TITLE: RELEVANCE OR RELIC: PAIRING GOD’S ANOINTING WITH A CALLING OR A CORPSE
TEXT: 1 KINGS 19:19-21; 2 KINGS 2:1-18; 5:20, 24-27; 13:14-21
1 Kings 19:19-21 19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. 20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? 21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.
2 Kings 2:1-18 1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. 5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. 15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. 17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. 18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?
2 Kings 5:20 20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
2 Kings 5:24- 27 24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. 25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. 26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
2 Kings 13:14-21 14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. 15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. 16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. 17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. 18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. 19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
1. We must understand that God desires to place an anointing on us to fulfill the calling that we have received.
2. We have to recognize that the choice is ours wether to be relevant or a relic.
3. Relevant- related to the matter at hand, to the point; pertinent. Applicable to current social issues; distinctive.
4. Relic- something that has survived the passage of time, an object or custom whose original cultural environment has disappeared; something cherished for its age or associations with a person, place or event; an object of religious veneration; anything old, leftover, or remaining; the remains of a dead person; a corpse.
5. In this text we see the anointing of God and how four different people responded to it.
6. Our response to God will determine if we are relevant or a relic.
7. We must examine these lives and allow God to challenge us to be relevant with the anointing He has for us.
I. STUCK ON SELF- JEHOASH
A. Want to Look Good
1. 2 Kings 13:14 Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
2. Rev. 3:1-3 The Message
1 Write this to Sardis, to the Angel of the church. The One holding the Seven Spirits of God in one hand, a firm grip on the Seven Stars with the other, speaks:
“I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you’re dead, stone dead.
2 “Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there’s life in you yet. But I wouldn’t know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God’s work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. 3 Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.
3. Mother whale told her baby- “When you get to the surface and start to blow, that’s when you get harpooned!”
B. Just Lazy
1. 2 Kings 14:18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped.
2. Prov. 15:19 The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.
3. “A lazy sheep thinks its wool is heavy.”
4. Eph. 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
II. STUCK ON THE WORLD- GEHAZI
A. Need to Know What’s in it for Them
1. 2 Kings 5:20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”
2. 2 Cor. 2:17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.
B. Ministry is not a Cost-Effective Endeavor
1. 2 Kings 5:26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants?
2. “About the only thing you can do on a shoestring nowadays is trip.”
3. Mt. 6:19-21
19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
III. STUCK ON THE PAST- SONS OF THE PROPHETS
A. Living in the Good Old Days
1. 2 Kings 2:16-18
16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.” “No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.” 17 But they persisted until he was too ashamed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
2. “The past is valuable as a guidepost, but dangerous if used as a hitching post.”
3. Bonnie Prudden- “You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.”
B. Aren’t Ready for Today’s Challenge
1. 1 Cor. 9:19-23 The Message
19 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: 20 religious, nonreligious, 21 meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, 22 the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. 23 I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
2. Chinese Philosopher- “Beware of worshiping the teapot instead of drinking the tea.”
IV. STUCK ON THE CALL- ELISHA
A. Committed to & Willing to Sacrifice for the Call
1. 1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.
2. Elisha refused to leave Elijah three times
3. Mt. 16:24 & 25
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
B. Compelled Because of the Call
1. 2 Kings 5:15 & 16
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.” 16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
2. Jer. 20:9 But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot.”
3. 2 Cor. 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
C. Concerned with the Present Call
1. 2 Kings 2:13 & 14
13 He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
2. 2 Cor. 6:2b I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
D. Continued to Operate in the Anointing of the Call
1. 2 Kings 2- parted the Jordan river
2. 2 Kings 2- healed the water in the city
3. 2 Kings 4- provided the widow with oil
4. 2 Kings 4- restored the Shunammite’s son’s life
5. 2 Kings 4- feed 100 people with 20 loaves
6. 2 Kings 5- healed Naaman of leprosy
7. 2 Kings 6- caused the ax head to float
8. 2 Kings 13- bones brought dead man to life
1. We must recognize that God has called each of us to serve in His kingdom.
2. We must understand that He has an anointing for us to fulfill the call.
3. We must not be stuck on our selves and lazy.
4. We must not be stuck on this world and the things of the world.
5. We must not be stuck on the past and miss an opportunity to reach people with the gospel today.
6. We must be stuck on the call and allow God to work through us to transform our world.
2. Stuck on self
3. Stuck on world
4. Stuck on past
5. Stuck on the call