Patricia Erlandsen Evangelist
THE DYNAMICS OF PERSONAL, SPIRIT-LED EVANGELISM
10.2 The Message: wash and be clean
2 Kings 5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 2 Kings 5:10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to the, and thou shalt be clean.
How to be saved.
The prophet Elisha said to Naaman, ‘Wash and be clean’. No one can exercise the saving faith needed for another. Faith is the gift of God. Saving faith therefore is not passive mental assent to some concept explained to them.
Naaman was told to do something: ‘Go and wash’. James said Ill show you my faith by my works. The water in the Jordan was not holy. It was probably muddy. He was told to demonstrate, to do something, to show he had faith. His skin needed cleansing from a disease. The prophet tells him to wash his body. He must do something to be made whole. God works the miracle, but we have to demonstrate, to point out exhibit, make known our faith. In so doing we are demonstrating faith, hope, and love. join together with God for it to take place.
One of the reasons the Pharisees opposed Jesus was that his teachings were too simplistic. No rules – other than obey – some today sneer and say, ‘easy grace’. But the instructions are clear, “believe and receive Holy Spirit”. “Confess with your mouth, believe in your heart God has raised Jesus from the dead, and be saved”.
The Pharisees had, over the centuries, built up a hedge around God to keep people out. One of the consequences of this was that no one was allowed to interpret the teachings for her or himself. They needed lawyers to interpret for them and to tell them what pleased God and what to do.
When Jesus was on the earth, he was the Word of God come in the flesh: “and we beheld his glory the glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth”.
I once read that as the Torah was expounded weekly in the temple, and Jesus went from there and demonstrated what had been read. I have no proof, but I believe it. That is the Word becoming flesh. For example, when Numbers 13 was read, Jesus went and healed the lepers. Jesus then told the lepers, according to the Scriptures, to be declared clean, ‘go and show yourselves to the priest’ (Lk 17:14).
Instead of great volumes of Scriptures being taught, we need to simply say to genuine inquirers, ‘believe on the Lord Jesus, that he rose from the dead, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit’. Simply ask them “Do you believe that”? Then call upon them to confess it with their moth and believe it. Get straight to the point.
Jesus’ simple message was followed by demonstration of the power of God. This is the Gospel. The man with the withered hand had a need: to be healed. Jesus met him and said to him, ‘hold out your hand’ and the man was healed (Mt 12:13). Some people will be healed when they simply hold out their hands and do good, by serving Jesus. This is their need.
Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, was in the grave for four days. Jesus cried, ‘Lazarus come forth’. He then turned to the people and said, “Loose him and let him go”. This was Lazarus’ immediate need. Raising him from the dead was Divine work. Cleaning him up was the work of his friends. (Jn 11: 1-44).
Some will be healed when the people in the church stop playing church and get involved with people’s genuine needs in practical ways. Removing stinking grave clothes from those recent converts, people who have been raised from the dead.
They are not free to worship and serve God in spiritual sacrifices as a priest before God in the holy place, because they are ignored and lack teaching. Their basic needs have not been met. They need personal ministry and follow up to get them standing and walking, free of the old life.
The need for the woman taken in adultery (Jn 8:1-11) was to gain Jesus’ word of comfort, authority, and protection from the religious bigots accusing her. Here, Jesus protected the woman from the Jewish lawyers. Then Jesus gave her some good advice, he told her ‘go and sin no more.
Some will relate to that scripture. They will be saved when they understand they can take up their cause for justice and righteousness, in the name of the Lord. This is their need. Ask the Lord in prayer and in their presence to meet people’s needs through some form of service as soon as they receive Christ.
Jesus touched the tongue and the ears of the deaf man (Mk 7:30-37)) who was also unable to hear or speak. He spoke to him in sign language first, and said, ‘be opened’, and the man was healed. Some are in need of their spiritual ears to be opened so their tongue can be loosened and they can praise God.
The point of it all is Jesus. Jesus is pivotal to salvation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household shall be saved”. Practice saying these simple words to people you meet. Who said they need any more bible knowledge before they are saved?
The prophet Elisha simply sent a message to Naaman, ‘Wash and be clean’. People have to do what they’re told. It’s been my experience that they do. Faith is action. Salvation is not a passive belief.
“Go and wash”.
So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 2 Kings 5:9-10.
Naaman was not born again, but it does show by his request to carry back two mounds of earth that he was converted to the God of Israel. This account is likened to the new birth in the NT. The new birth or born again means to be ‘born from on high’: God regenerating a believer. (Strong’s # 313. 1 Pet 1:3,& 23). This term isn’t used in classical Greek literature so its use here in two scriptures is important. In other places its explained as ‘from their origin (source), from of old, (c) again, anew.’ This means literally, a new birth that comes down from heaven
Where the main teaching on the new birth is found is in NT in the story of Nicodemus. He is mentioned three times in the Gospels. Nicodemus was a genuine seeker of truth. He recognised Jesus came from God. Jesus explained to him, you must be born again to see and enter the kingdom of God. (John 3)
The reason Jesus talked about being born again is He wanted Nicodemus to understand the spiritual reality behind the natural: the birth of a child. Following ensuring the baby starts breathing, then clean it up, next, is food, and sight follows soon after.
For those born of the spirit, the new birth is being ushered into and ‘seeing’ the kingdom of God. Jesus did restore natural sight. For the blind man, he actually created new eyes presumably from the dust of the earth. In John 9:6-7 and v 40 – 41, Jesus said the ‘seeing were made blind’, talking there about their losing their spiritual sight.
Saul, on the road to Damascus, saw a vision of Jesus and was blinded for three days. In the spiritual it can take a few days for spiritual sight to be received by those who respond to Jesus in their hearts. It also shows another person, Ananias, was involved in Paul’s eyes being opened to spiritual understanding. Ananias was instructed to go and lay hands upon him and minister to him.
Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God being likened to things in this world but not of this world. The kingdom of God is not of the world’s system: it cannot be seen with the natural eye. We need spiritual eyes to see it.
Jesus gave the following example: It is like the woman who put ‘yeast put into three measures of meal’. The kingdom of God is like yeast, a single-celled fungus but complex and does a remarkable job. Yeast is in the air. The fermentation generates flavour. Once put into the dough, though invisible it does its work.
The Kingdom of God is like ‘a dragnet that pulls in good and bad fish’, (Mt 13:47) which is to be sorted at the end of the world. The Kingdom of God is like ‘a merchant seeking good pearls, and when he found one pearl of great price he sold all and bought it’ (Mt 13: 45-46). To see and understand the hidden truths of the kingdom of God one must be born again, born from above. Born from the spirit world. We are taught “seek you first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness”.
Job ponders life and its big questions
‘A man born of a woman is a few days and is full of trouble’ (Job 14:1) With natural birth, a person ‘comes forth like a flower and is cut down’, s/he flees like a shadow, s/he doesn’t continue.
Then there is another birth that is not natural birth, ‘born of a woman’. That birth is not ‘a few days’ and is not ‘full of trouble’. This is the spiritual birth, born of a woman, the church of Jesus Christ. So, there is natural, physical birth and heavenly, spiritual birth.
The early church did not have the New Testament Scriptures as we have. Instead, they had Jesus and his teachings through the Apostles and church ministers who ‘went everywhere preaching the gospel’. Jesus taught them of the hope of eternal life through His resurrection.
“This is the promise that He has promised us” (1 Jn 2:25).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
“Whoever hears my word and believes on the Father has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but has passed from death into life. Instantly one believes on the Father and hears the word of Jesus Christ passes from death to life” (John 5:24).
“He that believes on Me has eternal life” (Jn 6:47).
Jesus spoke of entering our inheritance, our birthright, as entering the Kingdom of God (John 3).
“He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ ‘He has made us accepted in the Beloved’. ‘We have redemption through His Blood.’ ‘The forgiveness of sins’ ‘He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence’. ‘He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit, the spirit of promise’. (Eph 1: 3, 6, 7, 8, 9)
The three elements present at every natural and spiritual birth are water, blood, and Spirit.
‘Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.’ (Ezek 16:9).
Praise God for Jesus, our example, our justification, our propitiation, our life, our High Priest, our Saviour, our brother, the Water of Life, the Chief Cornerstone of our life, the Foundation, the Vine. We are the branches of the Vine, Jesus, the Refiner and Purifier. He is the sinless Lamb of God, the Head of the Body, the Good Shepherd and the Bishop of our souls. He is our Advocate, the Almighty, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, and profession, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Beginning and the End of the Creation of God. He is our all-in-all. Jesus is the Great I AM, name above all names. Beautiful Saviour, Glorious Creator God.
Rich blessings in Christ