SermonActing Upon Belief
An all-creatures Bible Message

Acting Upon Belief
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
7 July 2019
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

2 Kings 5:1-14
Luke 10:1-20

Acting upon belief is really a definition of faith; as an example, we can believe that there is a God, but when we trust in the Lord to fulfill his promises then we have turned that belief into faith.
 
Another example is when people hear about the horrible suffering of animals in the meat and dairy industries, and do nothing about it, it shows an indifference or hardness of heart, but when people believe that it is really happening and do something about it, such as becoming vegan, it indicates their faith, that even in a small way they want to help end the suffering and no longer be a part of the cruelty.
 
In 2 Kings 5:1-14, we have an example of how Naaman was acting upon belief, even if he didnít completely understand.

1. Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.

To set the stage, we need to understand that Aram was at war with Israel during this time.

2. Now the Arameans had gone out in bands, and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
 
3. And she said to her mistress, "I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy."
 
4. And Naaman went in and told his master [the king], saying, "Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel."

Obviously Naaman believed what the little girl had told him, and by telling what she said to the king, he was actually acting upon belief, and because he must have spoken very convincingly, the king of Aram wanted to help him.
 
We also find it quite interesting that Naaman would believe what a captive Israelite slave girl would tell him and have the faith in her word to follow through to the extent that he did.

5. Then the king of Aram said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel." And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes.
 
6. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, "And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy."
 
7. And it came about when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me."

The king of Israel only seems to be looking at the letter in a frame of mind of distrust.

8. And it happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent word to the king, saying, "Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."

We are not told how Elisha heard about this incident; so perhaps it was an angel of the Lord that told him, and by faith he acted upon it.

9. So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots, and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha.
 
10. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean."

Elisha seems to be testing the faith of Naaman by sending out his servant instead of talking to him directly.

11. But Naaman was furious and went away and said, "Behold, I thought, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper.

Naaman failed the test; he put his faith in the man instead of in the God of the prophet.
 
This is also a mistake that a lot of people make today, for we hear them talk about their pastor or their church as the place of salvation, when even a field or a woods could be the place of coming to the Lord, for pastors and churches are to represent God to the people.

12. "Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage.

And, Naamanís anger has not subsided; he canít seem to see that his healing will come from the Lord.

13. Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, "My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"

This servant is acting upon belief and using the wisdom of God, which quieted down Naaman and convinced him to do what the servant of Elisha told him to do.

14. So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
NASB

What happened to Naaman is something that happens to a lot of people; they stop acting upon belief, or they lose their faith, and go back to their worldly way of thinking instead of following through on the faith that brought Naaman to Elisha in the first place, instead of being concerned about how their initial belief and faith is fulfilled.
 
We have been vegan animal rights activists for over 30 years and along the journey we have seen a lot of setbacks, but veganism has been slowly but steadily increasing, and we keep going on with our work knowing that we are getting closer and closer to the tipping point when veganism and animal rights become the lifestyle of most people.
 
This is acting upon belief, or living in faith.
 
In Luke 10:1-20, we are given the account of how the disciples of Jesus went out and were acting upon belief, a belief that what Jesus told them would happen.

1. Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.

These 70, if they were acting upon belief, were going out as prophets announcing the coming of the Lord.
 
They were preparing His way.

2. And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
 
3. "Go your ways; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

The vast majority of people in the world, even to this very day, are hard of heart; otherwise they would not be eating the flesh and by-products of animals, for it causes over 100 billion of them to suffer and die every year.
 
Now, while this wasnít the mission of Jesus then, today we believe it is for Jesus teaches us to bring Godís heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, and in heaven there is no pain or suffering or death.

4. "Carry no purse, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.

We believe that these instructions were given so that nothing would distract them from the mission He was sending them on; and He was sending them out on their faith.

5. "And whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.'
 
6. "And if a man of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him; but if not, it will return to you.

Verse 6 seems a little vague, because we are not told whether or not a man of peace was there; does it mean that they would not be staying there, and would take their peace to another house?

7. "And stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

This seems to be describing what was to happen with a man of peace in the house, but it could also mean that they are to stay even where they do not find peace; we simply are not specifically told.

8. "And whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat what is set before you;

We donít believe that the part about eating whatever is set before us applies to today, because not eating animal by-products is part of our witness to the people.

9. and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them,' The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

And, our whole unprocessed vegan lifestyle can heal people of most of their chronic diseases, and build up their immune system, so they can ward off other diseases and infections.

10. "But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say,
 
11. 'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'

This could be a hard message to deliver, especially if there are family members and friends present in that community, but the truth needs to be told.

12. "I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
 
13. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

These kinds of rejections come from hard of heart people who simple donít want to hear the truth, so they reject both the truth and the messenger.

14. "But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment, than for you.
 
15. "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!
 
16. "The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."

I donít know whether they know the results or extent of their rejection, but we believe it is our job to politely tell them. 

17. And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
 
18. And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.

This is because his schemes to destroy us and others had failed, because they were acting upon belief.

19. "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.

Based upon the previous verse we donít believe that this means real serpents or scorpions, but refers to demons.

20. "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven." 
NASB

This is why it is so important for all of us to be acting upon belief.
 
This is our faith.
 
Amen?
 
Amen.

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