Saturday 8 October 2022

 LUKE 17. Verses 11-19 This passage shows how deeply and easily men turn and cry for help from Jesus when they feel the need to do so.

When Jesus entered a village on the borders  of  Galilee and Samaria, the people obviously knew he was coming, so ten men afflicted with leprosy, the highly infectious disease, went to see him.  Society had forced them out, and they were isolated from people. We are told they stood afar off, so were aware of   their condition and respected other people’s concerns. They were expected to stand fifty yards away from people, so called out to Jesus for mercy and sought relief. The behavior of the men causes to ask ourselves, why it is so few people                                                                          turn to Jesus in prayer. A lot of people do indeed say prayers, possibly using a book of prayers, repeating the words but not praying with their hearts in it. Men and women face death with souls to be saved or lost  without thinking of praying.  The reason is they have full confidence of going to heaven as a matter of course.  It has to be admitted the Church perpetuates such belief, and the funeral liturgy actually states so. 

The manner of their lives, the failure to know the Bible states we have all sinned and fallen shorted the glory  of God, and we have all fallen short of what God expects. So many people think sin is restricted to sexual immorality, when in fact there is much else. Hate, envy, jealousy, malice. Lying, greed, corruption, bad social .behavior. Sin  is like a chain, whereby if you break a link, the chain falls apart, and if you indulge in any of the actions stated you have sinned, and the Bible extends this to include by thought as well as deeds.  The Bible states there is one God, one faith, one baptism.  The Church does not appear to think so.  There are preachers who claim all  religions lead to God, which is entirely wrong. Jesus stated strongly that he was the only way to God, and no other faith believes that, or in Jesus as the Son of God.  Islam for example states, God has no son, as do others.

All the major denominations  now accept same sex marriage, which is totally contrary to God’s teaching.  We have even created an alternative baptism service for people who were baptized in their biological gender, but are again baptized  under their new name, who think they have trans gendered, which the most eminent medical men have stated is not possible; this against God’s order of creation, but that does not matter to our Church leaders.

The bulk of people do not recognize sin, have no spiritual awareness, no belief in hell, despite using it as a swear word. Being honest, many in Church including clergy, do not accept the reality of hell. I have been mocked when I state I preach regularly there is a hell.  I am well supported as our Lord spoke about hell whenever he spoke about heaven, so I have the best backing.  People are hypocrites when they deny hell, and repeatedly recite the Creed in services.  The funeral service, as stated, assures all and sundry of heaven, which misleads people.   We pray each week for the sick, the grieving, and those in need, but do those prayed for ever think of praising God when granted what was prayed for by the grace and mercy of God.

When Jesus listened to the cries of the lepers, he did not touch them, gave no medication, no material aids, the healing came from his --words. Relief came when they obeyed the command of Jesus to go and show themselves to the priests, and he speaks without doubting or pondering; they were cleansed when they promptly saw the priests

This passage is a calling to us to read the Bible so as to fully understand the teachings of Jesus, and to seek his aid in praying.  There is far too much debating about trivialities, and challenging the words of Scripture.  We are also told of the importance f thankfulness. Only one leper returned to thank Jesus, who was clearly upset as he asked where were the other nine? Too many people are like the ungrateful lepers. More disposed to ask than to thank.  This should not happen.

There is a general move away from the ethics of society in taking so much for granted without appreciation.  This is particularly noticed in young people.  Children are being brought up without being taught proper manners, and again take what is given without being told how to respond. Whereas it was once a feature of school teaching of social behavior, teachers have so many restrictions placed upon them by misguided  social workers, it is leading to a future of selflessness.  Respect for the elderly, of so much importance in the East, has faded.

Let us learn to have a thankful heart and spirit which God loves to answer.  The Apostle Paul was a very thankful man, and great men of the  Church, John and Charles Wesley, Dwight Moody, Billy Graham, honorable men always blessing God.  WE must continue to make our  prayers to God, but also make thanksgiving.  I quote from a great preacher who wrote, ‘thankfulness is a flower which will never bloom well excepting upon a root of humility.                                   

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