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February 28, 2010

“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” Mark 1:40-42

If you are a Christian today, I want you to stand back and see the scope of all that is yours in Christ. I want you to see the big picture, to find joy in it and to thank God for it. If you are not yet committed to Christ—you have been exploring these things, you have been drawn by them, but they are not yet yours. I want to show you today how you can receive what Christ offers.

My prayer for you is that today you will cross the line from exploring to receiving, from investigating to believing, from observing to following. My prayer is that what Christ is willing to do, will become what He actually does in your life.

The Seven-Fold Promise of Christ

What are the rock solid commitments that Jesus Christ has made to us?

  1. Christ is willing to reconcile you to God

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

This is the promise of forgiveness. We looked at the story of Augustine who said to God, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in you.” Augustine was a rebel for many years until Christ broke into His life and brought peace to his restless heart. Christ says, “I will give you that rest. I will reconcile you to the Father. I will forgive your sin. I will cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”

  1. Christ will never drive you away

“All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37

This is the promise of security. Christ will never tire of you. He will never give up on you. You were in the Father’s heart before the world began. Jesus will never say to you, “Go away. I’m done with you.” Christ died to save you and He lives to keep you.

  1. Christ will make you useful

“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19

This is the promise of purpose. When you come to Christ, your little life, my little life gets caught up in the great sweep of God’s redeeming purpose for the world. Christ will use you in the lives of others. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21).

  1. Christ will give you the Holy Spirit

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth… I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18

This is the promise of power. I’m so grateful that Jesus gives us more than a list of instructions on how to live. I need the instructions. I need to know what God calls me to do, but the bigger thing is that I need the power to do it.

Jesus says, “[The Holy Spirit will live] with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). “You will have My presence and My power for everything you face in this world. You are not in this on your own. I am with you always!”

  1. Christ will confess you to the Father

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32

This is the promise of final salvation. On the last day, you will stand in the presence of God and you will hear Jesus say to the Father “She belongs to me,” or “He belongs to me.” The reason that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) is that Christ claims us as His own. Those who are with Him have nothing to fear.

  1. Christ will bring you into heaven

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me…” John 14:3

This is the promise of joy. Christ opened heaven through His death and resurrection. When He said, “I go to prepare a place for you…,” Jesus was not going to heaven to begin a great construction project. He was going to the cross, He was going to the grave, and then He was ascending to heaven to take His place at the right hand of the Father, as our Advocate, our Redeemer, our Savior, and our coming King.

  1. Christ will show you His glory

“I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory…” John 17:24

This is the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. His promise to us is that we will be with Him. We will see His glory and we will share in His glory.

The promises of God are all found in Christ

I call this a seven-fold promise, because these are not seven promises that you pick up separately, like going around the grocery store and putting them in your cart. Everything Christ promises is yours in Him, and nothing that He promises is yours without Him.

That’s why Paul says, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing In Christ!” (Ephesians 1:3). With Him all things are yours, and without Him you have nothing of lasting value.

Christ is the gift. What He offers to you is Himself. It is Christ who forgives you, Christ who welcomes and keeps you, and Christ who makes something new of your life. He is the one who gives you the Holy Spirit, confesses you before the Father, and who will take you to be with Himself. He is the one whose glory you will see and share forever.

These promises spread out the glory of Christ, to help you worship Him:

Christ is the Savior, who reconciles you to the Father.

Christ is the Shepherd, who will never turn you away.

Christ is the Lord, who makes your life useful.

Christ is the Advocate, who confesses you before the Father.

Christ is the Friend, who by His Spirit, will always be with you.

Christ is the Redeemer, who opens heaven for you by His death and resurrection.

Christ is the Son of God, whose glory you will see and share for all eternity.

Every promise speaks of how you are to relate to Christ

All that God promises is ours in Christ. None of it is ours without Him. That is why in every one of these promises, Jesus tells us how we must relate to Him in order to receive that which He offers to us.

  1. Yoke yourself to Christ

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you…” Matthew 11:29

Jesus is telling us, “In order to receive this wonderful gift of forgiveness, this gift of rest for your soul, you must be yoked to me.” Commit yourself to Christ.

  1. Come to Christ

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37

Not only must you be yoked to Christ, but you must come to Him.

  1. Follow Christ

“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19

You see the pattern, “Come to me. Yoke yourself to me. Follow me.”

  1. Obey Christ

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” John 14:15-17

Jesus is telling us that we must obey Him, “Yoke yourself to me. Come to me. Follow me. Obey me.”

  1. Confess Christ

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32

Jesus is saying to us, “You must confess me.”

  1. Trust Christ

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. …if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1, 3

If you walk this path—yoking yourself to Christ, coming to Christ, following Christ, obeying Christ, confessing Christ, and trusting Christ—here’s where that path will lead: One day you will…

  1. See Christ

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory.” John 17:24

Do you see the sweep of all that is yours in Jesus Christ? I hope your heart is warmed with a sense of thanksgiving and joy today. You can build your life on the rock-solid promises of Jesus Christ.

How Can I Receive What Jesus Promises?

“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” Mark 1:40-42

This man received what Christ offered to do for him, and his interaction with Jesus shows how you can receive what Christ offers to you.

  1. Faith: He believes in Christ

“You can make me clean.” Mark 1:40

This man has confidence in the ability of Christ: “You can make me clean.” All that Christ is and all that He promises becomes yours by faith. Faith is not your ability to trust. Faith is recognizing that Christ is trustworthy. Faith is like a hand open to receive what God promises. Without faith you do not receive anything from God.

Faith involves trusting Christ for yourself: “You can make me clean.” His faith was more than a general belief that Christ can heal people. He believed Christ could cleanse him. Its not just “You can help people with problems like me,” but “You can do this for me!”

Maybe you have seen Christ change someone else’s life. You have a friend or a family member who is a real Christian, and you see that Christ has given them the power to change. You’ve seen it, so you know that Christ can change people’s lives. Faith is believing that Christ can do the same for you.

  1. Desire: He wants to be clean

“You can make me clean.” Mark 1:40

This is a story about a man who was healed of leprosy. His diseased and wasting body was wonderfully and miraculously healed. But there’s much more. The word “clean” is of huge significance here. The man does not say “If you are willing, you can heal me.” He says “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Lepers were excluded from the community for the obvious reason that their disease was so highly infections. They were also excluded from the worship of God. So, this man is living his life cut off from God and from His people.

Leprosy in the Bible is a powerful picture for us of our sinful condition. Sin causes a loss of feeling and a loss of function to the soul, as leprosy causes a loss of feeling and function to the body. Sin wastes the soul as leprosy wastes the body.

When this man says “You can make me clean,” he is saying, “You can deliver me from this alienation from God. You can give me a place among God’s people. You can save me from this body of death. You can give new strength to these wasting limbs. You can make me a new man. You can give me a new life.” This is a marvelous picture of what God promises in the Gospel.

If you are to receive what Christ promises, you must come to Him with faith, and you must come with a desire to be clean. Spurgeon says:

“There are some folks who want to be saved from hell but not from the sin that is the cause of it. Christ’s salvation is cleansing from sin, and if we love sin we are not saved from it. We cannot have justification without sanctification. There’s nothing to quibble about; there must be a change, a radical change, a change of heart, or else we are not saved. I put it to you now, ‘Do you desire a moral and a spiritual change, a change of life, thought and motive? This is what Jesus gives.” [1]

  1. Humility: He comes and asks

“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’” Mark 1:40

There was only one question in this man’s mind when he came to Jesus, “Are you willing?” He knows Christ has the ability, but does He have the will? Is Christ interested in doing something in my life?

So, he came to Christ and he asked—he begged Him. There’s humility here. This man isn’t trying to negotiate. He is not saying, “Jesus you owe me. Look at my life—why did you let this happen to me?” He is not saying, “Jesus, if you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.” What does the Son of God need that you can give to Him?

The man came to Christ and begged Him—on his knees! Some people are so absorbed with themselves that they are always asking, “Why should I be interested in Christ?” This man sees that the real question is, “Why should Christ be interested in me?”

Becoming a Christian is not about you doing something great for Christ. It’s about Christ doing something great for you! If you come to Christ thinking you’re offering Him something special, you will never receive anything from Him. Come to Christ empty-handed. Ask Him to give you what you do not have. Then you will be in a position to receive.

Get to the point with Jesus Christ today. Many people do not receive from Christ because they never get to the point of making “the ask!” Cut through the fog of a vague faith that makes little difference to your life. Bring Christ to the point of your need. Get to “the ask.” Ask Him to give you what you do not have. Ask Him to make you clean. And when you ask, believe in Him, trust Him to change you.

Are you ready to come to Christ like that today? “Lord, I believe that you have the ability to change my life and eternity. I want to be clean. I want to live a new life that will be pleasing to you. I am asking you to give me the forgiveness I need, the strength I don’t have, the purpose I have not found, and the heaven I don’t deserve.”

When you come to Christ, believing in His ability to change your life, with a desire to be clean and when you ask Him to do what He has promised in your life, here is what happens…

Christ has compassion for you

“Filled with compassion…” Mark 1:41

Christ had this moment in view when He went to the cross. He laid down his life to redeem you. Your coming to Him right now is the fruit of His suffering. Love flows from His heart to you.

Christ reaches out to you

“Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.” Mark 1:41

Jesus is reaching out to you right now as His promises are being preached to you:

Yoke yourself to me: I will give you rest.

Come to me: I will never drive you away.

Follow me: I will make you a fisher of men.

Confess me: I will confess you before my Father in heaven

Obey me: I will give you the Holy Spirit.

Trust me: I will take you to be with me.

Receive me: You will see and share my glory.

Jesus speaks to you

“I am willing. Be clean!” Mark 1:41

Mark records: “Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured” (Mark 1:42). When the Son of God speaks, what He says happens. At the creation He said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” When He speaks, He accomplishes what he says.

When Christ speaks to you, the promise becomes yours. When Christ says, “Be forgiven,” you are forgiven. When He says, “Be clean,” you are clean. When He says, “Be useful,” your life will be fruitful. When He says, “Be a new creation,” you have the power of the Holy Spirit to live a new life. When Christ says, “Be Mine,” you are His forever. When He says, “Come home,” you will be with Him in heaven for all eternity.

I invite you to make this promise yours today. Let’s pray:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for your amazing promise.

I come to you because I want to receive what you offer today.

 

I believe You are the Son of God who died and rose again for me.

Right now I ask You to become my Savior, my Redeemer, my Lord and my Friend.

 

I want to be clean, and so I ask You to forgive my sin and to give me Your Holy Spirit,

so that I will be able to live a new life that honors You.

 

Thank You for welcoming and receiving me. Amen.”

[1] C H Spurgeon, sermon: “The Lord and the Leper,” February 12th 1888

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2008.htm



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