Summary: It describes how the life of Elisha is applicable to us
2 Kings 2: 1 - 18 - the second sermon on the life of Elisha
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on 10 July 2011 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey:
The translation of Elijah is one of the most spectacular episodes in scripture
This week, looking at RAN:
· Re-starting the work
· Anointing for the generation
· No doubting God
1. 1. Restarting the work
The prophets had been working throughout this time, but only Elijah had been active and showing his head above the parapet, see 1 Kings 19: 14 where Elijah was talking to God Almighty and said: 'I am the only one left, and no they are trying to kill me.’
Elijah re-established the schools of the prophets commenced by Samuel, so that they are spiritually alert.
Some people do not want the mantle of ministry – they only want the title and reputation: there is no substance if you look below the surface.
It means counting the cost, paying the price. It could be going to people that we feel uncomfortable with, not sitting in our favourite seats, the corporate times of worship different to how we are used to. God is into turning our worlds upside down.
1 Corinthians 11: 1 – ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.’ – for only that established by God that will last.
The relationship had developed between Elijah and Elisha from master-pupil to father-son.
The future of Israel always depended on its spiritual leaders so Elisha learnt from his master on the journey
There was the threefold testing of Elisha’s faithfulness, very much like Peter was tested by Jesus after His resurrection.
· Gilgal was place of beginning – where Israel camped after crossing the Jordan and renewed covenant (Joshua chapter 4)
· Bethel was place of prayer (see Abraham [Genesis 12: 8] and Jacob)
· Jericho was the place of battle
All of these will feature predominantly if we are wanting to be active for God – need to start, need to pray and realisation that in a battle against spiritual realms
2.Anointing for the generation
The double portion was given as the inheritance of the eldest son (Deuteronomy 21: 17). It was the indication that Elisha had been appointed by God and now was the time when the baton was passed on to him, the changing of the guard.
Cloak was an indication of the power that God was passing onto Elisha for the work that lay before him.
Elisha realised that current clothing not enough – for he needed more of God symbolised by the double measure in the cloak.
Sometimes it is good to be dissatisfied with second best, when we are short of what God wants for us.
The Holy Spirit is to measured out in limitless amounts, so that we now can experience Him in more than double measure (John 3: 34).
God alone gives His Spirit – but we have to ask for Him. ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ (Luke 11:10) and ‘Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.’ (John 16: 24)
The work for God has been passed on from previous generations; however, there are mantles being laid down and not picked up. It is within our power to touch the next generation for God.
God does not give us blessings for our enjoyment – we are anointed to move on with Him, to serve Him
It doesn’t matter about description of ourselves (e.g. teacher, housewife, retired… etc.), but we should seek the title 'servant of the Lord' – for our relationship with God is more important than the role that we occupy.
3. 3. No doubting God
Elisha had to step out in faith which he exhibited by striking the water twice (verses 13 – 14), which was a test to see if Elisha could perceive spiritual things
Prophetic community immediately recognised Elisha as designated successor.
In verse 17, ‘too ashamed’ could be translated ‘beyond reason’ – for the prophets kept pestering Elisha. Sometimes God will accommodate our lack of faith until we recognise the reality of the situation.
Elisha was single-minded in God’s service – he had to be totally dedicated to God.
We are never too old to be used by God – e.g. Moses was 80 years-old when called by God to lead Israel out of Egypt
True commitment is being active for God.
Question: how big is God to you?
We are to think big – we can be too limited in how we think God can work in our lives and in the world.