Revival 3: Power Up
It was a cool, clear morning.
Mountain sunshine seeped through the cracks in the cabin.
Inside, on a pile of furs, an old man lay dying.
The Bible tells us that the old man "was suffering from the illnessfrom which he died."
So, the end was near.
Friends, this was not just any old man.
This dying old man was Elisha, one of the most famous characters ofthe Bible.
The Bible does not give us many details for most Bible stories.
This story is no exception: it is contained in only 5 verses of theBible.
But, you know what? I doubt that human nature has changed much.
If we think about a Bible situation,
And think about human nature,
I think we can come pretty close to the right details.
So let's fill in the details with Elisha.
You are old,
You are famous and
You are sick with your last illness.
How do you feel?
You say, "Bruce, the answer is `bad.' You feel bad! It doesn't takea genius, or an expert on human nature, to figure that one out!"
More than bad, my bet is Elisha feels frustrated that he cannot be outdoing something useful.
I was flipping through the TV channels the other night and I came acrossa documentary sort of show. I think its name is 20/20.
Ever wonder why they call that program "20/20?"
It's got Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters on it.
Wouldn't it be better to call it "70/70?"
Anyone know how old Hugh is? He is 76 or 77!
Hugh was talking about a new discovery that can slow down the ageingprocess. Wonder why Hugh and Barbara chose that subject?
Hugh was blathering on about how, if this discovery worked right, aperson could live to 150 and still feel like he was 75.
I don't want to scare you, but from this I concluded Hugh planned towork until he was 150 if given the chance.
At the same time I came across a channel where I saw Bob Dole touringa factory. Bob Dole is in that same age range.
Then I thought about my boss. My boss is also about that same age.
Here we have Hugh Downs wishing he could be a broadcaster until he is150!
Bob Dole wishing he could be president at 70 (and serve two terms).
And my boss still showing up for work. Why?
Hugh Downs, Bob Dole, and my boss have several important things in common.
They are all about the same age,
They are all famous,
And they are all rich enough that they do not have to work.
Yet they all continue to work.
You work to be rich or famous (or maybe just to eat), right?
They are not working to be famous.
They are not working to be rich.
They are not working because most of their friends are working.
I figure they are working because they want to be useful, feel useful.
And so it we come to Elisha's first problem. He was famous. He didn'tneed to work. But I bet he was in that cabin wishing he could be doingsomething useful.
You know what was his second problem?
My dad used to compare himself with his father.
I compare myself with my dad.
Guys, ever do that?
Ever compare how you are doing in life to how your father did?
Or, ever compare how you are doing in your job compared to the personwho had the job before you?
The "guy" who held the job before Elisha was Elijah.
The fellow who did not get old and die. 2 Kings 2 tells us that he wasswept up to Heaven in a whirlwind in a chariot of fire. That is what happenedto Elijah -- Elisha's spiritual father.
He did not die from an illness by himself in some drafty old cabin.
Now, tell me how Elisha should feel?
"Bruce," you say, "I told you before. Bad, he should feel bad."
Turn with me to 2 Kings 13:14.
Just as Elisha is wishing things were different, another guy with bigproblems walks through the door.
Joe, the king of Israel walks through the door of Elisha's cabin. Ijust call him "Joe," his real name was Jehoash. I figure he is dead andwon't be offended by what I call him.
Before I read this text, let me tell you about king Joe.
King Joe is looking at getting his teeth kicked in by the Syrians.
This chapter tells us Joe was King of Israel for 16 years.
But, except for this story,
Joe was basically a loser,
Who sinned and caused the nation to sin.
Let's read 2 Kings 13:14.
So King Joe comes into the cabin,
Cries over him a bit,
Calls him "father," and then yells out, "the chariots and horsemen ofIsrael!"
What does King Joe mean?
The place smells like a stable?
He wandered into the cabin by accident while he was looking for hislost troops?
Friends, if this happened today, King Joe would say, "Elisha, you oldaircraft carrier, you!" "You stealth air wing!"
King Joe was talking about power.
Those with chariots had a distinct advantage over foot soldiers.
Although King Joe did not follow the Lord.
Although Elisha was a dying old man who had reason to be discouraged,
King Joe recognized what we are going to be talking about this morning:that is power!
He recognized he had come to the source of power: the lord worked throughthis prophet. So even though Elisha was about to die he called him thechariots and horsemen of Israel.
Friends, our God is a God of power!
When he came to his people at Sinai, Exodus 19 tells us he came in fire,smoke, thunder, lightening, noise and if that were not enough, the groundshook.
When Elijah was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire,
The young man Elisha was standing there. Know what young Elisha said?"My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" ( 2 Kings 2:12)The same thing King Joe said to the dying Elisha.
That was power.
Power that took Elijah to Heaven.
2 Kings 2 continues and tells us (vv.13-14) that as Elijah is sweptaway into Heaven, his coat flutters down to earth to Elisha.
Elisha picks up his coat,
Walks to the bank of the Jordan River,
Slaps the coat against the water,
And the water parts and he crosses over on dry land!
Friends, that is power!
Well, King Joe had a problem, he needed power.
He had an enemy to fight and he was coming to the real source of powerfor help. Let's read 2 Kings 13:15-19 to find the Lord's advice.
Elisha said, shoot an arrow. King Joe did. Then, v. 18, he told KingJoe to go out and pound dirt. [Stomp on carpet.] Is that what he was tellinghim? Pound on the ground?
No! What Elisha meant was that King Joe should shoot some more arrowsinto the ground.
Did you notice that when King Joe shot the first arrow Elisha said thatwas a victory over Aram?
Dealing with King Aram was King Joe's big headache.
Have you got some troubles in your life that are overpowering you?
Could you use a little power?
Would you like a little power to be able to just shoot your problems?
Just blow them away?
I'm not talking about your spouse. Don't get any ideas!
Just like this bow right here.
Bad boss? Boom!
Car repairs? Boom!
Smart-aleck children? Boom!
What if I said every time you shot an arrow you one of the troublesin your life would disappear?
Friends, that is what is happening here.
Every time King Joe shot an arrow, he was guaranteed a victory in abattle.
So let me ask you, who decided how many battles would be won againstthe enemy?
No! He let King Joe decide.
The number of victory arrows the King would shoot was completely upto him.
Friends, I am sharing this story with you because I think it illustratesthe three steps to revival that I have been sharing with you in my pasttwo sermons.
Remember the first step is to get to know God. I suggested that youspend as much time reading and studying the bible as you spend watchingTV.
In our story of King Joe, an admittedly bad king, his first step tovictory was to come to God's prophet.
Come to the source of information about God's will.
To find out what God's prophet had to say.
If you want to be victorious, the first step is: you have to learn God'swill.
You remember that the second step to revival is the follow-through.After you learn God's will, after you are confronted with what he wouldhave you to do, you do it.
When King Joe was told to shoot the arrow out the east window, he didit!
He could have said, "This is stupid. I know how to shoot an arrow."
Or, "I don't need to have this sick old man to show me how to shootan arrow."
But he did not. He followed through! He did what he was instructed todo.
The third, and primary point of this story is what we are going to discusstoday.
It is about powering up.
And that is what Joe did not do very well.
What does the Bible say was King Joe's problem?
Verse 19: He shot too few times!
It was not his power,
But victory was in his hands.
He decided how many times he would win against his opponents.
When I spoke last I told you that we, you and I, could not obey God.We could not, of ourselves, make the promotion of the Kingdom the focusof our life.
We do not have the power.
Friends, that power is available to us.
We need to ask for help.
Just a few days ago I heard about a fellow, a bricklayer, who neededhelp.
He had just finished building the chimney of a fireplace and he hadall of these extra bricks. So, instead of asking for help, he did whatyou and I do so often, he decided to use his head.
He rigged up this block and tackle at the top of the chimney, and usedit to hoist this 40-pound barrel up to the top of the roof. He tied therope securely to the ground, climbed up the roof and started loading thebarrel with bricks.
He didn't need any help.
When he got about 150 pounds of bricks in this 40-pound barrel, he gotdown to untie the rope and lower his bricks.
He didn't need any help.
For some of us this might have worked.
But, this fellow weighed 140 pounds.
The accident report turned in to his insurance company states that ashe was going up, he met the barrel on its way down: that is how he fracturedhis collarbone.
According to the accident report, he broke his finger when his handgot jammed in the pulley at the top.
Not to worry however, about him being stuck up there.
When the barrel his the ground, it was moving pretty fast and the bottombroke out of the barrel: letting all the bricks out.
He didn't need any help. Physics dictated that the barrel, that nowweighed only 40 pounds was on its way up.
The accident report indicates that he met the barrel on his way down:that is how he scraped up his arm.
The report also indicates that when he hit the bricks he broke his foot.
This caused him, to let go of the rope.
He didn't need any help. Neither did the barrel.
It was a perfect bull's-eye, according to the accident report.
Friends, I am here today to tell you that you need help.
You need power.
The way to "power up" is through the Holy Spirit.
It was a difficult time for the disciples. I can think back to two orthree low points in my life. Just the worst.
One of those low points in my life was when I got back my test scoreon the LSAT. The LSAT, if you do not know, is the entrance test for lawschool.
A lot of college students do not know what they want to be when theygrow up.
That was never my problem.
From before the time I entered academy I wanted to be a lawyer.
I could never remember wanting to be anything else.
So, in academy I worked hard on my grades so I could go to law school.
In college, I worked hard on my grades so I could go to law school.
And now, a senior in college, I had been working hard for eight yearson my grades!
And I was had in my hand my score on the LSAT: a score that would neverallow me to go to a good law school, assuming I could get into any lawschool at all.
Can you imagine my feelings? My hopes and dreams and plans had justbeen flushed down the toilet. Margie was there, she knows. It was the worst.
Friends, I think I know what it was like for the disciples when Jesuswas crucified.
They had hopes and dreams just like I had: although they had only alittle more than three years to dream their dreams.
They had hoped to be rulers in Jesus' earthly kingdom.
They had hoped to be powerful men.
They had hoped to have all the things that they had never had!
And when Jesus died on the cross, their hopes were shattered.
When Jesus appeared to them, I think their hopes revived.
Turn with me to Acts 1:6. As Jesus is heading to heaven, the disciplesask him about their hopes,"Lord, are you at this time going to restorethe kingdom to Israel?"
Read v.7. talk about a noncommittal answer! "What do I know? Who knows?"
And so there they are. Jerusalem. Where Jesus was killed. And now hehas gone too.
A low point in their lives.
In the midst of sorrow,
Jesus promises them help.
He promises them power!
And what was that power?
The Holy Spirit.
King Joe was in trouble, he needed power.
The disciples were in trouble, they needed power.
You and I are in trouble.
In fact, you may have a whole list of troubles.
You may need help bad!
Friends we have, you and I, some "troubles" in common:
We need help to be able to understand God's will for us.
We need help, we need power to obey.
We even need help, we need power to even want to obey.
The power to know God's will;
The power to follow-through on God's will;
The power to change our lives: the power of revival!
That power is the Holy Spirit!
The disciples in Acts chapter one did not understand God's will forthem. They still had dreams of early power. ( Acts 1:6)
But by Acts chapter two, Peter is explaining God's plan of salvationto those gathered from round the world at Pentecost. ( Acts 2:36)
In one chapter the disciples go from not understanding the plan;
To explaining it to others!
How did that happen? Acts 1 and 2 make it plain it is the power of theHoly Spirit! Read Acts 2:1-4, 15-18.
Many years ago I had this terrible case. An older lady came to me forhelp because the union had burned the family home to the ground. She hadno interest in the employer vs. union struggle at her plant. She felt sheneeded to work because she was supporting her older sister. So when theunion called a strike she wanted to work, but was afraid to go. Finally,she saw some other employees going to work during the strike, so she decidedit was "ok" to go to work.
Turned out she was wrong. The family homestead was torched by unionpartisans.
After we were into the suit, I realized that we had a serious problem:our client was hard of hearing. She had a problem with both ears -- apparentlybecause of years of working in a noisy factory.
To compound the problem, the lead attorney on the other side also hada problem with his hearing.
So when our client was under oath, he would ask, "About how far awaywas the fire from your trailer?" And she would answer, "About three o'clock."And the lawyer would say, "Three yards?"
This kind of stuff was going on all the time!
All of this would have been humorous, except for the fact that a courtreporter was taking this all down, and I figured the confusion was notgoing to do us any good.
We ended up settling the case, in part because this hearing problemwas a wild card.
Just a few months later, the local lawyer working with me saw our clientand she announced, excitedly, that she could now hear perfectly!
She had gone to a doctor who found that she had a big glob of wax inher one ear! The wax had protected her ear from the factory noise, so whenhe pulled it out she could hear perfectly!
Friends, she went from having a problem understanding, to having noproblem understanding!
And that is what the power of the Holy Spirit did for the disciplesin Pentecost.
They went from having their hopes and dreams smashed,
They went from not understanding God's will,
To being able to understand God's will.
Friends, that is power! Power that is available to you today!
James 4:2 tells us, "You do not have, because you do not ask."
Let me read this to you: "The lapse of time has wrought no change inChrist's parting promise to send the holy spirit as his representative.It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the richesof his grace do not flow earthward to men. If the fulfillment of the promiseis not seen as it might be, it is because the promise is not appreciatedas it should be. If all were willing, all would be filled with the HolySpirit." E. G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p.50.
Just like King Joe, you hold the bow and you hold the arrows.
God is ready, he is willing, he is waiting for you!
Friends, do you feel discouraged? Romans 15:13 says, "May the God ofhope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you mayoverflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Friends, do you read the Bible, and not understand? 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 tells us that God will give you the power of His Spirit to understandHis will!
Friends this power is available to each and every one of us.
It was present in the old and dying Elisha at the most discouragingtime.
It was available to the young and strong King Joe.
Finally, turn with me again to Acts 2. Read verses 37-41.
Friends the Holy Spirit not only gives us the power to understand,
It gives us the power of conviction.
The power to give up ourselves to God,
The power to follow-through,
The power to change course,
The power to obey!
The power of revival!
God is ready.
He is ready now.
Do you want a revival in your heart?
Do you want God's power to flow through you to do great things for Him?
Do you want a revival in this church?
Then take the three steps to revival:
1. Spend time with the Bible to learn God's will;
2. Determine to follow through in your life; and,
3. Decide you could use some help. Grab hold of the power of the HolySpirit which opens up your understanding, convicts you of your sins andgives you the power to obey.
And just like King Joe,
All you have to do is decide just how many arrows you will shoot.
How much power,
How much victory,
How much hope
You will allow in your life!