Summary: Part two in this series builds upon the revelation of Christ as Lord of Hosts, or God of Armies. It explores the need for Christians to go on the offensive in spiritual warfare.
(Major inspiration for this sermon derived from Francis Frangipane’s "This Day We Fight")
There is a question that is asked in the church. It is an important question. A vital question. One that should be asked of those we come in contact with, and those who find themselves within our church family. It is a key question to the faith and beliefs that we hold true. The question: Are you saved?
Asked in other ways: Have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior? Have you repented of your sins, asked God to forgive you, and opened your heart to the Holy Spirit’s lordship? All wrapped up in the question, are you saved?
I think back to one of our evangelism workshops this past fall, and am aware that the question might beg another question. Saved from what? Most of us would answer, an eternity in hell. Not a bad thing to be saved from. Eternal separation from God.
But the truth be told, if I asked that question today, many of us, most of us, the vast majority of us, possibly even every single one of us would answer, “Yes.” We have had that salvation encounter, and have taken that step of faith.
So over the next few weeks and coming months we are actually going to focus on a different question. I think it is also an important question. A vital question. One that should be asked of those we come in contact with and those we find joining our church family. I think it is another key question to the faith and beliefs that we hold true. The question: Are you overcoming? Are you overcoming?
Some other ways to phrase it might be, are you experiencing new victories in your walk with Christ? Are you conquering nagging habits, emotions, or stumbling blocks? Is you walk today freer than it was when you got up from the altar, lifted your head at your bedside, or completed that prayer of salvation at whatever location or environment it took place?
Are you overcoming? Because you see, salvation is about more than just the other side of the pearly gates. It is about more than just a promise of things to come. It is about a daily walk. Spiritual awakenings. Fresh anointing. New victories coming our way as we walk with God.
As we experience this thing called the Christian life, there should be places where the enemy used to drive us crazy, but doesn’t anymore. Where the naggings of Satan no longer disrupt the joyful experiences of living.
In some ways, it is like Ralphy saying, “Enough is enough.” Remember Ralphy? A Christmas Story. He has been tormented endlessly by the neighborhood bully, but finally, he snaps. (Movie Clip)
At some point in our walk with Christ, it comes time to quit simply surviving, and making it day to day, and to begin overcoming. Experiencing victory. Defeating those emotional, psychological, and spiritual bullies that have tormented us day in and day out.
Last week we explored the ultimate source and power for these victories. Jehovah-Saboath. The Lord of Hosts. The God who fights for us. The Christ of Isaiah 42:13, “The Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.”
If you missed it last week, you need to take the time to listen to that foundational teaching from God’s word that sets the stage for victory. You can download the transcript from stonewallwesleyan.com, or you can get a copy of the message tape, but don’t try to move too far forward in this journey without securing that initial understanding of the Lord who contends with those who contend with us.
Today our journey takes us to 2 King 13. 2 Kings 13:14 (read). Let’s set the stage. We have two individuals in this encounter. The great prophet Elisha, and the reigning king of Israel, Joash. Also referred to in this passage as Jehoash, if pronounced phonetically. Two spellings of the same name, the same person.
Elisha has fallen ill, and as the verse tells us, this is the illness that will result in his death. And in an unusual show of affection between a king and prophet, Joash weeps over this great man of God. And he speaks words that at face value might not mean much to you. So we need to turn to another Scripture.
Turn back in the book of 2 Kings to chapter 2. Here we have the famous departure of Elijah with Elisha by his side. Elisha has insisted on following Elijah, and staying with him. Elijah has made sure that Elisha understood that this was the end, and Elisha confirmed that he knew what was going on. Elijah has taken his cloak, and struck the Jordan River. The water has parted, and both Elijah and Elisha have crossed on dry ground. And then Elisha, the younger, has asked Elijah, the one about to pass on, for a double-portion of the spirit that rested upon Elijah.