God Uses Unlikely People
5 May 2019 AM – 2 Kings 6:24-7:20 – Missions19 – Scott Childs
Introduction: During the ministry of Elisha in the O.T., king Benhadad of Syria and his army surrounded the Israelite capital city of Samaria to starve the people into surrendering. The famine was so bad that donkey’s heads and bird poo sold for large sums of money. People even began eating their own children.
It was during that terrible siege that four leprous men, who lived in extreme poverty just outside the city wall, decided to surrender. In the dark of night, they went to the Syrian camp that surrounded the city. They found the camp deserted. After eating their fill and hiding many treasures, they began thinking of their loved ones starving in the city.
The good news that the lepers had was physical in nature, but I see a clear parallel with the good news of the Gospel that God has given to us. I want to share that parallel with you this morning.
Transition: Just as the lepers had good news to share, so do we. The lepers took four actions that we must take regarding the good news God has given to us.
The first action they took was that…
1. They acquired the good news themselves.
a. The Lord provided the good news
1) The Lord caused the Syrian army to hear what sounded like approaching armies in the twilight (late evening), v.6.
2) This so terrified the Syrians that God caused them to flee on foot leaving everything behind, v.7.
O That was great news for the starving people, but God has given us even greater news. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for all of our sins. He rose again to life to give us eternal life. All who place their trust in Him can be forgiven and receive eternal life. There is NO greater news than that.
b. The Lord had worked in the leper’s hearts.
1) They saw their desperate need and hopeless fate, v.3-4
2) They decided to surrender to the Syrians – to die or to become slaves, v.4
3) They went to the Syrian camp in the dark with no delay.
4) They discovered the good news that the Syrian camp was deserted and full of food and riches.
5) They ate until full and gathered treasures and hid them. This they did repeatedly.
O As sinners, we are all doomed for God’s judgment in hell. By believing that fact and turning to Christ, we can be fully satisfied. God offers us treasures far more valuable than any earthly treasure. If you have not acted upon God’s good news, that is your greatest need.
The second action they took was that…
2. They admitted their fault in hiding the good news
a. They said, “We do not well to be silent”, v.9
1) They knew their families in the city were starving.
2) They knew they had discovered the good news that the people of Samaria needed.
3) They admitted their fault. It was wrong for them to keep quiet when they had good news that could help others.
O Is it right for you to know God’s forgiveness and the way to heaven and not share that good news with others? Is that not what others need? Did not Jesus command us to, “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”? (Mark 16:15)
b. They feared punishment for their silence.
1) Notice what they said, v.9. “If we tarry till the morning light…” They realised that even a little delay was wrong.
2) They felt they must act immediately in the middle of the night.
3) The “mischief” they feared was some form of punishment either from God or from the men of Samaria.
O God held Ezekiel accountable to warn people of spiritual danger (Eze 3:17-19). The apostle Paul believed that God would hold him accountable if he did not tell. In Acts 20:26-27, he said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
The third action they took was that…
3. They accepted the duty to share the good news
a. They could have made excuses.
1) They were only lepers. They were outcasts. Healthy people shunned them.
2) People may not believe their good news. That was true in part, but it was not a good excuse.
3) If they told others, they would have to share all that they found.
O The devil wants us to make excuses for not sharing the good news with others. He tells us that it is a waste of time. People do not want to hear. They will not listen. I do not know what to say. They may laugh at me. Excuses will not help those starving for the truth.
b. They accepted their duty to share the good news.
1) They could have easily decided to wait until morning. They refused to wait. Every hour of delay may cause another death from starvation.
2) They would share the news immediately.
O There are about 7.7 billion people in our world today. Every minute of the day, 105 people die and enter eternity. Many, probably most, of them have not received God’s good news and do not go to heaven. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus compared sharing the Gospel with harvesting a field. “Therefore he said unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)
The fourth action they took was that…
4. They acted and shared the good news
a. They went back to the city of Samaria
1) They began to share the good news with those closest to them.
2) We do not know how far this was, but in the black of night and being lepers, this was a challenge.
O Jesus said that we are to begin sharing the Gospel at home and then take it to the rest of the world. (Acts 1:8) “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
b. The lepers told the porter the good news
1) They told the first person they found, the porter or gatekeeper of the city.
2) The porter told the other porters who may have been the gatekeepers at the king’s palace.
3) They told the king’s household. The good news spread.
O If God used unlikely people like four lepers, He certainly can to use you and me to share the good news of salvation with others. Have you explained the Gospel to your loved ones? That is where God wants you to begin. God also wants you to be a witness in our community. God may be calling some of you to go to the untold millions of our world as a missionary.
Conclusion: Just as the city of Samaria was desperate for food to save their lives, those who live around us are even more desperate for the good news that Jesus died for their sins and offers them forgiveness and a home in heaven. Sadly, many do not believe that God’s salvation is the answer to their inner longings, but they still need it.
God did not command us to force people to believe. He commanded us to tell them the good news. If you have been making excuses, ask God to forgive you and to give you the wisdom and courage to tell what you know. Why not get started by taking five tracts from the back table and passing them out this week? Do not just put them all in letterboxes, hand at least one of them to a person you meet. Pray much and God will help you.
If God is working in your heart about becoming a preacher or a missionary, do not ignore it. Volunteer and then ask God to direct you.
Perhaps you have not yet received God’s good news yourself. You have nothing to share until you first receive it yourself. The Bible says, (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Song: For God so Loved the World, 154 Praise God He sent His Son to die for everyone. This message I must tell, if not I do not well. Since billions do not know, then surely I must go, share the Gospel everywhere.