Jentezen Franklin - Be Made Whole
If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open them with me to the Book of Luke, Chapter 17. I believe I've got a message today that many, many, many people need to hear in this season in your life, "Be Made Whole". I want to take just a moment and talk about the condition of these ten lepers. I want you to lean in with me. I want you to let me have your imagination for just a moment. Everything that I'm about to tell you is not made up. You can check it out. It is absolutely accurate.
Ten lepers, the Bible said, all suffering from the same disease, all facing a tragic death. There was no cure for this disease. All are outcast from the temple. They are outcast from their families. They have no communication with the public. They have no hope for tomorrow. They have nothing to look forward to. They have distorted faces. They have body parts that have fallen off. One of the first things to go would be the nose, and the nose is just lying there, flat, and the lips would begin to drape, and the teeth and gums would be exposed. The lips hang down, distorted faces. With disease on the inside, the bones begin to rot, and then break off. They become brittle and just break off, parts of the body. It's horrible. It's like the skin becomes mummy-like. Infection consumes the body. It takes the body parts farthest from the heart first. The fingers, the toes, they go first, and then it just keeps eating away until finally, a spot.
At first, you know, Naaman was a leper in the Bible, a famous general, a Syrian general, and he hid his leprosy, the Bible said. You can hide sin for a while, but before it's over, it takes over everything. It gets in your feet. It gets in your walk. It gets in your talk. It gets in every action of your life. You begin to be that. You can hide your sin at first, but it takes more and takes more. A little bit of the old you starts dying, that you that had convictions, that you that had a heart for God, that you that loved God. It just consumes you, and it gets in every part of who you are, and a little of you begins to die more, and more, and more, every day. The disease makes it very clear that you are a leper, and at some point, they could not cover it anymore.
The leper colonies were there because the people were banished, and there was no cure, so they separate themselves and they live with only those who are just like them. The final thing that sin does to a person is it causes them to pull away from all of the good people in their life, all of the people who love God, all of the people who pray, and they want to live with people who have the same disease or sins that they have, and they feel comfortable. They no longer feel comfortable in that world where there's life, and life more abundantly, but they're more comfortable with those who have the same disease. The lepers here, these ten men in this horrible condition, hear that Jesus is coming to town! And faith comes by hearing, and when they heard the leper healer was coming, I don't know what they heard. Maybe they heard that he had touched a leper, because he did in a previous chapter. He touched a leper. He touches the untouchable.
Maybe they started saying that. Maybe they said He's no respecter of persons. Maybe they said somebody called Him the great physician, and we could get to him. But, whatever it was they heard that made them leave their leper colony and run to Jesus, ten of them, without their noses and faces, some of them without ears, some of them on a bloody stub of what could be called a foot, that was only left in putrefied sores all over the body. But, they're running to Jesus, ten of them coming straight at Him. They come to Jesus. Their eyes would have turned to cotton, because one of the first things that happens is they go blind. A leper will go blind. Zombies, zombies walking toward them, their noses flat, their teeth and lips are exposed, their sores are running. It's a horrible situation, and Jesus turns to them and they said, have mercy on us.
And Jesus said to them a strange instruction He never told anybody who ever got another healing miracle. The man who was healed after 30 years at the pool of Bethesda, He didn't say, go show yourself to the priest. He didn't say to other people, the blind man, the lame man that He healed, go show yourself to the priest. But, the thing that He said to these men is, I want you, in your condition, it's different from every other condition, go show yourself to the priest. What He was saying was, a doctor cannot help you, a counselor cannot help you. You need to go to the house of the Lord. You need to go to the temple. You need to get under the high priest. You need to hear the Word. You need some spiritual help. You've tried everything else, but now it's gotten into every part of your life, and the only thing that can change you is, get to the priest, get to the temple, get to the house of God.
And I love the Scripture. The Bible said, "And as they went, they were healed". As you just start coming back to church, and coming back to God, and coming back to the house of the Lord, it's just as you just keep coming. It wasn't instant. It wasn't total restoration. But, as they went, they were healed. I believe that as they were going, they felt the sores dried up. Something happened. They knew. I have been healed! I have been healed! Oh, happy day! Oh, happy day! Don't you know, they were shouting. And they ran home, and I can see Mama in her apron, as she sees her baby that she thought she'd never see again, and she runs out, and he says, Mama, I've been healed! Mama, I've been healed, and they're grabbing each other, and holding each other.
They never thought they'd get to touch each other again. But then, the Scripture said that one of them, one of them didn't go home. When he saw that he was healed, he turned back and fell at the feet of Jesus, and began to worship Him. Now, I want to preach for just a moment, because God cannot resist leper worship. How does a leper worship? The Bible said that there was a man, when Jesus came off the mountain, who had leprosy on another occasion, who fell at His feet, in his leper's condition, and worshipped Jesus. What is he worshipping with? What's that sound like? Thank you, Lord, that my nose is gone. Thank you, Lord, that my skin is mummified. Thank you, Lord, that I don't have my fingers and my toes, and I can't walk, I can't hardly get around. Thank you, Lord.
No. Here's what leper worship is. Leper worship is not praising God for what He has done. Leper worship is when you praise God for who He is. So many of us, we just praise God when He meets our needs, and thank you for the house, thank you for the car, thank you for the promotion, thank you for this. I'm happy this Sunday, because something good happened to me this week. But, leper worship is the worship that God will never resist, and it's when you're not coming saying, "Thank you for what you've done," but, "Thank you for who you are. You are my Savior! You are my healer! Nothing can separate me from the love of God. You are my strong tower! You are my strength! You are my comforter, and I worship you not for what you've done". Because sometimes our life looks like that leper scene. There's nothing good going on.
Pain is real. Hurt is real. Life is real, and when it hits, it turns your life ugly, and in those moments, you don't worship God because of what He's done or doing, you worship Him for who He is. And every now and then, every now and then, you need to give God leper worship, not because He checked the boxes off of your prayer list, but you give Him leper worship because He is your redeemer, He is Lord. Every now and then, the whole church, in all of our campuses, need to break out in leper worship and say, if I never get another prayer answered, I want you to know you're worthy, Lamb of God! You're worthy because of what you did on that cross! You're worthy because you rose from the dead! You're worthy because you're my coming King, and I give you leper worship! And when you give Him leper worship, He cannot resist your worship. He will not leave you like you are. And when he began to worship, the other nine went home.
And listen to me carefully. It's very important to understand the power of worship. Because the other nine went home, but the effects of leprosy had taken stuff from them. They didn't get their toes back. They didn't get their ears back, their nose back. They still looked like what they had been through. But, your Bible said when this man fell at the feet of Jesus and worshipped Him, that Jesus said, "Be thou made whole". The word whole was sozo, which means complete, unbroken, undivided.
So many have lost so much, but when you begin to worship, God says this is how you get all of your losses back. When you turn that pain, and that hurt, and that emptiness into worship, and you worship me not because of what I'm doing, because you don't understand what I'm doing, but you worship me because of who I am. I'm in control, I'm a good God! Even when life isn't good, I'm still good, and I'm going to bring you through with victory! I wish somebody would give Him praise right now! It can make you whole! Our God is a restorer of lost things. Come on, praise Him just a minute for who He is, not what He's done! Oh, I praise you! Oh, I praise you! Oh, I thank you. Thank you, Jesus. God can't resist that.
Your faith has made you whole. The word whole means no lacking parts, unbroken, undivided, undamaged. All parts are restored. As he's worshipping, his nose comes back. What would that have been like? As he's worshipping, he just had maybe one finger that he was worshipping, and as he's worshipping: boom, boom, boom, boom, boom! And God's restoring what the enemy has stolen from his life. Anger is not the answer. Worship is the answer! Feeling sorry for yourself and sinking into depression isn't the answer. Worship is the answer, and when you begin to worship, God says, I cannot resist leper worship! I cannot resist people who are going through hell, but they focus on who I am, not what is being done to them. But, what I love about what Jesus can do for us is He can say, I know you went through it, but you're not going to look like what you've been through the rest of your life.
And see, people come in and they don't even understand. They come in and they say, well, those people over there, they've had the perfect life. Look at that preacher right there. He don't know nothing about real life. And look at all of those people down there in the front, and those people up there jumping around in the choir. They don't know nothing. I didn't have a daddy, and I was abused when I was a child. And it's not that we haven't been through similar things, it's just we don't look like what we've been through because we began to worship Him for who He is, and He began to restore the father that you didn't have, the brokenness that you went through. All of the things life tried to destroy you with, He turned them around and said, I'll raise you up in spite of it! I wish somebody would praise Him!
I'm going to quit in a minute, but I just feel like we need to hear this today. Your worship is powerful. It heals you. It restores you. They come into our churches and they see us, but the truth is, all around you, these people making all of this noise, many of them were addicted, many of them were alcoholics, many of them were drug addicts, many of them were messed up, many of them were divorced, many of them were broken, many of them were abused. They just don't look like what they've been through, because our God is a restorer of the broken hearts! Isn't that what He said He would do, in the Book of Joel? He said, "I will restore the years", the enemy's stolen years. But, I've got a Word for the devil today. You're going to give us back those years. I don't know how. I don't understand it all, but I know if I will worship God, He will! God will arise and our enemies will be scattered! Give Him a great praise! Your faith has made you whole, complete! It's not we didn't go through it, we just don't look like it.
The Bible said that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar. He heated it up seven times hotter, and a miraculous miracle took place. The Bible said when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, that he looked in and he said, did we not throw three in? They said, yes, sir. He said, then why do I see four, and the fourth one looks like unto the Son of God? And he said, boys, would y'all please come up here and please leave that one down there? He's too hot to handle. Leave Him in there. And the three boys came out of the fiery furnace, and you'll miss this miracle if you're not watching. And the Bible said, "and there was not a hair on their heads singed". Listen. "And neither did their garments smell of smoke".
They went through the fire, but they didn't look like what they had been through, because they worshipped in the fire, and when you worship in the fire, He restores you, and you don't look like... some of us have been through the fire and are going through the fire, but when God gets through with us, our families, our lives, our marriages, our homes, are not going to look like what we've been through. It doesn't mean we didn't go through it. It just means He has made us whole! He doesn't want you to look like what you've been through. That's why when the prodigal son started coming home, the father took off running and covered him, and said, I don't want you to look like what you've been through. You've been through the pig pen. You stink and look bad, but I'm going to cover you. Put these shoes on.
He came back looking like a businessman, had the ring, this business ring on his hand. He came back like he had been on a business trip, looking like a businessman. All he needed was a briefcase. And, where have you been? They probably had to ask, where have you been, because he didn't look like a pig pen. Because when God gets through with you, you won't look like what you've been through. I know you're going through grief. I've preached three funerals, and we've had four in this church, one I did not get to preach. But, three out of the four are parents who have lost children in their 20's. In the last two months, I preached three out of four of those funerals, and these families are walking through some of the darkest seasons.
There's no quick fix to something like that, but what I'm trying to tell you is, I don't know how, but if you'll turn that pain into worship, God knows how to restore our soul, to not just stop the spreading of leprosy and then us limp away, but to so heal us that we look back on it and it causes us to give glory to God, somehow, that in the middle of all of it we found who His true identity was. And He will restore those loved ones to you, too. Turn to somebody, take a whiff of them. Come on, do it. Say, you don't smell as smoky as you used to. Come on, take a good whiff. If they smell like a Marlboro, tell them it's going to be a long service! Come on. Hallelujah! How many of you are thankful you don't smell like you used to smell spiritually?
Let me close with this. If you could have seen Solomon's temple... One man did a study and actually did all of the gold, silver, all of the cedar wood, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, that was used. Over one billion dollars was the cost, and if you had seen that marble, and seen it, you would have said, "Oh, my God, it's beautiful"! But, where did the gold come from? Where did the silver come from? Where did all of it come from? Where did it come from? Did they hit a gold mine? No! Read your Bible. God said to David, "Your son is young and tender", Solomon.
So, I need you to go out and be a bloody man and fight the enemies of God, and take their gold, take their silver, take their precious stones, take all of their treasures, bring it back, dedicate it to me. It's not going to look like what it's been through. I'm going to get glory out of all of that stuff out there in the world. I want you to bring it to the temple, and it's going to build something that's going to bring amazing glory to me. And so, if you'd have walked through the building with Solomon, he would have said, "Yes, that's gold, yes, that's silver. Yes, see that breastplate on that high priest? It's solid gold and it's got 12 priceless stones, just unbelievable". But, David could have said, "Let me tell you where all of that gold came from".
See that mitre, that little crown on that high priest's head? I got that from a temple prostitute, over there with the Hittites. And see that gold up there? I attacked the Amorites and took their gold, and brought it back and sanctified it, and gave it, and they used that. Oh, and see those stones? See that emerald right there? I pried that out of the eye of a false god, where the Hittites were worshipping and burning their children. I pried its eye out and put it on the breastplate of the high priest, so that when he walked in the glory of God, he'd have all of the tribes of the children of Israel represented".
It didn't look like where it came from when God got through with it. And Jesus, the son of David, who was the bloody man, too bloody, Father God said, "I need to build a temple". And Jesus, the bloody man, the son of David, said, "Well, I could use her, I could use him, I could use her, I could use him". And Jesus found you in the world, pried you out of the gods of this world, out of the dens of this world, out of the sin of this world. Pried you out, brought you back like royal diadems, consecrated, sanctified by precious blood. Set you in the temple. Set you in the choir. Set you on the praise team. Set you with ushering and praying for people.
You don't look like what you, we ought to let you tell your story every once in a while, because if y'all would be brave enough to tell your story, people's jaws would drop. I hear this stuff! They'll whisper to me, I was a crack addict. Well, Lord, how did you get to carry the offering bag? We ought to be watching you! How in the world? But I'm telling you, people don't look like what they've been through by the time the blood, and the grace, and the mercy of God gets ahold of them. If you will worship, He will pour out His spirit on you, and He will bring glory to His name because of what He's done in your life! He'll make you whole. Did you hear me? He'll make you whole.
The answer, if things have been stolen, The answer, if life is not what it used to be before something hit your life and began to make you bury pieces of your life daily, Why don't you turn that into worship. Why don't you say to God, "I'm gonna give You leper worship. The rest of this year. I'm not even asking You for an answer, I'm not asking You for a breakthrough, I'm not asking You for an angel. I'm not asking You for a dream. I'm asking You to just hear my leper worship. I'm gonna praise You for who You are. You're faithful. You're good. You're merciful. You love me. You'll never let me go. That's who You are, and I'll worship You for who You are".
I'm telling you what'll happen. He'll begin to restore. He'll begin to restore. And in that book, That scripture in Joel ends by saying He'll pour out His Spirit on all flesh after He restores the years that have be taken. He said, "I'll pour out my Spirit on your flesh; on your leprosy, and you will never be ashamed. You will not be ashamed anymore".
Put your hand on your heart and say, "Lord, my heart has been broken, but You're the restorer of broken hearts. Heal me. Make me whole. I've lost some things, and I know that only worship, worship for You are, can bring it back. And so I worship You. I surrender to You. I give You my life again. I commit my heart to You and Your cause. Your will be done in my life. Help me to be like You in every situation. I thank You, that You didn't just heal me, but You're restoring me. My God is a restorer, and I receive wholeness. Be made whole, in Jesus' name".
Now, just wait a minute. Just breath it in. Be made whole. Be made whole. Be made whole. You're not gonna look like what you've been through. Weeping endures for the night, but when God gets through with you, He'll restore your joy; and you're not going to look like what you been through. Without the smell of smoke, covered, restored, healed, and made whole.