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!
III. WHEN WE STOP TOO SOON, THE CAUSE OF CHRIST IS IMPEDED.
A. Look at the disgrace and humiliation that Joash brought upon Israel
1. The Moabites would invade the land soon after this 13:20
2. Other nations would oppress and trouble them
B, When we stop too soon, and church goes backwards not forwards
1. We find ourselves in survival mode instead of growing as we should
2. Satan never stops too soon! He is always seeking the advantage
3. If he can find anyone to help him destroy the work of God he will
4. He used Saul of Tarsus for a while. He uses many today to do his evil work.
C. We need to be like Nehemiah - 2:17
1. Rebuild walls that have been torn down.
2. Get God’s people back to work that we no longer be a reproach
DON’T STOP TOO SOON!
1. In prayer be constant, Bible study be diligent, soul winning be persistent, attendance be faithful, godly living be committed, giving be generous,
2. God is looking for Christians who will keep on going for Him, won’t give up, go extra mile, and have a faith that will move mountains - I Cor.15:58
3. For those not yet Christians - don’t stop too soon in your complete obedience to the Lord. Many die believing, repenting, but won’t take the final step of
being baptized into Christ - Acts 2:38; 22:16
4. Don’t stop short in doing what is right, good and true. Give Him your BEST -Matt.6:33