ministry.  The book of Mark describes Jesus as the Servant of God.  This is the action pack book of the Synoptic Gospels because we see Jesus is always on the move.  He is busy doing His Father business.  He knew his mission and purpose and He was getting busy doing it.  Jesus in our text is healing folk and casting out demons, serving by meeting the needs of the people who are before him.  And while he was preaching, a man comes to him with a need.  Jesus always takes time to meet the needs of those who come into His path even while He is working.  You can ask the women with the issue of blood.  So don’t think because Jesus is blessing over there, He can’t bless you in your situation.

Our text today is about an unnamed man known by his disease, who had a desire and a need for deliverance. 

I.    His disease v. 40

Here comes a leper.  In bible days, leprosy was looked at as sin.  Lepers were not allowed to function in normal society. Lepers could not live with their families.  Lepers could not work.  Lepers could not even go to church.  People were not allowed to touch lepers or they would be considered unclean.  Lepers were set apart in special colonies made just for them.  If a leper was going to be around mainstream society they had to be covered from head to toe covering their mouth and announce their presence by calling out “unclean unclean”.  I wonder what it would be like if we had to announce our issues?  

Leprosy is chronic disease caused by bacteria and characterized by the formation of scales on your skin, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities and mutilations.  It is debilitating skin disease that you just waste away. This was the extreme case.  However, in the biblical context, leprosy was any type of skin dysfunction i.e. psoriasis, eczemas or dandruff.  If you had anything on your flesh that was not normal, you were considered a leper and you were unclean. 

Leprosy was a disease of the flesh.  It was a flesh issue.  I am here today to say that we all have dealt with leprosy at one point in our lives.  We have all had an issue with our flesh.  We all have struggled with a sin.  And like leprosy it was causing us to waste away.  The fact of the matter is that many of us are still dealing with issues of a flesh that is causing us to waste away and become an outcast.  You got flesh issue and people don’t want to deal with you. You gossip too much.  You sleep around too much.  You got bad temper.  You are drinking and drugging. You lie all the time. You are materialistic.  There are some lepers in our midst. You might not be yelling, “unclean, unclean” when you are around folks.  But they know you are unclean by the way you behave.  It is a flesh issue and you can’t control it.  You need help but nobody wants to touch you.  But I am here to tell you that I know somebody wants to touch you no matter what the issue.  Does anybody know who I am talking about?   

Here we have a leper.  But how does this leper get so close to Jesus?  He had to be noticed.  People must have saw him and moved out the way.  God will use your issues to move people out the way so you can get to him and He can get to you.  That is why some people are not in your life anymore. 

This leper was bold.  He took the risk of being persecuted by coming in public because of his issue.  He came broken and humble to Jesus in a position of honor and reverence by kneeling and beseeching Jesus to help him with his problem.  In order for you to get the help you need with your issues, you have to do what this leper did.  You have to be bold enough to do whatever it takes to get to Jesus and humble yourself and worship him as the Lord in your life.          

The problem that blocks you from getting blessed, healed and delivered is your pride.  Pride will tell you that you don’t have a problem.  Pride will keep you in a place of isolation.  Pride will keep you from your promise.  But this leper shows us how to lose our pride and get in God’s presence and get what we need from Him. You have bow down to Jesus and worship Him as Lord.  Worship is one’s heart expression of love, adoration, and praise to God with an attitude and acknowledgment of his supremacy and LordshipWorship is making God the focus and priority in your life.  When this leper worshipped, he made Jesus sovereign over his situation knowing that He has the power to fix it. Look at the text.  The leper is said, “if you are willing” v.40.  Not can you. But will you. This leper recognized the power of Jesus over his disease.  His ability was not the question.  The question was “will you do it for me now, I know you’re able do but will you”? I am here to tell you your worship makes the Lord willing. God immediately starts working in your situation. All you have to do wait for the manifestation with expectancy knowing that anything you need is on the way. When you worship: Your victory is on the way. Your strength is on the way. Your peace is on the way!  Provision is on the way! It is on the way. Next, His disease gave him a desire to be healed.

II.   His desire vv. 41-42

The leper had a desire to be healed.  The text says “make me clean”.  In other words the leper is saying “Jesus, make me free from this mess I have been living with”.  There are things in your life that you naturally can’t give up or let go. You have been trying but you just can’t lose it!  You need the Lord to make youI can’t to do it Lord, but make me! Make me be holy, make me be honest, make me live right! Worship is yielding your will to God’s will so He can make you!

Look how Jesus responds to the leper’s worship.  The leper’s act of faith caused Jesus to react.  Faith in the midst of your circumstances touches the heart of God. Faith causes God to move on your behalf.  The text says that Jesus was moved with compassion.  A better translation of compassion is to be moved with pity and love.  This is a feeling down in the gut.  It hits Jesus is in the gut when He see His children struggling with an issue.  He hates the sin we do and our pain we go through, but He desires us to be free from it.  The leper’s heart cry for help caused Jesus to stretch out his hand and touch him saying, “I am willing, be clean”.  Your faith in Jesus will cause Him to stretch out his hand on you situation and say I am willing, be clean, be set free, be restored!  When Jesus puts his hand on it, everything will be alright! Look what happens next.

III.    His deliverance vv. 42b-45

As Jesus was speaking the leper was healed instantly. Christ divinity entered the leper’s reality and there was an immediate release of His glory.  At that moment the leper was clean and delivered.  Jesus touch gave the leper wholeness and intimacy.  His touch gave this man a new relationship that he never had before.  Jesus did not have to touch him but he wanted to. We know from Genesis that God can speak and things happen.  He spoke to earth and animals came forth.  However, when He created you and I He touched the earth.  His touch tells us of His connection and love for us. He touches you because He wants to be close to you.  And there is nothing in your life that can stop Jesus from touching you.  He touches the untouchable!

Anything people won’t touch, Jesus will! If you have been waiting for people to touch your situation for you to get right, all that you will get is mishandled.  I am not just talking about your body but you can get emotionally and spiritually molested.  You need the Lord to touch you! Only His touch can transform you! God is telling us this morning “Today is the day that I am willing to touch your circumstance since you decide to touch me with your worship”! I don’t know about you but I am going to touch with God my worship.  I am going to let the Lord know how much I love Him and need Him.  The Lord seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth.  God will find you! (in your mess, trouble, isolation)

Next, after the leprosy left the man, Jesus told him not to tell anybody what happen and to go his way.  My beloved, a preacher told me that everybody is not worthy of you sharing what God has done for you, especially, those people that neglected you in your time of need. You don’t have to show off your blessing in their face. Just live and go your way! Go your way with your blessed self… !They will see Jesus on you. You don’t owe anybody any explanations.  You don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Just go on your way!  Jesus told him to go his way.  Go live your life now that you are clean.

But there is one stipulation in the text.  Jesus told to leper to go show himself to the priest and offer what Moses required for a cleansing as a testimony. In other words, go to church and make a sacrifice for what the Lord has done. The Mosaic laws required a leper to make of sacrificial offering of 2 living clean birds.  But I thank God that we are not under law anymore and we don’t have sacrifice birds.  But because of The Blood of Jesus shed on Calvary, all we have to offer according to Heb. 13:15 is offer the sacrifice of praise which is the fruit of our lips!  You got to give God the sacrifice of praise for your healing!  Praise Him for restoring you! Praise Him for working it out! Does anybody got a sacrifice of praise?

Lastly, this healed man practiced what I called “righteous disobedience”.  He had a case of the “I can’t help its”.  Even though he was told not to tell anyone, the text says that not only did he published (or proclaimed) what Jesus did for him, but he also set it ablaze.  He spread the gospel message like a wild fire to the point that Jesus could no longer come out in public but the people came to Him in the desert.  This is what can happen when you lift up his name!!  Lift him and he will do the drawing!

This man is now on fire for the Lord.  True healing and deliverance will set you on fire to set the world on fire! When Jesus does anything for you, you have to tell somebody!  You just can’t help yourself.  It is like fire shut up in your bones. (God don’t need a match…He just gives us the Holy Ghost) You got set the world on fire with the message of Jesus.  You have to tell your story and give God the glory on what he done for you. 

CloseTransition:  The man had a disease, a desire to be healed and the Lord delivered him.  He touched the heart of Jesus with his worship and Jesus touched him.  I am here to tell you that all you need is a touch from Jesus.  The Bible testifies of those Jesus was willing to touch:

·       He touched Peter’s sick mother in law

·       He touched Jairus sick daughter

·       He touched a deaf and dumb man

·       He touched the coffin of the widow’s son

·       He touched a bent over woman  

·       He touched a man who was swollen with dropsy

And He is willing to touch you! One touch from Jesus and everything will be all right!  When you worship Him, He will touch you. Let me tell you how I know.  I had issues and I had some struggles.  People rejected me and people hurt me. But when I heard about Jesus and want he can do for me, I worship him and He touched me and he set me free. 

He touched me when I was shackled by a heavy burden, neath a load of guilt and shame, the hand of Jesus touched me and now I am no longer the same.  Since I met this blessed Savior, since He cleanse me and made me whole, I will never cease to praise him, I shout until eternity rolls!  He touched me, O He touched me.  O the joy that floods my soul. Something happened I know I know he touched me and made me whole!

When he touched me He brought me out of my mess, out of my pain and brought me into my promise and my purpose! So don’t count me out because Jesus brought me out with his touch!  You ought to tell Jesus to touch you!  Can you feel his touch?

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