2 Comments to “Restored and Made Clean”

  1. Donald McMahon
    July 29, 2019

    SERMON NOTES 7/28/19

    1) Mark 2:17 (NIV84) On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    2) What was Naaman’s biggest problem?

    3) How much does our healing cost us?

    4) Where do we find wisdom in this account?

    5) Obedience and submission: what of them?

    6) Was Naaman’s leprosy a blessing or a curse?

  2. Donald McMahon
    July 29, 2019

    “Restored and Made Clean” (2 Kings 5:1–15)(7.28.19)
    Before we read the scripture, let us look at the questions on the Sermon Notes page. These questions will prepare you for the revelation in God’s word.
    2 Kings 5:1–15 (NIV84) Naaman Healed of Leprosy
    5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
    2 Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
    4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
    7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
    8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
    11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
    13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
    15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.”
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: Restored and Made Clean
    By human standards, Naaman was a role model. He had everything to which a young man could aspire. He was powerful and popular. He had a very high profile position with lots of authority. He was brave and a victorious soldier. Naaman had connections of the highest caliber. Not only was he in favor with his king, but the Lord Jehovah had given him victory over the Israelites. Still, with all that going for him, this story signifies that there was a tragic flaw. You see, Naaman had leprosy and leprosy was an outward sign of an inward issue.
    The little Israelite girl spoke of a cure. The king of Aram wrote about a cure. The king of Israel cried out that he was not God and could not cure Naaman. In fact, Naaman himself expected a cure. But, Elisha never spoke about a cure even once.
    Elisha speaks about washing in the Jordan. Elisha speaks about Naaman being restored and made clean. Naaman’s servants echoed Elisha’s promise of cleansing and restoration. And the prophecy of the prophet of God was fulfilled. Naaman dipped himself in the Jordan seven times and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
    There is more going on than a disease being cured. In Mark 2:17 (NIV84) we read, On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Elisha’s message to the king of Israel was not, “Send Naaman to me to be cured.” His message was, “Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Yes, a real prophet of the one true God.
    Make no mistake, leprosy was a big deal. Leprosy was a long painful, disgusting, isolating journey to death. Your flesh would rot; it smelled awful; you were expelled from normal society. Your body parts would actually fall off: toes, fingers, nose, ears and more. The king of Israel, in anguish, asked, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life?” There was no cure for leprosy. It was a death sentence. God and God only could restore and make clean.
    It has been said that you can have everything in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. So, something has to be done or Naaman is doomed to a dismal death. What sets his cure in motion? The compassion and faith of a little girl.
    In contrast to the great Naaman, we have this nameless little Israelite girl. In a patriarchal culture, she is female. She is a foreigner. She is a slave, the booty of war. As the world measures things, she got the short end of the stick. But, she has at least two things that are more valuable than position or power. She has compassion and she has faith.
    Instead of celebrating that her captors were suffering, her heart is tender. She knows there is a prophet in Israel and she knows the God of Israel. Surely, she learned these things at the knee of her mother and on the lap of her loving father. No doubt, her family is broken hearted; but, Almighty God has placed her in a position to serve Him, her refuge and her fortress.
    The young captive girl from Israel tells her mistress about the prophet. We can safely assume that Naaman’s wife told him because he goes to the king of Aram with the news that a cure is possible through this prophet. Do not quickly pass this by. This scenario reveals how desperate the situation is for Naaman. On the basis of this young girl, Naaman and his king decide to take action.
    The king of Aram writes the king of Israel. A great treasure is gathered. An extensive wardrobe is assembled. Men, horses, and chariots are organized for a long trip based on the faith of this little girl. There may be a further insight. What made her claim credible? Did they hear her prayers? Did they see her peace and joy despite her circumstances?
    The king of Israel was quite distressed to receive Naaman and his letter of introduction. The Lord had already given victory to Aram over Israel. God’s chosen people had been defeated. Surely this was the rod of correction. Often Yahweh used other nations to discipline His people. The king of Israel sees this as a test. Everyone knows that only God can kill and bring back to life.
    Leprosy was death. The wages of sin are death. Jesus came for the sinners. Jesus came to heal the sick. Jesus came to bring back to life. It was in Jesus’ resurrection that sin and death are conquered.
    Notice that the king of Israel is self-centered. He is fearful and insecure. It would appear that He is not walking with God. Does he not know Elisha? The little captive slave girl knew about Elisha but not the king of Israel? Maybe the king should have accompanied Naaman to the prophet’s home.
    So, Naaman and his entourage traveled to Elisha’s door. At first glance, it may look like Elisha is not being hospitable. He is not extending the common courtesy expected to be shown to a visiting dignitary. There are two reasons for this. Elisha wants to make sure that no credit for the cure goes to himself. And, Elisha is dealing not only with the leprosy, but the underlying issues of sin and faith.
    Elisha sends out his servant with a message, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” What? Are you kidding me? Naaman is mad. I traveled all this way. I went to your king. Don’t you know who I am? This is not the way prophets act where I come from.
    This man, this prophet, does not act in accordance with my expectations. He should have come out and stood before me. He should have called, he should have prayed, to his God. He should have waved his hands over this spot of leprosy and cured me. Naaman left. Naaman left in anger. He was more than angry; he turned and went off in a rage.
    Oh, from where you sit in your pew it is easy to condemn Naaman’s behavior. You can see that he is filled with pride, the king of sins. You can see that he has a temper. You have heard the end of the story. You are on this end of history so you know that the Lamb of God has come to take away the sin of the world.
    Isn’t Naaman like so many people in the world? Maybe not you, but I was Naaman. I created a god in my intellect and my heart. I put God in a box that I had created. For me to believe in you God, I must understand you. Lord you must act in accordance to my standards. The Lord sent servants to me to share their testimonies. I said, “Thanks; but, no thanks. I am glad for you; but, your God is not for me.” Oh, the foolishness of the human heart.
    “Okay,” Naaman says, “Let me get this straight. You want me to wash in the Jordan River? Have you seen the Jordan? It is dirty. In many places it is so shallow it will be hard to find a suitable place to bathe in. The rivers of Damascus, where I came from, are far superior.” Naaman looked upon the Jordan with disdain. According to human wisdom he was correct. He needed to see with eyes of faith and not with human vision.
    Again wisdom comes from an unlikely source, Naaman’s servants. They treat him with deference and tenderness. “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?” The servants make a great point. It is in our nature to want to accomplish. We want to contribute to our salvation. We, somehow, want to be worthy of God’s love and blessing.
    Scale the highest mountain. Swim the deepest sea. Go on a great pilgrimage. Submit in self-flagellation. Go in search of the Holy Grail. Slay a dragon. Yeah, sign me up! What? Believe in my heart and confess with my mouth in the Lord Jesus and I will be saved. Yes, ok; but, what else?
    Titus 3:5–7
    he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
    But the Jordan River? Yes, a humble river for a humble people. Crossing the Jordan we come into The Promised Land. This same Jordan was sufficient for John the Baptist to preach a baptism of repentance. This same Jordan was sufficient for Jesus, the Son of God, to be baptized. The heavens opened, the Spirit of God descended, appearing as a dove. And, the Father declared this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
    It does not seem that Naaman had even a mustard seed of faith, but the reason of his servants convinced him. Our God is not confined to any prescribed prescription in bringing his sons and daughters to faith. Naaman was led to faith through obedience. He went to the Jordan. He dipped himself in the Jordan as the man of God had directed and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
    Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 6 that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. He gives a long list of sins the wicked commit. Then in the 11th verse he says,
    “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
    Jesus answered in John 3:5–7
    “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ “
    Every single one of us needs to be restored. We need to be cleansed. We need to be made new, like a little child.
    Naaman came up out of the water that seventh time and he witnessed the work of the Almighty. Surely there is no God but the God of Israel. He no longer believed in many gods of the various nations. He believed there was one God over the whole world. And, he was grateful. He wanted to show his gratitude.
    It wasn’t until I studied this passage for several days that the Holy Spirit gave me this insight. Notice that when Naaman is talking about his expectations for his cure, he expected the prophet to “come out to him and stand.” After Naaman’s cure, he went back to the man of God and stood before him. This is a complete reversal. This is repentance. This is humility.
    Elisha could not receive a gift for the work of God. And, we can never repay God for the new life, the eternal life, with which he has gifted us. In return for God’s gift he only asks for our love with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength. That is all our Lord asks.
    God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name.
    I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name
    And in Jesus’ name I come to you
    To share his love as he told me to.
    He said ‘Freely, freely you have received;
    freely, freely give.
    Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live.
    Yes, freely, freely.
    Romans 6:3–5
    Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
    The muddy and murky water of the Jordan can surely represent the reality of this life. God works in ways that we do not understand. Salvation through the Gospel is too simple. Our natural minds resist it. What great deed must I accomplish to receive God’s blessing? None. NONE. Simply believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. But do not be mistaken. This is no magical incantation. This confession of faith is not merely intellectual concession. Our expression of faith, if made in earnest, is the initiation of transformation, the impetus for metamorphous.
    All pow’r is giv’n in Jesus’ name
    in earth and heav’n in jesus name
    And in Jesus’ name I come to you
    To share his pow’r as he told me to.
    He said ‘Freely, freely you have received;
    freely, freely give.
    Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live.
    Yes, freely, freely.
    Good, gracious, and loving Lord, let me live into my baptism today. I claim my place in your family, a child of God the Father. I claim the freedom found in Christ’s victory over sin and death. I have died with Jesus and the power that raised Jesus from the dead lives within me. Holy Spirit, I submit to your voice as my guiding light. In Jesus’ name I pray,
    Amen and amen.


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