THE RESCUE #4: LET’S GO!(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan) To download a printable version of these notes, click HERE. To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
OPENING JOKE: While on maternity leave, a woman from our office brought in her new bundle of joy. She also had her seven-year-old son with her. Everyone gathered around the baby, and the little boy asked, “Mommy, can I have some money to buy a soda?” “What do you say?” she asked. Respectfully, the boy replied, “You’re thin and beautiful.” The woman reached in her purse and gave her son the money.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:
- The Syrians were waging war with Israel and they came to Samaria to lay siege to it.
- Soon the resources in the city ran out and the people began to starve.
- The famine was so great the people were pushed to cannibalism to stay alive.
“1 Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” 2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” 3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” (2 Kings 7:1-3).
- A great question! Where are you? What are you doing with the life God has given you?
- Lepers = like the walking dead.
THREE OPTIONS: Retreat, Stay, or Go Forward.
“If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:4).
THE BIG IDEA: Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in life, and we can choose to either retreat, stay where we are, or go forward. God calls us to arise and go forward!
“If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there.”
- The first option was to go back to the city…but this was a step backwards.
- If we go backwards in our spiritual life, consequences await us as well.
- The children of Israel had this temptation: “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Num. 11:4-5).
HOW TO WE BACKSLIDE OR RETREAT?
- We pick up old sins we have previously been forgiven of or delivered from.
- We neglect our personal devotional life and don’t pray or read our Bibles anymore.
- We don’t go to church regularly or make it a priority anymore.
- Some of you have already gone back. God’s challenge to you today:
“Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the Lord our God.” (Jer. 3:22).
“…they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” (v.3).
“And if we sit here, we die also.” (v.4).
- They could have stayed where they were but that would have resulted in death.
- When we choose to stay where we are spiritually, we will eventually stagnate.
HOW DO WE GET STUCK?
- By sins – bad habits become bondages or addictions that we can’t break free from.
- By guilt or shame – over the bad things we’ve done in the past.
- By hurts or offenses – we can’t let go of the past
- By fear of the future – we are afraid to move forward.
- By laziness or complacency – it takes work to move forward.
- The backslider’s progression: Walk, stand, then sit:
- “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1).
- God’s antidote = go to Jesus:
- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1).
- Some of you are stuck. God’s encouragement to you today:
- “I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock.” (Psalm 40:1-2).
- “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8).
- Talk about disappointment over Billy Graham response – no compassion for the lost??
III. GO FORWARD:
“5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses–the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!” 7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact–their tents, their horses, and their donkeys–and they fled for their lives.” (2 Kings 7:5-7).
- It takes courage to arise and go – especially when you don’t know what awaits you.
- They chose to go and surrender their lives. We too must surrender our lives to Jesus!
“And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it.” (2 Kings 7:8, NKJV).
- Because the lepers went forward, they found food and drink, money and clothing.
- When we surrender our lives to Jesus, God responds by giving us strength and provision.
THE CHALLENGE: This day is a day of good news!
“Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.” (2 Kings 7:9).
- As Christians, we have experienced the best news ever – God loves us, Jesus died for us!
- We now have a responsibility to share that good news with others.
- Evangelism has been defined as “one beggar telling another where he found bread.”
- Go to a football game and you’ll see 24 players down on the field desperately needing a rest and 40,000 people in the stands in need of some exercise! We’re needed on the field.
- “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:35-38).
- Get back to doing first things first: Spend time with Jesus in the Word and prayer daily.
- Don’t go backwards. Deal with the junk from the past, leave it behind & move forward.
- Refuse to stay where you are! Get free, stop being comfortable, overcome fears.
- Arise and go! Look for opportunities to minister to people around you every day.
- If the lepers hadn’t gone forward, the whole city would have starved to death.
- Get involved serving in the church. Where can you use your gifts to build the Kingdom?
- Let’s go! Who’s with me?