In chapter number 13 of Leviticus there that we just read deals with the plague of leprosy. Most of the chapter is talking about leprosy in a human being and in this passage, we find a great example of what the Bible says in the New Testament that, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Even when we run across a chapter like this that might strike some people as antiquated or outdated or we don't really need this, that was for them back then, that was something that they dealt with thousands of years ago, we need to understand that there's also a spiritual application to these things that are found in the Bible.
I want to preach tonight on the subject of leprosy and leprosy is something that comes up throughout the Bible. There are numerous stories in the Bible about people who had leprosy. There are whole chapters, Leviticus 13 and 14, for example, devoted to the subject of leprosy. Now first of all, let me just read for you the encyclopedia about leprosy today. The encyclopedia says that leprosy is also known as Hansen's disease and the reason that it's known as Hansen's disease is that in the 1800s, there was a doctor named Hansen who figured out what it was that caused leprosy. It's actually a bacteria that they named mycobacterium leprae. It's a bacterial infection that takes over.
The encyclopedia goes on to say that initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way from 5 to as long as 20 years. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of the extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present. Leprosy is spread between people. It is believed to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of an infected person. Leprosy occurs more commonly among those living in poverty and it is believed to be transmitted by respiratory droplets. Now it's actually not as contagious as people think, but it is yet contagious through coughing, through getting those respiratory particles on someone. That's how they contract leprosy.
Now look, if you would, at verse 44 of chapter 13 there. The Bible says, "He is a leprous man. He is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean. His plague is in his head and the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent and his head bare and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip and shall cry, 'Unclean, unclean.' All the days wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled. He is unclean. He shall dwell alone without the camp shall his habitation be." Now one thing that really cracked me up though, as I was researching the subject of leprosy, is what the Jews teach about this in their Talmud.
Now we know, of course, that so-called Jews and their false religion of Judaism, which is not Old Testament, Bible-believing religion, it's actually the wicked religion of the Pharisees where Jesus was constantly rebuking them for making God's word void through their traditions, things that were handed down to them by the rabbis, who were actually ungodly, wicked, whited sepulchers, etc., as Christ called them. That is the religion of Judaism today and it's amazing to me that they say that the leprosy of Leviticus 13 and 14 is not what we know as leprosy. They say, "Oh, that's a bad translation. The New Testament got that wrong and English Bibles get that wrong and it's not really leprosy. It's something else."
Here's why they say that, because in their book, the Talmud, which is not the Bible, it's their traditions of the Christ-rejecting rabbis from after the time of Christ, in their book, the Talmud, they say that leprosy is a non-contagious disease. The biblical leprosy of Leviticus 13 and 14, that it's not contagious. They say, "Well, we know that leprosy's contagious and since the biblical disease is not contagious, it can't be leprosy." Now let me ask you something. Does it look to you, just you're a smart person here tonight, right, you're looking down at Leviticus 13. Does it look to you like the Bible teaches this is not a contagious disease?
Pastor: Yet, the foolishness of the Talmud, Rabbi Shimon hock phlegm or whatever, he said that, "The biblical disease is not contagious." Here's what they do. They use this circular reasoning of saying, "Well, we know that this can't be leprosy because the Talmud says leprosy of the Bible is non-contagious, so it must be a different disease." How do you know? "Because the Talmud said," except that the Talmud has zero authority. It's been written by fools who rejected Christ. You say, "Well, how dare you call them fools." What did Jesus call them? He said, "You fools and blind." That's what He said of the Pharisees.
You'd have to be blind to read the Bible and walk away saying it's not contagious. What they teach in the Talmud is that a better translation than unclean here would be ritually impure, okay. According to them, and I brought along a little illustration, this is basically a surgical mask, that you'd put on to stop you from spreading germs, right? If you read the Bible here, in Leviticus 13, it says that the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent. He's supposed to tear his clothing, which was a sign of mourning. It's a sign that something's wrong, so just visually, if you saw this guy, his clothes are torn. That's the first thing you'd see.
Then it also says that, "His head shall be bare and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip and shall cry, 'Unclean, unclean.'" Now the purpose of this is to warn everybody that he's coming so that he doesn't get too close. You don't want to just be walking along and all of a sudden, this guy with leprosy's right there. You're like, "Whoa, man." It's interesting that it says that he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, okay. Why? Because the way that this is spread is through coughing is what the encyclopedia even said about leprosy, so he puts this on and now when he coughs, it's not going anywhere. That's the purpose.
According to these Christ-rejecting Jews of the Talmud, he's supposed to put this on and walk around saying, "Unclean, unclean," but it's not contagious. Actually, a better translation is he's supposed to walk around saying, "Ritually impure. Ritually impure." This is the nonsense of religion that denies Christ. The Bible says that even today, in the reading of the Old Testament, that veil, they don't wear it like this. They wear it like this when they read the Bible. "Oh, well let me tell you what Rabbi Shimon ha ha ha said." They don't even know.
What's funny though is that today, Christians will go to the Jews to interpret the Bible. They don't have the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the word of God is spiritually discerned and that it's the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth, so if you read the Bible without the Holy Spirit, you get goofy ideas. These are supposed to be really intelligent people, but yet they can read this passage and walk away saying, "It's not contagious because our rabbi said so," even though the Bible said it is contagious and it is clearly the same disease as what we know today as leprosy because the thing that came up over and over again in Leviticus 13 was about the whiteness of the area or the lack of pigmentation and it talked about a hair growing up in the area and that even that hair would be white or pale or yellow in color. The reason for that is because one of the symptoms of leprosy is that it will create what they call hypopigmentation in those areas. The pigment is gone, which causes it to appear white or pale in that area. It's clearly the same disease that we see in Leviticus chapter 13. It's spread through coughing. That's why they covered their upper lip and so forth.
When you read this encyclopedia definition ... Flip over, if you would, to Ephesians chapter number 4. This is the Scripture that popped into my mind when I read that encyclopedia description of Hansen's disease or leprosy because in the Bible, leprosy pictures sin and some of the similarities with sin that we see here is that this is something that destroys you slowly over time and that's what sin will do in our lives. When we have sin in our lives, it slowly destroys us over time. We might be able to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, as the Bible says, and get by with sinning and even enjoy it and even thrive, as we say, but over time, it's very destructive to us. When you read up on leprosy it says that initially, infections are without symptoms, so at first, there's no symptom. They don't even realize that they even have a problem when they're infected with leprosy and it typically remains that way for from 5 to as long as 20 years. You get leprosy, you're infected, but no symptoms for as long as 5 to 20 years.
Then when you read about the symptoms, obviously, you have the skin disorder. That's the main thing that you see, but also, they can result in the lack of ability to feel pain and thus, loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds. We think of pain as being a bad thing, but actually, pain is good. God gave us pain for a reason because it tells us that something's wrong. It tells us that there's a problem. That's why when you experience pain, you shouldn't just always take a pain killer. Oh, that fix that then just go on about your life. You should figure out what's causing the pain, figure out what's behind it.
Usually, when people have a headache, and obviously, the exception proves the rule ... Get mad at me if you have a different style of headache than what I'm talking about, but usually, when people say, "Oh, I have a headache," it can be cured by doing 3 things. This is what I've noticed in my life, eating, drinking, and going to sleep. If I eat, drink, and go to sleep, I wake up, the headache is gone, usually, unless there's some other problem like a toothache or a neck ache that's causing it. A lot of headaches are due to just dehydration or just not eating enough or just not getting enough salt and getting hyponatremia and things like that. We shouldn't always just want to just dull the pain because pain is there for a reason to tell us something's wrong.
These people who get leprosy, though, they start losing sensation of pain in their extremities, like in their fingers and toes, and what happens is they keep injuring themselves because they don't feel that they're doing something wrong. They keep slamming their toes into things, slamming their fingers, and they don't even realize that there's a problem there. Then they also get wounds that they don't notice and then they get infected, but they can't feel the fact that they stepped on something sharp or whatever, so that's described here.
Think about that in a spiritual context now, with Ephesians chapter 4. By the way, one more thing. In the encyclopedia, it also said that poor eyesight can also be one of the symptoms. People will even sometimes go blind from leprosy, so look, if you would, at Ephesians 4:17 with that in mind. It says, "This I say therefore and testify in the Lord that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart, who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness and greediness."
In this description of people who are very sinful people, notice some key words that pop up, uncleanness, blindness, and being past feeling, sort of like leprosy where you lose feeling. You don't feel the pain anymore when you're harming yourself or doing damage to your body, blindness and also just the uncleanness that sin represents. Basically, leprosy is a picture of sin in the Bible. Now let me say this, just because a person has leprosy, it doesn't mean that they're a sinful person. We don't want to go down that road where we look at people who have sicknesses or handicaps and we say, "Oh, that's a punishment from God."
That's a false doctrine because if you remember, this was the mistake that Jesus' Disciples made when they came to Him and they said of a man who was born blind, they said, "Well, who sinned? Did this man sin or did his parents sin for him to be born blind?" Jesus said, "Well, neither hath this man sinned. Neither have his parents sinned. He's actually blind for the glory of God." He was blind so that God's glory could be manifest because Jesus had a plan where He's going to heal this man and all kinds of great teaching would go forth and it would be a great miracle and it would actually fill up a great section of the Book of John there because of the fact that he was born blind. He didn't realize that. He probably didn't like being born blind. His parents probably didn't like the fact that he was born blind, but yet God used it for His glory.
We don't want to be like Job's friends, where we look at Job and Job had a skin disorder, didn't he? He had boils and all kinds of scabs and so forth. We don't want to be like them where we tell Job, "Hey, you must be living in sin." No, actually, sickness can happen for all manner of reasons. It can just happen just for physical reasons. It could also happen in God's plan that someone could become sick for His glory or it could be a chastening from the Lord and it's never us to judge. Yes, God did strike people with leprosy in the Bible as a punishment. He also struck people with blindness as a punishment, but yet there were many people who were blind that it was not a punishment. It was just for whatever other reason, so we don't want to make that mistake, but yet leprosy does picture sin. Not saying that the person is necessarily a wicked person, but that's what it pictures in our life.
Why? Because sin slowly destroys us over time. It slowly eats away at us and the longer we have it, we start losing feeling. It used to be when we would do wrong, we would be pricked in our heart. Our conscience would bother us, but the deeper we go into sin, the less our conscience bothers us. The first time you commit a sin, your conscience is bothering you, the Holy Spirit's really convicting you, but then as you go deeper into sin, you become numb to it. You get desensitized to sin, even as you harm yourself, even as you're wounded, even as you're infected, you don't even realize it.
Also, just as with leprosy, you might even go 5, 20 years without even seeing the consequences of it, but it's there and it's slowly killing you and slowly destroying you. It also creates blindness, where when people are in sin, they become blind to the consequences of what they're doing and the foolishness of their actions, so there are a lot of similarities between leprosy and sin. Also, of course, the Bible says sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death and of course, leprosy was a death sentence. Eventually, it's going to kill you.
Now let's look at a few other Scriptures on leprosy. Go to Numbers chapter 2, Book of Numbers, chapter number 2. I'm sorry, Numbers 5:2, Numbers 5:2. The Bible reads in Numbers 5:2, "Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper and everyone that hath an issue and whosoever is defiled by the dead. Both male and female shall ye put out without the camp shall ye put them, that they defile not their camps in the midst whereof I dwell." Here we see the fact that they need to be separated from the assembly. They need to dwell outside of the camp of the children of Israel because of the contagious nature of leprosy, so they were supposed to dwell alone outside the camp.
Look at Deuteronomy chapter number 24, just a few pages to the right in your Bible, Deuteronomy chapter number 24. The Bible says in verse 8, "Take heed in the plague of leprosy that thou observe diligently and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you. As I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do. Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam, by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt." Let's look at that story. Go to Numbers chapter 12. This is one of the famous stories of leprosy in the Bible where Moses' sister Miriam was actually struck by God with leprosy. Now thank God He was merciful to her and after 7 days, she was healed, but for 7 days, she was plagued with leprosy.
The Bible says in verse number 1, "And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married, for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, 'Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us?' And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men, which were upon the face of the Earth. And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses and unto Aaron and unto Miriam, 'Come out ye three under the tabernacle of the congregation.' They three came out and the Lord came down in a pillar of a cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle and called Aaron and Miriam and they both came forth and He said, 'Hear now My words. If there be a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will make myself known unto him in a vision and will speak on him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth even apparently and not in dark speeches and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses," and the anger of the Lord was kindled against them and He departed.
"The cloud departed from off the tabernacle and behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow and Aaron looked upon Miriam and behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said unto Moses, 'Alas, my Lord, I beseech thee. Lay not the sin upon us wherein we've done foolishly and wherein we've sinned. Let her not be as one dead of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb.' And Moses cried unto the Lord saying, 'Heal her now, oh, God. I beseech thee.' The Lord said unto Moses, 'If her father had but spit in her face should she not be ashamed seven days? Let her be shut out from the camp seven days and after that, let her be received in again.' And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days and the people journeyed not until Miriam was brought in again and afterward, the people removed from Hazeroth and pitched in the wilderness of Paran."
Notice what Aaron says when Aaron sees the terrible condition that his sister Miriam is in and Moses is also distraught about it, but notice what he says in verse 12, "Let her not be as one dead of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb." Aaron basically describes the leprous person as being like somebody who's dead in the sense that it's like a death sentence. It's just a matter of when. You can just look at them and see that death is consuming their body. She's leprous from head to toe. Her skin is destroyed. It's just outwardly apparent that she's going to die of this terrible disease.
Now when a person's not saved, the Bible actually describes them as dead. Go to Ephesians chapter 2, if you would, in the New Testament. Even though they're walking around, even though they're talking and doing things, they are described spiritually as being dead, like the leprous person is like a dead man walking. Look at Ephesians 2:1. "And you hath he quickened." Quickened means brought to life. Quick means alive. "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. Where in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past and the lusts of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and where by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ by grace ye are saved and has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
"That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast." Here he says you were dead in trespasses and sins and Jesus Christ quickened you or brought you to life or gave you life. The Bible says throughout Psalm 119, "Thy word has quickened me. The entrance of God's word gives life and light to all where it enters."
Now here's the thing. There's a false doctrine out there known as Calvinism that teaches that you don't make any kind of a decision to be saved, but that rather, it's all foreordained in the sense that God decided who's going to go to Heaven and who's going to go to Hell and there's nothing that we can do about it and we have no free will to make that decision on our own. Now this is a ridiculous doctrine. It flies in the face of the teaching of Scripture and clear Scripture refutes this doctrine. A big part of this Calvinist philosophy is that Jesus Christ did not die for everyone. It's what they teach.
The Bible is real clear that he by the grace of God did taste death for every man. The Bible says He's the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe. The Bible says He's the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. There are many Scriptures that talk about the fact that Jesus Christ died for us all, but they say, "No, he only died for certain people. You have to be one of the chosen and it has nothing to do with anything that you say or do. It's all foreordained of God."
Now they don't have clear Scripture on this. If you go to the Scriptures that they'll point you to and you actually read them in context, the doctrine falls apart. They use a lot of man's philosophy and logic to refute just the clear surface teaching of the Bible where it just says, "Whosoever will let them come." What does whosoever will mean? Whosoever wants to. "The spirit and the bride say, 'Come and let him that heareth say come and let him that's athirst come and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.'" "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Just kidding. It's just certain people that I picked. It's stupid. It's a lie. It's a fraud.
Unsaved people come up with weird doctrine like this because again, just like the Jews, they're doing this when they read the Bible because they're not saved. They're blinded and so they come up with weird doctrine. That's why we should never listen to Bible teaching from people who aren't saved. Before you listen to Bible teaching, figure out if these people even believe the gospel or not, figure out whether they're even saved. That shouldn't be an afterthought whether they're saved or not. He's right on everything except the gospel. He's right on nothing. If you don't have the gospel, you don't have the Holy Spirit, you don't have the truth. You don't have the spirit of truth. You have a spirit of error, the Bible says.
They'll use logic and here's the logic that they'll use and I've heard this a million times. They'll say this, "Well, what can a dead man do, hmm? The Bible says that before we were saved, we were dead. Dead in trespass and sin. What can a dead man do? Nothing. God does it all. God just comes and saves who He wants to save and what can a dead man do? Nothing." Here's the thing. That's human logic and human reasoning. That's not biblical because the Bible describes all kinds of people as being dead. For example, the most famous story of the Prodigal Son and when the Prodigal Son goes out and lives a life of sin and then he realizes wow, I had it a lot better off in my parents' house. I'm going to go home to my parents and eat crow. When he's in the pigpen and desiring to be fed with the husks, which the swine did eat, he has a change of heart. He comes home to the father and says, "I've sinned against Heaven, against thee and I'm no longer worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of the hired servants." What does the father say about him? "Hey, we ought to rejoice because he was dead and now he's alive. He was blind and now he can see. He was lost and now he's found."
Here's the thing. What can a dead man do? A dead man can realize that he's wrong and come home. Oh, but sorry to confuse you with what the Bible actually teaches. What else can dead men do? According to this, dead men can fulfill a lot of lusts of the flesh and go out and live a sinful life, so they're taking this parable a little too far of what can a dead man do? Just nothing, we're all just ... See, the Bible says that the legs of the lame are not equal and so is a parable in the mouth of fools, so they take this parable of the fact that the people who aren't saved are dead and they take it so literal. A dead man can't even believe in Jesus because he can't do anything, but hold on. The Bible says that, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Let me tell you something tonight. That's up to you whether you do that or not and if you're here tonight and you're not saved, it's up to you to decide to be saved. You can take the water of life freely tonight if you want to. Jesus said, "You will not come to me that you might have life." It's offered freely to all and it's whosoever will may come. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and if you believe in your heart that God has raised from the dead, you shall be saved and it's up to you. When we go out soul winning, we can take the horse to the water, but we can't make him drink. We preach the gospel and you know what? At that point, it's up to that person whether they're going to accept or reject that free gift of salvation.
This just what can a dead man do argument that says that a dead man can't even believe in Jesus, that's ... Now if somebody says, "Well, a dead man can't do any works that would please God," okay, I agree with that. What can a dead man do to please God? Nothing because they that are in the flesh cannot please God, the Bible says. Can a dead man call upon the name of the Lord and be saved? Absolutely. Can a dead man believe in Jesus? Sure he can. You say, "Well, but God's got to draw him." Yeah, but Jesus said, "If I be lifted up from the Earth, I'll draw all men unto me." Well, but he's got to have faith and the faith comes from God. Yeah, but the Bible says faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God, so you know how he's going to get the faith? When he hears the word of God preached from some faithful soul winner. That's how it's going to happen.
Leprosy in the Bible here is described by Aaron as wow, you're as one dead. When you have that bad of leprosy, you're as one dead. Again, that's a picture of what sin does in our lives. Even though we're maybe walking around and functioning, if we're not saved, right, if a person's not saved ... Obviously we're saved here tonight, 90-some percent, God willing, but people that aren't saved, though, they are dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually speaking.
Now let's go to another Scripture, Leviticus chapter 14. We looked at Leviticus 13, which is the passage that has to do with diagnosing leprosy. It spends most of the chapter about the skin disease, the fatal condition that we know today as leprosy and we also know it as Hansen's disease. It spends the latter part of the chapter referring to what the Bible calls a leprosy in house or a leprosy in clothing. What that's referring to is probably using that word because it's like leprosy in the way that it spreads and so forth and the color element, probably referring to a mold or a mildew where people get black mold in their house and sometimes they have to tear out whole walls out of their house and everything to get rid of that mold. That's probably what that word is being used to describe.
In Leviticus chapter 14, he talks about the cleansing of the leper after he's been healed, when he's recovered from leprosy, in order to declare him clean. Now what's the purpose of declaring him clean? One of the main purposes is that so he no longer has to walk around wearing this thing and yelling unclean and dwelling outside the camp, so you can actually live in the city and so forth. Now let me say this. The Bible doesn't have a leper colony. It doesn't say, "Hey, put all the lepers together in a leper colony." That's just going to make it worse and then people who don't even have it, but if people have a skin issue where they think then they're going to get it if they all are living together and so forth. The Bible says that they would dwell alone without the camp. Again, it's not super duper contagious to where you just have to stay super far from these people, but you just don't want them coughing right on you and you don't want to get too close to them, obviously.
It's interesting that Jesus, actually, in that famous story where His feet are anointed and so forth before His death on the cross, where the woman comes and she's weeping and she gets out the expensive ointment and so forth, it's funny how the Bible just throws these things out there. It just says that when that happened, He was in the house of Simon the leper. That's all it tells us. He just happened to be at a guy's house who was a leper when that happened, so you wonder, did He heal the guy? Is he still a leper? Is he still called that even after Jesus healed him or was he not healed? What was the situation with that? It's funny how the Bible just tells us that, but it doesn't really give us anymore information on that.
Where did I have you turn, chapter 14? This is where they get cleansed of the leprosy and they actually go to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord as part of the cleansing ritual. It says in verse 2, "This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought unto the priest and the priest shall go forth out of the camp and the priest shall look and behold if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper. Then shall the priest command a take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean and cedar wood and scarlet and hyssop and the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it and the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times and shall pronounce him clean and shall set the living bird loose into the open field."
This is a really interesting picture here when they bring the offering for the cleansing. They take 2 birds and they kill the one bird and then the blood of that bird is put in this basin, this earthen vessel, and it says that they dip the living bird in the blood that was killed over the running water. Isn't that interesting? They take these 2 birds. They kill the one and then they take the blood from the one that's killed and they dip the living bird in the blood of the other bird. Then they release the bird that's been dipped in blood and let it fly off and be free and do whatever. This is a picture of salvation in the sense that Jesus Christ is our sacrifice that died for us and the Bible says that He has washed us from our sins in His own blood. Jesus has washed us from our sins in His own blood and the Bible says, "If the son shall make you free, then ye shall be free indeed." That's the picture of salvation here where we are washed in the blood and then basically given total freedom at Christ's expense. His sacrifice paid for that with His blood.
Now go to the New Testament, if you would. Go to Mark chapter 1. Let's look at some Scriptures in the New Testament on leprosy. Mark chapter number 1 and again, leprosy is picturing sin in our lives because of the fact that the blood is shed there as part of the cleansing from sin. Of course, the Bible says in 1 John that the blood of Jesus Christ, His son, cleanses us from all sin. We're cleansed from sin by the blood. Look at Mark 1:40. The Bible says, "There came a leper to Him," to Jesus, "beseeching Him and kneeling down to Him and saying unto Him, 'If thou will, thou canst make me clean.' Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand and touched him and saith unto him, 'I will. Be thou clean.' As soon as He had spoken, immediately, the leprosy departed from him and he was cleansed."
This is a great story about a man who comes to Jesus with the faith saying, "You know what? If You want to, You could heal me in this leprosy," and he's healed. Of course, we know that Jesus is always going to be willing. He said, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." There's no one who would come to Jesus in faith and call upon the name of the Lord by faith and believe in their heart that God had raised from the dead where He would turn them away. Never, He'll never ... The Bible says that, "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." There's no one that would ever be turned away if they came to Jesus Christ by the way.
Now there are some people who've been hardened and they will never come to Christ by faith. There are others who just resist that and just choose not to come to Christ, but Christ is always willing to heal those who will come to Him by faith spiritually speaking. Now this is a beautiful story, but it's destroyed in the New International Version, the NIV. Thank God for the King James Bible, that we have an English Bible that faithfully gives us the original meaning from the original Hebrew and the original Greek. We have a faithful, reliable translation into English. I believe that the King James Bible is the word of God without error. It's been tried. It's been tested. It's been the standard for 400 years.
It always cracks me up when they come out with some new Bible version and they call it the New American Standard. Ah. The English Standard Version, the ESV. Ah. Those versions will never be the standard. This book is always standard by which every other version is compared and people say, "Well, why do you make that your standard?" I didn't make it the standard. It is the standard. Anyone with a brain knows that this is the standard. This is the standard version for the last 400 years. You say, "Well, no, I think the NIV's the standard." Okay, then why did it just change in 2011? Why did it change in 1984? Why did it change in 2011? Why will it change again? "What about the New American Standard Version?" Yeah, nobody's even buying it anymore because the people who used to buy the New American Standard, they've moved on to the ESV now, the English Standard Version. You're seeing the NASB fade away. Why? Because it never was the standard. This is the standard and all these other versions basically collapse when they're compared to that standard. They can't measure up. They've all sinned and come short of this standard right here.
Anyway, this is the standard and this beautiful story in our King James Bible about this man coming to Jesus and you can just feel the poignancy in this story. You feel the emotion of him coming and kneeling before Him saying, "Lord, if thou will, thou canst make me clean." Then you see Jesus moved with compassion. I love when you read about Jesus being moved with compassion. He really loves us. He loves us and He not only just loves us in a mental type of a sense or a type of intellectual sense, but He also has compassion on us, which means that He empathizes with us. He feels what we feel. He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. "We have not on high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities," meaning that when we feel pain, He feels it too. When we're sad, He grieves with us.
Of course, the famous verse, "Jesus wept," is a great passage on that, but over and over again, I love the Scriptures where it talks about Jesus being moved with compassion, putting forth His hand and touching this unclean man and saying, "Be thou clean." It's a beautiful story, isn't it? When you read it in the NIV, it's changed to where it ... You're not even going to believe this. In Mark 1:41 in the NIV, it says, "Jesus was filled with indignation," meaning that He's upset, angry, mad. I'm not sure if it's that way in the old NIV or not. I know that in the 2011 ... I'm going to have to pull out the old handy dandy NIV here.
I wonder if the New American Standard also perverts the Scripture, but I know the NIV changes it and again, you'd have to be ... I think the thing that keeps coming up over and over again in this sermon is that you have to be blind to believe in this stuff. How blind do you have to be to read Leviticus 13 and say it's not contagious? How blind do you have to be to read this and say, "Oh, yeah, that makes more sense. Yeah, let's change that in the new version. It makes way more sense that Jesus got angry and healed the guy." What kind of a nonsense Bible are these people reading? Look, the guy comes to Him. He's kneeling. His skin is just destroyed on his flesh. He's in a wretched, miserable condition and he gets on his knees before Jesus and says, "Lord, if You will, Lord, if You want to Lord, You can make me clean." Jesus, moved with compassion, reaches out and touches him and says, "I will. Be thou clean." In the NIV, He's filled with indignation and He's just like, "Be clean. I will. Be clean." I know. It doesn't make sense. It's ridiculous.
"Oh, you that are King James only are just not intellectual. You're just not smart enough to realize the intellectual dishonesty of the King James only position." It's funny that these same people in the same breath will tell you, "Oh, we're so much smarter because we use these new versions." Then they'll tell you, "Well, the King James is hard to understand." Wouldn't that make us smarter then since we understand it? Wouldn't that make them dumb since they're reading the one that's on a third grade reading level or whatever? Come on. Thank God the Bible wasn't written by a third grader. "Well, it's a third grade reading level." Great. Wonderful. I really want to read that for the rest of my life. Sounds like a real intriguing book.
Go to Luke chapter 17, Luke chapter 17. I guess all these theologians and scholars, they go to the library, they just head straight for the juvenile section. That's the only place they ever go because everything else is too hard to understand, but learn Greek though. This is too hard to understand, so learn Greek, right, according to these people. Look at Luke 17. This is another great story about leprosy. We can't turn to all the stories for sake of time because there's a great story about Naaman that's a whole sermon in and of itself. I've done a sermon on it, actually, in the past, a whole sermon about Naaman and Gehazi. It's a beautiful story in 2 Kings chapter 5 about leprosy. I'm just going to do this last story here.
In Luke 17:11, it says, "And it came to pass as He went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee and as he entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off. And they lifted up their voice and said, 'Jesus, master, have mercy on us.' When He saw them, He said unto them, 'Go show yourselves unto the priest.' And it came to pass that as they went, they were cleansed." This shows Jesus' healing power. He didn't even have to touch these people. They're standing far off and they're just yelling to Him, "Jesus, master, have mercy on us." He just says, "Go show yourself to the priest." That's all He said. They go away to obey. They basically have the faith, so they go to the priest.
Now why is He saying that to them? Because remember, when you're healed of leprosy, what do you do? You show yourself to the priest. In fact, in that story we looked at in Mark 1, if you get the parallel passage from Matthew, Jesus tells that guy, "Go show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them." He goes through the process of Leviticus 14, but here, these guys are on their way to go see the priest and on the way to the priest, they all get healed. Just imagine these 10 guys, they're walking to the priest, and they're saying, "Well, I don't know. You think it's going to work? He didn't even touch us or we didn't even touch the hem of His garment or anything."
They're walking and all of a sudden, they just start looking. Whoa, they're healed. They were just amazed by that and obviously, they're rejoicing. They're super excited to be healed. Let's pick up the story here. It says the end of verse 14, "It came to pass that as they went they were cleansed and one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice, glorified God and fell down on his face at His feet giving Him thanks." He was a Samaritan. "Jesus answering said, 'Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God save this stranger?' And He said unto him, 'Arise. Go thy way. Thy faith hath made thee whole.'"
This is a great story because it shows that Jesus healed all 10 of them. Now He didn't punish the other 9 for not coming back and saying, "Thank You," did He? It didn't say, "And then they all got their leprosy back. You guys forgot to say thanks." No, they're all healed. He said, "Look, were not ten cleansed?" One of them returned to be thankful. One of them returned to give God the glory. All 10 of them were cleansed. You know what? Frankly, they all 10 had the faith. They all had the faith to come to Jesus in the first place. They all had the faith to call upon the name of the Lord in the first place. They all had the faith to follow His directive to go show themselves to the priest. They all had faith.
They all were physically saved, but it's a picture of being spiritually saved from our sins, from leprosy in a spiritual sense. Notice only one of them came back to give the glory to God and he was actually the least prestigious of the 10. He was the guy that was the most looked down upon by society because he was a Samaritan and Samaritans were not as respected in Judea as the Jews were. The Jews looked down on them because they weren't the chosen people and so they looked down upon the Samaritans as being a mixed people of various nationalities that had come in and mixed and so this guy is the one who gives God the glory.
This is a great illustration of the fact that not everybody who gets saved is going to come and thank us and glorify God and come to church. What's amazing to me is when people will attack and criticize soul winning because they'll say, basically, "Well, where are all these people that you won unto the Lord? You said you had 10 lepers cleansed, Jesus. I only see one, so where are the other 9?" That would call Jesus a liar in the sense that there's only one there to say, "Thank You." This is human nature on display.
Think about what Joseph did for the guy where he interprets the dream and the guy ends up being set free. He tells them, "Remember me to the chief butler. Remember me. Get me out of prison. Say something to the Pharaoh and get me out of here." What's the guy do? Just completely forgets Joseph. As soon as he's healed, as soon as he's out of prison, totally ... Then years later, he's like, "Oh, yeah, I do remember my faults this day. My buddy's been in jail for the last 2 years. I was supposed to help him out." This is human nature. We're often ungrateful and unthankful.
When we go out and preach the gospel, people are being healed spiritually. People are being saved. Say, "Well, how do you know that?" Because they're calling upon the name of the Lord by faith. Now obviously, there are some people out there that are just going to go through the motions and pretend to be saved and pretend to believe and pretend to call upon the name of the Lord. Obviously, only God knows the heart, so yeah, there are going to be people out there that we think get saved that really didn't, but then there are other people where we go out and we think they didn't get saved and they really did because we'll give them the gospel and they won't get it right then and there, but then often, they'll get it thereafter, once that seed has been watered and they will eventually get saved.
I know this, that when I go out soul winning and knock doors, when I pray with someone and lead them in a prayer to accept Christ as their Savior, then if I have any doubt about the person, if I feel like I'm not sure if this person really got it, you know how it is because you do a really thorough job and you go through all the points and you verify that they understand it and that they believe it and you pray with them, but sometimes you walk away saying, "I'm not really sure is that person got it." They were a little shaky on it or whatever. I never count those people. I only count the ones that I'm confident about, where I feel like it's real clear that they understood what was being preached and that they made that decision to believe on Christ and I prayed with them and it was just very clear. When in doubt, I don't count the numbers.
There have been times, though, where I did not count someone and then I'll be soul winning again in the same area a week later and I'll walk up to that person and start asking them questions and talking to them and it's crystal clear that that person did get it because a week later, they've got it. Then I'll go back and retroactively say, "Oh, I am going to count that person. They really did get," so all that to say this. Some of the people that we count could be pulling the wool over our eyes and some of the people that we don't count, really got saved.
The way I see it, it pretty much balances out, but here's what I say to all the critics of soul winning, that want to know where the 9 lepers are. Here's what I want to say to them. "Well, you know what? Let's say 10% of the people that we claim that we won to Christ actually got saved and let's say 90% of them were a fraud, that still is way more than you're doing for the Lord, period." Sick of these do-nothing losers and that's what they are. They're losers. If we're soul winners, what does that make them? A loser. I'm talking about zeros today. I'm talking about do-nothings. I'm talking about the people who Jesus describes as a wicked and slothful servant doing nothing for the Lord. Then they want to criticize people who are trying to do ... Oh, God forbid that we would go out and knock doors and open our Bibles and try to tell people how to be saved and do the best we can through the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Are we perfect? No, but you know what? God uses imperfect man and God uses us, the earthen vessels that we are, to carry out His will and to preach the word. He's committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation and if we see our calling brethren, it's not many that are talented. It's not many that are wise or it's not many that are great looking or eloquent speakers. No. God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and He uses us. He uses humble, just imperfect, sinful, failed, flawed human beings like us and we go out and we win people to Christ and it's real.
Then the do-nothings want to say,"How can you claim that that many people got saved? You only have 200 people in your church, but you claim that 2000 people got saved." Hello, that's the 9 who didn't come back. By the way, the other thing about that that's so ridiculous is that just for a fundamental Baptist church to grow from 0 to 200 in 10 years is a great growth anyway. By the way, this church has a revolving door. Do you notice we have visitors every single week? We really have visitors every service, virtually Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. It's like a revolving door of people. Why? Because our church is so different than the culture in America that people can't handle it because they're so messed up with the American culture of 2016 that this preaching seems radical to them, so they go down to the warm and fuzzy church down the street that tells them what they want to hear.
There are a whole multitude of reasons why everybody that we win to Christ doesn't come. In fact, I put together a whole list of reasons why people get saved don't necessarily come to church. I'll just quickly blow through some with you. First of all, a lot of the people we win to the Lord are teenagers. A huge percentage of people that we win are. Why? Because children and teenagers are really receptive to the gospel. "Oh, you won a teenager to the Lord 30 minutes away in Glendale or 30 minutes away in Levine or wherever and they didn't come to church? Well, they must've not gotten saved." It's like what, you expect a 12 year old to get here from 45 minutes away? Yeah, we go soul winning like 30 minutes from here frequently. Think about the Gilbert soul-winning team. "Oh, they didn't drive the 30 minute?"
First of all, half the people that I personally win to the Lord is in Spanish, so guess why they don't come because we don't have a Spanish service, so that explains that. Then here's where a lot of the people that we win to Christ also, they already go to another church, but they're just not saved. You'd think that they would realize, "Whoa, my church didn't get me saved. Time to switch churches," but guess what? A lot of the times, they just continue to go to that nondenom church or that Baptist church or whatever church they were going to. Even though they never got saved, they keep going or another phenomenon is that sometimes, you'll win somebody to the Lord and then their relatives and friends who are Christian will hear, "Oh, wow, you got saved? Well, you're coming to my church." They'll get saved and then they'll get absorbed.
I know I've had that happen many times with friends and coworkers where I'd get them saved, get them coming to my church a couple times, and then basically, they'd get taken away to some liberal church by aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, brothers, sisters, whoever that hears that they got saved. A lot of people, by the way, just don't come to church because they're shy and embarrassed because it's scary to walk into a new church for the first time. Some people are just afraid. Now that might seem silly to you if you're a very outgoing person, but for the average person, it takes a lot of guts to show up for church.
I've talked to many people who said, "Oh, I came to church and I got to the parking lot and I turned around and drove away because I'd just gotten so nervous I couldn't walk in." Now who can relate to feeling nervous walking into a new church for the first time? Put up your hand. Oh, look around the building. Oh, that nobody, right? It's the whole building. Look, I'm a very outgoing person and I can tell you right now when I walk into a new church, I don't get nervous, but I'll tell you this though. When I was a teenager and even as a young adult, when I would walk into a new church for the first time, I would get nervous and I'm not a super-shy person. That's natural. That's normal. I grew up in church. From the time I was born I was in church.
What about the person who's not used to going to church, doesn't know what church is like? Can you see how they might be a little apprehensive? They do receive Christ as Savior. They do believe the gospel and then someone puts this in their hand and says, "Okay, here's the church. Here's the time. Here's the location. We'd love for you to come." They might look at that and say, "I don't know if I'm ready for that. I don't know. I'm nervous." You want to tell me that those people didn't get saved. No, it doesn't say, "Come to church and thou shalt be saved." It doesn't say, "Get baptized and thou shalt be saved." It says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
You know what? Just here's the proof. In Jesus' ministry, He had multitudes and multitudes saved. The Bible talks about thousands and thousands and thousands of people being saved through the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus. How many people were in the early church in Acts chapter 1? 120, so 4 years of ministry, 6 months of John the Baptist, 3-1/2 years of Jesus and His 12 Disciples that were full time, okay, so we have 13 full-time preachers and by they way, these guys weren't just average preachers were they? Jesus, Peter, James, John. These are the 12 Disciples. These guys are like, "We've forsaken all and followed You. Night and day we're going soul winning. We're preaching the gospel. We're going to every town and village. We're preaching," to the point where Jesus worked so hard in those 3-1/2 years they said He's crazy. He's beside Himself. They're trying to grab Jesus and say, "You need to eat something. You need to rest. You need to take it easy." In 4 years, how many members showed up on Wednesday night, as it were? 120, the core of the church was 120 people in Acts chapter 1.
Excuse me if I think it's pretty reasonable after 10 years of soul winning, I'm not Jesus, I'm not Peter. I'm not John. I don't think you're James. I don't see Andrew here, but yet, to have a few hundred people as the core of the church 10 years later, that's because we're not as cool as Jesus and the 12 Disciples and we don't have 13 full-time guys doing it. Hello. You see how people have such a weird, unreasonable expectation that oh, every person you get ... I guess what they would say then is that Jesus and John the Baptist only had 120 people saved because that's the only people who were actually in the church. That's what I've heard these fools say. I've heard independent fundamental Baptists say, "Well, if they had this many people saved, but this many came and got baptized and joined the church and continued in the church, that's how many people they actually got saved."
Then you're saying that John the Baptist baptized thousands of unsaved people. Jesus baptized thousands of unsaved people. Basically, the whole ministry was a joke then. What kind of nonsense is that? We need to understand the fact that 9 out of 10 people that you talk to aren't even going to say thank you. They're not even going to walk up to you and say thanks, let alone join a church, let alone serve God for the rest of their lives. You see, there are many people today who believe on Jesus Christ and they want that free gift, right, but they don't want to do the work. They're still saved because thank God His grace is sufficient and if they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be saved.
The Bible teaches that there will be many people who are saved where all their works are burned and they don't get any rewards. Those who are faithful are going to be rewarded greatly and we're going to rule and reign with Christ, but those who get saved, even if they don't get any rewards, I'd rather be the bottom rung in Heaven than to be the top dog in Hell. Think about that. Leprosy tonight, it pictures sin, and thank God the deliverance from sin, the salvation from sin, comes through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank You so much Lord for these lessons about leprosy in the Bible. First of all, we learned about the contagious nature of it. We learned about the fact that it slowly will eat away at us, destroy us. It'll make us desensitized and we won't even realize how harmful it is until it's too late. It's a death sentence and the wages of sin is death and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death, but Lord, thank You so much for salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ and thank You for the fact that we have the cleansing and healing. Not just a physical cleansing because our body is going to pass away anyway, but rather a spiritual cleansing, Lord, from our sins.
God, thank You for the fact that one day, those who are ill with this disease, there are some people today who have leprosy and also just any other physical diseases or ailments of the body, thank You so much Lord that one day they will receive a glorified body if they believed on You. You will not only have healed the soul, but eventually, You will heal the body, Lord, and that basically, in the resurrection, they will have a fresh, clean body, Lord, for all eternity. Thank You for all these things. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.