Summary: There is no room for half-heartedness in God’s Kingdom!
A. Meet another great hero of the Old Testament - Elisha
1. This faithful man of God is about to die
2. He has fought the good fight, finished the course, kept the faith
3. As he lies dying, he thinks of the future of God’s people
B. He receives a surprise visit from Joash, King of Northern Kingdom
1. Joash is not a godly king, yet he does have a great respect and admiration for Elisha
2. He even weeps at the thought of losing this godly man, and seeks one last word of advice to help him as King of Israel
C. There are three words that help describe this very important meeting
1. VISITATION - how important it is to visit the sick, aged, dying, saved and unsaved. Let me encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.
- Jas.1:27 So much good can be done through a personal visit.
2. INSTRUCTION - Joash wanted to know what lay ahead for Israel
a. The King shoots an arrow to the east indicating victory over the Syrians.
b. Then he tells Joash to take his arrows and strike the ground.
c. Joash does this three times - and then he stops. Three strikes & out!
3. REBUKE - The Prophet rebukes the King for stopping too soon
a. He could have had many many great victories over his enemies
b. But instead he limited himself to only three
D. What happens when we as Christians make this same mistake?
1. Is it not true that we too lose out on the blessings and victories that God wants to enjoy?
2. When we stop too soon, three things take place.
I. WHEN WE STOP TOO SOON OUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS STIFLED
A. God’s will is for us to GROW in the grace & knowledge of Christ - II Pet.3:18
1. Grow in Godliness, Righteousness, Optimism, and Word of God
2. Yet many Christians stop too soon, and just like Joash strike feeble, half-hearted blows, and accomplish so little when so much MORE could have been done.
3. What is lacking is a Great faith in a great God who will never fail us.
4. What is needed is a zeal, enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment not to stand still, but to go forward and upward to higher heights.
"I’M PRESSING ON THE UPWARD WAY..."
B. Too many are like the Hebrew Christians Heb.5:12-14
1. We settle for less than God intended us to be
2. Some ought to be teachers but are not. Laziness, indifference, complacency lukewarmness have caused us to stop too soon, and aim too low.
II. WHEN WE STOP TOO SOON, SOULS WILL BE LOST
A. After what Joash did, his nation quickly went downhill
1. What a glorious opportunity he had to defeat his enemies and turn his people back to God
2. Because he didn’t, the Assyrians came in and took the nation away into captivity.
B. May we never forget how others are watching our example and following in our footsteps
1. Our children will follow what they see from Mom and Dad.
2. Our friends will see that our Christianity is not for real, and be lost eternally because of that.
3. Our families will never come to know Christ and be an active part of his church, because we stopped too soon, and said nothing to them,
4. Don’t stop too soon. One more time could make the difference!