"THIS DAY IS A DAY OF GOOD NEWS" 2 Kings 7:9 INTRODUCTION 1. In the period of Israel's history known as "The Divided Kingdom" (ca. 931-722 B.C.)... a. The nation was divided into two parts 1) The kingdom of Israel in the north with Samaria as its capitol 2) The kingdom of Judah in the south with Jerusalem for its capitol b. The weakened condition of both kingdoms left it open to attacks by other countries 1) Some near by (e.g., Syria Moab, Ammon) 2) Others from afar (e.g., Assyria, Babylon) 2. We read of one siege of Samaria in 2 Ki 6:24-29 a. Orchestrated by Ben-Hadad, king of Syria b. Which brought a terrible famine upon the city of Samaria 3. Among those suffering in the famine were four lepers... a. They discussed their plight - 2 Ki 7:3-4 a b. In desperation they decided to surrender to the Syrians - 2 Ki 7:4 b c. To their surprise, they found the Syrian camp abandoned - 2 Ki 7:5-7 d. At first, they splurged in their newfound riches - 2 Ki 7:8 e. But upon reflection, they knew they needed to tell others what they found, and did so - 2 Ki 7:9-11 -- There is a valuable lesson we learn from the four lepers, especially when they said: "This day is a day of good news..." 4. In our study, we shall notice... a. Some parallels between the lepers then, and ourselves now b. The consequences of keeping silent when we have good news to share c. Why some people may be keeping silent today [We begin, then, with some...] I. PARALLELS THEN AND NOW A. IN EACH CASE, THERE IS A FAMINE... 1. Then, it was a famine for food 2. Now, it is a famine for the blessings only God can provide! a. Our famine is related to the problem of sin - Ro 3:23 b. Yet God provides the free gift of salvation - Ro 6:23 B. IN EACH CASE, THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE FREELY AVAILABLE... 1. Then, there was plenty of food in the Syrian camp 2. Now, there is an abundance of spiritual blessings in Christ! - Ep 1:3 ; Re 22:17 C. IN EACH CASE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO FOUND WHAT THEY NEEDED... 1. Then, it was the four lepers 2. Now, it is the Christians who have experienced the joys of salvation! D. BUT HERE IS WHERE THE SIMILARITY OFTEN ENDS... 1. The lepers knew what was right, and did it a. They knew they would be wrong by keeping silent b. They knew punishment would befall them if they kept the good news to themselves -- So they went back to the city and told the good news! 2. Many Christians are not like these lepers... a. Despite it being "a day of good news", they remain silent! b. While many die of spiritual starvation, they feast on the gospel! -- Do they not consider that what they do is wrong? E. WE DO WELL TO LEARN FROM THESE LEPERS... 1. What they said of themselves at first, may be true of us: "We are not doing what is right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent." 2. What else they said may also be true of us: "If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us." [In reasoning among themselves, they considered the consequences of keeping silent in a day of good news. Have we considered the consequences of keeping silent with the good news of the gospel?] II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF KEEPING SILENT A. WE FAIL TO KEEP THE GREAT COMMISSION... 1. Jesus wanted His disciples to observe ALL that He commanded - Mt 28:18-20 2. Included is the command to "Go and make disciples..." -- Keeping silent is not what Jesus commanded! B. WE FAIL OUR MISSION AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD... 1. As the privileged people of God, we are to proclaim the praises of God - 1 Pe 2:9-10 2. Especially in regards to: a. How God "called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" b. How we "who had not obtained mercy...now have obtained mercy" -- How can God's "own special people" do this while keeping silent? C. WE WILL ANSWER TO GOD FOR FAILING OUR MISSION... 1. Just as God told Ezekiel, whom He made to be "a watchman for the house of Israel" a. Ezekiel was to warn the wicked - Ezek 3:17 b. If Ezekiel failed to warn the wicked, the wicked would die for his own sin, but Ezekiel would also be held accountable! - Ezek 3:18-21 2. Today, the church is God's "watchman" to the world! a. We are to take the gospel to every person! - Mk 16:15 b. Those who have not heard will die in their own sin, but we will be held accountable if we gave them no warning! [Despite the consequences of keeping silent, many Christians do not tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ. Why is this so? Here are some possibilities...] III. WHY MANY KEEP SILENT A. FOR SOME, IT MAY BE THEY ARE STARVING THEMSELVES... 1. They may have experienced the joy of salvation in the past... a. But through negligence they have failed to grow, and have forgotten the blessings of salvation - cf. 2 Pe 1:8-9 b. In a real sense, they have returned to a state of spiritual famine! c. Therefore, they have little or nothing to share with others 2. Those who are enjoying the blessings of salvation will want to tell others a. Even as David did in his psalm - cf. Ps 32:1-11 b. And as Philip did when he found Jesus - cf. Jn 1:43-46 -- Don't you have any "good news" worth sharing? B. FOR SOME, IT MAY BE OUT OF FEAR OR DISCOURAGEMENT... 1. If "fear" keeps us silent, remember that: a. First place in the list of those consigned to the lake of fire are the "cowardly" - Re 21:8 b. God does not want us to be fearful - cf. 2 Ti 1:7-8 c. Boldness can come through prayer - cf. Ac 4:29 ,31; Ep 6: 19-20 2. If "discouragement" keeps us silent, then remember: a. The principle of sowing and reaping - cf. Ga 6:9 b. The example of our Lord Jesus - cf. He 12:1-3 -- Fear and discouragement, as problematic as they may be, come be overcome with faith and perseverance! C. FOR MANY, IT MAY BE THE IDEA THAT IT IS TOO COMPLICATED... 1. As though in order to teach someone, one needed: a. A master's degree in inter-personal communication b. Fours of Bible in college, or some other specialized training 2. In reality, our task is really quite simple... a. To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ - Mk 16:15 1) Which can be presented in the simplest of terms - cf. 1 Co 15:1-4 ; 2:2 2) Note that in the book of Acts, the gospel was normally presented in just one lesson! b. We are not obligated to teach the non-Christian beyond the "first principles" 1) Only if they accept the "first principles", will they ready to receive the "second principles" 2) E.g., why teach people about "Christ's church" (its organization, work, worship, etc.), if they are not willing to obey Christ elementary commands pertaining to faith, repentance, confession and baptism? 3) Such "second principles" can be left to those "pastors and teachers" who are especially gifted in that area - cf. Ep 4:11 ; Ro 12:7 ; 1 Co 12:29 ; Ja 3:1 3. Sharing the "gospel" is easy, provided we: a. Follow the words of Peter - 1 Pe 3:15 1) Give the Lord a special place in your heart 2) Prepare yourselves to be ready to give a reason for the hope that you have a) E.g., that Christ died for your sins and rose again - 1 Co 15:1-4 b) E.g., that you responded to the gospel as proclaimed by Peter and the apostles - Ac 2:36-38 b. Follow the words of Paul - Co 4:2-6 ; Ep 6:19-20 1) Pray for opportunity - cf. 1 Co 3:5 a) It is the Lord who provides the opportunity b) And He gives it to those who are prepared and praying 2) Pray for wisdom - cf. Ja 1:5 a) To make the most of the opportunity b) To say the right thing in the right way at the right time 3) Pray for boldness a) To have the courage to speak when given the opportunity b) To be able to say what people need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear CONCLUSION 1. Brethren, if we are silent with regards to the "good news" (the gospel), then the words of the four lepers is true of us: "We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell..." - 2 Ki 7:9 2. Yes, "let us go and tell" a world that is spiritually starved about the feast God offers through His Son Jesus Christ! a. Let us share with others what we ourselves have found! b. Let them experience the joy, the peace, and the love that only God can give! 3. Indeed, "This Day Is A Day Of Good News" because it is the "day of salvation", and no one should receive the grace of God in vain! - 2 Co 6:1-2 Will we who have been so richly blessed accept the responsibility Christ has placed on us? If our fervor has died down, then we should remember the words of Jesus: "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent." - Re 2:4-5 Are you in need of repentance?