2 KINGS 4:1-7 – THE STEADY FLOW
Life of Elisha, The Steady Prophet #3 of 9
Introduce this sermon by talking about some successful people you know personally.
I think that most of us would like to be successful. As Christians, we should desire to be successful in the eyes of God. To be a success in God’s eyes, you must be a born again Christian. (John 3:1-16). Also, to be a success, you need to be successful, you must be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Thirdly, to be a success, you must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
An illustration of success in God’s eyes is found in our text. We often relegate such stories to children’s church or Sunday School, but don’t consider the value of the story for us adults.
This story tells of a steady flow of oil that continued to flow until all was full. In order for us to be successful Christians, we must have the steady, continuous flow of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. As Christians, we will go through three stages if we experience the filling or controlling of the Holy Spirit. In this story I see pictures of the:
THE BANKRUPT CHRISTIAN – Vs. 1
Elisha was apparently the chief prophet in Israel at this time. There were schools of training for those who would aspire to be prophets. They were the Bible Schools of their day. Today we might call the students “preacher boys”.
One of the widows of one of the sons of the prophets came to Elijah. Her husband was dead. She was bankrupt, and creditors were coming to take her sons as slaves to pay the debt.
There are many Christians like this women in our story. They are bankrupt.
They have tired in their own strength to do something for God. They have tried in their own effort to be successful. They have made their own plans to serve God and have met with nothing but disappointment. They have done battle with habitual sin in their lives and have ended up losing (Romans 7:18-21).
Please note that this woman was honest. She came to Elisha. She did not try to fool him. She simply told the truth. As Christians, we need to be equally honest. When we sense bankruptcy in our Spiritual lives, we must come and honestly humble ourselves before God (James 4:6-10)
THE RESOURCEFUL CHRISTIAN – Vs. 2
Elisha wants to know, “What do you have on hand?” He wants to know, “What are your resources?” What was available for God to multiply? You might recall that the Scripture tells how God multiplied a little meal and a little oil belonging to another widow (1 Kings 17:8-16). We also know that God the Son multiplied a little boy’s lunch so that it fed a multitude (John 6:1-14).
This lady only had a little oil. It was a valuable commodity, but not enough to get her out of debt.
What do Christians have to help them when they sense that they are bankrupt?
They do not have merit.
They do not have strength within themselves.
They do not have ability.
BUT THEY DO HAVE OIL!
Oil is often symbolic for God’s Holy Spirit.
We do have the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9, Zechariah 4:6, Acts 1:8,
Like the woman in the story we need to be resourceful. We must realize that we have all we need for success through the Holy Spirit.
THE VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN – Vss. 3-7
Vs. 3-4 – Elisha’s advice was simple. It was for her to use her resources. She was to borrow empty pots, go home, shut the door, and start pouring.
The victorious Christian will do something similar. We do not need more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit needs more of us. As we provide ourselves as an empty vessel, He will fill us.
An empty vessel is one that has confessed all known sin.
An empty vessel is one that contains nothing of self (Romans 12:1).
An empty vessel is one that has an open lid, ready, willing, and asking to be filled (1 John 5:14-15).
Vss. 5-6 – The woman did as she was told. When there was no longer an empty vessel, the oil stopped flowing. We must continually present to God an empty vessel, so he can fill it.
The results of Spirit filling are seen in Acts 1:8, Ephesians 3:16, 5:18-21 and Galatians 5:22-23.
emember that the steady flow of the Holy Spirit, which gives power, victory, joy and fruitfulness, will stop flowing when we fail to provide an empty vessel. However, the flow of the Spirit will resume when there is again an empty vessel available to be filled.