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The Leprosy of Sin Luke 5:12 - 16

March 31, 2019 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel According to Luke

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Luke 5:12–5:16

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12 And it came about that while He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand, and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and great multitudes were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This morning we have this one simple story, a single event in these 5 verses.

Luke has taken us on a pregressive journey showing us step by step who Jesus is, until last week with the fish nearly sinking the 2 fishing boats, Simon Peter falls down in worship to the Son of God.

And you'll recall what came out of his mouth as he was prostrate before God the Son?  What did he say?  “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

Where does the idea come from that sinful man cannot approach Holy God in his sinful state?  We find that truth often in the Bible.  The idea that Holiness and sinfulness cannot co-exist together, that sinfulness must shrink away and hide itself from the awesome holiness of God.

Isaiah said, I am undone.  Manoah, Samson's father said, we're done for.  We've seen God.  Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and a flaming sword was set to forever remove them from where God dwells.

Isaiah 59:1,2 states it simply for us;       
     1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not so short
            That it cannot save;
            Neither is His ear so dull
            That it cannot hear.

     2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,  And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.

And Exodus 33 states it clearly out of the mouth of God to Moses;

18 Then Moses said, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!” 19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” 21 Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

There is a gulf between sinful men and the Creator who loves them, but has removed them from His presence, His holiness.

Now, if you just stop for a moment and think about that.  An entire planet full of sinful men, removed from God's presence.  In Romans 1 we see the results.  He gives them over to their sin.  He abandons sinful men to their sin.  Progressively.  We see there that it is a progression.  He gave them over, He gave them over.

Now think about the news programs you have listened to in just the past week.  The world is like a dysfunctional family that is in the process of harming itself over and over until there's nothing left to harm.  The world is a giant version of a family flying apart.

In March so far there have been 18 mass murder events with 11 murdered and 76 injured.  This month.  More days with mass murders than days without mass murder attempts.  That's just one country, one problem.  

If you were to ask google how many murders 2019 worldwide, there's no way to count.  It would have to be one of those number generators like the national debt one with numbers that never stop racing up.

And no, I'm not an anti 2nd ammendment right to bear arms, guns should go away person.  The numbers prove that because of sin, we probably will need our guns to preserve our lives.  Don't get me wrong.

It isn't guns that murder, it's sinful hearts.  Dysfunctional hearts because of sin.  Take the guns away and those same folk would be stoning each other to death with stones and bats.

Sin has degenerated our planet into a free-for-all of complete wretched dysfuntion that's looking more and more like it's going to fly completely apart.

And the retarded news media asks;  if there is a God, why doesn't He do something.  Why does He allow the dysfunction.  And they conclude that the biblical god, if there is one, is more wicked than the wicked men for allowing the wickedness.

This book answers all of those questions, by the way.  It tells us that we chose sin at the temptation of Satan in the garden, and that sin is a communicable disease, and that every human is born with the disease of sin that removes them from God's presence and places them in a world that is ruled by the author of sin, Satan himself.

It tells of one judgement that cleansed the out of control planet of all but 8 sinners.  Noah and the ark.  That was with water.  And it tells of the next cleansing which will be with fire.  Our parents chose that for us and we were born with the same disease.  Sin.

The book tells of God graciously instituting restraints.  Governments.  Police.  Rulers.  Order.  And sin relentlessly attacks those restraints.  Like a barrage against a flood wall.  Like waves that strike and strike and strike relentlessly until the wall comes down.  

God gave them over.  God gave them over.  Read the progression in Romans 1.  Where are we in that progression?  Rock bottom.  Other cultures and societies in history that got to where we are at now were sovereignly wiped out.  Removed.  By God.  

Are you scratching your heads wondering what this tirade has to do with our passage this morning?  Stay with me.  Stay with me.

Here's a little fiction for you.  Something Jim believes but cannot prove.  We can ask some day.

I believe God intentionally created sheep as an object lesson for us to understand how stupid and helpless we are without a shepherd to care and protect us.  A visual aid if you will.  We are just as lost and helpless to find our way, and defenseless in this sinful world as sheep are with no shepherd.

And I believe God intentionally created, or I suppose to be correct I must say, allowed, because disease comes not with creation, but with the curse of the fall away from God, so I'll say, I believe God intentionally allowed the disease of leprosy to give us a picture on the outside physically, of what sin does to every human on the inside, spiritually.

Leprosy attacks the nervous system.  It removes all feeling.  And it attacks the skin with scaly spongy deterioration.  The result is disfigurement and harm.  

Our nervous system warns our bodies of harm.  Pain is our safety net.  Leprosy removes that warning system.  There's a story of a doctor in India in the 19th century who was caring for a colony of lepers and he couldn't turn the key in a padlock, and a young boy, 12 or 13 said let me do it sahib doctor, and turned the key to open the padlock, but then it was discovered that the force he had used to do it had gashed his skin apart, opening it to the bone.

He couldn't feel that.  They can't feel fire or the damage a burn does.  They can't feel . . . anything.  The result is disfigurement.  Entire limbs and portions of face and other parts are gone, missing.  Fingers reduced to nubs.  The warning system of nerves relaying pain, is gone.  So little by little they destroy their own persons.

That is a perfect parallel to what sin does to us spiritually.  It numbs our spiritual nerve system until ultimately we become so dis-figured it's impossible to tell what we were like if the disease weren't present.

Sin is to us spiritually what leprosy is to us physically.  It makes us hideous disfigured hollow shells of what God intended for us to be.  And God says, not in my house.  Sin doesn't come in my house.

Lepers cannot associate with non-infected people, and sinners cannot associate with a Holy God in His house.  But there is a cure available.
That's good news.  Super good news.  Let's look at our story this morning.

12 And it came about that while He was in one of the cities,

There's no connecting time line here.  This refers back to the verse after all the diseases were cured in Capernaum at the end of chapter 4:43 But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

That's because this is a universal truth.  This could have happened anywhere, any city, any time.  The place and time are unimportant to Luke's purpose in telling us this particular story.  Luke's purpose is to paint a universal picture of great sickness, greater cure.

It's one thing that Peter worships Jesus as God because of the fish and the boats.  But our next logical question in a progression is, He can create.  He created fish.  Lots of fish.  But can he heal the real problem?  Sin.  If He is God, can He forgive sin?  And Luke is taking us on a logical progression, this week and next, to answer that question.

This truth is for all of us.  Any city.  Any time.  We can come to Jesus with the impossible disease, and He can cure it.

12 And it came about that while He was in one of the cities,
behold, there was a man full of leprosy;

I looked at some of the various translations of these words.  Many say covered with leprosy.  or  Covered with a serious skin disease.  One said; Advanced case of leprosy.  etc. etc.  Even my beloved nasb says covered in the latest edition.  That's why I've reverted to the 1977 that I grew up with.

The king james and NASB77 and ESV have the word, full.  Full of leprosy.  The greek word is pl