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

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2020 4:00 am

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

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 30, 2020 4:00 am

As we scan the daily headlines, many of us find ourselves longing for a word of hope or encouragement. Study along with us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg takes us to an Old Testament story to find good news in a bad news world.


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As you watch the news on TV or you scroll headlines online. It's easy to stop and wonder, is there any good news today on Truth for Life. Alastair Begg examines a biblical story of healing and grace that has positive implications in our day message is titled good news in a bad news world men and women today so so many gloomy faces in this land of great virginity men and women the way they why is it on university campuses that are so much deadness and futility and failure is the reason psychologists and sociologists all kinds of extremes to provide an answer in the Bible is very medically, and sin is ugly and soon his leprosy was ugly, no matter how we may try and dress it up.

Sin is downright ugly. 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.

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, but in deep trouble. Ultimately, when just miserable sinners or you say, but I didn't come here to hear that that's downright offensive. I know it and I would never think to say until you unless of course I was only trying to tell you what is in this book are life's full of jealousy and envy and lust and passion, and without exception. We are suffering from the leprosy of our souls, and there is nothing that in our success will be able to queued well let's go then to cure all the amazing thing in this chapter is clearly this that Naaman obviously had the resources to kind of get any kind of cure that he wanted he would've had access to the best physicians of his day. He was aware of his condition that he would have been prepared presumably to go to any lengths to effect a cure. Because after all he didn't want people talking behind their hands and saying you know the one thing that strikes me about Naaman is that he has leprosy, but he continues to suffer. The disease gets worse. There's nothing that can be done even the kings themselves are somewhat baffled by the whole problem indeed that helpless to do anything to correct the problem. He goes to his master the King and his master.

The king puts his best foot forward and he says well if you're going to go. That makes perfect sense. I will send a letter to the king of Israel, very good, and thank you so much Nelly is doing is he doing what he can do. After all, kings write letters and their use.

The people pronouncing them. The king of Adam says this in the king of Israel says that and when the king of Adam and the king of Israel of said what they have to say. Naaman still has leprosy and when the president says what he has to say and when the Congress says what it has to say and when we pronounce legislation on this and legislation on that.

The fact of the lie that is that we still live with a terminal condition.

The Bible calls sin look at Naaman and you look at our culture this morning. Verse seven the king of Israel reads a lesson he tears his robes and he says oh my God, can I kill and bring back to life. Surely there must be that within the heart of any leader of our modern world as they travel the globe and as they seek to do what they can do in public service.

Surely in the watches of the night, they must almost physically tear their clothes and say how can I deal with this. How can I make an impact here. How can we bring peace. How can we bring a cure.

Let's try and keep them away from this and that and eventually their cast down to say, my God, can I kill and bring back to life. You see, you only need a cursory reading of history sank in. In terms of sociology to realize the inability of humanity to fix things and the fact of the matter is bewildered. They stand before these external forces all the time looking for answers and all the time looking in the wrong direction. It is not that people are unaware of the fact that they need answers. It is that they just won't look where they are to look one of our local communities just put out a lovely piece on the community all the fine things about the community and what there is in the community and the central events and everything else and I looked in being in it for the listing of a church or some of the sun that may be insignificant but is a perfect illustration of our culture today.

Never before. Would people have identified their community without paying particular regard to the place of the church in the center of the affairs of men and women today and doesn't even get a listing. It's a sideline we're going to look over here and will look over there, will find the answer and so not enough psychological therapy group wanting something else but all for goodness sake take all that church business away out of the road we don't have a problem, but we for sure one be looking for. The thing about Naaman is, it wasn't her.

There was no solution, but it was that he was ignorant of where the solution could be far.

He was looking for something grand, something that would fit his status.

Something that would leave them with a bolstered sense of self-esteem and we are no more ready for such a cure and was name missing two things about this cure and then I'm finished. First of all, the cure came from an unexpected source verse two now bands from Adam had gone out in a taken captive. A young girl on Israel, and she served Naaman's wife.

What was her name. We don't know how old was she. We haven't a clue what she prominent, absolutely not.

She was if you like the lady that came over on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and did two or three hours for his wife was usually gone in business never. So I came home you someone to clean the bathroom up was thankful for it but she was irrelevant to them.

She had no place in his exist. So if you have a pressing problem and you need a cure and you are used to being able to go to kings and senators and congressmen and your used to be able to find the answer and the level of high society, and you anticipate that it will come from the board room or for Macadamia in the last place in the world have a look is in a broom closet right I want to be unkind to you this morning but some of you remain outside of the kingdom of God because you like Naaman want somebody to do some great religious thing for you that fits your status so you realize who I am. I'm Naaman I mean this isn't just some fleeting bit general from anywhere. I am directly under the command of the king of Aram. I have power, I have prestige I possessions. Indeed, I'm prepared to give you the possessions I expected that the lease that you would do Elisha is just, how your house for goodness sake stand beside me wave your hand over the spot and cleanse me of my problem. You know how many people believe that that's the way you deal with the problem of sin.

You go find a religious man you park your car outside his house or outside his church, you put your money in the bucket and you ask them to come out and wave his hand over the spot and fix you up, it will never ever happen. Never. No one was ever cured of spiritual leprosy as a result of a religious sermon performed by a presumably religious individual and so there is no expectation to look in this lowly place for acute now. You see, this is the glory of the gospel is it not if you think about it and just follow the line through here.

You've got these great empires of Assyria on the empires of the Chaldeans in Babylon, and Egypt. And these are the great building blocks of secular history and then you've got this funny little insignificant strip of real estate called Palestine. The people of Gunnison sake Palestine had seen nothing. What would ever come out of Palestine, and the answer is that right out of Palestine came the solution for the condition of Naaman is near the same thing is that humanity scans the horizon looking for a Messiah. Now we know that there's presumably someone who will come someone who will triumph and Brandon someone that we can look to who will be a leader when I look for them in this place or that place in the other board not in Bethlehem not in Bethlehem of France are the least of all the tribes of Israel, not the lease, and if in Bethlehem, at least in a semi-reasonable establishment and if in Bethlehem, at least maybe in a nice room, but not for goodness sake, stable talent McAllister the answer to my condition ultimately takes me to that credo man in Bethlehem.

Yes. When he grew didn't they see the same thing.

Can any good thing come out of Nazareth and when he goes up to Jerusalem. We expect them to come up with dignity and a large white charger but not on a donkey and we expected when he is lifted up. He will be lifted up on the throne, but not lifted up on the cross and like Naaman we say now there are better places that I can go there are better solutions that I can find solutions which leave me with my esteem. Leave me with my ego meet me where ion there will be not of this dumb thing down in the dirty waters of the Jordan for me because you see not only did the cure come from an unexpected source. But the cure was frankly and onyx an unusual solution and Elisha send a messenger which said go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan didn't like it.

Why because it hurt his pride and it humbled him. He thinks he knows everything and he knows nothing. He was angry. Nothing. It happened the way he expected it and get he sticks with his strategy and he remains a letter this amazing man. Here is a guy who for all that he has has got one pressing problem. He knows that more than any other thing in the world. He wants to be rid of that problem, but he wants to be rid of it on his own terms, in his own way and by his own say-so.

So when someone comes to him and says listen this is what you have to do.

He is prepared to keep this problem to retain his self-esteem rather than give up his pride and be relieved of the scabs on his hands. Naaman was absolutely insulted by the solution he regarded it as humiliating and as ridiculous and so do men and women this morning when Paul writes to the Corinthians he says in the preaching of the cross.

This news of the death of the Lord Jesus. He says we preach Christ crucified, which is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. In chapter 2, he says the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit because they are foolishness to him. So I'm not surprised when I marveled in bribes on the golf course and I'm talking with one of my partners and I say you know I believe that the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart older say that's rather profound. Zero is not really I just got it somewhere and I like to say it a laugh and we talked some more and I eventually say and I believe that in the death of Jesus of Nazareth is the answer to your problem in my and is the issue is the pivotal event of all of human history and at that point. By and large, people say politely listen I know Hernandez foolish in all my life so if you feel that way you're already in the surprise you're supposed to feel that way. You see, you feel that way. First, people this morning so you know there's America's a great nation and I was brought up in a very nice mom and dad, I'm grateful for that. And I've always try to put my best foot forward and I really that the rivers in which I can go on washer a lot better than this crummy stream and I wish I never got myself in here in the first and furthermore well I think that I know what the Christian life is.

I think the Christian life is simply this, the you imitate Jesus Christ and so you say to me, that's exactly what I begun to do. I am now trying to put his teaching into practice. I am trying to come to church at least once a week and I'm hoping that as a result of findings.

My act got a little religion and try to imitate Jesus Christ try to live by the sermon on the Mount tried to put in place. The golden rule that eventually God will reward me for doing all those things. So I imitate Jesus, he scores me an independent high score includes me in heaven relieved me out. That is not good news. That is bad indeed that it was in use. You only need to think about that for a couple minutes because what you're saying is going to happen being cured of spiritual leprosy is on the basis of how good you can be on the question is how good do you have to be in the answer is perfect.

So that cuts out a significant number of us to begin with, is it not so that is bad news, yet that is the news which is offered for improvement after pool and it is a chronicle of despair.

I wanted this week to go out and imitate Jesus Christ and the average businessman says I can do it. Of course you can do it no more than you can imitate Shakespeare for goodness sake, you can write Shakespeare's sonnets, unless the genius of Shakespeare came to live in you, you can imitate Jesus Christ unless the life of Christ came to live in you. So the good news is not the imitation of Christ. The good news is transformation by Christ. See what a name and bring what they bring to the Jordan. His condition but he brought gold and silver and stuff.

Yeah. And what good was all of no good or tall, right or you say to me are you telling me that my morality and that my position in life and my given to the, the, the United Way, is it this is in the equation. Yeah it is in the equation. You know what the Bible calls filthy rags. It calls it the worst kind of dry cleaning. It is only when the light Naaman. You and I are prepared to say. Just as ion without one plea in my defense, save for the fact that this Jesus when he died upon the cross for my punishment to my pain took all of my badness in his own body so that I might be cured as a result of his taking my condition. Can you imagine a physician who healed like that you went to the doctor and he diagnosed the condition and he said you know you have a curvature hereunder on and then he said here give me that the children appeared on his jaw. Ron was immediately clean say, this is a ministry could never be. Of course it couldn't be, but that is exactly the mystery of the gospel. Let me conclude by saying this to you.

Naaman came very close to dying as a leper because he was angry that way. I would imagine some are angry this morning. You're angry with the people you're sitting next to because you're saying.

Goodness gracious. If they had only told me what this was like I would never shown up here and you're already try to work out a diplomatic way to get as far from them as you possibly can as quickly as you might, and Naaman was angry absolutely steaming. Can you not in the night in the and get his servants said to him hey name name. The guy had asked you to do some unbelievable thing when you've done answer is yes yes $750,000 worth of gold he was ready to dump a similar amount in silver and unbelievable war if the guy said you know what I wanted million and 1/2 in gold. 2 million in silver. I wanted 50 outfits rather than 12 Naaman what is said go back and get the stuff in the same way that if I sent you this morning. Let me tell you the wind of the kingdom of heaven. Give X amount to this go on a pilgrimage to their run three times on the blog and when you come back I'm going to give you a little button and that button will be your security appeal be lining up for that button so fast because it leaves us without ego we can do it.

I gave I performed. I ran I got the pin. Here's the deal, get down on your knees and admit that you are suffering from spiritual leprosy. Admit the fact that your desirable place of residence and your enviable position in society does nothing to deal with the acknowledge that sin detracts from your happiness and make you unhappy is dreadfully ugly and believe that when Jesus died upon the cross. He bore your sin so that you need not fear death. You can reject what I'm saying to you and if you do, you will remain in your sin Bible says you will die in your sin and for all of eternity will be without hope and you will have nothing to cheer you, but if you would as Naaman did turn around and stoop down and you may embrace the good news and bad news will listing to Truth for Life. Alister Berg will conclude with prayer in just a minute please keep listening. Well, as Alister said, all of us are suffering from spiritual leprosy.

But as we see in Naaman story.

There is a cure. If you've never embraced this good news for yourself. Would love to help you learn more about how to take the next steps in your spiritual journey is a short video we produce that's available, along with links to other teaching go to Truth for story all of our online messages are completely free for you to access. That's because of a special team of people we call truth partners. These are people who give a set amount each month to help cover the cost of producing and distributing this program to say thank you for your support.

We have a book. Would love to send you. It's titled discovering the good life. The author is Tim Savage and in the book.

He reminds us that though many of us are merely surviving in our journey of life.

God's intent is for us to thrive with Jesus as the central figure. This book traces the theme of three trees throughout the landscape of Scripture and points us to the crew rituals that are available in Christ, if you want to be motivated to really start living requester copy of this book, today's the last day were making it available, so be sure to get in touch with us soon asked for discovering the good life.

When you become a truth partner or when you make a generous one time partner or call us at 888-588-7884. Now, here is Alister with the final prayer just where were seated this morning. Let us be very very clear that the good news is not an invitation to imitate Jesus Christ. The good news is a call to be transformed by Christ.

What we have to do believe his promise surely is either something more than that I don't have to attend courses, reading books, attend church get this done and that don't know believe his promise and then the lifestyle will a marriage from the transformation of your life. Just where you're seated today. Tell God what's on your heart is spoken in your life admit that you know yourself to be in this condition become like a little child and trusting in his provision for your knee and stand to your feet to declare your commitment to follow him Lord hear our prayers. Let Arkwright come unto you, for Jesus sake, we ask about Lapine join us again tomorrow will turn our attention to another Old Testament figure who serves as an example of unwavering integrity Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life.

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