The first thing I noticed as I made my way in the side door was Jeremiah Rodell and his crew busy preparing breakfast. And what a delicious breakfast we had at this morning’s Men’s Prayer Breakfast at Gospel Light Bible Baptist Church. The buffet was highlighted with French toast and syrup topped with powdered sugar. Most tantalizing though was the ham, onion, potato, and egg omelets. A choice of fruits and beverages was available.
The service, as is traditional for us, was begun with hearty singing in praise of the Lord, as Mateo Vasquez led us through the hymns. Our featured speaker, Evangelist David Spurgeon was seen at a back table preparing his notes and, for a while, kneeling in prayer at his seat. Pastor Giardino, taking to the pulpit, reminded us that “the music is to prepare your heart.” He was very thankful for the large number of men who showed up and had all the pastors and evangelists come forward to introduce themselves. Jeremiah Rodell was asked to come forward to be thanked for his cooking, but was also encouraged to do his “Spurgeon” impression. Standup comedy may be in Jeremiah’s future, as he delighted us and Brother David with his comedy.
After that, Pastor Giardino wished to ask for prayers for continued progress of city church plant for Jose Rosenbaum, being undertaken in conjunction with Southeast Bible Baptist Church. Likewise, he asked that we pray for Pastor Dickson Beam and his Youth Rally plans. Michael Giardino stepped to the piano and sang the hymn, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus”, a performance that blessed us greatly. Expressing the need to sharpen each other, Pastor Giardino emphasized our need for men’s fellowship. He then asked for devotions and received many from the congregation.
Then came Bro. David Spurgeon to the pulpit, and after providing a short testimony, had us turn to the story in II Kings 5:1-15. Brother Spurgeon has a way of preaching that is can be described as gruff and direct, but delightfully offbeat, surprising us with nuggets of wit and wisdom. But however one might try and describe his style of preaching, it can never match up with the unique experience of seeing him in person.
His sermon centered on an honorable man, Naaman, “captain of the host of the King of Syria”, “but he was a leper.” II Kings 5:1 Bro. Spurgeon explained that, in Israel, lepers were to be identified and kept out of camp, lest they contaminate the whole camp. The same is to be done with sin today, he said, identify it and remove it before it contaminates further. However, he lamented, “we live in a world today that doesn’t identify sin”, but “sin is still sin, keep it from contaminating” your lives.
Five points regarding Naaman’s healing were taken from the text:
1.) Naaman’s Helplessness – Nothing could be done for Naaman’s real problem, leprosy. Bro. Spurgeon stated that nothing can be done for our society’s real problem, sin, “because it won’t turn to Jesus Christ.”
2.) Naaman’s Hope – Naaman heard about a captive Israeli maid who spoke of “the prophet that is in Samaria for he would recover him of his leprosy.” II Kings 5:3 This brought Bro. Spurgeon to remark that today’s society is looking for something real to believe in. “People want hope,” he said, “and its our job to give them some.”
3.) Naaman’s Hostility – Naaman went to visit Elisha the prophet and received instructions on how to be healed. Instead, he became offended and went away in a rage. As do people today, preconceived notions of what it means to be healed or saved can get in the way of the sick or sinful. People trust in the wrong things and only trust in the Lord as a last resort.
4.) Naaman’s Humility – Bro. Spurgeon told how Naaman’s servants begged him to do what the prophet had said. After Naaman got over being mad, he came to the realization that he was still a leper. “He was sick of his condition, he needed to humble himself.” Thus, Naaman went to the river and followed Elisha’s instructions. Bro Spurgeon suggested that “when you get sick of not having a relationship with Him, you’ll get cleaned up too.”
5.) Naaman is Healed – “Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.” 2 Kings 5:14-15 Naaman showed his gratitude and he left different, he left whole. Brother Spurgeon likewise urged us to humble ourselves, believe in our hearts, and “thank God for what he was willing to do for us.” He said, “the difference between healed and whole is gratitude.” “Humbling yourself is the key.”