Summary: The church must be able to distinguish between walking according to the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
April 18, 2010
Text: 2 Kings 5:1-19
Subject: Accepting the Work of God
Title: Getting the Flesh Out of the Way
One of the great sermon topics of these days is the subject of spiritual warfare. A lot of people like to talk about it, but I wonder if we really understand everything we need to understand about it. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus saying, 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The battle that we engage in on a daily basis is not a battle against other humans, though normally we end up in a struggle against people. Our battle is against what is happening in the spirit realm that causes people to say or do things against us, or, it may be the enemy taking direct aim at your life through sickness, finances, relationships, etc. The important question is not as much of whom we are fighting against as much as it is how we are fighting the battle.
When I was young I knew a lot of men who were fighters. Every one of them thought that they were the toughest and strongest of them all. Little did they know that there was always one who was a little tougher just waiting to set them in their place. There was a boy in our class in high school who was quite intimidating. He was a fighter and everyone knew it. He fought just to be fighting. Everyone was afraid of him. That all changed one day when this big bully was looking to pick a fight with a quiet, reserved sophomore in PE class. This boy was slender built and never caused a problem. But, when the bully became aggressive the younger boy hit him one time and it was all over. He was out like a light. I later learned that this boy had been taking self-defense lessons so that when the time arose, he knew how to take care of himself. You see, it wasn’t him as much as it was what he had learned that was manifesting itself through him.
I want to share with you today the story of Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army. In this story we want to uncover the secret of being able to win a spiritual battle that manifests itself in the flesh. In order to do that we must learn to get our flesh out of the way.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. A CONTRAST IN PEOPLE In verse 1 and 2 we are introduced to two very different people. The first is Naaman. He is the mighty commander of the armed forces for the king of Aram. In just one verse of scripture we learn as much as we need to know about him. 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. He second person mentioned is a polar opposite of the great battle tested general. She is a little Jewish girl who had been taken from her family in a raid conducted by the soldiers under Naaman’s command. 2Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. Though they are vastly different – one a commander, the other a slave, they have a common bond that may be overlooked. Both of them have had their lives taken away from them by a powerful enemy. Many of you have experienced the same thing. The enemy of your soul has come to attack you and brought sickness, financial distress, emotional dysfunction, family disorder or general chaos to your life because that is just what he does. He has come to steal kill and destroy you and every part of your life. It’s not anything new. Since the fall of Adam satan has been at work to bring darkness into a once perfect but now much less than perfect world. Romans 5:12, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men … As we look at the differences between Naaman and the servant girl I want you to see this. Naaman was a valiant soldier… I can picture him coming up through the ranks in the army, making a name for himself at every level of command he was placed in. But the way the passage reads leads me to think that Naaman, though he was a valiant soldier, had now come up against an enemy he couldn’t defeat. He had resigned himself to the cold hard facts. He had leprosy and there wasn’t anything he could do about it but accept it as a way of life and give in to it. However, the little girl who served his wife, the one who had every reason to be dejected and sullen – who had every reason to hate her captors - the one who had been taken from her parents – she saw things with different eyes. Naaman was looking at his condition and saw no hope. The little girl saw his condition (she paid no attention to her own situation) and spoke out in faith. It would have been very easy for her to respond to his disease by allowing her flesh to dictate what she said or did. But she refused to walk according to the flesh. 3She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” The greatest first step for anyone to take when the enemy is on the attack is to do just what this little girl did – she responded by faith. Look at the differences between Naaman and the girl. He was a mighty warrior, she was a little girl; he was her master, she was his slave; he was the victor, she was the victim; but when it comes down to what really matters, he walked by sight and she walked by faith. If only he would go and see Elisha, God would do a mighty miracle for him. She didn’t entertain any doubt. She knew what God was able to do through His prophet.