Summary: A sermon on 2 Kings 4:1-7 on filling up empty vessels (Much material and title taken from "One Month to Live" Day 22 by Kerry and Chris Shook)
Sermon for 1/10/2010
Road Signs (Day 22 of One Month to Live)
A. If we had only a limited amount of time to live, the temptation might be to plead with God for a miracle to extend our lives. This is called bargaining. God doesn’t work that way. Oh, God might grant mercy and extend our lives but not because we negotiate a treaty with God. We must remember all of us are going to face that day when we die.
C. Faith moves mountains, but faith in Jesus does not dictate what those mountains are going to be. Some think, “If I just have enough faith, God will grant me a miracle and this disease or cancer will go away.” The bad side of this thinking is that some start to believe, “Because I don’t have enough faith, I still have this bad condition.” Very destructive to our well being and to our relationship with God.
B. Chances are we won’t be cured of our diagnosis (don’t forget we are all terminal), but God always wants us to be healed spiritually. That is not a cop out, it is true. What good is it if a man is cured but loses his soul?
D. Maybe our crisis is not one of health, but financial or relational. Maybe our marriage is in shambles and we beg and plead with God to bring that relationship back from the dead. Maybe the boss has told us that there needs to be some cut backs at work and he calls us in and says that we are the one that is laid off. Our marriage ends in divorce or our job is no more. Is it because we didn’t have enough faith?
A. The concept of crisis in Chinese is represented by two words, “danger” and “opportunity.” When we manage the crisis of our lives following the example of Jesus Christ, we are able to turn the dangers and disasters of life into opportunities to fulfill the will of God in our lives.
B. When the crisis comes, we are faced with choices. No, not choices, “opportunities.”
C. When we are facing a painful loss, the only way to experience the miraculous is to move in God’s direction. How do we do that?
D. There is no formula but the Bible gives us some direction.
Thesis: I find several road signs that can help transform our crisis into an opportunity from 2 Kings 4.
1. Admit our needs (Vs. 1)
A. This widow is in a bad situation. Upon the death of her husband, she now has to face a financial bind. The creditors want to take her children if she doesn’t pay up. She comes to Elisha and is very open with him about her crisis.
B. If we want God to work in our lives, we have to admit that we need help.
C. Most of us hate to admit when we have a problem; much less acknowledge that we can’t fix it ourselves. We want to hid our problems from others; pretend they don’t exist, or try to manage them on our own.
D. We might complain about our problems, but this is different than acknowledging that we need help desperately. We must confess this to others.
E. We cannot get any help until we admit our needs. In working with Celebrate Recovery, it is frustrating to think of the people who would benefit but don’t come. Cannot help them until they admit their needs.
E. This widow goes down that one way street and is honest with God and others about her needs. She comes to Elisha with her needs. However, it appears she hits a dead end.
2. Must go to God with our needs. (Vs. 2).
A. Elisha’s response seems rude at first glance, as if he’s frustrated that this woman is bothering him. More than meets the eye here. I think Elisha was simply refusing to let her put her trust in him. Maybe he was saying, “I know only God can work a miracle.”
B. We must start by going down two one way streets. The first is admitting our need. The second is acknowledging that “the help of man is worthless (twice in Psalms).” Miracles never take place until we acknowledge the situation is impossible without God.
C. In the gospels we have the story of a woman who suffered from a condition of bleeding for twelve years. She sought help but look at what Mark says, (Mark 5:26 NIV) She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
D. There is only one outside source who can provide what we need. We need to go to God, the only One with the power, wisdom, and love to focus on our best interests.