The Day of Good News (2 Kings 7:3-11)
I started kindergarten with Rodney, and we went all the way through high school together. He and I had a great deal of classes together. I had lunch with him. He and I were rather close friends.
We were seniors. Rodney had a job that required him to come home late at night. One night, Rodney was coming home late from work, he fell asleep, veered off the road and crashed. It was in the wee hours of the morning before his mangled body was found.
I went to school the next morning, not knowing that anything had happened and learned that my friend had died overnight. I think that would be difficult for any high school student, and my class was by no means the only one to experience the death of a classmate. However, what troubled me most was that I knew Rodney was lost. According to what God teaches in His Word, it could not be any other way. Yet, I had always been too involved in my own stuff, too embarrassed, too nervous to ever say a word to Rodney about his soul. One day, I’m going to be called to stand before God to answer for that. Do you really think that God appreciates what I did or that he approves of it?
There are days that I can clearly see the faces of people who are now beyond the reach of the Gospel but to whom I never opened my mouth!
What about you? Can you think of people for whom there is now no hope but people you once had a chance to reach for Jesus? Is there a family member to whom you never spoke? A coworker? A friend?
The Gospel is now firmly in our hands. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 4:7). The Gospel is in our hands, and we have an opportunity in coming days to share the Gospel.
The truth of God we wish to hear this morning concerns four men. They are outcasts because of leprosy, and they are trying to survive a horrible famine in Samaria. But, in the midst of the famine, these four men discover an abundance of food. They don’t keep the food to themselves, but they go and report their find to the city’s gatekeepers. These men provide a powerful example to us, and they teach us: “Good news is to be shared.”
Scripture (2 Kings 7:3-11)
Four leprous men are at the gate of Samaria. Leprosy was a horribly disfiguring and excruciatingly painful skin disease. Today, we have medications that can treat leprosy. Obviously, treatment was not available to these four pitiful men.
I think the most horrible aspect of leprosy had to be the isolation that went with it. Leviticus 13:45-46. God commands that the lepers be isolated because of the highly contagious nature of the disease.
But, imagine being a leper! Imagine being taken away from your children never to see them again, imagine hearing your parents have died (you weren’t there, because you couldn’t get near them), imagine losing everything you’d worked to build for years and years. If any group ever had a right to be down on life, it was these four men!
They decide that there is no reason to sit at the gates of Samaria until they die.
If they decide to enter the city, the famine is in the city. The famine has occurred because Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, has besieged Samaria (2 Ki 6:24). The famine is so severe that a mother boils her son and eats him (2 Ki 6:28-30).
If they sit at the gate, they’ll die–there’s no possible way for them to get something to eat all by themselves.
If they go to the camp of the Syrians, the worst thing that can happen is that they die. The hopelessness in that statement is stunning! These men have absolutely nothing to live for.
The Syrians are not in the camp. God has miraculously caused them to flee for their lives.
The lepers are no longer hungry, but they go into one tent and eat and drink. From that tent, they carried away silver, gold and clothing. They went to a third tent and found loot there, too.
As they plunder the camp, these men realize what they are doing is not right. In many respects, that’s an amazing statement. How many times do you think the people of Samaria passed these men and never gave them a passing thought? How many people in Samaria do you think ever attempted to show these four men any type of love? While they have been cast out of society, they know they have an obligation not to keep this good news to themselves!
“We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news.” The Samaritans needed to hear the good news these lepers had uncovered: The enemy had been defeated, and there was ample food for those in the city. What these men had uncovered was too good not to share.
These men believe that if they remain silent, some punishment would befall them. It’s not clear what these men thought would happen to them. Did they believe that God would punish them? Did they believe that the king would punish them?
We know that if we remain silent God will punish us (Ezek 3:17-18).
They decide to go and tell the king’s household.
These men go and tell the gatekeepers of Syria who tell the king’s household.
“Good news is to be shared.”
Why does the good news of the kingdom need to be shared?
Jesus commands us to share the good news.
“Go . . . and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). If we love Jesus, we’ll do what He says (Jn 14:15). Do you really love Jesus? Are you sharing your faith?
Heaven and hell are real.
Those who are the people of God will enjoy an eternity of joy in God’s presence. Abraham says to the rich man, “Now [Lazarus] is comforted” (Lk 16:25). Lazarus had lived a sickly and miserable life. Yet, as he is in Paradise, awaiting the final resurrection, he is comforted. That comfort continues after the final resurrection. Revelation 21:3-4. What a glorious place heaven is going to be!
Those who are not the people of God will be tormented forever. Mark 9:47-48. Revelation 14:11. How can we have a way to rescue people from the fires of hell and keep silent?
The love of Jesus compels us.
“The love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died” (2 Cor 5:14).
The love of Christ could mean: Our love for Christ, or Jesus’ love for us and those in the world. I think it means both. Because we love Jesus and He loves those lost in sin, we go to reach them with the soul-saving Gospel.
I am a sinner saved by grace.
I stand before you as a sinful man whose only hope is the grace of God and the blood of Jesus. If God has so saved me, do I not owe it to tell others the story of how I have been saved from my sins?
How can I share the good news of the kingdom?
We live in an age where everything is easy. Hungry? Pop something in the microwave, and you can eat in just a few minutes. There really isn’t a magic formula whereby we share our faith.
We must, however, share the Gospel of Jesus. The gospel of Jesus is what changes lives. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). There can be absolutely no substitute for the preaching of the Gospel.
What if you don’t have the gift of evangelism?
You can invite people.
In that way, you could be like the little slave girl who told Naaman that Elisha could heal his leprosy (2 Ki 5:1-4)! She couldn’t heal Naaman, but she could tell Naaman where he could find someone who could.
There are many ways to invite folks:
- Take to social media and invite folks.
- Take some postcards to a doctor’s office.
- Take a flyer and put up in a store.
- Go door knocking with us Saturday morning.
We need to pray.
I don’t mean that we use prayer as a copout to keep from doing what we should. Yet, Scripture teaches us to pray.
Jesus said to pray for workers: Matthew 9:38. When was the last time you prayed for the Lord to send out laborers into His harvest?
Paul prayed for the lost in Israel. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Rom 10:1). When is the last time you got down on your knees and prayed for your lost friends and relatives by name?
We need to live right.
Nothing ruins a good message like one who refuses to live by it. Matthew 5:13-16. 1 Peter 3:1.
What we say must match the way we live. What about you this morning? Is the way you are living matching the message Jesus needs taken to the world?