Robert Morris — His Thanksgiving
I want you to turn to Luke 17, and we're gonna continue our series called, "Living in His Presence". And we're really talking about worship, when we're talking about entering God's presence. And not going out from His presence — if you remember, we talked about this — but going out with His presence, "Living in His Presence". And so, The title of this message is, "His Thanksgiving". And, even though we're approaching the holiday of Thanksgiving, this is what the pilgrims did. We know they gave thanks. Sometimes, we don't think about it. We just think about Thanksgiving as one word, and as a holiday, and we get off work and get to eat and watch the game. But, it comes from the words thanks and giving. Or, you can interchange those, giving thanks.
As I told you a moment ago, let's give thanks, that's something some people say at the meal. You might not know where it came from. It's nowhere in the Bible until Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And then, you'll hear Jesus, he's the one that started that, every time when he broke bread, it said he gave thanks. So it came from Jesus himself, trying to teach us that even daily provision is from God, that it's all from the father, and we shall live a life of thanksgiving. And if we're going to live in his presence, we've got to develop a life of thanksgiving. Not a holiday a year, but giving thanks every day. Being a grateful person.
So let me show you Luke 17:11. "Now it happened on his way to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And then as He entered a certain village, there met him ten men who were lepers men who stood afar off;" they had to stand afar of, by the way, because of the law "And they lifted up their voices, and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' So when he saw them, he said to them, 'Go show yourselves to the priest.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks". Giving thanks. "And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?' and he said to him, 'Rise, go your way. Your faith has made you well'".
So let me show you a few things about this passage. And we're talking again about living this presence and about worship. So, number one, worship is giving thanks. If you want a very simple definition of worship, worship is giving thanks. Verses 15 and 16, again in Luke 17, we'll stay there through the whole message, "One of them, when he saw he was healed, returned and with a loud voice, glorified God and fell down on his face at his feet giving him thanks". Worship is all about thanking someone after you've received something. That's really what worship is. Worship is that you've received something from God, so you want to give Him thanks. You want to express your gratitude to him. You want to express your love.
And please hear me, that true genuine love is always expressed. You might have grown up in a family that didn't express love, but you're in a new family now. You might have had a dysfunctional father, but you have a good, good father now. You have a really good father. And you can express your love to him, because you have received something from God. Express your love. Just think about it. Love always has to be expressed. It's always expressed. Think about the first time you held hands with that special someone. You were expressing what you were feeling in your heart. You were expressing your love. This is all through scripture. Now I'm not trying to get everyone to express your love or your worship to God the same. I'm not trying to do that. I understand we have different personalities. So we talk about worship as giving thanks.
In the Old Testament, there are 11 Hebrew words for praise. Now, you'll hear seven Hebrew words. That's because seven are dominant. Seven are most commonly used. Let me show you these seven words, though, and look for the words thanksgiving in the definition or giving thanks, alright? Here are the seven Hebrew words of praise that are most used in the Old Testament. Number one, Towdah. Towdah means a thanksgiving choir. That's the actual definition, a thanksgiving choir. And again, not the holiday, but a choir giving thanks. Alright? Barak is the second one. It means to kneel in thanksgiving, or to bow down. Many times it's translated bow.
The third one is Tehilla, to sing a song of thanksgiving. Now, make sure you pronounce this one correctly. It's not tequila. Which it might cause you to sing a song afterwards, buddy. Okay, Tehilla. The fourth one is Halah. It means to give thanks by being clamorously foolish. Like that. To give thanks by being clamorously foolish. Alright, and by the way, this is where we get our word hallelujah from this Hebrew root. Alright, the fifth one is Yadah, it means to give thanks with extended hands, or to lift your hands in thanksgiving. Notice, are you seeing the pattern here? It's all about giving thanks. The sixth one is Zamar. It means to give thanks with a musical instrument. And the seventh one is Shabach, which is to give thanks in a loud tone, this is translated shout many times. Shout to the Lord. This is the word, give a Shabach to the Lord, alright.
But here's the thing, notice they're all about expression our love, and they're all about giving thanks. Please hear me. You'll never be a worshipper if you're not grateful. Gratitude is what causes worship to come forth. And by the way, there's a verse of the Bible that has four out of these seven words in one verse. Alright, let me read it to you. Psalm 100:4, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving," that's the word Towdah which means a thanksgiving choir, "and into his courts with praise:" Tehilla, singing singing praises, "be thankful," Yadah, which means extend your hands, "to him, and bless," Barak, bow "before his name".
Let me now paraphrase it and put all the definitions in. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving choir, and into his courts with singing praises: extend your hands to him, and bow before his name. Now, again I'm not saying that we all need to do it the same way. We all have different personalities. But there are scriptural expressions of worship. Bowing is in the Bible. Shouting is in the Bible. Clapping is in the Bible. Extending your hands, lifting your hands, that's not a Pentecostal thing, that's a Bible thing. That's in the Bible. So, worship is giving thanks. So I want to worship God, so I need to give Him thanks, which is gratitude. But is there something that causes gratitude? Is there something that precedes gratitude?
So here's point number two. Miracles precede gratitude. According to this passage right here, miracles precede gratitude. Look again at verse 15. "And one of them, when he saw he was healed," when he saw that he was healed, "returned and with a loud voice glorified God". When he saw that he was healed. In other words, the reason he was grateful was because he just received a miracle from God. Okay. You say "thank you" after you've received something. That's what worship is. It's just saying "thank you". It's just giving thanks. Giving thanks. We come together, we give thanks. You get up in the morning, you give thanks. It's just giving thanks. Okay, this guy did it with a loud voice and he fell down on his face at Jesus' feet.
Now, question, was that appropriate? I think it was. See, we don't know a lot about leprosy. Leprosy is a disease, it's in essence like an autoimmune disease, it's a bacteria that causes your digits to begin to waste away. Your flesh begins to eat away at itself. If you had leprosy in the Bible, you could not associate with anyone else, because they thought it was contagious. And it is somewhat contagious, but not as contagious as they thought for many, many years. So, you had to live in a leper colony. You had to live with other lepers. You couldn't be a productive member of society. You couldn't hold a job, you couldn't have a career. You couldn't go to church. You couldn't live with your family.
If you contracted leprosy after you had children, you can never go to your kid's ball games. You could never kiss your wife goodnight. And if anyone ever got too close to you, you literally had to shout, "Unclean, unclean". So not only were you a physical outcast, but you were a social and religious outcast, because they believed that the reason you had it was some judgment of God. People didn't want to get anywhere around you. So this man had leprosy. He had no hope. And Jesus healed him.
So I want to ask you again, was it appropriate that he would fall down on his face and with a loud voice give thanks? Of course it was, right? So if you had a disease, and Jesus healed you, would it be appropriate for you when we come together to express your thanks? Weren't we all healed of a disease called sin, and the wages of sin is death? So, it's okay if you want to express your love to God. And it's completely appropriate. It's completely appropriate. Okay, so, gratitude is worship. Worship is about being grateful. Gratitude comes from miracles. So this just, the way my mind works, you know, it works in a process. So, is there something that can actually cause a miracle? That'd be pretty cool if something could spark a miracle in my life, right?
Let me show you point number three. Obedience precedes miracles. Now I'm not saying that we earn them. But I want, I just, look how, look at this. Look, verse 14, "So when he," Jesus, "saw them, he said to them, 'Go show yourselves to the priest.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed". They weren't cleansed when Jesus spoke. They were cleansed as they obeyed. As they did, "Go show yourselves to the priest". Okay. They could have said, "We're not healed yet. The law says that if we're healed, we go show ourselves to the priest. We're not healed". Because he didn't say, "Go show yourselves to the priest and you will be healed". Please notice that. He just said, "Go show yourselves to the priest". And as they obeyed, they were healed.
You realize how much this pattern is in the Bible? He says to Moses, "Lift up your rod". Moses could have said, "The army's right there". And God would have said, "Uh huh. Lift up your rod. You just do what I tell you to do". He told, and when they got to the Jordan, when they were going to the promised land, he said, "Have the priest put their feet in the water". Now, you got to remember, it was at flood stage. And we don't think much about this, but we've seen on the news, we've seen rivers in flood stage. Right? We've seen cars being carried down stream by rivers in flood stage. So the river was in flood stage. He said, "Put your feet in the water". They could have said, "Remember the Red Sea? We can probably find the stick and lift it up. And God, if you'll stop the water, then we'll walk through". And he said, "No, put your feet in, and I'll stop the water".
This pattern's all through scripture. They said, "Come down off the cross that we may see and believe". He said, "Believe, and you'll see". It's backward. I'm just saying, what's God telling you to do that you're not doing? That could release a miracle in your life, which would release gratitude, which would release worship? Now, I love to do this, and I've told you many times, when you read a passage, read the context. So, we're going to back up, and I'm going to show you the context before verse 11. I'm going to show you the first 10 verses. What's amazing is — first of all, most people have never connected the first 10 verses with the 10 lepers that were ill. And then, most people that read the first 10 verses separate the first 5 and the second 5 of those 10... and you're going to see if you've never seen it, it all goes together, alright?
So he's going to talk first about offenses, the offender, and then he's going to talk about the offended. Let me show you, Luke 17:1, "And then he said to the disciples, 'It is impossible that no offenses should come: but woe to him through whom they do come!' So, he's talking to the offender now. "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones". Okay, now he's going to start talking to the offended. "Take heed to yourselves: If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him.' And The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!'.
Alright now, before we go into the next part, you use that to catch this. I'm telling you, most of you have never caught this. Remember they said, increase our faith, that's the three words they said. Increase our faith. Okay, so here's what he said, "Listen guys, people are going to offend you. They're going to offend you, but I want you to forgive them, you understand? When someone offends you, forgive him. And here's what they probably did. They probably did something like this. "Okay, we can do that". And he said, "No, no, I'm not finished. If the same guy does the same thing seven times on the same day, then you still forgive him". And they went like this, "Yeah, we're going to need more faith". Do you see it?
See, most people never put verses five that, increase our faith. Jesus said, "If someone sins against you, forgive him". Okay. But if it's the same guy, same day, same thing seven times, still forgive him. Yeah, we're going to need more faith for that. Okay, so they said, "We need more faith". Watch his response, verse 6. "So," in other words because of what they just said, the Lord said, "If you had faith as a mustard seed," in other words, just a little bit of faith, "You can say to this mulberry tree being pulled up by the roots and being planted in the sea, and it would," watch, "obey you. And — again, people've never connected why He told this story here — and, "Which of you having a servant plowing or tending sheep will say to him when he comes in from the field, 'Come at once and set down and eat.' But would he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself, and serve me till I've eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink,' does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded," commanded, not suggested, "commanded him? I think not. So likewise, you, when you've done all those things which you are commanded, say 'We are unprofitable servants, we've done what was our duty to do.'"
Now think about this. Jesus said, "You need to forgive people. You just forgive them". And they said, "We're going to need faith to do that". But here's what he said, "You don't need faith. You need to do what you're told". That's what he just said. I know that's strong. But I didn't make up the Bible. Listen to that. They said, "We're going to need faith for that," and he comes right back and says, "Does a servant get thanked because he did what he was commanded to do"? That's why he tells that story. And then He says this — kinda like Jesus, had a little attitude every now and then — "I think not". "I think not".
Here's what He said, "You need to do what you're told. "I'm the Lord, I told you to forgive people, and you don't need faith to forgive 'em, you just need to obey. You need to do what you're told. I just told you to forgive. So then, He's walking along, and 10 lepers come up. See, this is the story. And they said, "Have mercy on us". And I think Jesus kinda looked at the disciples, like, "Okay, watch, just watch what happens when you obey". "Go show yourselves to the priest". And as they went, as they obeyed, they were healed. And I think Jesus — it's not in the text, but I think Jesus was kinda like, "See? See? Good things happen when you obey. When you do what you are told..". Are y'all following me?
Now... I'm not saying if you're waiting on a miracle, then you're in sin. I'm not saying that. We live in a fallen world. I've been there many times in my own life. But many, many times, the Lord's had to remind me of this passage, and I've had to think, "What are you telling me to do"? If this miracle hasn't happened yet, what are you telling me to do? Because if I'll do what Jesus tells me to do, I'll see miracles in my life. And when I see miracles in my life, I'll have an attitude of gratitude. And when I have an attitude of gratitude, I'll give thanks to the Lord. This is the pattern.
So we talked about this leper. Let's think about 30 years later. So Jesus says, "Go, show yourself to the priest". They guy is healed, he comes back with a loud voice, falls on his face, and glorifies God. Gives thanks. Let's bring it up to modern day. Guy lives here in the metroplex. 30 years ago, he's healed of an incurable disease, by Jesus. Goes back to college, gets his degree. Good family, good wife. Kids grow up, they found — find good spouses, starts having grandkids. Guy's doing great. 30 years. 30 years since he's been healed. One day, he's walking down the street... and he sees Jesus. Would it still be appropriate to run up to Him and fall on your face and to say "thank you"? Would it still be appropriate then? It would be.
All of us have something to be grateful for. God has done miracles in our lives. And here's what Satan's plan is. Satan's plan is to get our eyes off of what God's done. But just like that leper that was healed, and he returned to give thanks to God. If he had seen Jesus 20 years later, as I said in the message, he still would have thanked Jesus. I want to encourage you, even if it was 20 years ago you got saved, I want to encourage you, count your many blessings, as the old hymn says. Think about what God's done for you. And give Him thanks. Thanks giving. Give God thanks. And that's one of the ways that we continue to live in His presence every day.