Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Expanded outline topical sermon on recognizing our need for God.


A martial arts student was meeting with his master and teacher at a table, having tea. The student said to his master, "I’ve learned all you have to teach me about defending myself. I want to learn one thing more now. Please teach me about the ways of God."

The master took the teakettle and starting pouring the student’s cup full of tea. Soon the cup was full and began to spill over onto the saucer. But the master continued to pour the tea until it spilled over the saucer and then onto the floor.

The student finally said, "Stop, stop, the tea is spilling over. The cup can’t take any more." The master then looked at the student and said, "You are so full of yourself that there is no room in your life for God. It is not possible for you to learn the ways of God until you learn to empty yourself."

Because you are in church today my guess is that you would like to know and experience God in a greater way. My question for you today is, are you empty enough?

Text - 2 Kings 4:1-7

1 A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves." 2 So Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil." 3 Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors--empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones." 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." And he said to her, "There is not another vessel." So the oil ceased. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest."

I. I Kings 4:1-7

A. She wasn’t empty enough. Elijah told her to get emptier.

1. Take all the empty you have and borrow all the empty you can get.

B. The oil quit flowing when there was no more empty to fill.

C. If you are not experiencing the fullness of God, it could be that you aren’t empty enough.

D. Jesus specializes in filling the empty, when there is nothing else to fill them.

II. Matthew 14:15-21 - Feeding of the 5,000.

A. Jesus fed them with nothing buy 5 loaves and 2 fish.

B. He only fed them when they were hungry and there was no substitute.

C. It could be that the reason you aren’t hungry for God is because you are so full of the world.

III. John 2:1-11 – Turned water into wine

A. They filled 6 jars with water and Jesus made the water wine.

B. Jesus produced the wine, not when they had wine, but when they didn’t have any wine. Only when the jars were empty did He turn water into wine.

C. If there had been enough wine, they would have settle for something inferior. They only received the best wine when they ran out of their own wine.

IV. John 4:5-26 – Woman at the well.

A. The well was deep and there was nothing to draw water with.

B. She had tried to fill her life with men and Jesus showed her the emptiness of that. Her life was empty. Then he filled her life with living water.

V. Jeremiah 2:13 - "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water.

A. Two evils.

1. Forsaken the true water.

2. Tried to find a substitute.

3. There is an emptiness, a thirst inside of man, that only God can fill. When we try to fill it with anything else, it will not satisfy us. It will make us think we are not as empty as we really are.

4. ILLUSTRATION - After the Dallas Cowboys had won the Super Bowl, Tom Landry made this observation. "The overwhelming emotion--in a few days, among the players on the Dallas Cowboys football team--was how empty that goal was. There must be something more." There is nothing else but God that will fill the emptiness in our soul.

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Maurice Fletcher

commented on Feb 1, 2018

This morning..02/01/2018 I prayed for a much needed word. I first read the Bible..talking about Jesus leaving so the Holy Spirit could come. Then briefly read from Becoming A Vessel God Can Use by Donna Parton (really written for Women...but applies to Everyone). Her writing about Emptying lead to realize what I'm missing. So online I searched "Emptying ourselves for God". I found multiple blogs but THIS ONE..spoke so much clearer. I identify with Topical messages. You helped remind me, we can't expect to be filled with what's missing unless we make room for what God has for us. You wrote from a very Life Applicable format. My attention was grabbed from the martial arts/tea parable. Lately I been saying to God..I No longer know what to Pray for. Because over & over I been praying for things like wife..business success..wealth..etc. Some or all, which is God's will for me to have but thanks to This message.. Matthew 6:33 now easier path. Thanks for writing this.

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