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Bret and Patricia Skillen, missionaries to the U.S. Military in Germany, and their three children were guests at Bethany Baptist Church, Sunday. Bret finished twenty years of service in the U.S. Army having served in Iraq several times and lived in Germany several years. He and his family benefited from their association with an Independent Baptist Church located near the military base in Baumholder, Germany.
One of the goals of Baptist International Missions, Inc. is to have an Independent Baptist Church located near every U.S. Military base in Europe. Over thirty-five percent of missionaries in Europe are over sixty years of age. There is a real need for younger men to fill the pulpits when these older missionaries retire. The Skillen Family is presently seeking the support of Independent Baptist Churches so that they can return to Germany soon.
Bret brought a message from II Kings 5:1-15 on the healing of Naaman the Leper. Naaman was captain of the host of the king of Syria. Naaman had proved to be a mighty man of valor for his king, but now he was in a terminal condition. He would die and go to hell unless God did something about it. God was doing something about it.
God’s way is different than what we think, but God does explain things to us, if we will pay attention. Naaman was not happy when the prophet, Elisha, sent out a servant with the message to go dip in the Jordan seven times. After all Naaman had brought a fortune in gold, silver, and fine raiment. He had a letter from the king and a whole company of Syrians behind him. When Naaman arrived at the home of Elisha he had to wait outside. He expected a lot of attention, but Elisha just sent out a message.
God’s way is singular. Naaman thought that the clear waters of the rivers back in Syria were superior to the muddy Jordan. But even as Jesus is the only way of salvation for all mankind, Naaman’s only chance for healing was to dip into the Jordan seven times. People think that there must be another way for salvation. Can’t they give lots of money to the building fund of the church or feed the children in Africa? Can’t they win salvation by being a religious person? The world has no problem with religion, but it does have a problem believing that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.
God’s way is simple. Naaman’s servants came to him and reasoned with him. If Elisha had asked Naaman to do some really difficult thing, Naaman would have done it. Salvation is simple. Believe, repent, trust, and call upon the name of the Lord. We don’t need to add anything to it. When Naaman finally humbled himself and did just what Elisha said, he was healed, and now he knew that there is no other God in all the earth.
So where is missions in this story. There was a little maid. She was a slave with no hope of escape, but she knew God. She knew that Naaman only had one hope and she spoke up. We may go ourselves or we may send, but the lost need to hear the gospel.