Summary: This sermon is based on the 4 lepers in 2 Kings 7 & calls Christians to shift their focus & start telling others about the "treasure" that is found in Christ.
“THE IMPACT OF THE SUPER BOWL” 2 Kings 7:3-11
INTRO – Today in New Orleans, there are thousands & thousands of people who have gathered there to watch 2 football teams, the Baltimore Ravens & the SF 49ers battle it out for the NFL national championship. Millions of dollars have been spent on advertising…millions of dollars paid to players & coaches…millions of dollars will be spent on tickets, hotel rooms, food, beer, & anything & everything else that goes w/ that event. It’s an annual event that has been going on since 1967 & has become a national holiday of sorts. “Super Bowl Sunday” is the 2nd largest food-consumption day of the year, surpassed only by Thanksgiving Day. It also is the most watched TV broadcast in the US each year, & Super Bowl 35 in 2011 had the largest TV viewing audience in US history w/ over 111 million viewers. The TV commercials have become a huge part of the Super Bowl experience, as well as the halftime show w/ celebrities & top-name musicians participating every year.
And within the shadow of the Mercedes Benz Superdome where the Super Bowl will be played, there are thousands of people living in poverty. With a homeless population of nearly 7,000 people, New Orleans has the 2nd largest homeless population in the nation. There are tons & tons of needy, broken, lost people in this city. It is full of immorality, decadence, voodoo, demonic cultic & occultic activity. It is crime-ridden, corruption-ridden, & craziness-ridden! It led the nation in murders last year, which was the 6th year in a row that it has done so, & has recently had the title of “Murder City.” It is known for wild partying & uninhibited depravity, especially during Mardi Gras. It’s a desperately needy, desperately dark place.
But New Orleans isn’t the only place that is desperately needy & desperately dark. It isn’t the only place where there are multitudes of lost & hurting people. They’re right here in Byram…Jackson…Raymond…Terry…Clinton…Florence. The level of pain & misery in people’s lives seems to be at epidemic proportions these days. The depth of heartache is deeper than anyone has ever seen before. The lostness of our communities & nation is so huge. People all around us are looking for answers & direction for their lives. The emptiness of their hearts is staggering & the eternity they are facing is terrifying. Without Jesus, there is no hope, no healing, no heaven. Without the Gospel, there is no purpose, no plan, no power. There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ & Him alone. The government can’t save them…schools can’t save them…Wall Street can’t save them…their families can’t save them…even the church can’t save them. Many of them are angry…many of them are bitter…many of them have been beaten down by life circumstances & are scared, sad, & sick of the hypocrisy they see in the lives of many Christians & churches. Here’s a little snapshot of these folks: “Listen: Jesus” video
So, what does our Scripture passage have to do w/ this? At first glance, you may think that the 4 guys would represent the needy people that we’ve been talking about. After all, they have leprosy, have been cast out of society, are considered religiously unclean, & are dying. Sounds a lot like the homeless folks in New Orleans or inner-city Jackson, doesn’t it?
But, the truth is, they represent US! Let’s consider how they represent us & how their experience can impact us so we can impact others.
THEY WERE IN A HOPELESS STATE – v. 3-4 – There was a terrible famine in Samaria due to a siege that had been established by Ben-Hadad, king of Aram – 6:24-25. Ben-Hadad didn’t barge in w/ all of his soldier in a direct, full attack. Instead, he threw up an impenetrable military barricade around the city & began to starve the inhabitants to death. The siege was so long & so bad that people had to resort to eating their donkeys’ heads, dove’s dung (ESV, NASB), & even their kids – 6:26-29. These were incredibly terrible times! Starvation…death…sickness…disease…it couldn’t get much worse or much more hopeless. The people were under the judgment of God for turning away from Him. They had begun worshiping false gods instead of worshiping Him. The result of that was God’s hand of discipline & judgment coming against them in the form of this horrendous siege by Ben-Hadad & the Arameans.
It is in these horrible conditions that we find these 4 lepers. Not only were they starving to death b/c the garbage that was normally lowered or thrown over the city walls to them had stopped, they were suffering from the ravages of the disease of leprosy. So, not only were they banished from the city b/c of their disease, already having to live a pitiful life, now they were doing to die from starvation if they just stayed there.