Main Idea: More than anything else, we need to be thankful for Jesus.
ZIP LINE RESCUE: This soda can contains necessary medical supplies for people on the other side of the world (the other side of the sanctuary). You need to deliver the supplies without letting them drop. The only supplies you can use to deliver these supplies are tape and fishing line. Go! (If they do it too quickly, you can also tell them to do it again using yarn, which may be a bit harder)
In the same way, it’s our job to share Jesus with people all over the world. We do that because we’re thankful for what Jesus did for us.
Last week, we talked about being thankful for each other. And that’s important because it helps us to treat each other the way that we ought. When we’re thankful for each other, we serve each other and don’t grumble about it. So we should definitely be thankful for each other. But even more important than being thankful for each other is being thankful for Jesus.
So, less than an hour ago, the youth played a game to illustrate this. I need two more volunteers to play it again now to illustrate.
KEEP IT UP! Keep your balloon in the air while completing various tasks (pouring a glass of water, drawing a stickman picture, etc). When you’re doing a task, you need to keep saying out loud what you’re doing. The youth had to complete all the tasks, you just need to pick 5, but you can’t pick the last one.
[Image of Tasks]
We talked about how we all have many things that we’re juggling in life. We might be playing. We might be working. We might be serving others. And we can get so focused on those things. But there’s one thing that’s most important. More than anything else, we need to trust in Jesus.
Someone read for us Luke 17:11-19.
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
So the situation was that ten people were healed of their diseases, but only one of them came back to thank Jesus. You’d think that they would all want to thank Jesus, but only one did. So Jesus said to that one, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus wants us to have genuine faith in Him that expresses itself in thankfulness to Him.
WALK OF FAITH: I need four volunteers (two groups of two people). One person in each group will be blindfolded. The other will guide the blindfolded person to follow the course around the sanctuary, and after they do it, you can take the blindfold off of your partner. [They do.]
Now, blindfolded people, your job is to do the course you just did backwards. But first, you have a choice to make. You can either thank your partner for guiding you to where you are, and for taking your blindfold off of you, or you can refuse to thank your partner, and try to do the course backwards with your eyes closed. What will you do?
We’re all like those people who had leprosy. We’re all sinners. We’re blind. And our blindness makes us so incredibly lost in this world. We have an incurable disease called sin that keeps us from living the lives God wants us to live.
But when God forgives you, Jesus takes the blindfold off so that you can thank Him and live with your eyes open. And yet, sometimes we prefer to keep our eyes closed. Why do we do that? We like our sin. We’re afraid of how God wants us to change. But here’s the thing: God is for us, not against us. He heals us in order to set us free. He doesn’t give us instructions in His word to take away our joy, but to give us maximum joy as we follow Him and rejoice in what Jesus has done for us.
We may not think about it often because life often gets in the way, but Jesus has done a lot for us, and He continues to do a lot for us.
So we’re going to read some verses of what Jesus has done for us. I need some people to read them for us. The first one is John 6:28. Someone read this for us.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
So what did Jesus do for us? Yeah, Jesus left heaven in order to live among us and do God’s will. That’s amazing! If you were in heaven, would you come back here? Only if there was someone here that you really really loved and wanted to save.
The next one is Romans 5:8. Someone else read this for us.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
So what did Jesus do for us? Yeah, He died on the cross for our sins. He gave His life to rescue us, even when we made choices to disobey His commands. Kind of like the guy who was surrounded by lava because of his own choice, and yet he was rescued. That’s what Jesus did for us.
Next, John 16:7. Someone read it.
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)
Some people wonder why Jesus didn’t just stay on the earth. But Jesus told us why in this verse. What did Jesus do when He left the earth? He gave us the Helper. Who is the Helper? The Holy Spirit. He gave us the Spirit to live inside us so that God could strengthen us from within all the time, wherever we go.
So Jesus has done all this for us, and so much more. So more than anything else, we need to be thankful for Jesus because of His faithful love toward us.
1 John 1:9 says:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
But in order for us to confess our sins, we have to admit that we’re sinners. In order to be healed, we have to admit that we’re sick with the disease of sin.
So, let’s talk about sin. What is sin? Sin is doing wrong things. It’s anytime we fail to do what we ought to have done. It can be actively doing wrong things, or even neglecting to do right things.
Now, I don’t want to put anyone on the spot, so here’s what we’re going to do. You should find a blank scrap of paper somewhere near where you’re sitting. Take a pen from the pews, and I want you to just make a small mark on that paper when I mention something that you’ve done. If you’re afraid someone will see you make the mark at a certain point, you can just make a count in your head of how many marks you would have made, and then right that number down when we’re done.
Have you ever seen something someone else had, and thought, “Oooh, I need that.”
Have you ever hated someone or wanted to get even with them?
Have you ever lied?
Have you ever looked at someone lustfully?
We basically went through just 4 of the 10 commandments, and I don’t know about you, but I have 4 marks on my piece of paper. I think maybe we all do, if we’re being really honest. So we all stand guilty before God.
But the Bible tells us that when we confess these sins to God, Jesus is faithful to forgive our sins and purity us from all unrighteousness.
I think we all know what forgiveness is. God forgives you so that your sins aren’t held against you, and you can enjoy heaven with Him forever. That’s like if you were to take white out and cover over your sins with the whiteout so that you can’t see the marks of your sin anymore.
But the Bible also says that when we confess our sins, we’re purified from all unrighteousness. That means that our sins are actually erased from us.
It’s kind of like this.
[Video of Acetone cleaning ink off of paper]
If you take your paper home, and find some acetone or nail polish remover, you can actually erase the ink off of your paper. The ink will literally dissolve into nothing. You might still see the scratch marks where the sin used to be, just like Jesus was able to show His nail-scarred hands, but because Jesus died on the cross, your sin has been completely removed from you as far as the east is from the west.
Being purified of our sin means that the sin is no longer in our lives. God doesn’t just want to forgive you, He wants to purify you. And when we confess our sins, God promises that He will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Have you trusted in Jesus as your rescuer?
Pastor Chris Huff has been with us since July 2009. He and his wife, Abby, have four children. Chris is originally from St. Louis, MO and even though he was raised as a city boy, he has a small town heart. Chris is all over the internet, so you can find him on Facebook, Twitter,… (read more)