Focus on God's Word

No Bridge Over Jordan

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Charissa Fong


Series Code: FGW

Program Code: FGW000020

00:30 And, yes, we have come to the river today...
00:33 We are standing by the river and, Lord, we need to take
00:36 His hand and cross over. That's today's message in a nutshell.
00:40 Let's open with a word of prayer.
00:42 Oh Lord, today as we open Your Word
00:44 I pray that Your Holy Spirit that has been present
00:47 every night this week will be present again here
00:50 this morning on this, Your Sabbath day.
00:53 Please, Lord, bring to us a message which we need to hear
00:56 because we want to hear Your word to us today.
00:58 In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.
01:01 I was very privileged towards the middle of last year
01:06 to go up and spend a week with the church up there
01:09 in Cairns. Has anyone been to Cairns?
01:12 Ah, it's just beautiful up there, isn't it?
01:15 Everybody's been to Cairns. I hadn't been till last year.
01:17 I mean, mangoes... they grow on the street in Cairns.
01:20 The weather is warm and balmy and there's beautiful scenery.
01:24 Ah, it was absolutely wonderful!
01:26 And the Lord really blessed the meetings up there in Cairns.
01:29 And after just one week I fell in love with the people
01:32 of Cairns just as I have fallen in love with the people
01:35 of Taree. And it seems that by the end of that week
01:39 that I shared with the people up there
01:42 the feeling was a mutual one because I stood at the door
01:45 and, oh, the people... they were so grateful
01:48 and appreciative. And I just praise the Lord for it.
01:51 And not only that, they loaded me down with a whole lot of
01:54 food, tropical fruits, and gifts and all this...
01:58 all letters and e-mail addresses,
02:00 and I was loaded down by the time I left.
02:04 And there were so many things that I received,
02:06 but there was one gift that really stood out to me
02:10 while I was standing at the door.
02:11 I was shaking people's hands as they were filing out.
02:14 An elderly man came forward and I stuck my hand out
02:18 to shake his. But instead of placing his hand in mine
02:22 he put a book in my hand.
02:25 And I looked at him and then I looked down at the book.
02:27 It wasn't a new book; it was an old book.
02:30 The pages were worn and brown.
02:34 The cover was bent. He had even taped the spine
02:38 of this particular book. And I looked at the book
02:40 and I was a little bit surprised.
02:42 And I looked back at him and he saw my surprisement...
02:45 Is that a good word? Surprisement?
02:49 Well today it's going to be a word. He saw my surprisement!
02:53 And he looked at me and he said to me:
02:55 "Charissa, I want you to have this book.
02:58 Why? Because there's a message in this book that I want you
03:01 to preach. " And so I thought to myself: "OK. "
03:04 I thanked him for the book and then he left.
03:07 That night when I got back to my hotel room
03:10 I looked over everything that I had received
03:12 and there was that book sitting amongst them all.
03:15 And I thought to myself: "You know,
03:17 I don't often read everything that I'm given
03:19 because I just don't have the time.
03:20 But because of what he had said to me there at the door
03:23 I was very curious. And so I decided I was going to
03:27 read that book. And friends, the book that he pressed
03:29 into my hand was a book by a man named Leslie Hardinge
03:34 who wrote it in 1968. It's published by
03:37 the Review and Herald and the book was entitled
03:40 Elisha, the Man of God.
03:43 And so friends, this morning I bring to you a message
03:46 borne from this book. And so to go to our story today
03:50 I invite you to take your Bibles and turn with me
03:53 to II Kings. II Kings chapter 2 and verse 1.
03:59 This is where we will be spending most of our time.
04:01 II Kings chapter 2 and verse 1.
04:06 And if you need a Bible I'm sure a deacon can bring
04:10 you one. Just raise your hand if you need one.
04:13 OK. II Kings chapter 2 verse 1.
04:16 And the Bible says: "And it came to pass
04:19 when the Lord was about to take up... " Who?
04:22 "Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind that Elijah
04:27 went with... " Who? "Elisha from Gilgal. "
04:32 Friends, one day the Bible tells us that Elijah... he was
04:35 impressed by the Holy Spirit that the time of his ascension
04:39 was near... God was going to take him home real soon.
04:43 And friends, the years of Elijah's ministry
04:46 here on this earth... they had been most fruitful.
04:50 In fact, if we read the Bible it would appear that
04:52 Elijah... he was the greatest educator of the youth
04:57 since the days of Samuel. So he was very valuable
05:00 to God's cause. And friends, the schools of the prophets
05:04 which Samuel had labored so hard to establish...
05:07 they had started to become degenerate and they had started
05:12 to break down because of neglect and they had been
05:16 wrecked by apostate kings.
05:18 But Elijah... when he had come upon the scene
05:21 he saw the value in training up the next generation.
05:24 He saw the value in the youth. Why?
05:27 Because he believed that it would be the next generation,
05:30 they were the ones that would carry on the work
05:33 which he so faithfully had carried out in his life.
05:36 They would be the ones who would carry on God's truth
05:40 to the rest of the world. And so
05:42 before his ascension the Bible tells us that
05:45 Elijah... he set out with Elisha on a final tour of these schools
05:51 of the prophets. These schools in which he had invested
05:55 his life in.
05:57 Now I think you would agree with me that memories make
06:00 a huge difference in our feelings about a place.
06:03 Yes? Yes.
06:05 I personally have wonderful memories of the kitchen pantry
06:08 'cause whenever I go there I have a wonderful time.
06:12 Actually in our home I think everybody in my family
06:14 has the same feeling. Because I will come downstairs
06:17 and I'll look in the kitchen and there will be my sister
06:19 just standing there in the pantry just looking
06:22 at the pantry. She has a wonderful time there.
06:24 And friends, I also enjoy a fireplace.
06:27 Why? Because I've had wonderful memories by a fireplace.
06:31 And certainly, as Elijah and Elisha begin their tour
06:35 of the schools of the prophets the memories of Israel
06:39 past... they begin to flood their minds.
06:42 And as Elijah and Elisha comes to this first school
06:45 here in Gilgal, the memories come back.
06:48 Here the reproach of the years of servitude that
06:51 the Israelites spent in Egypt... they remember that
06:55 and they remember how here those years were rolled away.
07:00 All of that had been rolled away right here at Gilgal.
07:03 Here at Gilgal the people of God had chosen to put away
07:08 their rebellious spirit that they had shown so often
07:11 during their wanderings in the wilderness for 40 years.
07:14 It was here at Gilgal that the children of Israel...
07:18 they had entered into a new relationship with their Lord.
07:22 And it was here at Gilgal that the children of Israel
07:26 had been so enthusiastic to go forward and take the
07:30 Promised Land the second time.
07:32 Appropriately the name Gilgal means rolling.
07:36 It means rolling away.
07:37 Friends, Israel remembered Gilgal as a place of victory
07:42 and consecration. Here was a place
07:44 commemorating Israel's national consecration to God.
07:49 So the two prophets arrive here.
07:52 And the Bible tells us that Elijah... he approaches the
07:54 school and when he gets there he preaches his last sermon
07:58 to the students at Gilgal.
07:59 And wouldn't you just have loved to have heard
08:01 what he had to say?
08:03 I would certainly have loved to have heard him.
08:06 But friends, when he finishes his sermon the Bible tells us
08:10 in the next verse that he did something very strange.
08:14 Notice what happens in verse 2:
08:16 "Then Elijah said to Elisha... "
08:20 Starts with S... ends in tay.
08:23 Stay... that's right!
08:24 "Stay here please for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel. "
08:29 Friends, Elisha was kind of surprised when Elijah said this
08:32 to him. He had given up every- thing to serve Elijah.
08:37 He had left behind his family, his father, and he had gone
08:41 to serve Elijah. And so he responds with
08:44 feeling. He says: "I will not leave thee. "
08:48 And friends, I don't know about you, but Elijah...
08:52 Elisha, sorry - is the kind of man I would love to have
08:55 as a friend. You know why?
08:57 He was loyal. He was committed.
09:00 He was faithful.
09:03 It didn't matter where God took Elijah, Elisha was determined
09:07 to be there. He had chosen to go...
09:09 He had not chosen to go along with Elijah as long as it felt
09:14 good. He hadn't chosen to go along with Elijah
09:18 so long as it didn't cost him anything.
09:20 He had chosen to follow Elijah no matter what.
09:23 And friends, today's Christianity can learn a lot
09:26 from Elisha's actions right here
09:29 because we seem to lack commitment today.
09:32 We look for religion of convenience.
09:35 But friends, Elisha here tells us that we must not look
09:38 for a religion of convenience.
09:41 Sometimes we want roads to travel on
09:43 but God doesn't always give you a road to travel on.
09:46 Sometimes you and I have to just step forward in faith.
09:50 It's a bit like the story of David Livingstone
09:53 in South Africa. He was there doing his missionary work
09:57 there and he received a letter from somebody there in Africa
10:01 who wanted to send people to come and join him.
10:04 And this is what they said in their letter. They said...
10:07 to David Livingstone they said: "Have you found a good road
10:11 to where you are? If so, we want to send other men
10:14 to join you. " Livingstone was not very impressed with this
10:18 and so he wrote back. He said:
10:20 "If you have men who will come only when there is a good road"
10:24 he said "I don't want them. "
10:27 He was fully committed to his task. Elisha was fully committed
10:31 to Elijah. And friends today, are we fully committed
10:35 to Jesus Christ?
10:36 Seeing the firm determination in the young prophet
10:40 I am sure Elijah's face... he must have lighted up
10:43 with a great big smile.
10:45 He was touched by Elisha's determination. And so
10:48 the Bible tells us that they went on to Bethel.
10:51 And let's continue reading in verse 2.
10:53 "Elisha said: 'As the Lord lives and as your soul lives
10:57 I will not leave you. ' So they went down to... " Where?
11:01 "Bethel. " Why was Bethel so exciting for the children
11:05 of Israel? Well friends, after a remorseful and terrified night
11:10 in flight it was here that Jacob spent his first night away
11:15 from home. It was here he found a pillow and he used...
11:19 a stone and he used it as a pillow.
11:21 And that night as he slept he dreamed of
11:24 a ladder that went from earth to heaven.
11:27 And he saw angels ascending and descending on that ladder.
11:30 And at the top of that ladder he saw God Himself
11:34 standing there in vision.
11:36 This deeply impressed Jacob there. And so
11:40 he was no longer a youth at the time. He was 70 years of age.
11:44 But it was here that for the first time he realized fully
11:49 that he had not lived as he ought to have lived.
11:52 It was here under the guidance of God that Jacob...
11:56 he resolved to enter into a new fellowship with God.
12:00 And it was at Bethel that he decided to make the wrong
12:03 in his heart right with God. Amen?
12:06 And so because of the experience that Jacob had here at Bethel
12:10 he called the place Bethel because it means
12:14 the house of God.
12:16 And Israel... when they looked back on the story of Jacob
12:19 they remembered Bethel as the place of his
12:22 personal consecration.
12:25 But notice verses 3 and 4 of II Kings chapter 2.
12:28 It says: "Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel
12:32 came out to Elisha and said to him:
12:34 'Do you know that the Lord will take away your master
12:38 from over you today? ' And he said: 'Yes, I know.
12:41 Keep silent. ' " Poor Elisha. He was not happy
12:44 to know that Elijah was going. Notice verse 4:
12:47 "Then Elijah said to him: 'Elisha, stay here please
12:50 for the Lord has sent me on to... ' " Where?
12:53 " ' to Jericho. ' But he said: 'As the Lord lives
12:57 and as your soul lives I will not leave you. '
13:01 So they came to Jericho. "
13:04 Friends, after Elijah had preached his last sermon
13:07 to the students at Bethel
13:09 again he comes to his young companion the second time
13:13 and he invites him to stay.
13:15 But friends, Elisha was determined to stay with Elijah,
13:19 and so on they went to Jericho.
13:22 And as they walked along the hillside
13:24 soon the great city of Jericho... it came into view.
13:29 Friends, Jericho marked the beginning of Israel's
13:32 conquest of Canaan.
13:34 It was here that God had brought the walls a'tumbling down.
13:38 It was here that God had shown Himself ready and able
13:42 to remove every obstacle that came before His people.
13:46 Amen? Can God do the same for us today?
13:49 He can remove the obstacles for us today.
13:52 It was here at Jericho that Rahab - that prostitute,
13:56 that red light madam from Jericho...
13:59 she had seen the light and she had come to God
14:02 and she had saved her family.
14:04 It was also here at Jericho
14:07 that Achan's sin with its dire results... they had been exposed
14:11 and he was punished.
14:13 And so perhaps as Israel looked back
14:15 on this particular place - on Jericho -
14:18 they remembered two things.
14:20 They remembered it as a sight of victory - Rahab's victory...
14:24 her faith and victory -
14:25 and it was also a reminder of the need for God's people
14:29 to obey Him implicitly as they saw in the story of Achan.
14:34 Notice verses 5 and 6.
14:37 It says: "Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho
14:40 came to Elisha and said to him:
14:43 'Do you know that the Lord will take away your master
14:46 from over you today? ' So he answered and said:
14:49 'Yes, I know... keep silent. ' "
14:51 Everywhere he goes he hears the same story.
14:53 Verse 6: "Then Elijah said to him: 'Stay here please,
14:57 for the Lord has sent me on to... ' " Where?
15:00 " 'on to the Jordan. " But he said: 'As the Lord lives
15:04 and as your soul lives I will not leave you. '
15:08 So the two of them went on. "
15:10 For the third time Elijah asked Elisha to just stay behind...
15:15 but three times he refuses.
15:18 And friends, his actions here... they mimic what Ruth did
15:22 to Naomi. She said: "I will never leave you.
15:24 Your God is my God; your people are my people.
15:26 I will go with you wherever you go. "
15:29 His actions here mimic Jacob
15:32 who wrestled with the angel all night and then discovered
15:35 he had been wrestling with Jesus.
15:37 And he clings to Him and he says: "I will not let You go
15:40 until You bless me. "
15:42 And so it is today. You and I... we need to hold on
15:45 to God... hold on to our faith.
15:48 But there is another lesson which we can learn
15:51 from what I have just shared with you thus far.
15:53 And if you've been listening,
15:54 this will really, really excite you. Because listen:
15:57 it is not enough for you and I to tarry at Gilgal
16:01 with its memory and message of conversion.
16:05 It's not enough just to be converted.
16:07 It is not enough even for us to pause at Bethel...
16:11 even though it is called the house of God
16:13 and marks and important stage in our dedication.
16:17 It is not even enough for you and I to be satisfied
16:20 with past victories like the Israelites remembered
16:23 happened for them at Jericho.
16:25 Friends, the message that God is giving to you and I
16:29 through what we have just read thus far
16:31 is that in our Christian life we must always move forward.
16:36 We cannot just come to church and say: "There,
16:38 I am a good person and I am saved. " No!
16:41 You must keep moving forward in faith
16:44 because to stand still is to fall back.
16:47 We must always move forward. We cannot live
16:50 in the victories of yesterday.
16:54 Verse 7:
16:55 Says: "And 50 sons of the prophets...
17:00 they went and stood facing them at a distance
17:04 while the two of them stood by the Jordan. "
17:08 At last, friends, they came to the Jordan River.
17:11 There is a picture of the Jordan today.
17:13 They came to the Jordan River, and when they do
17:17 the Bible describes what it looks like to be uncommitted.
17:21 Because there are always those who want to observe
17:26 the movement of God and the activity of God
17:28 and the gospel of God
17:30 but they never actually want to get involved...
17:33 just like the 50 sons of the prophets.
17:36 Oh yes, the truth is interesting to these people.
17:40 They think Jesus is lovely.
17:43 They think He is nice.
17:44 They're impressed by the message of scripture.
17:47 They're impressed by the three angels' messages
17:50 of Revelation chapter 14.
17:52 But quite frankly, that is about it.
17:55 Because listen, friends, it might come as a surprise to you
17:58 today, but truth is very dangerous.
18:03 The gospel is very, very dangerous.
18:08 And you say: "Oh, but isn't that meant to be good news? "
18:11 Yes it is, but friend there is a very, very serious
18:15 danger associated with the message... and that is this:
18:18 the danger is that you and I as we hear the gospel,
18:22 we read the gospel, the danger is that you and I
18:25 will be impressed by the gospel but only be impressed.
18:31 As Eugene Peterson put it... he put it this way.
18:34 He said: "As the spectacular dimensions of this story" -
18:39 he's referring to the gospel story -
18:40 "slowly or suddenly dawn upon us
18:44 we could easily become enthusiastic spectators
18:48 and then let it go at that!
18:50 Become admirers of Jesus, generous with our ooh's
18:53 and aah's, and in our better moments inspired
18:56 to imitate Him. "
18:58 He makes a powerful point, doesn't he?
19:01 'Cause he's absolutely right.
19:02 Friends, like the sons of the prophets there are some people
19:05 who prefer to watch the action from a distance.
19:08 Oh yes, the sons of the prophets... they knew
19:11 that something was going to happen
19:13 but they chose not to be a part of it.
19:17 Now the Bible doesn't write like a novel
19:21 but sometimes I really wish it did... because in a novel,
19:25 you know, the author... they can describe the person's
19:28 hair color and their eyes and their facial expression
19:30 and what they did with their hands and how they were feeling
19:33 and what they were thinking.
19:34 But the Bible often can read like a history book.
19:38 And so today at this moment I'm going to take a little bit
19:41 of creative liberty and use my imagination.
19:44 Because listen: God has been leading these two men
19:48 all along, has He not?
19:49 He led them from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho
19:52 and now He has brought them to the Jordan River.
19:55 And I imagine in my mind's eye that Elijah and Elisha...
19:59 they come to the edge of the Jordan and as they get there
20:02 they look across. And Elisha sees a very big problem
20:07 because there's no bridge across.
20:11 And he looks down the river. Nothing there.
20:14 He looks up the river. There is still no bridge across.
20:18 And so he looks at Elijah -
20:20 his mentor, the man he has looked up to for so long -
20:23 he looks up to Elijah and he's thinking to himself
20:26 "Well what are we going to do now? "
20:28 Now friends, what does Elijah do?
20:30 Did he take out his mobile phone and call to see when the next...
20:35 when the next barge was due?
20:38 Hmmm? No.
20:40 Or did he ring? Take his mobile phone and ring
20:43 to hire a jet ski so they could cross over the Jordan River?
20:47 No, because they didn't have phones back then.
20:49 So of course he wouldn't have rung.
20:52 Did Elijah bend down and start rolling up his trousers
20:55 and rolling up his sleeves and turn to Elisha and say
20:57 "OK, come on Elisha... let's swim across. "
21:00 Is that what he did?
21:02 No... notice what he did.
21:04 Verse 8: "Now Elijah took his mantle.
21:08 He rolled it up and he struck the water
21:12 and it was divided this way and that
21:15 so that the two of them crossed over... " On muddy ground?
21:20 "on dry ground. " Oh friend, there is a lesson here
21:24 for you and I today if there ever was one.
21:27 Because how many times does God bring us to the edge of the
21:31 Jordan River. He brings us to Jordan Rivers all the time,
21:35 by the way! They come to us in the form of tests and trials.
21:39 God brings us to the edge of the Jordan. Or challenges...
21:42 And we look across and we see no bridge across
21:46 and we think to ourselves: "We have to swim across. "
21:49 How many times do we do that in our experience?
21:53 How many times when we look across the Jordan River
21:56 we see no bridge across and so we pull out our phones
21:59 of complacency and think well, we'll ring to catch
22:01 the next barge across.
22:04 But friends, God didn't need a bridge back then
22:07 and He doesn't need a bridge today.
22:10 When there is no way across the Jordan River
22:14 God can make a way.
22:16 And you say: "Well Charissa, that's wonderful!
22:18 You are giving us a passionate rendition of crossing a river
22:22 that lies in the Middle East. It has nothing to do with us
22:25 here... we are by the Manning River. "
22:27 Yes, I know that.
22:29 But friend, I am not talking about crossing a literal
22:33 geographic river. I am talking about obstacles that you and I
22:37 encounter. That river was an obstacle, and you and I...
22:41 we could say that river represents anything
22:44 that keeps us from Jesus Christ.
22:47 That comes between us and Jesus.
22:49 Perhaps it's some addiction
22:52 or some other secret sin.
22:55 We come up to the Jordan... We just can't see a way
22:59 out of it. We can't see deliverance.
23:01 But friends, remember the story of Elijah and Elisha.
23:06 Because when they saw no way across they saw an obstacle.
23:10 Elijah saw an opportunity for God to work a miracle
23:14 and so he moved forward and God made a way.
23:18 Friends, sometimes I think we don't ask God
23:22 to make a way for us because sometimes we're just not
23:24 in tune with His frequency.
23:26 Wouldn't you say that is sometimes the case?
23:28 I know 3ABN... the cameras are here today.
23:31 But not so long ago 3ABN... they changed satellites.
23:35 Do you remember that? Yes.
23:37 And we all had to change our frequency on our receivers.
23:40 And we have a lovely neighbor who used to live down the road
23:44 from us, and she couldn't get 3ABN because of the change
23:49 of the satellite. And we talked to her one day
23:51 and she told us - she was in her 80's... she is in her 80's -
23:54 she said to us she had been praying and praying
23:57 that God would bring 3ABN back on. And she thought
24:00 that the devil was stopping 3ABN when 3ABN was on the air.
24:04 She just needed to change frequencies.
24:06 And by the way, she was praying and praying.
24:08 She is a real lady of prayer because she was praying
24:11 and praying for my dad, too, until he was rebaptized.
24:15 Then after he was rebaptized she crossed him off
24:17 her prayer list. So... didn't need prayer any more.
24:20 But friends, she's a lovely lady of prayer.
24:22 And friends, in the same way that she just need to adjust
24:25 her frequency so she could receive the signal
24:28 that's what you and I need to do as well.
24:30 You and I need to get in touch with God.
24:33 Walk with Him; be in step with Him
24:35 so that we can catch His signal and His frequency in our lives.
24:40 And while you are in II Kings... leave your finger there
24:43 and come over just quickly to I Corinthians chapter 10
24:48 and verse 13.
24:50 The Bible has a wonderful promise for us here.
24:53 I Corinthians chapter 10 verse 13.
24:58 It says... when you're there. I Corinthians 10:13.
25:05 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common
25:10 to man. But God is faithful who will not allow you to be
25:15 tempted beyond what you are able, but will
25:18 with the temptation also make a way of escape
25:21 that you may be able to bear it. "
25:24 Isn't that a wonderful promise?
25:25 God will never allow you to be tested above what you are able.
25:29 If He brings you to the Jordan River,
25:31 if He brings you to a Jordan River,
25:34 He will make a way for you
25:36 because He brought you there in the first place.
25:38 And friends, the waters opened to the blow of Elijah's mantle.
25:43 And all the while the sons of the prophets -
25:46 all 50 of them - they stood back and they watched it happen.
25:50 What an experience to see the Jordan River part like this.
25:55 I mean, that would be like me walking up to the Sydney Harbor,
25:59 taking my jumper off and then rolling it up and then swiping
26:02 Sydney Harbor and phew... the waves just part.
26:06 The water just parts. It's the stuff of Hollywood.
26:09 It's amazing. And as they walk through on dry ground
26:12 the Bible tells us that they get to the other side
26:15 and the moment their feet touch the other shore
26:19 the water comes crashing in in all of its fury.
26:23 And Elisha is dumbfounded.
26:27 Wow! That was amazing!
26:30 And at that moment he looks up at Elijah
26:33 and a desire is born in his heart. He wants to have
26:37 the same experience with God that Elijah has.
26:42 He wants to have the same connection with God
26:46 that Elijah has.
26:48 Do you want that connection as well?
26:50 Would you like that connection that Elijah had with God?
26:53 Notice verse 9:
26:55 "And so it was when they had crossed over
26:58 that Elijah said to Elisha: 'Ask. What may I do for you
27:02 before I am taken away from you? '
27:04 And Elisha said: 'Please, let a double portion of your spirit
27:09 be upon me. ' "
27:11 Now when we first read this it almost seems like Elisha
27:15 is asking Elijah to ask the Lord to make him twice the prophet
27:19 that Elijah was. But friends, the language here
27:23 that is used is a language borrowed from the practices
27:26 of inheritance. Because the firstborn of every family...
27:30 they received an extra share of their father's property.
27:34 And so what he's essentially saying is what I said to you
27:36 a moment ago. He's saying to Elijah:
27:39 "I want to have the same relationship with God
27:42 that you have. I want to have the same connection.
27:45 I want to serve God the way you serve Him.
27:49 I want to be able to exercise God's power
27:52 in my life as well. "
27:54 And so Elijah... how he must have thrilled
27:58 to hear that request from his student.
28:01 But friends, let me ask this question:
28:04 do people look at you and when they see you
28:07 do they say: "I want to know the God that you know? "
28:11 "I want to know the Jesus that you know
28:14 because I want what you have. "
28:16 Do people look at us and say that?
28:18 A little boy... he was very sick and the surgeon
28:23 sat beside his bed.
28:24 And the parents were in the room and they sat just opposite.
28:27 And the surgeon began to speak and he said: "Look,
28:30 tomorrow I am going to cut open your chest
28:34 and I'm going to examine your heart. "
28:35 And the little boy interrupted him and he said:
28:38 "And you'll find Jesus there" he said.
28:41 And the surgeon was a little bit frustrated and annoyed.
28:46 He hadn't expected that. And so he continued.
28:48 And so he said: "Look, I'll cut open your heart
28:51 and then I'll see how much damage has been done. "
28:53 And the little boy piped up again:
28:55 "And sir, you'll see Jesus there... I know you will.
28:59 We sing about it at church.
29:01 We sing that Jesus comes into our hearts.
29:03 You're going to find Jesus in my heart. "
29:06 The surgeon was not very impressed with these continued
29:11 interruptions and so he said:
29:12 "Look, when I get there I'll see how much damage
29:15 has been done. Then I'll sew up your heart
29:18 and I'll sew back up your chest
29:19 and then I'll plan what to do next. "
29:22 "But you'll find Jesus there, sir.
29:24 I know you will. The Bible says He lives in my heart. "
29:29 Well the surgeon had had enough
29:32 and so he looked at the young man and he said to him:
29:35 "Look, I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart.
29:38 I'll find a damaged muscle.
29:41 I'll find low blood supply.
29:43 I'll find weakened vessels.
29:45 And then I'll see if I can make you well. "
29:48 And the little boy replied again:
29:50 "And you'll find Jesus there as well. "
29:53 Well later the next day the surgeon sat in his office
29:59 recording his notes on his Dictaphone.
30:01 And this is what he said. He said: "Damaged aorta.
30:04 Damaged pulmonary vein.
30:07 Widespread muscle degeneration.
30:09 No hope for transplant; no hope for cure.
30:14 Therapy: pain killers and bed rest.
30:17 Prognosis... " and here he paused...
30:20 "death within one year. "
30:24 He stopped the recorder but there was more to be said
30:27 to a higher power.
30:30 And for the first time in a long time
30:32 the surgeon began to pray.
30:35 But he prayed a prayer that many people often pray.
30:38 He turned to God and he said "Why?
30:41 Why did You allow this to happen?
30:45 Why are you allowing this young man to die?
30:49 Why did You put him here?
30:50 Why are you putting him through the pain
30:52 that he is going through?
30:53 You have cursed him to an early death... Why? "
30:58 The surgeon's tears were hot but his anger was hotter.
31:02 He said: "You made him; You created him.
31:05 You can fix him and look at what You're doing.
31:07 He is going to die. "
31:09 And with that he sat in his office and sobbed.
31:12 And it was there in the stillness of that moment
31:15 that he heard a still small voice.
31:18 God answered him and this is what He said.
31:22 He said: "I did not put my lamb with your flock
31:25 to lose him but to retrieve another lost lamb. "
31:29 The surgeon wept.
31:32 That afternoon the surgeon sat beside that little boy's bed
31:37 yet again. The boy's parents were in the room.
31:40 And as the little boy awoke
31:43 he asked the surgeon as he blinked his groggy eyes
31:47 from surgery... He opened his eyes and he said:
31:49 "Did you cut open my heart? "
31:51 "Yes, " he said, "I did. "
31:53 "And what did you find? " said the little boy.
31:56 And the surgeon said: "I found Jesus there. "
31:59 Friends, the most powerful argument for Christianity
32:04 is a loving and loveable Christian.
32:07 When people look at us I pray that they can see Jesus
32:10 there as well. Don't you say that?
32:12 Amen? Notice verses 10 and 11:
32:17 "And so he said... " This is Elijah.
32:19 "he said 'you have asked a hard thing.
32:22 Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you
32:27 it shall be so for you. But if not,
32:30 it shall not be so. ' Then it happened
32:33 as they continued on and talked that suddenly
32:36 a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire
32:40 and separated the two of them. And Elijah went up
32:44 by a whirlwind into heaven. "
32:46 Do you enjoy saying goodbye?
32:50 No. There are two things that I dislike in life:
32:54 I dislike change and I hate saying goodbye.
32:57 Friends, nobody likes to say goodbye.
33:00 And that's why I love heaven because when we get there
33:02 no more goodbyes. Amen? Amen.
33:04 We'll have to live with each other for all eternity.
33:07 Hallelujah! And so friends, Elijah's heart...
33:10 he was touched by the request of Elisha.
33:12 But he could not give Elisha what he had asked for.
33:16 That was for God to give him. And as they were talking
33:20 suddenly the angel couriers had arrived.
33:24 Across the Palestinian sky darts a bright light.
33:28 And as it comes down to where they are
33:31 it was a chariot of fire.
33:33 And friends, what a moment that must have been for them both.
33:37 It had come time for Elijah... God was taking him home.
33:41 And the Bible doesn't say but I'd like to imagine
33:45 that at that moment the two men embraced.
33:48 They shed a tear, a parting prayer: "God be with you. "
33:52 And then Elijah... he stepped into that fiery chariot
33:57 and he went up, the Bible says, in a whirlwind
34:00 and God took him home.
34:02 And notice verse 12: "And Elisha... " did he miss it?
34:06 No, he saw it.
34:08 "And he cried out 'my father, my father,
34:11 the chariot of Israel and its horsemen. '
34:13 So he saw him no more and he took hold of his own clothes
34:18 and tore them into two pieces. "
34:21 As Elisha watches Elijah go up
34:24 into heaven, suddenly a pang of pain pierces
34:29 his heart and he feels all alone in the world.
34:34 The prophet would be sorely missed... not only by Elisha
34:38 but by all of Israel. You see, Elijah was more valuable to them
34:43 than all of their horsemen and chariots.
34:46 He had been like a father to the young prophet.
34:49 And so suddenly Elisha felt like he had been orphaned there
34:54 on the plain. Elisha's mind was still on his master.
34:57 And suddenly his ears catch the sound of something above him
35:02 and he looks up and he sees the mantle of Elijah
35:06 winging its way down. That shaggy mantle...
35:08 floating down on the wings of the air
35:11 and it falls down at his feet.
35:13 The old prophet... he wasn't going to need it
35:16 where he was going. And friends, here was heaven's sign
35:19 that the responsibility, that the blessing which Elisha had
35:23 requested... he had received it from God.
35:26 Elijah's mantle had been baptized in water: the Jordan
35:29 river and now it came down to him baptized in fire as well.
35:34 And friends, as a token of his commitment to God
35:38 the Bible describes what Elisha did. What did he do?
35:41 The Bible says he tears his own clothes.
35:44 Friends, he is done with his past and he is ready to address
35:49 his future with God. And notice what happens
35:52 in verse 13. "He also took up the mantle of Elijah
35:57 that had fallen from him. And he went back... "
35:59 And where did he stand?
36:01 "He stood by the bank of the Jordan. "
36:04 Friends, he reaches the Jordan River - and there it is again...
36:08 He reaches the Jordan River and this time his face
36:11 is stained with tears. As he looks across
36:14 because of his weeping he can't quite make out the other side.
36:19 He looks up the river; he looks down the river...
36:22 and still there is no bridge across.
36:25 But now his mentor is gone.
36:28 How will he cross? Well, it's just Elisha now.
36:32 He can do whatever he wants.
36:33 Would he adopt some new method of doing God's work
36:37 and try something different? Something that the old prophet
36:40 hadn't done? Perhaps he could do a little dance
36:43 and say a new chant and the river would open for him
36:46 as well. But friends, would he adopt a new method and disregard
36:51 the method of the older worker?
36:53 No, because watch what happened in verse 14.
36:55 "Then he took the mantle of Elijah
36:58 that had fallen from him and he struck the water
37:02 just as Elijah had done. And he said: 'Where is the Lord
37:06 God of Elijah? ' And when he also had struck the water
37:10 it was divided this way and that and Elisha crossed over. "
37:15 Friends, taking the mantle of Elijah
37:19 he does exactly what Elijah had done.
37:22 And he calls upon the God of Elijah. He says: "Where is
37:26 the God of Elijah? "
37:28 He calls upon the God who answers by fire.
37:32 Who stops and starts the rain.
37:35 Who feeds His servants by ravens.
37:38 Who multiplies the meal and the oil.
37:40 Who raises the dead.
37:41 Who is powerful enough to shake mountains and the earth.
37:46 Why does he call upon the God of Elijah?
37:49 Because he knows and he believes
37:52 that anything less than the God of Elijah would let him down.
37:57 He needed Elijah's God. And friends,
38:01 God honored Elijah's method and He honored Elisha
38:04 when he used it as well.
38:06 Now that is something I think we should not just gloss over
38:09 today because we live in a society today
38:12 where we have been convinced that old is bad
38:15 and the new is always better.
38:17 And it's true. I mean, you look at some houses
38:19 and they look so old that the only reason why they're still
38:24 standing is because the termites are holding hands.
38:26 But friends, society has convinced us that old is bad.
38:31 But sometimes you know what? When it comes to God
38:34 that doesn't apply. Can you say "Amen? " Amen.
38:36 The old ways are the good ways because God never changes.
38:41 He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
38:44 What's good enough back then is good enough today
38:46 because we all worship the same God. Amen? Amen.
38:50 Elijah's God is our God as well.
38:53 Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I pray: "Dear Lord,
38:57 so far I've done pretty well today. I haven't gossiped.
39:00 I haven't cheated. I haven't been greedy.
39:02 I haven't been nasty. I haven't been selfish.
39:05 But in a few moments I'm going to get out of bed
39:07 and when I do things may change. So I need Your help. "
39:11 And so friends, it was one thing for Elisha to cross the river
39:16 when he was with Elijah, wasn't it?
39:18 It was another thing for him to cross on his own
39:21 and to make that decision to step out in faith on his own.
39:25 But friends, when you follow the God of Elijah
39:28 you don't need Elijah because God is enough.
39:32 God is always enough.
39:34 I used to have a little puppy dog.
39:37 I was telling you about him during the week.
39:39 Texas was his name, and he passed away in March
39:42 of last year. And he was just
39:44 the "bestest" friend that I had had for eleven years.
39:48 I mean, when we came home he would be at the gate
39:51 and he would wag his tail and squeal with joy.
39:53 Now when I come home now my family don't do that for me.
39:57 And so he really made me feel special: my little puppy dog.
40:01 But I tell you what. He was a miniature toy poodle.
40:04 He was about this big. When I took him for a walk
40:07 there was something that I'll never forget
40:09 and I'll always love about him.
40:11 Because I'd take Texas for a walk and I'd have him on
40:14 the lead and as we were walking down the street
40:16 we would see this big dog in the distance, you know.
40:20 A German shepherd... a Labrador...
40:22 some big dog in the distance.
40:24 And you should see my dog's ears. They'd perk up.
40:27 The head would go up. He'd start strutting like a king
40:31 down that street like the greatest warrior the world
40:33 had ever seen. And I was so proud, you know?
40:36 And he'd be tugging on the lead and I'd be trying to hold him
40:38 back and say: "Easy, don't bite him; don't bite him. "
40:41 Then we got close to that big dog.
40:44 You know what happened? The ears went down.
40:48 The tail went down and he would turn around
40:52 and he'd run straight back to me.
40:54 Now did I look at him and scold him at that moment
40:57 and say: "Hey! Turn around and fight them.
40:59 Turn around and you know get him. "
41:01 No friends, I never did that.
41:03 When he turned around and came back to me like that
41:06 I loved it because I picked him up
41:09 and I would hold him in my arms.
41:12 And it was then that he seemed to regain his bravery again.
41:17 And he would perk up his ears and he would start growling
41:20 and barking and making biting movements at these big dogs.
41:24 Why? Because he felt safe from my arms.
41:29 And friends, Elisha... he did not have to worry
41:32 about anything because his life was in God's hands.
41:36 Amen? Amen. And that's how we can take that as well.
41:40 When we put our life in God's hands, nothing...
41:43 we don't have to worry about anything.
41:45 Notice verse 15:
41:47 "Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho
41:50 saw him they said: 'The spirit of Elijah
41:54 rests on Elisha. ' And they came to meet him
41:57 and bowed to the ground before him. "
42:00 Friends, had Elisha taken the easy route and stayed behind,
42:05 friends he would have missed out on the blessing.
42:08 And like Elisha, today you and I need to learn
42:11 to persist in our faith. Amen?
42:14 Because when you don't see a bridge. When you don't see
42:17 a way, turn to Jesus... because He is the only way.
42:23 Oh you missed an Amen point. Jesus is the only way.
42:27 Amen? Amen! Because let's not ever forget
42:29 that the first cars... they used to travel between 3-6 kilometers
42:34 per hour... and they would break down all the time.
42:38 And people would ride by these people in these cars
42:41 and then yell out to them from their horses and buggies...
42:45 they'd yell out to them: "Ah, get a horse! "
42:47 But friends, can you imagine
42:49 what would have happened if the inventors had listened
42:52 to the people like that?
42:53 If they had listened to the crowd?
42:55 Well friends, we wouldn't be catching the 6 o'clock train
42:58 today... we'd be catching the 6 o'clock horse.
43:01 Friends, we need to persist in our faith.
43:05 There were no bridges back then over Jordan.
43:09 There is no cheap way... there is no lazy way...
43:12 there is no easy way.
43:14 The only way across is by what? By faith.
43:20 Faith is the substance of a bridge when you cannot see one.
43:24 Faith makes a bridge, friends. Faith is the bridge across.
43:29 We do not need a bridge when God commands us to cross.
43:32 What you and I need is a response
43:35 because we just need to be obedient to God.
43:37 Step out in faith and He will part the waters for us!
43:42 God never asks you to do anything without empowering you
43:47 to do it. Without giving you the power available to do it.
43:53 God did not create a butterfly
43:55 until He had first fashioned a blossom
43:59 on which to make it happen.
44:00 God did not make the trees
44:02 but He first made the soil for it to root itself.
44:06 Friends, God... He did not put Adam and Eve in a...
44:10 He did not make Adam and Eve until He had first made
44:13 a paradise for them to enjoy.
44:15 When God called Moses to go before Pharaoh
44:18 Moses said: "I can't talk. I'm slow of speech.
44:21 I can't frame my sentences properly. "
44:24 Well friends, God said to him: "Who made your tongue? "
44:27 God will always make a way.
44:30 When God summoned Peter to preach on the Day of Pentecost
44:33 did He make a way for Peter to reach all of those people
44:36 that day? Yes He did.
44:38 He empowered Peter with the Holy Spirit.
44:41 And he spoke and everyone present heard the message
44:44 in their own language.
44:47 When God called Elisha to cross the Jordan
44:50 he needed no bridge because I Thessalonians 5:24 says...
44:55 it says: "He who called you is faithful who will also do it. "
45:01 I want you to notice this quote quote on the screen. It says:
45:23 Friends, today we are called to go on and serve the Lord
45:27 in the spirit and power of Elijah.
45:29 Today God is looking for a movement of people,
45:33 a generation who will faithfully carry on the task
45:36 that others before us have faithfully carried on.
45:40 As I look back on the history of our movement
45:43 I think of these people here on the screen.
45:46 In 1832 a middle-aged farmer... he began preaching
45:51 about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
45:53 His name was William Miller.
45:55 In 1844 one frail teenage girl...
45:59 she related her first vision given to her by God.
46:02 In 1846 one retired sea captain...
46:06 he published a little book called The Seventh Day Sabbath.
46:11 On the seventh-day Sabbath, sorry.
46:12 In 1849 one penniless itinerate preacher...
46:17 he created an 8-page pamphlet that was to spread the light of
46:21 truth around the world.
46:24 Friends, God used ordinary people like these people here
46:28 to pioneer a movement that would grow and spread
46:32 around the world. It is a movement committed
46:35 to proclaiming God's message to the world in this generation.
46:39 But why is it that it doesn't seem so exciting here anymore?
46:44 Why is it that the movement sometimes seems like it's
46:46 not really moving? A pastor... he went overseas
46:51 to an overseas country. And while he was there
46:54 he saw an evangelist preaching in a hut
46:57 there in the middle of nowhere.
46:59 And as he was preaching the people came out.
47:01 The pastor watched that evangelist.
47:04 And that evangelist... he worked hard and labored for souls.
47:08 He raised money. He trucked in goods
47:11 and he managed to build a church there in this remote location.
47:15 And before long there was a large congregation
47:18 meeting in that church to worship and honor God.
47:22 And he - the pastor who saw this - he was thrilled
47:25 by what he saw.
47:26 But some years later the same pastor...
47:29 he visited that church back out there overseas.
47:33 And when he did, he discovered that a new generation
47:36 had arisen and they were worshiping in it.
47:39 And to this new generation the stories of their past
47:42 were just stories to them.
47:44 And this new generation... they were finding it difficult
47:48 to pay the heating bill.
47:50 It's incredible, isn't it? Why... why the big difference?
47:54 You know why? Because the sacrificial spirit
47:59 that prompted the pioneers is lacking today.
48:04 We are lacking that sacrificial spirit.
48:08 Friends, today's generation needs bridges...
48:10 but they had faith.
48:12 Today's generation needs resources... but they had trust.
48:17 And friends, let us never forget that the Elijah movement
48:20 is a movement that is ever based on faith
48:23 because there are never any visible bridges
48:26 across the Jordan.
48:27 When God created this world, friends,
48:30 He started with nothing!
48:31 When Jesus came to this world He came as a little,
48:35 helpless babe... as an infant.
48:38 But He grew to be a Man who would deliver this world...
48:42 deliver the human race from the grasp of demonic forces
48:46 and establish God's kingdom forever.
48:49 Friends, when God challenges us
48:51 He empowers us. And let us take courage in that.
48:54 Friends, God has brought you and I here today.
48:57 God has brought us - His people - successfully...
49:01 He has brought us this far.
49:03 But God did not bring you this far to leave you here.
49:07 He brought you this far because He intends to take you home.
49:11 He intends to fulfill and keep His promise to you.
49:16 God is still looking for a people who will take up
49:19 the mantle of Elijah. Who will take on the message
49:22 and proclaim it to the world.
49:24 Can God see that person in you?
49:27 Can He find that people in us today?
49:31 Do you want to receive a double portion of God's Spirit
49:34 in your life? Do you want to witness the power of God
49:37 working for you? Well friends, then we need to turn to God.
49:41 We need to trust Him and we need to step forward in faith.
49:45 In closing, a father... he left his daughter home
49:49 one day to go and visit the bank.
49:51 And as he did he went down to the bank.
49:53 And while he was there at the bank, all of these sirens
49:57 started going down the road.
49:59 And so he stepped outside the bank to look to see where
50:03 they were going because they were heading in the direction
50:06 of his house. And to his shock and horror
50:09 he looked and down the end of the road he saw his
50:11 two-story home in flames.
50:14 He dropped everything. Ran down the street.
50:17 And when he got there a fireman detained him
50:19 and said: "No, don't come any further; don't come any closer.
50:22 It's too dangerous and it's no use. "
50:24 He said: "My daughter's in there! "
50:26 He said: "No, listen... we've got it under control. "
50:28 Well the father wasn't going to be satisfied with that.
50:31 And so he walked around the side of the house yelling out
50:34 to his daughter, and there seemed to be no response.
50:36 And suddenly he heard a familiar voice...
50:39 a little faint voice just above him there.
50:42 And he looked up from the window on the second story
50:45 and there she was. He could just make her out
50:47 through the smoke. And he said to her: "Honey,
50:50 jump! I'll catch you. "
50:52 She said: "Dad, Dad, I can't see you. "
50:55 And he looked at her and he said:
50:58 "That doesn't matter. I can see you. Jump! "
51:02 And so she did, and he braced to catch her.
51:05 And he caught her and saved her from that burning house.
51:08 Friend, you cannot always see a way across
51:11 but God sees the way that you cannot see.
51:14 He is there to deliver you.
51:16 He is there to make a way for you.
51:18 And today He asks you to trust Him, to believe in Him.
51:21 Because Jesus asked Thomas, He said to Thomas -
51:24 doubting Thomas. He said: "Thomas, do you believe? "
51:26 Friend, do you believe today
51:28 that God is able to deliver you from anything and everything?
51:32 Let's close with prayer.
51:34 Our Father in heaven,
51:37 we thank you, Lord, that even though there is no visible
51:40 bridges across the Jordan...
51:42 there are no visible bridges... that You are there for us,
51:45 And that we do not need a bridge when we have You
51:48 because You make a bridge when we step out in faith
51:51 and trust you.
51:52 Lord, for all of us today You have brought us to the edge
51:55 of the River Jordan. And for all of us,
51:57 that Jordan River means something different.
52:00 For some it is some secret sin which others do not see.
52:04 For others it is a destroying addiction that is threatening
52:09 to destroy our faith. For others it is our pride.
52:12 For others God is calling us to do other things
52:14 and we have been too afraid to do them.
52:17 But today, Lord, we come to the Jordan River again
52:19 and we ask that You would help us to trust You
52:22 to make a way for us
52:24 and that You will lead us just as You have brought us
52:26 here today. Bless us now I pray
52:29 in Jesus' name, Amen.


Revised 2014-12-17