Encountering Ten LepersLuke 17:11-19
The Gospel of Luke Part IV - Encountering Jesus
J. Josh Smith
April 24, 2016
The story of the ten lepers is not a story primarily about gratitude and praise; it is rather a story about the heart behind praise. Faith is the foundation upon which praise is built. The important lesson Luke wants to teach in this story, however, is that there is a difference between superficial and saving faith. The latter type of faith results in salvation, the former does not. What’s the difference?
First, superficial faith believes in the facts about the person and work of Jesus, but saving faith trusts that Jesus is the source of ultimate satisfaction and therefore follows Him. Superficial faith just wants to avoid hell; saving faith wants Jesus. Second, superficial faith is self-willed while saving faith is surrendered. You do not have saving faith if you are not surrendered to the will of Jesus for your life. Third, superficial faith has a proud heart, but saving faith has a praising heart. Because those with a superficial faith assume they deserve salvation because of their religious pedigree, they are unimpressed and underwhelmed with the Gospel. Those, however, who recognize their spiritual poverty, cannot help but respond with praise when they consider the grace God demonstrated toward them. Proud people cannot praise God; saved people cannot help but to praise God. Saving faith is a faith that bears fruit; it is a responsive faith.
There are at least two ways you should respond to this story. First, examine your faith to make sure it is not superficial. It is not that saving faith results in perfection; there are still ups and downs in the life of a Christian, but saving faith does bear fruit. Is there spiritual fruit in your life (cf. Gal. 5:22-23)? Second, make sure you are proclaiming the true Gospel. We have not fully proclaimed the Gospel until we call people to respond in faith. Make sure you are calling people to respond with a saving faith rather than a superficial faith. Call people to surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ rather than merely convincing them to recite a prayer so that they can avoid hell.
Faith, Gratitude, Praise, Worship