Speaking the Truth in Love
What Must I Do To Be Saved? (Have Bible Faith - part 1)
Many people today talk and talk about their faith. They are usually referring to their faith in God.Who do you put your faith tonight? Is faith something that just falls on someone or is it something that can be developed? The answer is that if you do not have faith in God you can develop it.
Maybe you think that you have faith in God, but you are not following God’s commandments. You may be very active and spend a lot of energy in your faith. But if your faith is not according to God’s Word or His knowledge, your faith and energy is misplaced (Romans 10:1-3, Matthew 7:21-23, James 1:22-25).
Faith defined: confidence in the testimony of another.
I. DEFINITION FROM SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 11:1-3
A. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)
B. Produced by hearing the gospel (Romans 10:17)
C. Faith comes from the Heart (Romans 10:9-10)
II. NAMAAN’S EXAMPLE OF FAITH
Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-15) - A study of Bible faith reveals that it takes more than a mere mental exercise to have saving faith. When Jesus' disciples inquired, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6:28-29) Faith is the beginning point (the basis or source) which causes one to do the works of God. There is no better demonstration of "saving faith" than that which is found in 2 Kings 5:1-15 and the story of Naaman the leper.
A. A general in the Syrian army.
1. God allowed Israel to be defeated because of their wickedness.
B. Naaman has a terrible, deadly disease.
1. It was good for him to listen to what was suggested by a slave girl.
2. When people get desperate, they are more apt to listen.
III. THE NATURE OF FAITH AS SEEN IN THIS NARRATIVE.
A. We see that Naaman had some faith because he came to Samaria to be healed by the prophet.
1. Who could deny he had faith as he stood at the door of the prophet's house? (verse 9)
2. At this point, though, he was still a leper. His faith alone would not have healed him.
B. The prophet sends a messenger to Naaman with a simple, very plain requirement.(verse 10)
C. Naaman now demonstrates the nature of his faith. (verse 11)
1. His faith was in his own wisdom and ways - "Indeed, I said to myself" ("Behold I thought" KJV).
a. His mind was already made up as to how the healing was to be done.
b. Also, if dipping in a river was necessary, why not go to the cleanest river available? (verse 12)
c. People use the same type of reasoning on water baptism. They say, "There's nothing miraculous in the water." It is simply a matter of believing and doing what God has required (1 Peter 3:21; Colossians 2). One has faith that God is working to remove sins. No one says when baptized, "I don't think all of my sins were washed away. Let's do it again so that the rest of them will be removed." No, he has faith that God will do what He has promised in these verses.
d. Also, in baptism God has given man a clear definite starting point in becoming a Christian - the new birth, the spiritual birth. Compare this to people waiting for some kind of experience. Some can't seem to find that unique experience for which they are looking.
2. Naaman could have claimed all day long that he had faith because he went to Samaria and stood at the prophet's door. However, until he obeyed the words of the prophet he was still a leper and his "so-called" faith was useless. He had not yet worked the works of God to be cleansed of his leprosy. What is that Work? To believe in the message of the prophet through whom God had spoken.
D. Naaman had wise servants who persuaded him to do what was right. (verses 13-14)
1. We need to avoid extremes:
a. "I think it would be better this way." (Making it easier, more convenient)
b. "I think it ought to be more difficult." (Making it more difficult than it really is). Example - living in a Monastery, meeting the requirement of a cult, etc.
2. Naaman learned the nature of saving faith that day.
a. He learned that what people might think (including himself), neither changes the word of God, nor the people's condition.
b. He learned that it is not the location (the Jordan or the rivers of Damascus) which honors God, but obedience.
3. Naaman himself said, "Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except inIsrael..." (verse 15)
IV. THERE ARE SOME VERY SIMPLE LESSONS HERE REGARDING SAVING FAITH.
1. He who has not been baptized for the remission of sins, like Naaman standing at the door of the prophet still a leper, stands before God still in his sins.
2. Will you not believe to the saving of the soul by obeying the Lord? We don't need to read a mountain of books on "baptism" to learn what to do, or if baptism is necessary. Just accept what the Bible says and do it. All who do not obey the gospel will be condemned (1 Peter 4:17-18).
B. Notice, too, that the prophet Elisha offered no apology to Naaman's objection of not wanting to dip in the Jordan.
1. The prophet simply told him what to do and that was the end of the matter.
2. Jesus offered no apologies when people were offended by His teaching (Matthew 15:12-14)
a. When many of His disciples were offended, He didn't "tone down" his teaching to make it more acceptable to them (John 6:60-61, 66-67).
3. We shouldn't make apologies on any of the Lord's teaching (Mark 16:16). This is what the Lord said and that ends the matter.
C. A third lesson is that genuine faith brings great blessings.
1. When Naaman obeyed, he was cleansed (verse 14) "...Like the flesh of a little child."
2. When one is baptized for the remission of sins, all his sins are washed away. He is cleansed of something far worse than leprosy (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Naaman took advice from his servants, obeys the words of the Lord’s prophet, and humbles himself in obedience by doing exactly what was commanded. As a result of his obedience he is completely healed of his leprosy!
How do we know Naaman had faith in God? We see his faith by his actions! He believed God even when he did not understand. He then acted on their faith. Bible Faith is a faith of action (James 2:14-26). Galatians 3:26-29 tells us what action to take! Have you put on Jesus tonight? If not, you are not one of the faithful of God, not a child of Abraham, and not a Christian! What is holding you back? The Lord wants you to obey Him so you will not perish (2 Peter 3:9). Why not act on your faith now, before it is too late? We hope to see you next time on “Speaking The Truth In Love” when we continue our series “What Must I Do To Be Saved” (Have Bible Faith – part 2)!