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CHRIST CAN MAKE YOU CLEAN!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, August 7, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean" (Mark 1:40-41).


The Scofield Study Bible says that "Leprosy speaks of sin as (1) in the blood; (2) becoming overt in loathsome ways; (3) incurable by human means" (note on Leviticus 13:3). The Jews were commanded not to touch a leper. This man had been cut off from his relatives, and had lived a solitary life. No one came near him. He walked alone through the streets crying, "Unclean. Unclean."

That is a picture, a type, of what sin does to a person. Sin makes you unclean in the sight of God. Sin cuts you off from God. Sin cuts you off from the communion and life of the local church. Oh, you may come to church, but you cannot enter in to its full communion. You are always "outside." You don't really belong to the people of God, and you know it, deep inside. You are with God's people on Sunday and on other occasions, but somehow, no matter how long you have been coming to church, you are not "of it." You still feel like an outsider. That's what the leprosy of sin does to you.

And when you start to pray, there is always a tendency in your heart to think that God will not hear you. Sin has cut you off from full communion with God. You cannot join in hearty prayer with God's people. You are alone, in the leprosy of your sin. "Leprosy speaks of sin as in the blood…incurable by human means."

And so, you came to church again this morning. But in your heart the words of a leper cry out, "Unclean! Unclean!"

"And the leper in whom the plague is…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" (Leviticus 13:45-46).

That was the situation this leper was in - cut off from God and man. Is there someone here this morning who feels like that? Do you sense that you are still not really a part of this church? Do you feel that you are still far away from God? Are you aware of the awful leprosy of sin within you, the depravity of your very nature, defiled and ruined by sin? If you have felt any of that, then come and learn how this leper was cleansed, and perhaps God will grant you the faith to follow his example and be cleansed yourself. What did this leper do? What were his intents and actions?

I. First, the leper was eager to be cleansed by Jesus.

Look at verse 40.

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him…" (Mark 1:40).

Look up, please. The leper came to Jesus and begged Him on his knees. This shows that if you want mercy and cleansing from Christ, you too must be very eager and earnest.

Many people who are still asleep in sin try to "get saved" by merely mouthing the words, "I want to be saved." But they are not earnest about it. They don't throw themselves into it. Their concern is aroused when they hear a sermon on sin and judgment, but the feeling soon leaves them, and their minds quickly wander away to other things. People in this state do not get converted. Jesus said,

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24).

When I speak to unawakened people after the sermon, I usually ask them a question, "What do you want Jesus to do for you today?" I often hear them answer with a question mark at the end. They say, "To forgive my sins?" They say it with a question mark at the end, as if to say, "Is that the right answer?"

The problem they have is that the awfulness of their situation has not gripped them. They don't feel the horror of their leprously sinful condition. There is little I can say or do that will help them while they are in this listless, indifferent, unconcerned state. I let them go, hoping and praying for the Spirit of God to pierce their hearts and burden them with sin. I often give them a piece of literature and simply let them go, praying that the next time I speak with them, they will see their need.

See their need! That's what is necessary! This leper certainly saw his need - and was deeply troubled by it. He knew he was a lost leper, and he knew he had no hope apart from the mercy of Christ.

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him [begging Him], and kneeling down to him…" (Mark 1:40).

This man was serious. Are you? This man knew he was ruined and hopelessly plagued with the leprosy of sin. Do you know that? This man was eager, striving to be cleansed by Jesus. Does that describe you? If you have feelings like that, perhaps today you will be cleansed by Jesus. If not, then this will be just another sermon that you hear and then forget about.

II. Second, the leper believed that it was possible to be cleansed by Jesus.

Yes! He believed it was possible! He really believed that Jesus could cleanse him. Look again at verse 40.

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" (Mark 1:40).

"If you are willing, you can make me clean." He believed that Christ could cleanse him. Do you believe that? Or is it just a theory you have heard people say in church?

Last week a man wrote to me and said he wanted to be removed from our mailing list of sermons. He was angry with me for saying that John MacArthur is wrong when he says there is no Blood today. This man got so angry with me that he called me "irresponsible," "ignorant" and "pigheaded." Perhaps I have been irresponsible in some things I have said. I am sure that I am ignorant of much. And I may very well be "pigheaded" on some things. But it is not irresponsible to tell sinners that "There is a fountain filled with blood…And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains." That is not irresponsible. And it is not ignorant to believe the Bible when it says,

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
     (I John 1:7).

There is nothing ignorant about believing and preaching that - for it is the Word of God! And I don't believe that it is pigheaded to insist that the Blood of Christ

"speaketh" (Hebrews 12:24).

Blood that was never glorified, Blood that corrupted on the earth, Blood that perished hundreds of years ago does not yet speak! But the Blood of Jesus "speaketh" (Hebrews 12:24). I do not think it is pigheaded to insist that Christ's Blood "speaketh," because the Bible says it does (Hebrews 12:24). And what does Christ's Blood speak? It speaks peace and mercy to those who come to Jesus! It speaks salvation and cleansing from all sin to those who come to Christ by faith!

If I am called "irresponsible, ignorant and pigheaded" for proclaiming life and cleansing by the Saviour's Blood, so be it. I will wear those charges as a badge of honor. The Pope of Rome himself called Luther "pigheaded" for proclaiming salvation through Christ's Blood alone. I will count it an honor and a rare privilege to stand with the Reformer, pigheaded to the end, stubbornly defending the ever-living, totally efficacious Blood of Christ Jesus!

But there is a good ending to this little story. I am happy to say that this man later wrote again to me and retracted what he said and apologized. I am glad that happened. I accept his apology. Yet I cannot change what I believe about the Blood of Christ.

Ah, this leper was no unbelieving skeptic when it came to cleansing. Though his knowledge may have been limited concerning the Blood, he certainly knew that Jesus could cleanse him. He was sure of it! There was no theological confusion. There was no doubt in this man's mind. See how boldly he speaks,

"If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" (Mark 1:40).

Do you believe that Christ can cleanse you? Do you believe that it is possible for you to be cleansed from sin by Him? Do you believe that Christ can do this for you? Then why do you wait?

"Ah," you may say, "but I am not sufficiently convicted of sin." This is a mistake. All that is required is to "feel your need of Him" ("Come, Ye Sinners," by Joseph Hart, 1759). This man felt his need for Jesus. Do you feel that you need Christ to cleanse you? Then nothing more is needed! Come to Jesus and He will cleanse you!

III. Third, the leper's faith in Jesus was rewarded.

Let us stand and read verses 41 and 42 aloud.

"And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed" (Mark 1:41-42).

You may be seated.

When the leper said, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean," the heart of Christ was "moved with compassion" toward him. As Spurgeon put it,

The Greek word here used…expresses a stirring of the entire manhood, a commotion in all the inward parts…The Saviour was greatly moved…No sooner was our Lord Jesus thus moved than out went his hand, and he touched the man and healed him immediately. It did not require a long time for the working of the cure; but the leper's blood was cooled and cleansed in a single second (C. H. Spurgeon, "The Lord and the Leper," The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1974 reprint, volume XXXIV, p. 95).

Christ "put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed" (Mark 1:41-42).

The very moment that you come to Jesus, He will touch you and your sin will be gone forever. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

There is a tremendous psychological side to this miracle. One doesn't touch a leper. This man hadn't been touched in many years. Nor had he been able to touch anyone. I imagine his family brought out the food and drink for him, left it, and after they had retired he would come up and get it. He probably could wave to them, but he could never come to them again, never hold them in his arms, never touch them. But now the Lord touches this man, and He cleanses him! (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, volume IV, page 166).

In a popular song, Bill Gaither spoke of this when he wrote the song Mr. Griffith sang a moment ago.  

Shackled by a heavy burden, 'Neath a load of guilt and shame,
Then the hand of Jesus touched me, And I am no longer the same.
He touched me, Oh, He touched me,
And oh, the joy that floods my soul.
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.
   ("He Touched Me" by Bill Gaither, 1963).

The moment that you come to Jesus by faith, He will touch you, and cleanse you from all sin and guilt. He died on the Cross to pay for thy sin. He rose from the dead to give thee life.

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
     (I John 1:7).

Come to Jesus. Believe on Him. In that moment He will make you clean.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 5:12-16.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"He Touched Me" (by Bill Gaither, 1963).


THE OUTLINE OF

CHRIST CAN MAKE YOU CLEAN!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean" (Mark 1:40-41).

(Leviticus 13:45-46)

I.   The leper was eager to be cleansed by Jesus, Mark 1:40a;
Luke 13:24.

II.  The leper believed that it was possible to be cleansed by Jesus,
Mark 1:40b; I John 1:7; Hebrews 12:24.

III. The leper's faith in Jesus was rewarded, Mark 1:41-42;
I John 1:7.