Elisha, part 1

Started the Elisha sermon series by Stuart Olyott, and I’m pretty darn excited to learn more about this little known prophet. It’s crazy, most everyone knows about Elijah, but there’s more about Elisha in the Bible and hardly anyone remembers what he did.

Listen along here. And now for the biggest, best quote. It’s big, it looks tedious, but it’s so worth it. So promise me you’ll read all of it! And then listen to the sermon!

“Now straightaway, Christian friends, we’ve got a lesson to learn before we go on to the second part of the sermon. Even when God is angry with a nation, as God was with Israel at that time, God is still very tender to the individuals in that nation who have a true and affectionate fear for Him. Sometimes, Christian people have great fear that when God judges the British Isles, as He must do otherwise He’ll have to apologize to Sodom – Sometimes, people feel that when God judges the British Isles, then how will we Christians fare? Well, God will certainly judge our nation, and yet we individuals who love the Lord, we can be sure that He’s still tender towards us, and He won’t forsake us. The ministry of Elisha makes that imminently plain.

But there are other things to learn as well, straightaway. We learn straightaway that whatever the time is, God has a man for it. Different times require different men. And we must not expect one servant of Christ to be the same as another servant of Christ. They have the same God, but different times require different gifts of different ministries. The burden in Elisha’s heart was different from that in Elijah’s. The emphasis in his preaching was different from his predecessor, the temperament of the man, the character of the man, was decidedly different from the man who had gone before.

There is also something very encouraging that we can learn straightaway, and it’s just general overview of his life. If you look around Britain today, you’ll find it’s not very different from Israel in those days. They worshiped idols, so do we. They’re not wood and stone, but they’re idols, nonetheless. The people who preached in God’s name were basically false prophets, they didn’t speak the truth. And it’s just a fact of life that the vast majority of people who speak in Christ’s name don’t speak the truth. There was apostasy even among those who still had some orthodoxy left. And that’s true too today, even amongst those who hold to evangelical faith, there’s a tremendous coldness of heart. And the mass of the people had a blatant refusal to acknowledge God at all. Same as today in this country, the vast majority of people, although they might give lip-service to the fact a God exists, to have no more interest in Him than that.

Now when you look ‘round the Western world today, you would think that the end of the world must surely be here soon. Maybe it will be. But you would’ve thought that in Elijah’s time. God, instead of bringing the world to a quick end, instead of bringing that nation to a quick end, followed the threatening ministry of Elijah with the tender ministry of Elisha. The end of the world may be around the corner, the end of the world may be thousands of years away. The next step in God’s plan may not be to melt the elements in fervent heat. The next step in God’s plan may be to continue to sound out the message of grace in more gracious and tender tones than it’s ever been heard before.”

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