Sermon: Barry McWilliams Christ Church 95/03/36
These are sermon notes ... Many references are for study purposes
His Lordship affirmed - His Spirit within, Christ's presence continues in His disciples
I. Affirmation: Our commitment is often tested
Elisha accompanies Elijah to wilderness - several suggestions he stay behind refused:
"As surely as the Lord lives, and as you live; I will never leave you."
AWPink Elijah is here a type of Christ, as Elisha is to be regarded as representative of all who cleave to and follow Him.
When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "but do not speak of it." 4 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho." And he replied,"As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went to Jericho. 5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," he replied, "but do not speak of it."
6 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So the two of them walked on.
Interesting passage: Vs 1 clearly Elijah was about to be taken up - Was this revealed prophetically??
They journeyed from
Gilgal --to-- Bethel --to-- Jericho--- Three Schools of Prophets were visited enroute and three times - Elisha had a word from Elijah - "Stay here for the Lord has sent me to...."
and three times Affirmations are given by Elisha "As surely as the Lord lives and you live - I will not leave you."
Twice Prophets said to Elisha - "Do you know the Lord is going to take your master from you today?"
And twice Elisha responds "I know it - hold your peace"
There were 50 prophets who knew this --- God had revealed it to so many! that they might be more firmly established in their calling by the miraculous glorification of their master and that Elisha might be affirmed as his successor and the work might continue.
Our commitment to be with the Lord: may be tested - repeatedly
and it needs to be reaffirmed again and again
"Elisha whom God had appointed as his successor was prepared for carrying on this last journey. he resolved, certainly also from an inward impulse of the Spirit of God to be an eyewitness of his glorification that he might receive the spiritual inheritance of the first \-born from his departing spiritual father." Kiel and Delitzsch - Perhaps we can see in the crossing of the Jordan - a symbol of dying, and of separation comparable to Romans 6 being baptized into his death
John 12 - Jesus announcing his coming death.... John 13:31-37 Peter reaffirms his commitment - he is still to be tested ... in the garden ... in the courtyard ... by the sea
Our relationship to our master is different: we see him only by the Spirit He puts within us The world cannot see Him or His Spirit - nor know either - except through us!! John 14:19-20 - but the reality of his presence is the same.
II. The Lord remains with us in His Spirit
Elijah's offer of doing something for Elisha - his reply is a request for a "double" portion of the Holy Spirit
Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?" "Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit," Elisha replied. 10 "You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah said, "yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours -- otherwise not."
What would you have asked for? What do you need most?
double portion: actually a first-born son's inheritance: (cf. Deut 21:17) The Lord doesn't leave us as orphans - We have the rights of Sons inheriting the Spirit of Jesus- who reveals him to us - gives us understanding through his word - leads us to maturity.
Interestingly, Scripture records twice as many miracles at Elisha's hands, than at the hands of his master, Elijah. What kind of power and authority has Christ left with his Church?Is not a similar double portion of the Spirit been left with the Church?
John 14:15-20 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. ....... 20 On that day you will realize that I (the Son) am in my Father, and you are in me, and I (by the spirit) am in you.
- The difficult thing - Not something man can fabricate
- This is God's to grant if He is willing! How can Elijah give it, let alone doubled!!
- The proof (fulfilment depends on his seeing the event) left in God's hands.
- This is not our will, but His - by His power - His work, purposes, methods, objectives
III. Is His Power and Authority still there?
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.
13 He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. "Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?" he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. 15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, "The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha." And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
- Elijah swept up -Elijah a type of Jesus' ascension (cf Acts 1:9-10)
- appropriateness of whirlwind - why did Elijah go out with such a bang! Was it not for Elisha's sake?
- Elisha's grieving at the separation.... (My Father) then going on....
Elijah's mantle (comparable to the Master's cross of discipleship?) left with Elisha - "Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" The answer comes quickly after he struck the river - crossing back - "The Spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha!"
The Church today is living without His Visible Presence in our midst - but He is in us. His power rests in us in His Spirit!
- [The 50 prophets - The useless search for Elijah]
- The Lord remaining with us with continued authority and Spiritual power
- Trusting Him to continue His work through us. John 14:19, 20 - Christ in his church
- John 14:11-14 - wielding the mantle
© 1996 Barry McWilliams
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