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Touch of Christ

When we surrender to God, our hands become his.

I would like to begin by asking you to look at your hand for a moment. Maybe it has been a while since you have looked at it. Why don't you get reacquainted? Look at the back of your hand. Look at the palm. Look at the fingers. Rub your thumb over the knuckles. What if someone were to film a documentary on your hand? What would the film tell us?

I suppose the film would begin showing an infant's fist, then a of a tiny hand wrapped around Mommy's finger. Then what? Holding onto a chair as we learn to stand, or maybe handling a spoon as we learn to eat. We wouldn't be far into the feature before we would see your hand showing affection, reaching up to touch Daddy's cheek or reaching out to pet a puppy or a kitty. Nor would it be too long before we see the hand exhibiting aggression, grabbing a toy or pushing baby brother away. All of us learn early that the hand is suited for more than just basic provision. It's suited for expression. The same hand can help or hurt, encourage or discourage, help someone up or push someone down.

Were we to show this documentary to your friends, chances are you'd be proud of some of your hand's moments. Maybe the moment you put a ring on her finger, the moment you doctored a wound, the moment that you folded your hands in prayer, or the moment that you wiped the perspiration from the brow of someone in a hospital bed. You'd be proud of some moments. But wouldn't each of us be embarrassed about other moments?

Then there have been times when our hands have been more accusing than encouraging, more abusive than helpful, more taking than giving. Leave them unbridled and unmanaged and they, like the tongue, can be weapons of destruction and lust. But let them be submitted to ...

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Max Lucado is an author and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

Our hands are suited for expression.

Illustration: Imagine a documentary showed your hands at work through your lifetime.

-Illustration: Once when Lucado was visiting an elderly woman's home in order to help plan her husband's funeral, he saw upon the wall several notes that he had written to the woman's late husband. The notes had touched him deeply, unbeknownst to Lucado.

The kind hand of Christ changes lives, as in the story of the leper in Matthew 8.

I. For five years, no one touched me.

Illustration: Lucado imagines what the leper in Matthew 8 may have experienced.

Throughout Scripture, the leper is representative of the ultimate outcast, banished to a leper colony.

Illustration: Lucado imagines how the leper's friends and community retreated from him in horror when they learned he was diseased.

Illustration: Lucado relates how one Sunday basketball player David Robinson showed up at the church and the congregation flocked him, seeking his autograph. By contrast, in the next service a homeless man sat in the front of the sanctuary, and no line formed to greet him.

II. Then Jesus drew near and touched me.

Illustration: The leper walked to his village and spied his daughter lingering as the other children fled at the sight of him, which gave him the courage to approach Jesus.

When the leper approached Jesus to heal him, once again the others scattered, but Jesus lovingly touched the man and verbally healed him.

-Illustration: When St. Francis of Assisi left his city and worldly wealth behind, he embraced a leper on the side of the road, whom he later concluded was really Jesus in disguise. As Jesus said, "For whatever you've done for the least of these … you've done also for me."

Conclusion

A godly touch is powerful.

-Illustration: One day Lucado saw his three daughters playing together, a rarity because of their age differences, and his heart jumped. He thought that God must feel the same way when he sees his children reaching out to each other.
-Illustration: When Lucado was 19 and a soon-to-be alcoholic, he felt God's touch one night on his shoulder and knew he was being forever changed.