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WASH AND BE CLEAN! – THE TYPOLOGY OF CONVERSION

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, October 15, 2017

“Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (II Kings 5:10).


It is a simple story. But it has a deep meaning. If you are not yet saved you must listen carefully to it. You must act on it. It shows you the only way to be truly saved.

It is a simple story. It was given in the Bible to show you the only way to be saved and become a real Christian.

Naaman was a great man. He was the commander, the general, of the Syrian army. He was a valiant soldier. He was honored by his king, and he was a very proud man. But he was being eaten alive by the horrible disease of leprosy. He was dying of leprosy and he knew it. He had tried everything, but nothing cured his leprosy. A young Hebrew girl worked in Naaman’s house. She told him that there was a prophet in Israel that could heal his leprosy. He had tried everything, but nothing healed his sickness. Finally Naaman thought, “Maybe this prophet can heal me.” It was his last chance to be healed, so he came to see Elisha, the prophet of God.

But the prophet was a true man of God. If he went out of his house and prayed for Naaman the man would think that he, the prophet, had healed him. The prophet wanted Naaman to know that it was God who healed him, not the prophet himself. So Naaman came in his chariot to the door of the prophet’s house. But the prophet did not go out to speak to him. Instead he sent Naaman a message,

“Go and wash in [the] Jordan [river] seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (II Kings 5:10).

That made Naaman really angry. “Why, this prophet didn’t even come out to see me! Who does he think he is, anyway?” He thought the prophet would go out to him “and wave his hand over the spot, and cure me of my leprosy.” He thought the prophet would be like Benny Hinn. That he would make a great show out of it, and make the man think he was a great faith healer. But the prophet wanted to give all the honor to God. He simply sent a message to Naaman,

“Go and wash in [the] Jordan [river] seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (II Kings 5:10).

Naaman was very angry. He started to leave in a rage!

Then Naaman’s servant said to him, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? Why not do what he said to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” Then Naaman thought, “OK, I’ll do what the prophet said.” He went to the river Jordan and dipped himself in the water seven times, “and his flesh came again [like] the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (II Kings 5:14).

Many great sermons have been preached on this passage of Scripture. Those great preachers, like Spurgeon, were right to say that the cleansing of Naaman’s leprosy pictures the cleansing of your sin by the Blood Jesus shed on the Cross. Listen and Naaman’s story will show you how to be saved and cleansed from your sin this morning!

I. First, he had leprosy.

“He was a leper” (II Kings 5:1).

So are you. You are full of the leprosy of sin! The leprosy of sin has come down to you from the first sinner, Adam. The Apostle Paul said,

“By one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12).

What a description of you this morning! Dr. Watts put your condition into a hymn,

Lord, I am vile, conceived in sin,
   And born unholy and unclean;
Sprung from the man whose guilty fall
   Corrupts the race, and taints us all.

Behold, I fall before Thy face,
   My only refuge is Thy grace;
No outward forms can make me clean;
   The leprosy lies deep within.
(Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

The leprosy of sin “lies deep within” you! That describes you this morning! “The leprosy of sin lies deep with” you! Jesus said,

“From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within...” (Mark 7:21-23).

That’s a picture of your heart, full of evil thoughts. Your heart is full of the leprosy of sin!

No outward forms can make [you] clean;
The leprosy lies deep within –

doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? You know it does! And “no outward forms [no outward acts]” can make you clean! No decisions or prayers can make you clean! Nothing you can feel or learn can make you clean! And you know it! “The leprosy [of sin] lies deep” in your heart! And you know it – don’t you?

You know it’s true. You knew it before you committed an outward sin. You did it deliberately! You knew exactly what you were doing. Why did you do it if you knew it was wrong? In your unconverted state you loved the darkness. You enjoyed sin. You were happy sinning. You loved its taste. You loved it even though you knew it was wrong! That’s why you hate hearing the truth about your sinful heart! You hate me for telling you the truth about your evil heart – don’t you? It condemns you and makes you feel miserable to hear the truth! The leprosy lies deep within! Your heart is twisted and perverted. You enjoy sin rather than what is good and right. The leprosy lies deep within your evil heart of unbelief! I didn’t make that up. I was paraphrasing Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a medical doctor who knew all about sinful hearts like yours!

II. Second, he was upset by the prophet telling him how to be cleansed.

When the prophet told him “go and wash” he went away angry. He said, “I thought [the prophet would pray for me].” “I thought.” You think you know what to do to be saved. “I thought.” Away with your false thoughts! Get rid of your thoughts about what you think about being saved. You don’t know anything about it! Moody said,

Naaman had his diseases – pride and leprosy. The pride needed cleansing as much as the leprosy. Naaman had to get down from his chariot of pride; afterwards to wash as he was told.

And that is what must happen to you this morning. That is what you have to do if you want to be saved. Get rid of what “you think.” Get rid of your pride and your own thoughts of how to be saved. You must be washed clean as you were told. “Go wash...and thou shalt be clean.” Come to Jesus as a lost and sinful person. Come to Jesus and He will cleanse your sinful heart with the Blood He shed to cleanse you on the Cross! “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). “Wash and be clean!” That is what God Himself is telling you right now! “Wash and be clean!”

But you cannot be cleansed until your pride is overcome. Your heart must be changed. You cannot be forgiven until you repent. Your heart must be changed. You must be made to feel your selfishness. You want to feel saved. You want assurance that you are saved. But you don’t want to change who you are. You want to be saved so you can go on living a selfish life.

Conversion tells us of a complete change of heart. Your very nature is wrong. Your very heart is wrong. Your nature is rotten to the core. The change within you must be so radical that you die to yourself and are born again to a whole new life, a life centered in pleasing God rather than yourself. Giving up a few sins will not help you. Merely coming to church and merely saying a prayer will not help you. You must have a new nature, an entirely new life.

Listen to John Cagan in his struggle for conversion. “I was so tired of everything I was. Even as my sin convicted me I still would not have Jesus. I was trying to get saved. I was trying to trust Christ and I couldn’t. I just could not [decide] to become a Christian. It made me feel so helpless. I could feel my sin pushing me down into Hell yet I could feel my stubbornness forcing my tears away. I was stuck in this conflict.”

Do you feel any of that this morning? If so, why are you like that? It is because you want to be saved without a change of your heart. You want us to accept you as a Christian without a change of your heart. But that is not possible! You must be born again. You must have a new heart that loves God more than life itself. You must repent. You must hate who you are! You must give up your pride or you will die in your sin. Your heart is controlled by the leprosy of sin. Jack Ngann said, “God must make you hate who you are.”

No outward forms can make [you] clean;
The leprosy lies deep within.

Moody was right,

Naaman had his diseases – pride and leprosy. The pride needed cleansing as much as the leprosy. Naaman had to get down from his chariot of pride; afterwards to wash as he was told.

John Cagan said, “I could not hold onto myself any longer. I had to have Jesus. In that moment I stopped resisting Christ. It was so clear that all I had to do was trust Him; I can [remember] when it ceased to be me and it was only Christ...I turned from my sin, and I looked to Jesus alone!...Jesus took [the sins of my heart away] and gave me love instead...Jesus washed all my sins away. He gave me a new life.”

The moment you trust Jesus, the Son of God, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth [you] from all sin” (I John 1:7). All sin! All sin – whether the sin of your heart, or the sins you have committed – all sin must be cleansed by the Blood of Jesus – and only by the Blood of Jesus, the Son of God. He shed His Blood on the Cross to cleanse you. Why did He do that? Because He loves you. He wants to cleanse you with His Blood!

What can wash away my sin?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(“Nothing but the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

You have gone on in sin long enough. You wished that you could be saved like John Cagan. You longed to be like him. But you thought it was impossible. You thought you were too weird. You thought you were too sinful. You thought you were hopeless. But you were wrong! Jesus loves you. He loves you more than anyone else you have ever known. They wouldn’t love you if they knew the sins in your heart. But Jesus loves you anyway. Jesus says, “Come to me – and be clean by my Blood.” Jesus says, “Wash and be clean.” All He asks is that you turn from your pride and trust Him. Then someday you will sing in Heaven,

“Unto him that loved [me], and washed [me] from [my] sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).

“Wash and be clean.” Mr. Griffith, come and sing “Yes, I Know” again.

If you want to be clean please remain on these front seats and we will speak to you about trusting Jesus.

Dr. Chan, please come and pray for them, and then give thanks for the food we are going to have in the fellowship hall. Amen.


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(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
       “Yes, I Know!” (by Anna W. Waterman, 1920).


THE OUTLINE OF

WASH AND BE CLEAN! – THE TYPOLOGY OF CONVERSION

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (II Kings 5:10).

(II Kings 5:14)

I.   First, he had leprosy, II Kings 5:1; Romans 5:12; Mark 7:21-23.

II.  Second, he was upset by the prophet telling him how to be cleansed,
I John 1:7; Revelation 1:5.