Summary: Just as Elisha was called, anointed and sent, so too we as disciples of Jesus are called, anointed and sent – to do whatever it takes to rescue the lost
THE RESCUE #1: CALLED AND ANOINTED
INTRO TO STORY:
• Our story takes place in Israel during the reign of Ahab around 900 BC.
• God raised up a prophet named Elijah to pronounce judgment on this wicked King.
• “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:17-18, NKJV).
• After many great miracles including raising the dead and multiplying a widow’s flour and oil, God tells him to choose a successor – a man named Elisha:
THE BIG IDEA: Just as Elisha was called, anointed and sent, so too we as disciples of Jesus are called, anointed and sent – to do whatever it takes to rescue the lost.
“Then the LORD told him, "Go back the way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet… So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field with a team of oxen. There were eleven teams of oxen ahead of him, and he was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and walked away again. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, "First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!" Elijah replied, "Go on back! But consider what I have done to you." Elisha then returned to his oxen, killed them, and used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the other plowmen, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.” (1 Kings 19:15-16,19-21, NLT).
1. Elijah calls Elisha to be his successor.
• Elisha was a prosperous farmer and a hard worker.
• When Elijah threw his cloak (mantle) over his shoulders, this was a symbol of authority.
2. Elisha didn’t choose Elijah, Elijah chose him.
• In the same way, Jesus is the one who calls us to follow Him: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16).
• “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:4-5).
• What an amazing thought, that God chose us, called us, adopted us into His family!
3. Elisha burned the bridge to his past.
• Elisha said: “I will go with you.” He killed his oxen and burned his plow. No going back!
• In the same way, when Jesus calls us to follow Him, He says, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35, NKJV).
• Have you burned the bridges to your past life before Christ?
“And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!" So they went down to Bethel. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?" And he said, "Yes, I know; keep silent!” (2 Kings 2:1-3, NKJV).
• Here Elijah is testing Elisha to see if he really wants to have his mantle of power.
• Will Elisha continue to follow him and do whatever it takes?
• Elijah did the same thing to go to Jericho and the Jordan River. Elisha kept following.
“8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." 10 So he said, You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so." 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.” (2 Kings 2:8-12, NKJV).