Summary: Sermon compares the spiritual journey of Naaman with that of modern men who would come to God.
A GREAT MAN . . . A LEPER
A SUCCESSFUL MAN . . . A SINNER
What if I told you that you could be set free from this prison today, that you could have all the money, land, and possessions the world had to offer–but there would be one catch. You would be alone–there would be nobody else on the planet. Would you do accept it? While some might be tempted to take the offer, most would say, “What is the point of having great wealth if there is no one to share it with?” The truth is that you can have everything and still have no future. So, how can we guarantee our future? The story of Naaman shows us the way. This man was rich in many ways. He had power. He was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He had reputation–a great name –because of his many victories in battle. He had courage and confidence–he was a valiant and expert soldier. What more could a person want? Naaman had all this, yet he was the most pathetic man alive, for he also had leprosy. There was no cure. It was painful disease that led to a slow, ugly death sentence. Additionally, it was shameful. In biblical times leprosy was often equated with sin. It was seen as a dirty disease Naaman hid it.
The good news is that Naaman found true wealth through gospel, through sound spiritual encouragement, and through humility. First, the gospel–or Good News–for him was that the man of God could heal his disease. His wife’s servant girl said that there was a prophet in her home country who could do so. When he went to the prophet, however, he was received without the normal honor that he was accustomed to. Then the prophet told him that he must dip himself in the muddy river Jordan seven times. How humiliating! The great warrior was being reduced to bathing in a dirty little stream. The general was offended, and prepared to leave. Just in time, however, his servant gave him some much needed spiritual encouragement. He told Naaman that he should do what the prophet asked, because no matter what, he still had leprosy. Truth and desperation are powerful partners! He wished there was a more noble way to be healed, but none was being offered. So, in humility, Naaman dipped in the muddy river Jordan seven times, and came out looking better than our most expensive twenty-first century plastic surgeons could make a perfectly healthy person appear.
Naaman’s story could be retold in the lives of most Christians. We go from riches to rags to riches. We convince ourselves we are successful. Perhaps we have a beautiful caring wife, adorable children, and meaningful work. We have friends who admire us, and perhaps even envy us. We travel through our lives with a certain confidence that we HAVE what it takes to DO what it takes. Nevertheless, we do wrong in God’s eyes, and face the fires of hell. The Bible says that all have sinned–that none do what is right before the Almighty. If we are honest, we know that we have sinned. We have thought wicked thoughts. We have said wicked words. We have done wicked deeds. We are ashamed of our evil, and try to hide it. We say we are more good than evil. However, will you drink water because it is more clean than it is dirty? We say we are better than most people, but will you drink a poison because it is weaker than most others? We say that our sin is not so bad, yet God says the payment for sin is death. Then, we found hope through the gospel, through sound spiritual encouragement, and through humility. We heard the good news. God loves us and sent Jesus to die on our behalf–as payment for our sins. If we confess our sins and call upon Jesus to forgive us and to empower us to live for Him, God will honor our prayer. Then, we received sound spiritual encouragement. Family, friends, and other Christians kept offering us the gospel of salvation. Finally, we humbled ourselves and received the forgiveness and goodness of God. We asked Jesus to forgive our sins because of his death. We asked him to help us live better lives, according to his commands. He honored our prayer, and today we are Christians.
If you are not a Christian today, will you follow Naaman, and the multitudes of Christians to have asked God to forgive them and empower them to live for him? If you are a Christian will you be one who shares the gospel, and who offers sound spiritual encouragement?