Reach Out, Reach Out and Touch Someone

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-6

A second post is in order for this short passage. Yesterday I referred to the physical touch but today is a little different.

We have the ability to “touch lives” in a lot of different ways.

When you care about people, you touch them.
When you pray over them, you touch them.
When you listen to them spill their guts late at night, you are touching them – even if you said little in response.

We have as many ways of touching others as there are people. While the physical touch is important, in this hyper-vigilant society we find ourselves in, touching others in non-physical ways makes even more sense.

Touching them in your own way is how you love that person.

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Jesus Touched the Man

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-6

The leper was healed, but the bigger story within this story was that Jesus actually touched him to do it. The religious leaders of the day would have lambasted his irresponsibility. How could a mere man touch a leper and not be “unclean” himself.

Jesus touched this man before there were plastic gloves and anti-bacterial soap or alcohol wipes.

Jesus touched the man when no one else would.

Jesus touched a man who would otherwise have been considered a lost cause.

His example for us is clear.

Jesus was not fearful of diseases, leprosy, or sickness. He was not afraid to get into people’s space and actually touch them, to physically touch them.

Unfortunately the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has put physical touch on the back burner to the extreme. That’s sad because everyone needs to be touched.

This leper certainly needed it.

You will have opportunity to touch people this week. Do it. Go out of your way to do it. You need it; others you know need it.

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Your Current Foundation

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. Matthew 7:24-29

The last few verses of chapter 7 is a story often told to children. It teaches a powerful lesson for children and adults alike.

Certainly we considered the question when we first believed, but it applies to us today as well.

We have a foundation, but what now?

  • What are we building in our lives?
  • Are we content to put in 8 at work, veg in front of the TV or computer at night and do it all over again the next day?
  • What are you building into other people’s lives?
  • Are you going out of your way to help others when you’re tired and would rather be doing something else?
  • Are you making the most of each moment of every day in this short life you have?

These questions I ask are pointed my way first.

We have a solid foundation and reason to build our “houses” to be great and beautiful structures, so what are we waiting for?

We’re not getting any younger.

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In Christ Alone

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23

Let’s be clear. Biblical salvation is through faith in Christ alone.

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

We can’t earn salvation nor can we work our way into it.

So what are these verses referring to?

In context with the previous passages, I believe Jesus is elaborating on the false teachings of the false preachers and prophets. Only Christ knows what’s in their hearts at the end of the day. While it may look flashy exercising demons or preaching in Jesus’ name, that really isn’t what matters.

The only people who will enter heaven are those who do the Father’s will. So even though the false teachers look like they should be in heaven based on what they’re doing, only what’s in the heart is all that matters.

Did they have faith in Christ?
Did they trust in Him alone for salvation?

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Fruit Inspectors

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-20

We do not have a shortage of false teachers and prophets in this world. In fact, as the Day of His Return nears, the Bible says there “will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” 2 Timothy 3:2.

It applies to lay church people as well as teachers, prophets, and speakers.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths 2 Timothy 4:3-4

So, those who teach and those who are absorbing the false teachers are prevalent and will probably always be that way.

But the prophets have the greater responsibility here since they are “gifted” speakers.

How are these people living?
What kind of accountability do they have?
Who are they accountable to?
Do they live extravagant lifestyles?
Do they have a string of ex-spouses that very few know about?
How do they treat those around them?
What do other well-respected Christians say about them?
Are they live a holy and godly life?

We may not be able to answer a few of these, but the answers to those we can get answers to will certainly be enough to inspect their fruit.

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