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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Lessons in Thanksgiving

Michael Youssef - Lessons in Thanksgiving

Michael Youssef - Lessons in Thanksgiving
Michael Youssef - Lessons in Thanksgiving
TOPICS: Enduring Wisdom, Thanksgiving, Thankfulness

Sonny Perdue: Dr. Michael Youssef, congratulations on 75 years of a life well lived.

Jane Robelot: I am so excited to wish you a happy 75th birthday. Seventy-five and going stronger than ever before.

RT Kendall: Seventy-five? Oh my, that's old. I was 88 last week. So now remember I'm your senior. Love you. God bless you. You mean the world to me.

Chris Makin: We wish you absolutely the best for your birthday, and we pray for you as we know that the Lord has much in store for you in the years to come.

Phil Cave: A very happy 75th birthday to my older brother, but you're only just. I hope you and Elizabeth have a lovely time with your family celebrating this.

J. John: Seventy-five years? You are looking good. Keep on keeping on.

Mike Huckabee: I want to wish a very happy 75th birthday to one of the most extraordinary Christian leaders in our world today, Michael Youssef.

John MacArthur: It's one thing to do it all; it's another thing when it's all done to stand, and by the grace of God Michael is standing firmly, faithfully at 75.

O.S. Hawkins: Your love has given me great hope and encouragement because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Happy birthday, pal.

Please turn to Luke 17 beginning at verse 11 as we bring this whole series of enduring wisdom to an end. Most people become great prayer warriors. They cling to Jesus when they're desperate for Jesus to answer their prayers. That is a fact. I've seen it all over the world, not just in one place. But often when they... often. Not always but often when the need is met, not all but the majority solemn pray a prayer of thanks with that same intensity by which they were petitioning Jesus. Luke 17 you see that one out of the ten, you can do that motion with me.

One out of the ten who were supernaturally, miraculously healed by Jesus actually came back to thank Jesus. Not just to give him kind of a lip service or a typic thank you, but this man was just as enthusiastic and just as intense in his thanksgiving as he was when he was begging Jesus for healing. Look at the Scripture with me, please. A group of ten melancholy lepers met Jesus at the border between Samaria and Galilee. I'm going to tell you why the border. This is very important. Luke being meticulous with the details he had to give us that little detail because by law the lepers had to live outside the border of the city, by law lepers have to live in no man's land. These ten were mixtures of Samaritans and Jews. We don't know exact percentage.

Normally, the Jews and the Samaritans have no dealing with each other. You remember from John chapter 4 where Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman and she reminded him the Jews have no dealing with the Samaritans. But misery drew the two groups together, the two historic enemies together. In Leviticus 13 the Bible tells us that the diagnosis of leprosy is left to the priest, and the first time any sign of leprosy on the skin the person goes to the priest and the priest gives him 7 days of isolation to see if this is just a passing case or not and after 7 days he examines him again and if 7 days later still there then he declares him a leper and declare that by the priest. At that point he was taken away into isolation. They have to be outside of society, the outside of the city wall, outside of the community. They have to be isolated.

The only person who's allowed to be near a leper is another leper. A leper's life was like hell on earth. It really is. We cannot even comprehend that because in the Old Testament leprosy was a type of sin. Do you know what I mean by type? Not exactly, it's nothing to do with sin, but it's a type of sin just like we say that in the Bible Pharaoh is a type of Satan. He's not Satan, he's a type of Satan. And the idea is the community has to stay pure. The community of God, the people of God have to stay away from being contaminated. And so the Samaritans shoved the lepers outside the border, and so did the Jews from Galilee. So they ended up on the border between those two regions. That is why Jesus and only Jesus could touch a leper. Why? Because he is the only sin bearer who can touch a sinner without being a sinner himself, because he's the only one who could touch a sinner without being contaminated with sin, because he's the only perfect sinless God man who takes away our sin.

And so these ten stood a distance and they yelled out, "Jesus, have mercy on us". Probably somebody told them, "Hey, guys. Jesus is going to by-pass this area". "Nobody ever comes near us". Nobody ever comes in this border town, but here he is coming by. And so they knew right away that only Jesus could heal them so they began to yell, "Jesus, have mercy on us". You see, only Jesus understood their desperation, only Jesus understood their predicament, only Jesus understood their feeling of rejection, only Jesus understood their desperate need and their deepest longing, only Jesus understood the crushed spirits on the inside of them, only Jesus understood their painful loneliness, only Jesus understood that lonely isolation, only Jesus have understood their inner pain. Look at the text with me, please. Here's the amazing thing. Jesus doesn't even tell them, "You're healed".

You know, many times he would touch people and they were healed and he doesn't even tell them that. Just notice that in the text. He didn't tell them, "Hey, you're supernaturally, miraculously been healed". No, no, no. You know what he said to them? "Just get yourselves, show yourselves to the priests so you can get a certification of cleansing". Think about this with me. Okay? Think about it. The people who were looked upon as the worst of the worst now they can enter back into society, now they can get jobs, now they can talk to people, now they can even marry and have children. Are you with me? And that's what Jesus did for them. Beyond the physical healing, that's what he did for them. It was more than just healing a disease or a condition. He restored the earthly life. He made the life possible again, but here's the tragedy.

Here's the tragedy. Are you ready for it? Only one of the ten came back. These nine took their healing for granted. These nine they took the gift and dumped the giver. These nine thought that it was naming it and claiming it, blabbing it and grabbing it is what healed them. Nothing has changed. People always give themselves the credit for their positive attitude, for their positive mental attitude that really accomplish things. Only one came back to Jesus with deep, deep, deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness. As I said, Dr. Luke is so meticulous with details that he made sure that we knew that this one was a Samaritan. He made sure that we understood that. I want you to notice there are two separate acts in verses 15 and 16. You can see them in the Scripture, two separate acts. Verse 15 he prays God in a loud voice. Verse 16, that wasn't enough. He falls on his face before Jesus in thanksgiving.

Now, I want to give you three lessons from this incident. Okay? Three lessons. First lesson I want to tell you is this. Many are the requests, few are the thanks; secondly, many are the professed, few are the gratitudes; and thirdly, the greatest blessing is in thanksgiving, and the greater your thanks the greater your blessing. I want to show you these very, very quickly. Many are the requests, few are the thanks. These people did not care to thank Jesus in any shape or form. They didn't even mumble the words. They just never showed up. When they needed Jesus to heal them, they yelled out in a loud voice, "Jesus, have mercy". When they wanted a miracle, when they were desperate, when they were in trouble, when they were in need, they yelled it out. Many are the requests, few are the thanks.

Secondly, many are the professed, few are the true grateful. We are not told if the other nine did not believe in Jesus. We don't know that. Okay? We are not told if the other nine did not profess to be Christians. We don't know that. But we know they have must believed in Jesus's words because they did head up straight to the priests. At time of their need they would profess anything, in the time of their need they would do anything, in the time of their need they would accept anything that's going to help them and yet when the desperation was met was never translated into tangible thankfulness. It was never translated into practical gratitude. It was never translated into a tangible expression of thanksgiving. Listen, there are so many people who wrestled with God like Jacob, so many who would intercede like Elijah, so many who would plead with God like Jeremiah but very few come back to the Lord with the same intensity as this ex-leper Samaritan. I pray God that would never be said of me. Many are the requests, few are the thanks.

Many are the professing, few are the true grateful. Thirdly, this is really important, the greater the thanksgiving, the greater the blessing. See, the blessing is not just in petitioning and receiving answer. Far greater blessing, that untold blessing that comes from the very attitude of gratitude, that comes from the heart of thanksgiving. And I'm not talking about just on occasions or in public, I'm talking about daily just like your heartbeat. I want you to notice a few things about this Samaritan. First of all, his determination. I mean, this man was determined. He was determined, and he returned to Jesus alone. Do you understand that? Alone. He was a Samaritan. The others were Jews, but that did not matter to him. He could have said to himself, "You know what I need to do? I don't like to go back to Jesus alone".

His fellow Jews didn't go. Why would... he could have said to himself, "You know what? I'll wait until they go and I go with them". But he didn't. Why? Because his attitude of gratitude delighted in singing the song of thanksgiving alone. Beloved, listen to me. This is my testimony. I cannot measure my thankfulness by others, and I plead with you to do the same; even if they appear to be more spiritual, even if they seem to be more versed in the Scripture than you are, even if they appear to be more visibly involved in church activities than you are, even if they seem project maturity than others. Some of you remember me telling you, several occasions I already told you that the man who discipled me in my very early walk with Jesus was an illiterate man. I have never forgotten and never will forget those lessons. He instilled in me something like this.

"Michael, if you ever want to stumble in your Christian walk, keep your eyes on church leaders, keep your eyes on church leaders". I'll never forget. And he said, "You know what? The bigger they are, the worse you'll stumble". And he doesn't mean being fat. Big, big names. He said, "Always keep your eyes on Jesus. He will never, never, never cause you to stumble". This ex-leper was determined, but he also was prompt. He was prompt. He came back to Jesus immediately. He did not waited a week or two or a month or two. Beloved, don't put off your tangible thankfulness. Don't put it off. Don't wait for an opportune time. It may never come. He was determined, he was prompt, but he also was intense. He was not satisfied with a tipid thank you. He was not satisfied with a cold handshake and saying thank you. He returned in a loud voice equal in loudness to the voice by which he partitioned Jesus to heal him.

Listen, he was not showing off. You got to understand. I'm going to explain to you why. He's not showing off. He was not trying to draw attention to himself, and I'll tell you why. Most likely he didn't even understand this kind of subtleties that we have normally, didn't understand these things because in a cynical culture we can say things like that, but this man was isolated just most of his life so he really wasn't even thinking those kinds of thoughts. But he expressed his thanksgiving with the same intensity by which he asked. This ex-leper was determined. He was prompt, he was intense, and he was humble. I met some Christians who will let you know how proud they are of their humility, and they want you to know all about it. This man fell at Jesus's feet as if to say, "Jesus, without your love; Jesus, without your grace; Jesus, without your healing; Jesus, without your mercy I'm nothing." Verse 18.

See, Jesus expresses a real disappointment, a real disappointment. Here's the one thing a lot of people don't understand, even church people. See, Jesus is a person. The Holy Spirit is a person. I used to know somebody many years ago that said it's a force. No, it is, he's a person and is referred to as he in the Bible, in the masculine; and that is why the Bible said he grieves, that our deliberate disobedience grieves him. I know when I'm convicted I said something I shouldn't have said. I made that stop. I said, "Holy Spirit, I'm so sorry. I want to ungrieve you by my obedience". He's a person. My beloved friend, please listen carefully. Here's where this Samaritan ex-leper could have blown it.

You say, "Michael, what do you mean by that? How could..." He could have blown it. How? "You know, Jesus, they just not as grateful as I am. You know, Jesus, we Samaritans have really been misunderstood all these years". Lord, have mercy. He did nothing of the sort. He was not interested in pointing out to other people's weaknesses. I want to conclude by pointing to the most important, the most stupendous, the most fantastic, the most indescribable, I don't know how many adjectives. I couldn't find any more in the dictionary. Blessing that came from this thanksgiving, from the attitude of gratitude on the part of this Samaritan. Don't forget this. Verse 19. Verse 19. If you forget everything, please don't forget what I'm going to tell you because this is really important. This is important.

Verse 19. Look at it with me. This grateful man already received physical healing, but his coming back with effusive thank you ended up receiving a gift that is way beyond the physical healing. He received a unique spiritual eternal healing that the others did not get. You see, beyond the miracle and beyond the healing, beyond the material and earthly blessings there is a blessing that is far, far, far more important, there is a blessing that is far, far, far more tangible, there is a blessing that lasts forever and ever. It is lasting and everlasting. All the ten lepers physically healed and yet only the thankful Samaritan received eternal salvation. Listen to what Jesus said to him. "Rise, go your way. Your faith had made you completely, eternally healed". That's really literally what it means. Beloved, your continuous gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord is a blessing on its own, on its own. Your continuous gratitude and thankfulness can give you a blessing that cannot be valued by all of the wealth of the world.
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