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Good News in a Bad News World (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 29, 2020 4:00 am

Good News in a Bad News World (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 29, 2020 4:00 am

Did you know that every single one of us is born with a terminal condition? The Bible calls this disease sin. Thankfully, God has a cure! Hear more when you join us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Even when we are at our healthy every one of us is born with a terminal condition today on Truth for Life. We look at the Old Testament where we see the disease we have is called sin, and thankfully in God's word.

We also find the cure. Alistair Begg calls this message. Good news and bad news world two Kings five and verse one now naming was commander of the Army of the King of Adam.

He was a great man in the sight of his master, and highly regarded because through him. The Lord had given victory to Adam he was a valiant soldier but he had leprosy now bannings from Adam had gone out and taken captive. A young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress. If only my master would see the prophet, who is in Samaria he would cure him of his leprosy.

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said by all means go the king of Adam replied. I will send a letter to the king of Israel, so Naaman left, taking with him 10 talents of silver 6000 shekels of gold and 10 sets of clothing letter that he took to the king of Israel. Read with this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy as soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said my God, can I kill and bring back to life. Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me when Elisha, the man of God. Herod the king of Israel had torn his robes he send them this message. Why have you torn your ropes make the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel so Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house.

Elisha send a messenger to say to him, go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed. Naaman went away angry and said I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand call on the name of the Lord his God wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy are not a bond on fire per the rivers of Damascus better than any of the waters of Israel could not washing them and be cleansed, so he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman sevens went to him and said my father. If the profited told you to do some great thing we do not have done it. How much more then when he tells you. Wash and be cleansed so we went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times as the man of God had told him and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy on Once upon a time those memorable words from childhood are a cause of joyful reflection. For those of us who were the happy recipients of stories being read to, is especially as the day would end. Just the opening phrase was enough to get our imaginations firing and whether it was in the realm of fiction order of fantasy, nonfiction, whatever it might've been. We love to have a story told to us and we used to wait eagerly and expectantly in the hope that it was going to end the way we loved for it to end the way that allowed us to go to sleep happy and contented with the closing phrase and so they all lived happily ever after. And now we become adults and we still love stories fiction and nonfiction, and because I know how much so many of you like stories.

I thought that I would turn you to one of the great stories in the Old Testament and we have just read a part of it here in these opening verses of two Kings five.

It's the story of a man called Naaman. Now, as we've grown into adulthood. We know that not all of the stories end with such happy conclusions. For there is so much in life that is marked by pain and by sadness. Indeed, there is a lot of bad news is not all bad news. We know that there are many joys much that we share. That gives us a smile and a spring in her step and get the fact of the matter is that even a cursory reading of our daily newspapers confronts us with the pain and the emptiness is so much a part of life forms. Do you that we are in need of some good news and a bad news world.

For there is even in the best of our days, a plaintiff song which seems to play in the back of many of our minds. There's a sort of sad music of humanity something you are old enough to listen to the song that was popularized by Anne Murray. I ruled out this morning. The kids in the morning news show on Brian Gumbel was talking about the fighting in Lebanon. Some senator was squawking about the economy it's going to get worse. You see, we need a change of policy, there's a local paper rolled up in a rubber band. One more sad stories.

One more than I can stand just once I'd like to see the headline say not much to print today can find nothing bad to say because nobody rubbed the liquor store on the lower part of town nobody OD.

Nobody burned a single building down. Nobody fired a shot in anger. Nobody had to die in vain. We sure could use a little good news today here in the heart of the Old Testament is a good news story in a bad news world once upon a time there was a man called Naaman know people say to me many times I find the Bible such a confusing book. I've been told that there are 66 books and it covers centuries and it was written by a number of authors and I just find it all so perplexing and I don't know where to begin or for those who are confused by the Bible. I want to tell you this. The Bible is ultimately one story, there is one theme which runs through the whole of this book and it is the story of the relationship between God and man how it began out was spoiled how it may be rectified and how one day it's going to be perfect fines or somebody, but I would like something a little more practical. You know I don't like to live in the realms that are simply theoretical. I need to say again to you this morning that this is the most practical of books because this book is a matter this book is a map. When we look into this book we see ourselves when we look into this book, we discover the nature and the cause of all of our troubles and what's even better, we discover the answer to the troubles that we face. Indeed, the story of this book. The message of this book is good news in a bad news world and it is wonderfully illustrated in the story that we now consider. I like to note with you three things concerning Naaman. First of all to notice this context, and then to notice his condition and then to notice his cure.

First of all his context. We all have a context in which we live in an environment a framework the things that influences in the matters that we enjoy in the people with whom we spend time what we know of the context in which Naaman lived one or two things in particular, I would like you to notice. One is that Naaman lived in a very desirable place. He lived in a very desirable place.

If you think of what is for you. The desirable place to live in in America then that's where he lived for me and is probably Santa Barbara. So I imagine Naaman in Santa Barbara Montecito to be exact for you and maybe somewhere else, but it was a really nice spot. Syria was a delightful and a colorful country Damascus, the main city was a city of wealth and leisure and provided all the kinds of cultural attractions that men and women look for there was the beauty of art. There was the enjoyment of music. There was all of the opportunity for recreation that opened up before them. There were two fine rivers which flowed down into the center of the city rivers, which began in the mountains of Lebanon and all of their pristine beauty and purity, flowing down into a thorough tile oasis of trees. It was down in this oasis in the lowland the city of Damascus had been built and if we been able to go back in time to the period that is described for us here. Then we would've found Naaman exactly in that context, and we would've said to one another by this is a nice place to take a vacation and this would be on unbelievable place to stay. He lived in a very desirable place. Second, we were told that he enjoyed an enviable position. Look at your Bible is open and you can see this for yourself. First of all, he had power. He was a commander he wasn't private or Lance Corporal or Cpl. or Sgt. He was a commander and he was a commander of the Kings army and as a result of that here. People who reported to just as many of you do this morning. Here he was responsible for people's lives, just as some of you are this morning and his position was a powerful position.

It was also a prestigious position insofar as we are told that he was a great man in the sight of his master. You see the King would have a lot of people who are under his sphere of influence. Indeed, they were all under sphere of influence.

But even regard them all is great but were told here that when the king looked at Naaman. He regarded Naaman as a great man. It wasn't simply that the people looked up at him and said, my, what a great man. Naaman is when the king upon his throne looked upon Naaman. He viewed him as a great man he was in an enviable position. It had power and prestige.

He was highly regarded, and particularly because he was a valiant soldier he was. If you like a Braveheart in his own generation and people understood that and also in his enviable position, he had possessions they usually come with power and prestige and in his case they had when you simply read in verse five. All that he was able to take on his journey in search of a cure. You realize that he had a lot of stuff. In fact, from any angle.

Naaman had made Naaman was living the American dream before America was dreamt up. He had power. He had prestige. He had possessions he was like Richard Cory made famous in the song of Paul Simon.

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town and with political connections.

He spreads his wealth around born into society a bankers only child he had everything a man could want power, grace and style that was name he be on the front of people magazine he be at all the right parts but one we've said all of that we haven't said the most significant thing about name because that comes in the final phrase of verse one and it is introduced with the word but you will notice that he was great.

He was highly regarded. He was victorious. He was valiant, but he had leprous, there was one guy mentioned to Naaman's existence which cast long shadows over everything else that he enjoy all of his proud achievements were somehow or another didn't buy this one factor when people thought of him. Yes, they knew them as powerful and procedures, and a man of wealth and worth getting you one thing about them. Naaman has leprosy. What I said our second point was his condition and were clearly there is context is that he lived in a very desirable place and he assumed a very enviable position. Don't miss the point.

This morning, ladies and gentlemen by any stretch of the imagination.

If you've traveled the world of tall, you know that even our most impoverished in this group. We live in a very desirable place and we enjoy very enviable position, but what was his condition. Well, it was simply this, that he was leprous that he was leprous and so all that he enjoyed all the variety of his opportunities all the benefits of his possessions could not come close to tackling his problem that wasn't if you like anything that he was able to do, and the leprosy was spoiling his life. All you say this is very interesting so far.

Never knew this was in two Kings five. Never knew about a man called Naaman didn't realize there were three A's in his name, but you know what, are you ever going to bridge the gap because after all this is historically interesting, but this is practical and personally relevant. Some people are saying everyone to come here and listen to a historical lecture. Now I'm glad because I didn't plan to give and let me explain to Naaman's condition was a spoiling spreading ugly condition spoiling spreading separating ugly condition. It is a classic biblical picture of the condition of man and women this morning in the United States of America the condition that the Bible calls sin and it is here Erickson the Old Testament an amazing illustration and this is the point of contact. The physical condition faced by Naaman is a picture of the spiritual condition faced by each one of us.

Each of us is aware this morning that whatever else is endowed man is not today. The way that God intended them to be what the Bible is absolutely clear. The Bible says this, that in the beginning when God made the heavens and the earth when he planted man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Everything was good. There was no disappointment there was no unhappiness there was nothing wrong at all. It was if you like to pick a word again from the 60s groovy traffic and then read the story for yourself: the early chapters of Genesis and sin enters into the human condition.

And suddenly there is death. Suddenly there is murder. Suddenly there is sexual abuse. Suddenly there is absolute chaos and suddenly life is robbed of its wholeness is completeness and its perfection and that is why this morning dear folks, when each of us describes our context and were able to see ourselves what you know my name is so-and-so and I have done this and I've been there. I've achievements, and I learned that my lived there and I visit here and so on. At the end of all of that we are heading inevitably for the little word but in the word leads us into the fact of our condition as clearly ours, as was Naaman's leprosy framed for us in Romans three and 23 all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Leprosy was no respecter of Naaman's status and sin is no respecter of yours or mine. The reason the Bible says all is because it means all and because it is all I got is not a man or woman or young person in this building. At this moment, who is free from that inclusive three and it is this sin which detracts from our happiness. It is this sin which finds is living. Many of his this morning with great regret, wondering why it is that we cannot wash out is aware the spots of our past exist, living with guilt living with fear living without deep-seated resentment and anger living with a sense of emptiness living with a sense of aloneness and no matter what we try and do no matter where we are able to go. Still, this plaintiff song. This malady keeps playing back about heads. There wasn't a chariot you see that Naaman could write their was not an outfit that Naaman could wear that could cure the condition that was so obvious to them. Every time he took a shower and there's not a car that you and I can buy and dry. There is not an Armani suit that you can go out and purchase, and where that will take care of the sampling dust of sin which spoils and spread its and separate detracts from our happiness and frankly makes is ultimately positively on men and women today so on. Happy in our world. So many gloomy faces in this land of great opportunity on men and women the way the why is it that on university campuses. There is so much deadness and futility and failure is the reason while psychologists and sociologists are all kinds of extremes to provide an answer in the Bible is very vertically and sin is ugly as shooters.

Leprosy was ugly, no matter how we may try and dress it up. Sin is downright ugly.

They may try and make sexual sin look attractive on the inside pages of the Friday plain dealer, but it is downright ugly.

They may make greed look something very attractive but it is downright ugly. So it is that many of the ugly buildings through which we walk in the architecture of our day, and many of the strange artistic representations that have emanated from the mind of our contemporary thinkers strays far as the great disengagement of life. The great incongruity of so much and before is is a picture of our own human condition so much that is marked by ugliness, it doesn't matter who we are. It doesn't matter where we are. It doesn't matter when we live. Sin is not an intellectual problem. It's a moral problem.

That's why you see, no matter how good your SAT scores were. They weren't good enough for you to deal with guilt. If you can get a 1500 and be free from sin, to be worth trying for. But you maybe got one and you know you can. That's why financial status can never take us high enough to get me on the cloud level that lingers as a result of this terminal human condition, and when loved ones this morning we paired it all away.

The fact of the matter is that just like Naaman were in deep trouble. Ultimately, were just miserable sinners, we are sinners in need of a Savior. That's why the gospel is such good news. Your listing to Truth for Life with Alistair Begg and encouraging message today called good news and the bad news world. If you want to continue learning how the gospel brings hope and fullness of life, even in a world that is stained by sin. Alister recommends a new book written by Pastor Tim salvageable called discovering the good life.

The surprising riches available in Christ. Our world is a dark and broken place.

We need to remember that the world Jesus stepped into was every bit as dark and broken, rather than being overwhelmed by the sin and sorrow around him. Jesus brought light to that world and he offered his followers, something no one else could offer abundant life. If you're looking to deepen your faith, or maybe to encourage a friend who's been asking questions about Jesus.

This is a great book to consider discovering the good life. Alister describes it as a book. The teachers refreshers and even surprises will send you a copy today along with our thanks when you join the important team of truth partners who support this ministry through monthly giving. We wish there was no expense associated with distributing Truth for Life but in reality the cost of technology and the radio costs are substantial its listeners giving that takes care of these expenses so if you been helped by or encouraged by Alister's clear relevant Bible teaching and if you're in a position to invest a set amount each month. Even a small amount know that your support is a gift you're giving to countless listeners worldwide become a true partner today that Truth for or call 888-588-7884. Don't forget to ask for your copy of discovering the good life. Tomorrow is the last day. The book will be available.

The phone number again is 888-588-7884 or if you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 Bob Lapine tomorrow.

Alister concludes his message called good news bad news world sure to join us again. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living

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