Summary: It is woven into the story of mankind. It is there from the beginning and it weaves all the way until the end. It is the thread that ties it all together.
Pt. 4 - Obedience and Hunger
We have taken the last 3 weeks to discuss the activity of the Holy Spirit in our history and also to discuss our desperate need for this experience.
Today we are not here to discuss how spiritual someone is or to judge someone's depth of love for God. Today we will simply talk about obedience and hunger.
Today we find ourselves at Pentecost. We are 50 days removed from Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday. It was because of His crucifixion, the shedding of His blood and then His demonstration of divinity by coming back from the dead that we now have access to a right relationship with God. According to the law of God there had to be a sacrifice. There is no forgiveness from sin without blood being shed. So the Father sent His own Son to become that perfect and blameless sacrifice so that we could be saved. On our own we could never access right relationship. So Jesus came. Jesus died. Jesus rose again. So this morning I can thankfully stop and offer every person an opportunity to experience the first baptism we talked about last week which is salvation. I have been praying all week that the Holy Spirit would accomplish His job description which is, according to Jesus, to convince us of our sin. Right now if you are aware that you are far from God. If you realize you are not in relationship. If you have come to grips with the dread of being headed for punishment and judgment. That is the Holy Spirit! He is convicting and convincing so that you will make the step and surrender your life to Jesus today.
Is there one?
There is a 2nd step that we are instructed to take after we submit our lives to Jesus. It is interesting to me that the early church was so adamant about this and we are passive and sometimes even dismissive of this step. When someone in the early church surrendered their life to Jesus they were then walked to the 2nd baptism . . . baptism in water. No misunderstanding that there is anything magical or mystical power in the water. However, we must also realize that the symbolic death and burial represented by going under the water stands as a powerful and convicting witness and testimony of our new faith.
It is here that rather than questioning spirituality or our love of God that we must address obedience. Jesus was very clear in example by participating in water baptism Himself and also by instructing His disciples to perpetuate this step when He said, "Go into all the world preaching the gospel and baptizing those that believe!" Have you been obedient to His example? Have you been obedient to His teaching? Remember, I have stated in the past that partial obedience is complete disobedience. We allow our schedule, our pride, our stubbornness will to get in the way. We should simply obey!
Today, we give you an opportunity to participate in this 2nd baptism. You may think you aren't prepared. We have you covered. We have towels, bags for your wet clothes, etc. We have everything you may need. If you want to be baptized in water this morning would you quickly respond?
So we have talked about obedience. So, as we move forward to what this day in history is all about let me challenge your hunger.
I draw your attention to what may seem to be an odd passage of Scripture.
2 Kings 7:1-10, 16-17
Elisha said, “Listen! God’s word! The famine’s over. This time tomorrow food will be plentiful—a handful of meal for a shekel; two handfuls of grain for a shekel. The market at the city gate will be buzzing.” The attendant on whom the king leaned for support said to the Holy Man, “You expect us to believe that? Trapdoors opening in the sky and food tumbling out?”“You’ll watch it with your own eyes,” he said, “but you will not eat so much as a mouthful!” It happened that four lepers were sitting just outside the city gate. They said to one another, “What are we doing sitting here at death’s door? If we enter the famine-struck city we’ll die; if we stay here we’ll die. So let’s take our chances in the camp of Aram and throw ourselves on their mercy. If they receive us we’ll live, if they kill us we’ll die. We’ve got nothing to lose.” So after the sun went down they got up and went to the camp of Aram. When they got to the edge of the camp, surprise! Not a man in the camp! The Master had made the army of Aram hear the sound of horses and a mighty army on the march. They told one another, “The king of Israel hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us!” Panicked, they ran for their lives through the darkness, abandoning tents, horses, donkeys—the whole camp just as it was—running for dear life. These four lepers entered the camp and went into a tent. First they ate and drank. Then they grabbed silver, gold, and clothing, and went off and hid it. They came back, entered another tent, and looted it, again hiding their plunder. Finally they said to one another, “We shouldn’t be doing this! This is a day of good news and we’re making it into a private party! If we wait around until morning we’ll get caught and punished. Come on! Let’s go tell the news to the king’s palace!” So they went and called out at the city gate, telling what had happened: “We went to the camp of Aram and, surprise!—the place was deserted. Not a soul, not a sound! Horses and donkeys left tethered and tents abandoned just as they were.” The people then looted the camp of Aram. Food prices dropped overnight—a handful of meal for a shekel; two handfuls of grain for a shekel—God’s word to the letter! The king ordered his attendant, the one he leaned on for support, to be in charge of the city gate. The people, turned into a mob, poured through the gate, trampling him to death. It was exactly what the Holy Man had said when the king had come to see him.