Cherish the Knowledge of God in Your Heart
We all have flaws. His was that he was a leper.
But this story isn’t about him, it’s about her.
About a little girl child, part of the spoils of war, who without hostility or bitterness, without meanness or vengeful spite wanted to see him healed.
How does a child, abducted from her family and taken hostage, cling to God in faith and care one bit about the health or well-being of her captor?
There is more than one miracle in this old story.
Whatever she knew of the God of Israel she remembered it even in her captivity. She carried it away with her to Syria and right into the house of a military commander and his wife.
Compassion flowed out from her child-heart.
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
2 Kings 5:1-3
Hold the Hope of God’s goodness bestowed on others
I can’t imagine how this child, this little girl, can want something good, something redemptive, something whole-making for this man.
But she does.
It’s godly to want good for others. To care about people and want blessings and a touch from God to come into their lives.
In the circumstances of her life, she finds the intersection of compassion and faith.
Compassion and faith.
That dynamic combination made her an evangelist.
She knew her master’s need and she knew that the prophet, the man of God, could cure him of his leprosy. She actually cares, has God’s love, for this man and his wife.
She cares enough to share what she knows.
Do You Care Enough to Share What You Know?
Look at People Through God’s Eyes
We’re talking about evangelism at church.
We’re talking about talking about it in January.
I can’t wait that long because I know people with needs.
Picture someone you know who doesn’t know Christ, they’re not a believer, not a Christian.
What do you think is that person’s greatest need?
How would believing on Christ as Savior meet that need?
How would coming to know God in a personal way heal that soul, mend that life, meet that need?
That’s the lesson we learn from this child.
Look for the need in a person’s life and you’ll find the place where they can meet God.
*Read through 2 Kings 5:15 to see Naaman’s confession of faith in God.
The Jesus Style
Take any of the gospel accounts and examine how Jesus interacts with people.
In Capernaum He heals a man in the synagogue who is demon possessed and then He goes to Peter’s house for dinner, but first heals Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. In another city He healed a man with leprosy and on another day a paralytic whose friends let him down through the roof. First he forgave the man’s sins, but went on to heal his physical malady to demonstrate to the religious leaders that He had authority to pronounce sins forgiven.
Jesus saw needs.
Spiritual needs, physical needs, emotional needs, the sins that mar us and the wounds that scar us!
He sees them all. He wants us to care enough to see the needs of people. Then He’ll give us the opportunity to evangelize. To bring good tidings of great joy to people. The deepest most divinely beautiful aspect of the gospel message is that God loves and has demonstrated His love in sending His Son.
~ A relationship with God can meet every need of the human heart.
Do you believe that?
~ God loves every single person.
Do you believe that?
If you do it will make you an evangelist.
Jesus mentions the story of Naaman the leper when He visited Nazareth, the village where He was brought up.
“. . . And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
He includes it as part of a rebuke for their lack of faith and their scorn for Him.
They became furious with Him and tried to throw Him off the edge of a cliff.
But look at the first part of His message that morning in the synagogue:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
A Spirit filled messenger with a message of good news from God for the poor.
A message of liberty for the captives.
A message that gives sight to the blind and freedom.
A message of deliverance for the oppressed.
Follow the Example of Jesus
- See people in their need.
- Let God’s love be the anointing that commissions you.
- Let God’s Spirit be the power that animates your message.
- Proclaim with assurance God’s love and favor toward all.
Share with clarity and simplicity the heart of the gospel:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Declare with conviction the person of Jesus Christ as God and Savior.
And then ask if they want to come and have their need met in Him.
Be Brave ~ Ask for a Decision
I have a friend who went with a group on a short-term missions trip. She said most people she talked with prayed to receive Christ as Savior. Others on that trip shared the same truth, but didn’t find the same response from the ones they spoke to. As the group members talked about their experiences at the end of the day my friend realized that she had actually asked people to make a decision.
Others shared the gospel, but didn’t invite a decision.
They hesitated and the moment passed.
Again, Jesus is our example. Look at what He says to Martha in this passage from John 11:25-27.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
“Do you believe this?”
Jesus is asking Martha for a decision.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a decision.
- Don’t sow the seed and walk on as the Enemy snatches it away.
- Make sure the person you’re sharing with understands the truth and the importance of responding to it.
- Ask if they believe what the Bible says about Jesus?
- Ask if they want a friendship with God?
- Do they want forgiveness of sin?
- Do they want deliverance from bondage?
- Do they desire spiritual life and union with God?
- Would they like their life to count for eternity?
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
I received Christ without anyone asking me if I wanted to pray a sinner’s prayer.
I heard the gospel and believed it that very moment. But a few days later the friend who had invited me to the Bible Study asked me if I was a Christian. I told her I hadn’t been, but that I was when I left her home after the study. I didn’t know I was suppose to say something. It never occurred to me. I had heard the good news and my heart couldn’t wait to say Yes! But notice, my friend did follow up with me. She asked me and that gave me an opportunity to recognize that I had made a decision. I’ve gone back to that afternoon many times and been so thankful that she gave me a chance to affirm my choice. Whenever the Enemy has tried to suggest that maybe I’m not a child of God, I go right back to that moment and see in my mind’s eye the flag I planted on that spiritual mountaintop that day.
Depend on the Holy Spirit to Help YouIn fact we’re just a mouthpiece.
It’s the Holy Spirit Who does the real work in a human heart and mind.
Part of the privilege of sharing the gospel is being there with someone the moment they believe and receive. Part of the work of that moment is to help guide them through the simple steps affirming their belief and confessing that Jesus is Lord, that He is the Christ, and He died for their sins.
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
That passage encourages us to give a person the opportunity to say it out loud.
To respond in the moment and maybe pray a prayer that’s witnessed by another.
I’ve done this with my own children and even my Grandmother.
Let that story of the Commander and the little slave girl shape how you see people.
Open your eyes to the people you encounter during the day. Let God show you their need and fill your heart with love and compassion. Pray for them. Pray for an opportunity to be used by God in their life, to bring healing and whole-ness, to bring truth and salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you ask for opportunities to share Christ God will make you a fisher of men.
When was the last time you had a chance to share about Jesus? How was it received?