Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series    Volume 20    Issue 25           October 10, 2010

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?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Leprosy in Biblical times was a terrible thing. It was considered incurable and those who were infected with it were banned from society and considered “unclean”.

“The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’  As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”  Leviticus 13:45-46

“As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.”  Luke 17:12a 

Jesus is just outside of the village and he meets a group of lepers.  It wasn't uncommon for lepers to group together out side the villages.  They formed their own society, the “untouchables”.  They depended on the compassion of the           villagers for food and clothing and they depended on each other for fellowship. 

“They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  Luke 17:12b-13

The lepers ask for pity, they didn't ask for healing, just pity.
They were perhaps hoping for some food, clothing or shelter, or whatever Jesus decided to offer.  This text does not indicate that they were asking for healing.

“When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.”  Luke 17:14

There would only be one reason to go to the local priest.  For it was the priests and  only priests, according to Jewish law that  could declare a person healed of leprosy, and fit to re-enter society.  Leviticus 14

Jesus doesn't say that they are healed, but certainly implies it.  That is why they had to go and receive a clean bill of health from the official who could grant it.

Verse 14b is the key to understanding what happened.  And as they went, they were cleansed.”

Literally, “in the going, they were cleansed.”

I know we’re talking about giving thanks, but it is imperative you see this “Key” point.

The word “cleansed” signifies action at a single point of time in the past tense, rather than action over a period of time.

There came a point, as they began
to obey Jesus, that their healing
took place all of a sudden.

They believed him (had faith) and received their healing as a result.

Faith is exhibited in what we actually DO.
As Jesus' brother James says, In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead James 2:17
We're not told how they discover that they were indeed healed, but it doesn't seem to take long.

It may have gone something like this:
Looking at one of his comrades, a leper says, “Hey, where is your leprosy? Your face is clear.”  Then all of them begin to
examine themselves and sure enough, they ARE healed.  “Hooray!  O’ happy day!  We can go back to our families, we have our life back!”

“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.”   Luke17:15-16

All ten lepers realized they are healed, but only one comes all the way
back to Jesus, praising God for                       His mercy in healing him.

Notice the words “loud voice” in verse 15. The lepers had called out loudly to ask for mercy; but only this leper offers loud thanksgiving and praise.

Oh that our thanksgiving were as loud as our cries for help!

Notice the thankful leper’s response.  He throws himself at Jesus’ feet.  This is a sign of utter humility.

The leper first gives glory to God and then he thanks Jesus.  Not quietly in his heart or prayer closet but at the top of his lungs right out in public!

“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Luke 17:17-18

Strangely, the only thankful one is a non-Jew.  Jesus blesses him, by saying, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”  Luke 17:19

The phrase “made you well” (NIV) or “made thee whole” (KJV) is commonly translated to save.

This passage hints at the fact that Jesus
offers this leper more than the others.

They received healing, but this Samaritan, this stranger to the covenant of promise,  receives a deeper salvation in addition.

His faith prompted him to return to
the feet of Jesus in thanks,
and that personal contact,
that personal submission,
signifies a soul healing
that is more than skin deep.

Something happened in him more, much more than being healed from leprosy. 

One central lesson of this story is that the faith that healed the lepers was by acting on Jesus’ words.

Jesus said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests”, implying that they were healed.

If they would of waited to see if they were healed before heading off to the priest, they never would have started walking.

That is a fact, because the healing didn't take place until AFTER they obeyed.
We sometimes want instantaneous healing before we’ll believe that Jesus heals us.

But the faith here is shown in the going. “Your faith has made you well”.
Luke 17:19b

The point for us today is clear - that being not only does Jesus expect us to show gratitude, He knows when we don’t!

In this account we call the “Thankful Leper”, Jesus is clearly angry at the ingratitude of the nine lepers who didn't return.

We must train ourselves to show thanks, to give thanks, to in fact be filled with thanks.

Without thankfulness, we can’t be
pleasing to our Lord Jesus.

A life of thanksgiving is a life of prayer.

Prayer first….
· Before going to the priests to be                          declared healed

Prayer first….
· Before the things we have to do

Prayer first….
· Before we get immersed in our                     everyday activities.

Thanksgiving first then our requests.

Finally, gratitude is an important component in our salvation.

Were all ten lepers healed?  Yes! 
Were they all saved?  Yes, in the sense that they were rescued from their disease.
But….not in the sense of drawing close to God in thankfulness and dependence.
The nine were saved physically, but not spiritually.  Healing that doesn't bring a person to Jesus is incomplete and stunted. 

God grant that we will on occasion be thankful enough to be boisterously thankful.  Thankful enough to throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet. 

Friends, it is far too easy to forget to thank God for His many blessings!


“Cities of Refuge"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series    Volume 20    Issue 24           October 3, 2010

Joshua 20:1-9  The LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spoke to you through Moses: That the slayer that kills any person unawares and unwittingly may flee there: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.  And when he that flees to one of those cities shall stand at the entrance of the city, and shall declare his case in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city to them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.  And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not turn  the slayer into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and didn’t hated him. And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come to his own city, and to his own house, to the city from where he fled.  And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee and Shechem in mount Ephraim and Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.  And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness and Ramoth in Gilead, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.  These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel and for the stranger that travels among them, that whosoever kills any person at unawares might flee there and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.

This being ordered of God makes this a DIVINE appointment.

These cities were to be sanctified, set apart.  

I’d like you to consider Hebrews 6:18-19.  “We have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.”

Jesus was set apart according to God’s will for our sakes.

We are to be set apart for the sake of others.
Being in God’s appointed shelter, brings great confidence. 

The very nature of these cities was to be “merciful”. 

Present mercy / righteous protection was offered in each city.  Consider our precious Jesus.Mercy to pardon, grace to help and the power of justice to protect and keep.

Much more than a mere shelter, Jesus is the justifier of all who believe.  He is our safe place - our refuge!

Look at the significance of the names of the cities of refuge.

KEDESH  (holy place) 
A refuge for the unclean  

The holiness of Jesus becomes the hope of the unclean. 


We are to teach God’s people according to Leviticus 10:10 and Ezekiel 44:23, the difference between the holy and profane and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Psalms 51:10-14  “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me… Then will I teach transgressors your ways; and sinners shall be converted to you.”

We are to teach people about Jesus, because He is the cleansing fountain!

Zechariah 13:1  In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. 

SHECHEM (shoulder) 
A refuge for the weary 

The lost sheep found safety and rest on the shoulders of the shepherd.  Luke 15:5  he laid it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Jesus a strong Savior: The government is upon His shoulders.  There is no rest in ruling ourselves. 

When we trust Jesus, we lean not only
on His mercy, but on His almightiness.  

What a safe and secure place the weary child finds on the shoulders of its loving father. 

Jesus Himself carries our burdens upon His shoulders.  Matthew 11:28  Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest.

HEBRON (fellowship) 
A refuge for the homeless 

Man is spiritually a homeless wanderer.  As the homeless prodigal found refuge in his father’s house, so we in Christ.  Jesus is the Hebron for the soul.  I John 1:3  “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 
There is no fellowship with the
Father outside of Christ. 

BEZER (stronghold) 
A refuge for the helpless  

Proverbs 18:10  The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous run into it and are safe.

No matter how helpless you are,
in Jesus is eternal safety!  

All other hiding places will fail, but the name of the Lord will never ever fail! 

Matthew 7:25-27  “The rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house.. and it fell not: it was founded upon a rock.”  

That Rock is Jesus - the same yesterday, today and forver.
RAMOTH (exalted) 
A refuge for the hopeless 

Our base nature is not only that of helplessness, but we are without hope in this world. 

Ephesians 2:12  That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”

Jesus is our hope  He is exalted at the Father’s right hand, with a name that is above all names.  He is high and lifted up!  If you feel hopeless in this world, look up over the crowd. 

Flee to Him!  No mountain could save from the great flood.  Those saved were lifted up in the ark and Jesus is our ark of hope!

GOLAN (separated) 
A refuge for the tempted 

Many of our brothers and sisters are often tempted in this world because they flirt with the world.  They’ve not yet fled to Jesus the city of separation.   

II Corinthians 6:17-18  “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord, touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  And  be a Father to you!”

The tempter often overtakes these poor unseparated souls. 

Golan is the last city mentioned.  Separation from the world system is usually the last refuge sought after. 

However, Jesus must be our ALL AND ALL if we are to be perfectly sheltered from the curse, the world, the flesh and the devil.

Can you say, “God is my Refuge and my Strength?

We have learned about six cities this morning, each one being a type of refuge. 

I pray that the Holy Spirit will teach us to see Christ as your total refuge!
Then as a collective result we will be “That” church in Osoyoos….
· a refuge for the unclean
· a refuge for the weary
· a refuge for the homeless
· a refuge for the helpless
· a refuge for the hopeless
· a refuge for the tempted 

To God be the Glory!


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series    Volume 20    Issue 23           September 26th, 2010

Groundhog Day (1993 comedy) Bill Murray, (a self-centered reporter) keeps reliving February 2.  The day plays out exactly as it did before, with no one else aware of the time loop.

Like the movie “Ground-Hog Day”, we have become stuck, endlessly repeating identical days, until we learn the lesson.

Unlike school, God will not graduate us and move us onto the next grade until we pass the test.  Like Israel, we’ve been examined and found wanting.  “It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, The LORD will not do good or evil!”  Zephaniah 1:12 NASB

He is searching us “with lamps”, no corner or crevice of our hearts and lives will be exempt. 

We are not being examined on our knowledge or
ministry effectiveness, but on the purity of our “spirit”.

The phrase “stagnant in spirit” is rendered more literally in the Amplified translation as “settling on their lees”.

They had not been poured from vessel to vessel, refusing to change and so developed a spirit that said, “The Lord will not do good or evil”.  In other words, He is not living and active
in the circumstances of my life.

Many people in Canada today are sentimental believers but practical atheists.  They are not current with God.  They have not been poured from vessel to vessel. 

They say the right things about God,
but in the day to day reality of their lives
they don’t have faith to believe
that He is actively involved.

Consequently, they build their lives, ministries and careers in-dependent of God.  Being poured from vessel to vessel is de-signed by God to dislodge us from our independence.

Scriptures show that the church is constantly being perfected one step at a time.  We often call these steps, “moves of God or waves of the spirit”.

II Corinthians 3:18  “We are changed into the image of Christ from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Due to our hesitancy to change, this is not a smooth process.

According to Luke 5:39 some look at the “old” as   being better.  Being comfortable or settled in the        “old” ways.

Jeremiah 48:11  “Moab has been at ease from his youth, he has settled on his lees and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel…. therefore his taste remained in him, his scent is not changed”.

The call to “go on with God” is a call to be poured from vessel to vessel.  Our willing-ness to embrace change, to be poured from one vessel to another, is vital to our spiritual growth.

Moab had from his youth been undisturbed by misfortune.  The nation had never been overrun or gone into captivity, and so he remained very secure and self-satisfied.

Sadly, we have not escaped being tainted by Moab’s condition.

Many in the church today refuse to be poured from vessel to vessel and have, like Moab, “retained their flavor, and their aroma has not changed”.

We have not given off the flavor or aroma of Christ.
The metaphor of being poured from vessel to vessel is taken from the ancient process of winemaking.  Wine would be left for a period of time in a vessel to “rest on its lees”.
The impurities would slowly settle to the bottom and then at the discretion of the wine-maker, the wine would be poured off to another vessel.  This process occurred repetitively, until the wine was purified, until it became of perfect “character”. 

This process continued for 40 days, the Biblical number of wilderness testing and God’s dealings.

The modern day church knows little of these tests, in fact we resent being tested.

Friends, I beg you to see that if the aroma of Christ is not amongst us, we will only succeed in building yet another church monument to human ingenuity.

It may have loads of energy and human hype, but it will have less and less of the true fragrance of God about it.

To be “poured from vessel to vessel” means that we will be re-located, re-postured, re-aligned and      re-settled by God.

· After a period of resting on its lees, the wine was poured off to another vessel followed by another period of resting. God uses seasons of both settling and change to bring us on in spiritual                      maturity.

The only problem is that on the whole we prefer the settling seasons to those of change!

We’re inclined to settle around a truth, an experience, a place, or people, and so God comes to us calling us on in Him.

Those of us that are impatient to move on in God, must learn to be content with the timing of God and wait until He pours us out into the next vessel.                Timing is everything!
However, when that time comes, it is not often convenient.  The high call of God in Christ Jesus usually comes when we are most satisfied with our lot in life.
It requires a re-location, not always geo-graphically, but always spiritually.  We’ve filled the space God created for us in the present phase and it is time to move on into another aspect of our relationship with Him.

· Being poured into another vessel re-aligns us both internally and externally.

Internally…..we find ourselves relinquishing our will and ways for His.

Externally…..God moves us away from our old “comfortable” alliances into new connections.  In other words, we often find ourselves with a new set of friends.

As much as we may wish it differently, the old set of friends has less in common and loses interest.  Sometimes, this re-alignment can occur through betrayal as it did with Joseph as he was poured into the next vessel.

· Being poured from one vessel to another requires a re-posturing of heart.  Perhaps we were in a round vessel, but now we find ourselves in a square one.

We may experience circumstantial change, relocation or misfortune, but do we learn the lessons that God had in these trials?

Often, we bravely take a grip on ourselves to endure it, but never break.  As Saul discovered, “God is not interested in our sacrifices but in our obedience”.

The obedience and sacrifice in which God is interested, is rather “a broken and a con-trite heart”.  In fact, our surrender.  I Samuel 15:22; Psalm 51:17
So, like “Ground-Hog Day”, we are forced to repeat identical or similar circumstances until we are internally re-postured.  Until we surrender our self-effort, our strength to endure the trial.

· We must learn to settle again for as long as the Lord assigns the new season.

One thing I am slowly learning in the 38 years I have walked with God is that He is God!  We do not determine anything.  Our times are in His hands.  He is completely sovereign in assigning the seasons and    circumstances of our lives.

As the prisoner of the Lord, I cannot, as much as I might try, change those times and seasons.  God has a timetable and He is sticking to it!  It’s then up to me to resolve that His ways are perfect and just.

The Call to Maturity
· The apostle issued a call to the Hebrew believers to go on to maturity as they were being poured into a new vessel, the new covenant.                           Hebrews 6:1-3

This is the whole design of God in life.  “For it is God who is at work within us both to will and do according to His own good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13

All the circumstances of life are allowed by God,
both the bitter and the sweet, to bring us on to
maturity in Him, giving ourselves over to His ways.

God is looking for people who will “go on with Him” being poured from vessel to vessel, and thus giving off the fragrance of Christ.  As the Lord declared through the prophet, “there will be a banquet for the nations of refined and aged wine”.

“The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow and refined, aged wine.” Isaiah 25:6 NASB AMEN!!