Isn’t it amazing that the Bible, though written over many centuries, by many authors, from many countries, and many cultures, is still all ONE GREAT STORY from Genesis to Revelation?
It’s the story of the gospel of grace. God came down to earth to be our Savior, to “wash us” clean from our sin, which though we may deny it, is as terrible in its effects as leprosy. But to receive His grace, we must humble ourselves and admit we cannot make ourselves clean. That only happens by trusting in what Jesus did for us at the cross.
As one friend of Paige said: “All it takes to receive His grace is nothing, but most people don’t have it.”
This week we look at yet another story demonstrating this gospel truth. Naaman was a great and respected man, but he had a “spot” of leprosy that he knew would soon take over his whole body, for that is just how leprosy (and sin) works. Yet he resisted the simplicity of the gospel until the Lord finally got to his heart.
I saw my friend Marty, a relatively new Christian, at pickleball yesterday and she was raving about Paige’s last lecture. I told her: “Wait til you listen this week! I kept thinking of you!” Marty initially struggled with seeing herself as a sinner in need of grace. She’d been coming to Bible study for a few months and she kept resisting the gospel, saying, “But Dee — I’m not a sinner!”
Yet one wonderful day when she was riding her bike, God revealed her sin to her. She came running into our study flushed with excitement:
“I GET IT! I WAS RIDING MY BIKE WHEN I UNDERSTOOD. I’M A SINNER!”
And that was so good, for like Naaman, Marty was then willing to go and wash in the pool of God’s great grace. She is young in the faith, and has been challenged by some really hard things. But she keeps telling me, with a radiant face:
“But now I’m not alone.”
Click here for this week’s teaching from Paige Benton Brown:
Part I. God Rejects No One Who Receives His Grace
Thursday: Naaman’s Story
1. Read 2 Kings 5: 1-4
A. What do you learn about Naaman in these verses?
B. Who is a voice for God in these opening verses and why is this ironic? Thoughts?
C. Can you remember an early “voice” in your life that started you thinking seriously about Jesus? If so, share briefly.
2. Read 2 Kings 5: 5-12
A. To whom does Naaman go first, and with what?
B. How does the King of Israel respond and why?
C. How does God’s prophet, Elisha respond and what does his messenger tell Naaman to do?
D. How does Naaman respond in verse 11, and why, according to verse 12?
The NIV translates verse 11b: “wave his hand over the spot” — I found that interesting, that at this point Naaman’s leprosy was small, yet he still realized he was in big trouble.
3. Read 2 Kings 5:13-14
A. What did Naaman’s servants tell him and how did he respond this time? What happened?
B. For some, salvation is an “event” where you are aware of an immediate change. For others it is gradual, yet
there comes a point when you realize you are truly a cleansed child of God and you are different. If you know
you are a child of God, which story is closest to yours? Explain briefly.
Friday: Desperation for Grace
Listen to Paige’s lecture up to minute 22:22 when she says: “Number 2, here: Frustration with Grace.”
4. Which identity of Naaman is bigger — great man or a leper? Why?
5. What are some of the ways the physical plague of leprosy symbolizes the spiritual plague of sin?
6. Paige said there are a lot of churches that don’t teach about sin — but rather self-esteem, anxiety, addiction. So if they don’t teach sin, they also don’t teach grace. What are some ways you can know you are in a church that teaches the gospel?
I don’t remember who said it, but I do remember what they said: If the preaching wouldn’t get you thrown in jail or martyred in a country closed to Christianity, that preacher isn’t preaching the gospel.
7. If Naaman thought his problem was self-esteem, what would have happened to him?
8. Paige said many people are concerned enough to get to the door, to pick up a devotional — but there isn’t real desperation and clinging to Jesus. Where are you?
9. What else stands out to you from this section and why?
Saturday: Frustration with Grace & Salvation by Grace
Listen to Paige from where you left off to 45:8 when she says “Point number 4 here…”
10. Paige said, “Concern is a start but not enough.” What did she mean? Thoughts?
11. How is Naaman coming to God at this point?
12. Why is the gospel offensive? Did you ever feel that way or no others who found it like that? Why, do you think?
13. Meditate on verse 11 and 12 again and share your observations and thoughts after listening to Paige.
14. Paige talked about how even as believers we can still be that way, embarrassed by “uncool Christians.” How did this speak to you, if it did?
15. What was her point about her story about her dad giving a beggar a steak?
16. How is Naaman dipping in the Jordan River a visual of what grace is?
17. What parallel did Page make with giving our whole lives to a man who was crucified?
18. What point did she recall from C. S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair and the lion saying, “There is no other stream?”
19. What else stood out to you from this section and why?
God Hunt Sunday
20. How has God been at work in your life this week?
Monday: Transformation by Grace
Listen to Paige from where you stopped to 55:44 when she says “Pick up at verse 19”
21. How can you see transformation in Naaman in verses 15-19 after listening to Paige?
22. What was her point with the embarrassing Christmas sweatshirt story?
23. Did anything stand out to you from Bonhoeffer’s teaching on “cheap grace?” If so, what?
24. What about her story of her old college acquaintance?
25. What else stands out to you from this section and why?
Part II. God Receives No One Who Rejects His Grace
Tuesday: Gehazi: Defying Grace and is Refused Grace
25. Read 2 Kings 5:19-27
A. What does Gehazi do that is so displeasing to God in verses 19-24 that is so displeasing to God and why?
B. What happened to Gehazi and why?
C. How might have what Gehazi did confused Naaman?
Listen to Paige to the end
26. Paige said, “How we respond to grace shows who we really are.”
A. What was Paige’s point about her story about her response to her old “wild” yet converted college acquaintance?
B. How was Ghazi like Judas?
C. Paige often says: “Sin is its own punishment.” How is this demonstrated with Ghazi?
D. Explain this quote from Martin Luther: God took what was mine and put on me what I am not.”
E. How is this expressed in other ways in the New Testament? (Paige said to look at reversals this week — so find one!)
F. What was her story about Lou Harris asking her daddy is he even knew Jesus?
G. If someone asked you, “Do you know Jesus?” How do you think you would respond and why?
H. What else stood out to you from this lecture and why?
27. What is your take-a-way and why?