Summary: It describes how the life of Elisha is applicable to us
2 Kings 5: 19 - 27 - Tenth sermon on the life of Elisha
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on 16 September 2012 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey
Because of the content, this is the hardest sermon in the series to prepare and preach.
A tendency in this day to downgrade sin to ‘misdemeanour,’ a ‘syndrome’ or, more popularly, a ‘problem.’
We should see it as God sees it – indeed, it would save many of the problems that we see in the Church today.
We will see how Elisha dealt with the sin that occurred to Gehazi – the servant who had been with him from the beginning of his ministry.
The context, as we saw in the previous sermon (2 Kings 5: 1 – 19), where we learnt about Namaan the general from Aram who had a skin disease, who was referred to Elisha by his maidservant, and who then dipped into the Jordan (despite his misgivings) to cure him from the skin condition.
Namaan wanted to give Elisha a present, but Elisha had undertaken the task for the glory of God and not for material gain.
In this sermon, we will look at:
1. Having a proper perspective of God’s judgement
2. Having a proper perspective of God’s mercy
3. Our attitude – personally and within the church
1. God’s judgement
The two main sins that we encounter can be categorised as jealousy and covertness – both come from inflated, sense of what we think we are owed, turning our attention from God.
Paul gives list of sins (Colossians 3: 5) that belong to sinful nature, includes lust, evil deeds and greed that he equates with idolatry, as we can become so preoccupied with the things around us, i.e. what we want – what we see, feel, sense, hear – that our lives are no longer centred on the One whom we should be worshipping.
It is nothing new as it was seen even among the disciples as to who would be the greatest (Luke 9: 46).
There was also the incident of the brother arguing over inheritance, who came to Jesus, which resulted in the parable of the foolish farmer (Luke 12: 13 – 21).
Many Christians fall into the trap of wanting the lifestyle of those outside of the Church as they regard their own as being too restrictive – without realising that God determined way we live for very good reasons: many of which we are only just discovering now.
The service of God does not put a barrier to prevent temptation – even Jesus was tempted. The key depends on what we do with that temptation – do we fight it with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit or do we give into it? If we are actively involved in the church, we may find ourselves in places to abuse that power and take advantage – this is why in this church, we have strict financial accounting procedures, and a rigorous safeguarding policy and procedure for children and vulnerable adults in our care.
It is important to note that the leaders in this church are responsible and accountable to and for its members – but the most important person that we report to is God.
The sin of Gehazi was grievous because could have slipped up Namaan in his new faith.
Gehazi was in process of reducing high calling within the prophetic calling to the mercenary vocation that exploited God’s power for personal gain – and we have seen demonstrations in Christian organisations, both here and elsewhere in the world, but can easily be demonstrated within our church and within our lives so we need to be aware of the devil's schemes.
More importantly, the sin of Gehazi was grievous because it gave lie to God’s character – God was not avaricious as Gehazi’s character had demonstrated as his witness before men.
Interestingly, Namaan was more faithful to his new Lord than Gehazi was to his.
In verse 27, Gehazi ‘went from Elisha’s presence’ – literally, he was dismissed from official audience- however, God and Elisha had not finished with him as we shall see.
Although Gehazi gained in money; the flipside was that he had lost his health, honour, peace and service.
2. God’s mercy
Gehazi broke his relationship with Elisha and, more importantly, with God – but that did not preclude a way back to God.
Instead of serving God, Gehazi had made idols, i.e. his love of money and possessions.
How much have we put things or people before God? How many times has God brought us back to Himself? We need to get a better perspective – we need to serve the Creator and not the created.
God is the God of the second etc. chances, but that does not mean that He winks at sin – far from it as He commands that we are holy as He is holy (which we learnt about in previous series) for we are His witnesses to outside world.