Sermon: Barry McWilliams Christ Church 950219
1 Kings 19:15-21 The Road Back: Discipleship


These are rough sermon notes ... Many references are for study purposes
Bulletin Cover verse: Psalm 84:5 Readings: Psalm 84, Phil 3:12-4:1
The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel -- all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you."
"Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?"
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant. (NIV)


Introduction: God still at work - Elijah, who had fled from God's service, sent back.... Partly through through unbelievers: Hazeal and Jehu - time before Judgement - but not yet - now there is a "new" way - not thunder and lightning - but grace (Whisper) - a remnant of 7,000 to remain - the provision of a companion and successor - Matt 18:19 - where 2 or 3; there I am - Complaints of being alone - Elijah is given a disciple

God's answer to Elijah's complaint - a companion - a Young protegee [successor (Moses - Joshua)] Spouse, friends, mature or new believer - accountablity - encouragement - support - Matt 18: 2 or more A Model DIsciple: Elisha - His preparation to be come one of the greatest of the OT Prophets. 50 years of service. His Time comparable to Jesus' - miracles. International influence. Double portion of the Spirit of Elijah. (Bible records exactly twice as many miracles for Elisha) ( Miracles somehat parallel Elijah's) Schools of prophets founded - reforms in a land fallen into idolatry.

Recognizing the call to Discipleship The hairy cloak - Elijah's mantle - 1 Kings 19:13 Elijah pulled it over face at cave ; 2 Kings1:8 a garment of hair and with a leather belt - that was Elijah the Tishbite" 2:8; 13; 14 passed on the Elisha (cloaks mentioned in connection with miracles) (Prophetic attire) Hebr 11:37; Zech 13:4 Symbolized his mortification to the world and concern and sorrow for nations idolatry - Tearing of cloak 1 Kings 11:29-31 symbolized division of Judah and Isreal - Ahijah)

a call to become a disciple - the cross - take it on your shoulders (Symbolic of man and his work - pilgrim mark - crusader's - monks/ priests) Luke 14:27 I27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Taking on the "burden" of the master (Suffering in both) - united together in His life and work .

Several Characteristics of Model discipleship illustrated in Elisha: 1. Willing to make the sacrifices to be a disciple - counting the cost Elisha - wealthy - Hardworking: David; Disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, John; Levi. Complementary personality: Elisha was more at home in cities and even at the palace often in the company of kings. Less a man of moods either courageous or dispairing than Elijah, More self controlled and even tempered, neither staging dramatic contests nor sulking in desert. More interested in the needs of people - many of miracles to give relief or aid to people both great and small.

A. sacrifice - counting the cost - Matt 16:24 Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Mark 8:34-38 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

B. Priorities - define us whether we define them or not - No decision is a decision - things, time, money, dreams - doers or watchers - wanderers or pilgrims - If a pilgrim, do you know where you are going? Commitment - take control -

2. Dealing with our past - setting ourselves free for future service - A. burning bridges Bringing closure - responsible steps - commitment - Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 18:29,30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

saying Good Bye to Father and Mother - Luke 14:26,27 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life -- he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 18:29,30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." Elijah's Question: Leaves it to Elisha to make the decision

b. Availability for service - dealing with rivals for our attention - Wisdom of liquidating his farm - Making a definite commitment to the Lord. Leave sin behind - leave the world behind - The nature of taking on the cross/ cloak: Symbol Luke 9:61, 62 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

3. A Spirit of Joyful Celebration Feasting on the Oxen - Burning the Plows -

A. Celebration of commitment - Attitude of wanting to, willingness Levi - a feast! Luke 5:27-29 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.

B. Lots of celebration: Lord's table, worship, joys of service & fellowship - Nothing "spiritual" about drab; nothing "unspiritual" about rejoicing. We can get too somber about being disciples of Christ especially as Presby's

- 1 make the effort to make it joyful (cultivate the "special atmosphere" of celebration) Make things beautiful - appealing to the senses and 2 actually enjoy it (Get out of the somber Christian rut! ) We are alive - so be alive!! Smile, God Loves you. Psalms - filled with joy and celebration. LIving as if the Lord is with us!! (Some one special is always coming to Church and with us in our homes) (L'Abri - Edith Schaeffer) Celebrating the milestones of Christian growth . Music, Art, Style. Motivation to do and give our best.

4. Available to the Master - Servants - learning by "association" Attendant to Elijah - a servant John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

A. Being with Him - Principle of Association - Jesus devoted His time to being with His disciples

How can we accomplish this? B. Blessings of Servanthood - giving our selves to serve - becoming like Christ
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