Worship Service – July 3, 2022

Scriptures; Luke 10:1-16, and Galatians 6:1-6

Message scripture; 2 Kings 5:1-14

Message; “Spiritual leprosy” the “Healing of the Soul”

Luke 10: 1-16

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-two

(1) After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. (2) He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (3) Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (4) Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
(5) “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ (6) If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. (7) Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
(8) “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. (9) Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ (10) But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, (11) ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ (12) I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
(13) “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. (14) But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. (15) And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.
(16) “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Galatians 6:1-6

Doing Good to All

(1) Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. (2) Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (3) If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (4) Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, (5) for each one should carry his own load.
(6) Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

2 Kings 5:1-14

Naaman Healed of Leprosy

(1) Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
(2) Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. (3) She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
(4) Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. (5) “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. (6) The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
(7) As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
(8) When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” (9) So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. (10) Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
(11) But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. (12) Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
(13) Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” (14) So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

Oh Lord is hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror. I get better looken each day. To know me is to love me. They say I’m a heckuva man. Oh Lord is hard to be humble but I’m doing the best that I can. How many of you remember that song by, Mac Davis?
In our gospel reading Jesus appointed 72 disciples and sent them out two buy two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them the harvest was plentiful but the workers were few. He sent them with this warning,”Go! I am sending you out like lambs among the wolves”(vs.3).
What do you think Jesus meant when he told his 72 disciples they were lambs among the wolves? I believe he wanted them to understand what they were getting into. Their task would be dangerous. Often they would be rejected. Jesus was upfront about what would happen if they worked for him.
Jesus gave them specific instructions in verse 8 when he told them,”When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.” I believe this instruction was more of a warning than an instruction. Jesus was warning them about the dangers of pride and preconceived notions that we often take with us.
It seems we all have a tendency to be singing that song written by Mac Davis. “Oh lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” We often forget what Jesus told us in verse 16. “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
Let’s look at this in today’s perspective. I heard about an atheist who had a severe back injury and lived with constant pain. He’d seen the best doctors he could find. He went to a major medical center. He had taken thousands of dollars worth of treatments, but found no relief. So he visited a chiropractor. Found no relief. So he tried acupuncture to no avail. And the last course of action he tried was to, swallow his pride and go to a faith healer.
You can’t blame him. It must be awful to suffer constantly and to have little hope of healing. There are millions like him, people who have an ailment suffering in agony with the anxiety of never being able to find a cure for their pain.
Naaman, whose story is told in our scripture reading, was one such person, inflicted with a dreadful disease that in his day was quite incurable.  He was a high-ranking officer in the army of Syria, a country that was one of Israel’s enemies. He was an important man who had the ear of Syria’s king. But he had leprosy.
Leprosy was a terrible disease of the skin. It gradually ate away skin, then bones and joints, often resulting in deformity or paralysis, and eventually death. (If you’ve seen the movie Braveheart, you may remember the father of Robert the Bruce, whose face was being eaten away by leprosy.)
Anyway, we can imagine that Naaman had already consulted the leading doctors of Syria. Because he was a friend of the king, it is likely that the king had even made his personal physicians available to Naaman, but it had done no good.
Now it happened that Naaman had a young Jewish slave girl in his home, and she told him about the Hebrew prophet, Elisha, and his power to heal. Naaman was so desperate that he was willing to try anything , even going to the land of his enemies to visit a prophet he didn’t believe in. After all, what did he have to lose?
But when Naaman and his entourage arrived at Elisha’s door, they were insulted to find that Elisha himself didn’t even bother to come out and greet them. Instead, the prophet sent a messenger out who told Naaman to go and dip seven times in the Jordan River to be healed.
That was hardly what Naaman expected to hear. His sense of propriety was offended. He was to dip in the dirty old Jordan, a river in his enemy’s land! What an insult! Why there were at least two rivers in Syria that were cleaner than the Jordan, and they were on home ground at that. Why couldn’t he wash in one of those?
So Naaman turned his crew around and left in a huff. In need of more than physical healing of Leprosy but a “Healing of the Soul”. He had, what I’ll call “Spiritual leprosy” also.
Fortunately, Naaman’s servants were a little more level-headed and persuaded their master to try Elisha’s prescription. Naaman did. He went and dipped seven times in Jordan, and emerged completely healed.
A couple of things interested me in Naaman’s story. The first is Naaman’s servants. Whether or not they were captives from Israel in his service we’re not told. But what we are told is that they held a belief in a cure for “Spiritual leprosy”.
God must have intervened in helping them persuade Naaman to return to the river, by their gentle persuasion in and appeal to his logic. They must have gently approached him when they said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more than when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
They were dispensing the cure for “Spiritual leprosy”. Can I call it what it is? Sin, the sin of pride. Paul wrote about this cure in our reading in Galatians.
Paul wrote,”Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” Too often when someone is hurting and has let their pride, their “Spiritual leprosy” get in their way, they need a gentle reminder. Many times we Christians are too harsh in giving that reminder. We tell them what to do whether or not they want it! And not in a gentle way!
“Healing of the soul” is to be done in a “gentle” way. And many of us forget the last part of that verse Paul wrote. “But watch yourself or you also may be tempted.” Many of us come down with “Spiritual leprosy”, ourselves, forgetting to whom the healing should be credited. We get caught up in the moment, forgetting to whom the credit should be given. Remember the words of Jesus in Luke 10:16. “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The second thing that got my attention in Naaman’s story today is his resistance to Elisha’s instructions, for it is not unlike the resistance some of us may feel to some of the church’s prescriptions for the “Healing of the Soul.”
We’ve all heard those time-worn prescriptions from the church:
•   read your Bible
•   pray every day
•   attend worship every Sunday
•   trust and obey
•   do unto others
•   take up your cross
•   believe in Jesus
•   and the like …
We may well say to ourselves, “Why, I’ve heard those things ever since I was a child. They’re okay, but my problems today are too big for such simplistic advice. I need some real help.”
And even if we don’t feel that way ourselves, we can certainly understand why a person might take such a position. After all, most of us have already discovered that “Healing of the Soul”, a life of faith, even when supported by a regular devotional life and consistent church attendance, just does not solve all our problems.
The fact is, there have been times for most of us when we have discovered help from sources outside of the church and religion. I mean, for almost every aspect of human life, we can name an institution, a science, a method, or a school of thought that has been created to respond to our problems.
If you are physically ill, you can turn to medicine. If you are mentally upset, you can turn to psychiatry. If you have trouble expressing your emotions, you can join a sensitivity group or an encounter group. And if you are in poverty, the government is probably a better source of long-term help than the church.
Many of the secular sources of healing are great, and thank God we have them. And further, some of them even complement the spiritual, “Healing of the Soul”.
Remember, one of the sad realities of life is that many otherwise sound and talented people suffer from a kind of “Spiritual leprosy”. And when that is the case, medicine, psychiatry, education, and the like are not, by themselves, the source of healing.
You see, what we are talking about is not whether the secular sources of help, like Naaman’s preferred rivers of Syria, are more appealing than the spiritual sources. The real question is, what can cure “Spiritual leprosy”? What is needed for the “Healing of the Soul”?
And the answer to that question is already known to us: Go wash in the Jordan and you will be healed! Or, to put it into a more familiar phrase: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!”
The problem is, most of us have heard that advice so often, many of us from childhood on, that it has a trite ring to it. But think with me for a moment about what following the way of Jesus really means.
For one thing, it means being a part of the believing community that we call the church.
•   What other institution is there that sanctions the pursuit of holiness, compassion, the meaning of life as legitimate enterprises?
•   What other alternative is there that so fully provides the resources for spiritual growth?
•   What other place is there where children are nurtured in faith?
•   What other place encourages and energizes the examination of social issues not only in terms of what would be helpful but also in terms of what would be right?
•   Where else are deaths mourned but mourned in the hope of eternal life?
Those of us for whom church attendance is a regular practice are doing a great thing for our lives. That’s because week after week we have the opportunity to view our lives from a faith context, to reorient ourselves and to keep in perspective the other rivers of help.
We share our lives with fellow worshipers who struggle with issues of their own lives in light of faith. We learn again the power of praying for one another, of caring about one another. Even when a worship service, like the dirty old Jordan River in Naaman’s story, is less appealing than some of the secular sources of help, it is still a place where, “Healing of the Soul” is promoted.
To many today stand with Naaman, pondering strange instructions, instead of carrying them out. The prescription for Naaman’s healing was, “If you want to be cured of your leprosy, go wash in the Jordan.” The prescription for our world today, The cure for “Spiritual leprosy”, for the “Healing of the Soul” is,“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!”
So Monday as we celebrate Independence Day, we as Believers should also celebrate our independence from sin. And gently remind others that too many in our nation suffer from “Spiritual leprosy”, and are in need of a “Healing of the soul”.
Will you be like the captive young girl from Israel or Naamans servants who gently remind the world, that there is a need for a “Healing of the Soul” and there is but one cure for “Spiritual leprosy”.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!” (Acts 16:31)

In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220703
Listen To Audio: Service 07032022
We are gathered this morning to meet with you, God. Open our hearts to the many ways you will speak to us.  As you did with the prophets, you call us out of our everyday lives to share your message of love and grace.  Challenge us today to look within ourselves so that we may be your disciples.  Come, let us worship God!
Call to Worship:
L:  God calls us to worship today.
P:  We are here!

L:  All are invited– the sick, the well, the believer, and the doubter.
P:  We are here!

L:  Wash us, O God! May we be cleansed by your holy love.
P:  We are here!




Prayer of Confession:    O God of hope and healing, we confess that our lives are often marked by brokenness and sin.  We turn to you in the hope that your hand will pass over us and we will be healed.  Open our ears to the council of the servants you send us, so that we may be guided into your path of healing.  Make us whole we pray.  Wash us and make us clean.  And grant us faith beyond all fear, so that we may be clothed with your joy and give you thanks forever. Amen.




God be with you ‘til we meet again, By His counsels guide, up-hold you, With His sheep securely fold you: God be with you ‘til we meet again.





Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Wednesday Mornings from 9:00 to 11:00.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Local Mission.

Social Hour after Sunday Services TODAY.

Greeting cards for signature are in the Community Building.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Independence Day, July 4th

Presbyterian Women will meet on Thursday, July 14th at 11 A.M.

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday July 20th at 8:00 A.M.

Session meeting Wednesday, July 13 at 4:30 in the afternoon in the community building.

Please mark your envelope if you are contributing to the piano repair fund.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month.  Hosting only means setting out what is brought and cleaning up afterward.  It does not mean bringing everything to share.

We are looking for “Message in Music” for the summer months.



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