2 Kings 5:1-19 (Part 2) – It’s Really…or Should Be…Quite Simple

Posted: April 25, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 5:1-19 (Part 2 of 4)

The Healing of Naaman

First off, let me say that I understand that, in large churches, you have to understand organizational theory. You have to understand staff synergy. You have to understand ways of reaching broad scopes of people. There are so many complexities that go into the making, maintaining and growing of a large church. And there are so truly valuable lessons that all pastors can learn from those who have had a part to play in the growth of the largest churches in America. We can learn valuable lessons for our churches of smaller size from the mistakes and the victories of these megachurch leaders.

There are often seminars on church growth where the experts of the most successful large churches share their ideas on what has worked for them. There are books and magazine articles and websites dedicated to how to help a pastor grow his church. It can be mind-boggling at times. What to read? Who to listen to? Things to remember. Growth ideas to implement, but which one? Following the latest trends of what’s cool in this new age of modern church, but which one? Which megachurch pastor’s books should you read – Tony Evans? Andy Stanley? Tim Keller? John Piper? Charles Swindoll? Bill Hybels? Rick Warren? Stephen Furtick? Or Perry Noble? Just to name a few. It can be just mind blowing.

One thing that we must never forget regardless of the size of our church, large or small, megachurch or small family church, it’s gotta always be about Jesus. We can make church itself overly complicated with applying this strategy or that strategy or following this trend or that trend. However, the central focus can never be anything else other than Jesus Christ. It is really very simple. Jesus said it Himself. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor with the same kind of unconditional love that we love ourselves.

Let us never forget that the story is quite simple. We are born into sin from our parents who can trace their sinful nature all the way back to Adam and Eve. We are born with the fleshly propensity for sin. It is a 100% probability that we will sin after we are born. When we commit that very first sin, we are condemned forever by that one sin. It is like dropping a drop of ink into clear water. It is forever changed and cannot be changed back after that one drop of ink enters the water. Add to that, the boatload of sins that we commit in a lifetime, on our own merits before the Righteous Judge that is God, we do not have any defense. We cannot claim that the first sin He presents to us as evidence against us was a one time thing. Our glass of water has so many drops of ink in it that it is pitch black. We are habitual sinners, habitual criminals before a Judge who has our record in front of Him. We can do no amount of good things that can change our glass of water back to clear water after the ink is in it. We need intervention and in walks Jesus into the courtroom of the Righteous Judge and tells His Father that He personally has paid the price for our sins. There is no other way to be released from our sentence from our lifetime of sins other than through the pardon offered us through Jesus Christ. He is the One who has already paid the penalty for our sins. It is only through Him.

Thus, everything should be about Him. Our strategies, our trends, the latest thing, the latest book, the latest seminar. All of it should be about reaching people with the message of Jesus Christ. That message is the Good News. The Good News is that we, as Christians, are honest about the human condition. We cannot improve ourselves in the absence of Jesus Christ and His sending of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. We recognize that we are condemned sinners in the absence of Jesus Christ. It is the simplest message of all. We can have all the growth strategies we want. We can have all the latest greatest trends to follow. But none of it matters if it is not about Jesus Christ first. The simple message of Jesus Christ. Let us not overcomplicate it. It always should be based on the simple message – we are sinners and Jesus Christ is the cure. Everything. All of it. Begins and ends with Jesus Christ. When we forget the simplicity of the gospel message, we can easily make being Christian a very complicated thing. When we forget the simplicity of the gospel message, we can make church a very complicated thing. Thank God, my church is one that takes the view that it is very simple – it’s all about Jesus. If it ain’t about leading people to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, we are not going to do it. We are not trendy. We just want it to be about Jesus.

With that idea in mind, let’s read the passage, 2 Kings 5:1-19, now, and see how Naaman’s response to the simplicity is kind of like how we are about being Christians at times and how are about being the church at times:

5 The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.[a]

2 At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. 3 One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”

4 So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. 5 “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold,[b] and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”

7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”

8 But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir,[c] if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

15 Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused.

17 Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord. 18 However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing: When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again.

In this passage, we see that Naaman left in a rage because the cure for his disease seemed too simple. He was a hero and he expected a heroic cure. Full of pride and self-will, Naaman could not accept the simple cure of faith. Sometimes, people react to God’s offer of forgiveness in the same way. Just to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who rose from the dead somehow doesn’t seem significant enough to bring eternal life. To obey God’s commands does not seem heroic enough. What Naaman had to do to have his leprosy washed away is similar to what must do to have our sin washed away – humbly accept God’s mercy. Let us remember that it is by faith we are saved through the grace offered to us through Jesus Christ at the cross. We can’t do enough good things to deserve heaven. We only get there through grace.

Let us be a people who measures everything we do by whether it honors Jesus, leads people to Jesus, grows them deeper in their relationship with Jesus. Let’s always keep it simple. Let’s always let it be about Jesus first before it’s anything else. Let us declare that if it is not about giving glory to Jesus Christ through leading people to Him or growing people deeper in Him, we will not do it.

Amen and Amen.

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