A Most Unlikely Evangelist

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A Most Unlikely Evangelist



Scripture:  2 Kings 5:1–14, especially verse 3:  Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria!  For he would heal him of his leprosy.”

Introduction:  If I were to ask this congregation, “What kind of Christian does God use?” I believe the answer would be as varied as the people gathered here.  We tend to believe God only uses the “perfect person,” but we discover a delightful truth in Scripture.  God uses little people in big ways.

1.  A Strange Mystery.  The days in which this “little maid,” lived were hard and cruel.  There was continual warfare between Ben-Hadad, King of Syria, and the King of Israel.  The army of Israel was then dispersed and no longer resisted Syria.  The result was that marauding bands of Syrians continually invaded the borders of Israel and carried away whatever they wanted (see 1 Kings 6:24; 20:1; 22:34; 22:36).  In our text, a little maid was taken.  What a strange mystery, a kidnapping allowed by God, who guards Israel (Psalm 121:4).

2.  Her Home Was Shattered (v. 2).  Can you enter into the feelings of these parents who had their young daughter ruthlessly snatched from them?  How would you feel as a mother or father if your daughter was kidnapped?  Would you not be sorely tried by this mysterious providence, asking, “Why?”  Are you anguished today about something tragic that just doesn’t make sense?  God works through tragedy.

3.  A Hand Was Shaping (v. 15).  This event, which seemed to originate in the will of man, was the start of a divine plan through which Naaman was physically and spiritually healed!  God had a purpose in this trial.  We cannot always trace Gods providential dealings in our lives, but we can be sure that God will always work for our good (Romans 8:28).

4.  A Simple Testimony (v. 3).  Although this girl was small in stature she was big in heart!  She could have easily harbored bitterness against her captor.  Instead she directed Naaman toward God’s prophet.  Where did such faith come from?  No doubt this child had often heard the story of God’s dealings with her fathers.  She must have listened intently as they spoke of the prophet that was in Samaria.  Are you seeking to instill the truths of God’s Word into the minds and hearts of your children (Deuteronomy 6:7)?  This captive maid, because she had been taught to trust and know God, was the means of bringing salvation to the home of her captivity, and of raising up a testimony for God which rang through the whole land of Syria!  Note:

5.  How Courageous She Was.  In the midst of this pagan nation, she pointed her master towards God’s representative (see Hebrews 1:1), His prophet Elisha.  This was true of Daniel, who was loyal to God in pagan Babylon (see Daniel 1:8).  What about you?  Are you being tested at college?  At work?  We’re either conformers to outside pressure or transformers controlled by the inward power of God.  Which are you?

6.  How Compassionate She Was.  This maid was an unwilling captive in Naaman’s household, yet she could not bear to see her master suffer.  She did not return a curse but a blessing to her captors!  How do you react to your jerk of a boss?  Your pushy landlord?  Our compassion towards “enemies” just may soften the hardest of hearts (see Romans 12:20).

7.  How Confident She Was.  There’s not even a hint of doubt in her words!  Leprosy had no cure, yet she was confident in her God’s power!

8.  A Supernatural Recovery (vv. 4–15).  Naaman was healed of leprosy and brought to know God (vv. 14–15).  It all began with a maid in captivity who moved her mistress (v. 3); her mistress moved a servant (v. 4); the servant moved the King of Syria (v. 5); the King of Syria moved the King of Israel (v. 7); the King of Israel moved Elisha (v. 8).  The result was that Naaman was delivered from leprosy and idolatry.  Talk about a most unlikely evangelist!  She was the first link in the chain that eventually brought Naaman to the place of salvation.

In May of 1855, an 18-year-old boy went to the deacons of a church in Boston.  He had been raised in a Unitarian church, ignorant of the gospel.  When he moved to Boston to make his fortune, he began to attend a Bible-believing church.  In April of 1855, his Sunday school teacher had come into the store where he was working and simply and persuasively shared the gospel and urged the young man to trust in Christ; he did.  Now he was applying to join the church.  It quickly became obvious that he was almost totally ignorant of biblical truth.  One of the deacons asked him, “Son, what has Christ done for us all?”  His response was, “I don’t know.  I think Christ has done a great deal for us:  but I don’t think of anything in particular as I know of.”  Years later his Sunday school teacher said of him, “I think the committee of the church seldom met an applicant for membership who seemed more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of gospel truth, still less to fill any space of public or extended usefulness.”  Nothing happened very quickly to change their minds.  The deacons decided to put him on a year long instruction course to teach him basic Christian truths.  Not only was he ignorant of spiritual truths, he was only barely literate and his spoken grammar was atrocious!  At his second interview, there was only a little improvement in the quality of his answers.  Since it was obvious that he was a sincere and committed Christian, they accepted him as a church member.  Surely many people looked at that young man, convinced that God would never use a person like that.  They wrote off D. L. Moody as “a most unlikely evangelist,” but God did not.  By God’s grace D. L. Moody was transformed into one of the most effective servants of God, a man whose impact is still with us.

Conclusion:  Missionary Hudson Taylor, as he looked back over thirty years (during which he had seen 600 missionaries respond to his vision to reach China) said this:  “God chose me because I was weak enough.  God does not His great works by large committees.  He trains someone to be quiet enough, and little enough, and then He uses him.”  The God who used this little maid can and will use you.  Step out in faith and trust God to use you!

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