A Soldier’s Story
Luke 7:1-10 "A Soldier’s Story"
(This sermon emphasizes the phrase "Say the Word" in each point. This person is the last person we would expect the Master to marvel at as he was a Roman occupying Israel. I have used this message on Veteran's Day and gave thanks for his faith)
This 3-word phrase is profound and carries important implications to how we relate to God.
I. “Say the Word”—Implies we are limited. We have a great need.
• We can all have commendable Lifestyle:
3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
• We all have a frail Condition:
Everything is OK. In a minutes time! Things change.
v. 2 Your servant is sick and about to die,
• We all have a humble Estate:
Gentile…v.6 “Don’t deserve for you to come under my roof.”
ILL: Good Firemen
The Good, commendable firefighters in Hallandale, Florida, returned from an emergency call to discover their own frailty. They forgot to turn off a burner on the firehouse stove that was heating oil for fried potatoes. The result was a blaze that caused ten thousand dollars of damage. The Chief said, "We tell people not to do that kind of stuff, but then, we all make mistakes." Their powerful, self-righteous estate now became a humble estate. In a moments time your world can change.
X—“not worthy” (he was the last one we would expect to have amazing faith.)
Romans 7: 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
TR: We are good people, but we are limited. Frail. Lacking – we have a great need.
Say the word doesn’t only imply our own need but points to something else…
II. “Say the Word”—Implies how unlimited God is. He is our great provider.
God is sovereign!
• Omnipotent—He CAN heal. All Powerful—Greater than anything. Above everything. Involved at any level with anything. "potent"
Bruce Almighty—6 fingers!
• Omnipresent—supersedes distance & space.
• Omniscient—Knows anything there is to know about anything and everything (the word 'science' is in there)
ILL: There is a story that St. Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity. Then he saw a boy in front of him who had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again and bringing some water to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole.” “That is impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made” said St. Augustine. The boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain.”
The story concludes by saying that the boy vanished because St. Augustine had been talking to an angel.
We try to comprehend this vast, great, all-powerful, all-knowing, omniscient God into our finite. brains. Augustine changed…instead of trying to comprehend God into his tiny brain he expanded his small brain to comprehend God and Augistine put one of the greatest footprints for humanity!
Say the word implies how unlimited God is!
O—Only one completely sovereign—he recognized that!
TR: Once we see how limited we are, and how unlimited God is, what we do about it?
III. “Say the Word”—Implies balance.
We can reconcile our limitations with God’s lack of limitations. It’s an openness to God’s will!
• We can relate well to God: “I tell this one…”
• Allow God to relate well to us: The healing (could have been a lack of healing)
He’s going to do what he is going to do and we need to seek his will.
Job—best example. Best in show is Joseph in the OT. “Say the word” says HE IS IN CONTROL!!!
• Celebrate of Faith: Jesus praised his faith (the last one we would expect—Nicodemus seems like he would be the one... / the other Jesus publicly praised was the Syrophonecian woman)
Seeking the Lord’s will balances my limitations with God unlimited sovereignty – it says, “Lord, do with me as you will.
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.
17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
Don’t miss the will of God – we have a great need and the Lord has great answers!
ILL: A bishop over a century ago pronounced from his pulpit and in the periodical he edited that heavier-than-air flight was both impossible and contrary to the will of God.
What was ironic is Bishop Wright had two sons, Orville and Wilbur!
Wright was wrong. Sure of himself, but wrong. He missed from his own household that man is limited and God is unlimited and together we can solve many problems. This Centurion got it and we can get it too ... "Say the Word".
Jesus is not only ready and willing but he is able to be the Messiah to the world!
Wisdom from the Serenity Prayer. Many self-help groups use this and I don't now why the church doesn't use it more...
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. (our limitations)
Courage to change the things I can. (He is unlimited)
Wisdom to know the difference. (God’s will)