Summary: Epiphany 3(B) Love the Lord’s love. A servant girl proclaims this truth. A foreign leader hopes this is true. God’s prophet confirms this truth.
LOVE THE LORD’S LOVE (Outline)
January 27, 2008 -
EPIPHANY 3 -
INTRO: When we hear about leprosy our minds may recall the ten lepers whom Jesus healed in the Gospel of Luke. As the lepers went on their way they were healed. Only one returned to give thanks. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” At times we are like the other nine. We may fail to notice God’s great love for us. We may not appreciate God’s great love for us. Or we may not even be thankful for God’s great love for us. Today we want to look more closely at God’s great love for us. We want to come to a renewed appreciation and thankfulness for God’s great love for us and for the world. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved"(EPHESIANS 2:4,5). This is God’s great love.
We are saved by grace – God’s undeserved love – not by works. May our loving Lord and gracious God help us to
LOVE THE LORD’S LOVE.
I. A servant girl proclaims this truth.
II. A foreign leaders hopes this is true.
III. God’s prophet confirms this truth.
I. A SERVANT GIRL PROCLAIMS THIS TRUTH
A. Verse 1 describes Naaman as a great man of valor, a fighting commander, and a soldier.
1. Note: the Lord had given him victories. Note: he also had leprosy – he was a social outcast.
2. Verse 2 reveals that Naaman raided Israelite towns. He took prisoners from the survivors.
B. Verse 3. An Israelite, servant-girl, prisoner proclaims the truth that her Lord can and will help.
1. This girl in the house of her enemy points her masters to the Lord’s love and help.
2. The love of the Lord in her heart compels her to help others – even an enemy of Israel.
3. This young Jewish servant girl loved the Lord’s love! She proclaimed this love to others.
C. You, I, and every believer can certainly learn from such a bold, child-like faith. What a blessed example our loving Lord provides for our encouragement. It is this very example that Jesus tried, always, to show in his preaching and teaching during his earthly ministry. Jesus reminds us of our challenge to show God’s great love to others. "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you"(LUKE 6:27,28). It can be easy to pray for others. It is a bit harder to bless those who curse us. It becomes even harder to love and do good to those who hate us. All of these acts reveal the Lord’s love to and for those who truly need to see it.
D. Now do not think that the Lord Jesus would ask us to do such great things on our own. No one is able to do anything Christ-like except that Christ is alive in him or her. By grace God has changed our sin-darkened hearts of stone into faith-filled hearts of flesh. In a hostile world God gives us the peace that the world cannot give. God has shown us his great love through his Son, our Savior. Our lives are changed --- forever. "For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again"(2 CORINTHIANS 5:14,15). How great is God’s love for us!
LOVE THE LORD’S LOVE.
The servant girl proclaims this truth.
The Lord’s love is strong, healing.
II. A FOREIGN LEADER HOPES THIS IS TRUE
A. Verses 4,5 tell of the excitement of Naaman to be cured of his leprosy. His king grants permission.
1. Naaman goes to Israel with great wealth (750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold).
2. He expects to buy the Lord’s healing from his prophet.
B. Verses 6,7. The king of Israel is not happy with the letter from the king of Aram.
1. Israel’s King Joram does not believe the Lord can help. Thankfully Elisha knows better, v. 8.
2. Naaman’s dashed hopes are now lifted again, verse 9. Naaman hopes the prophet can help.
C. Naaman’s hopes were placed on the physical. His trust was in the wealth and power that he had. He thought to buy the healing. We are not much different at times. Our world teaches that those things we can see and feel and touch are important. We are taught that the experts have all the answers. Our nation today is often in the grip of fear because the experts keep insisting that the sky is falling. At times we may be influenced to make decisions reflecting our fear of the unknown rather than deciding what glorifies God. We are still sinful flesh and blood. "This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD’"(JEREMIAH 17:5). Our new man wages the battle against our old man. We are reminded to love the Lord’s love.