The Prophet Elisha

Elisha God’s Prophet Of Miracles

1 Kings 19 – 2 Kings 2-6

Before we begin with Elisha we need to consider a few more things of Elijah.

Elijah had one main mission as he saw it.

The name Elijah means: “whose God is Jehovah” and as his name implied, Elijah felt it was his mission to bring Israel to confess that Jehovah, He is God.

Elijah had only partially fulfilled that mission on Mount Carmel and Elijah felt that he was a failure but Elijah also felt that he was the last of the true believers left in all of Israel.

Elijah felt that history would show that he had failed just as those prophets that had come before him had failed in bringing Israel to the point of repentance.

1Ki 19:4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; “for I am not better than my fathers”.

First: God informed Elijah that his thoughts were wrong:

1Ki 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

We must never feel that we are the only ones serving the true God!

We must never feel as though we are the only ones serving God as He wishes because all of us can do better, I know I can!

Second: God allowed Elijah to anoint his successor who was one of those 7000:

1Ki 19:16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

The mission of Elisha would be according to his own name which means “my God is salvation”!

Actually our job is to be more like that of Elisha than that of Elijah but we are to learn from all God’s prophets!

God continued to send other prophets to be such as Elijah was but none could replace him because his work was not complete and he will return himself one day before the Second Coming of Christ Jesus to complete the work God has for him.

Elijah had lived his life much as a nomad, but Elisha lived within the society of that time but was not a part of that society.

Elijah was a poor man but though Elisha may not have been rich by many standards, his family owned at least 12 yoke of oxen and enough land to keep that amount of animals working.

It is said that an “acre” is the amount of land that a yoke of oxen could plow in one day, and we can be sure that the family of Elisha had much more than 12 acres of land and would surely have had to market their products from so much land.

Elijah was God’s prophet of “judgment” but Elisha was God’s prophet of “salvation”!

Elisha and Elijah were totally opposites in most all ways but they did have one certain thing in common.

They both knew the true God of our universe!

They both trusted in the salvation of the Lord!

So God sent Elijah to meet his successor.

As we observe Elisha we will see that Elisha was content in serving the Lord and was complete in his willingness to humble himself and fulfill his duties as a man of God!

1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Ti 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Proper worship in spirit and truth is required of the Lord but so is being a servant to the work of the Lord!

Even the Lord Jesus came to us as a servant!

Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Elisha was already such a servant of the Lord even before he met Elijah.

*****1Ki 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

We already know that to own 12 yoke of oxen and enough land for them to work, was a sign of wealth but the first thing we see is that Elisha was not to good work himself.

We can also be sure that the reputation of Elijah was well known because of what had happened on Mount Carmel and everyone would have known that Jezebel had put a price on the head of Elijah.

Elijah was a wanted man at this time, by his own government just because he served Jehovah and not the false god Baal as his government had demanded!

The mantle that Elijah wore was a sign of God’s prophets in that day:

1Sa 28:14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and “he is covered with a mantle”. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

Samuel was known for the mantle that he wore and Elijah was also known for the mantle that he wore.

Elijah knew his days were numbered but Elijah also knew his death would not come by the hands of Jezebel!

We all know our days are numbered but a Christian knows his or her death will not come by the hands of Satan!

Elijah knowing his days on this earth were numbered, cast his mantle upon the shoulders of Elisha which signified the passing of prophetic responsibility and God’s accompanying power to him.

Notice Elijah continued on his way.

What are some things that we see here, when God calls his ministers:

**First: They must always be ready to receive the call of God!

Notice another important thing.

Elisha was involved in his daily work routine and was not called while he was in any act of worship not even in the act of prayer.

The call of God can come at any time and anywhere and comes more often when we are doing normal things rather than in a worship service!

**Second: They are to remain busy until that call of God comes!

Then when God calls they must drop what they are doing and get busy for the Lord!

**Third: The work that God has for us requires some special training.

And God’s servants will all be somewhat different from each other!

God knows our differences and takes advantage of our skills.

1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

**Fourth: God will make a use for our distinct individuality.

If we would look in our own Church we would see that if someone is going through certain things, God will have already placed someone else in position to help them who has gone through similar things and survived.

**Fifth: We must be determined!

Let’s learn from Elisha.

*****1Ki 19:20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?

What is willingness?

Willingness is the free choice we must make to serve the Lord.

Some would say to be willing to serve the Lord and to answer a special calling takes a “leap of faith”.

Elisha totally understood what had happened!

When Elijah dropped his mantle around Elisha it meant only one thing.

Elijah was saying “when I pass away you Elisha, must take my mantle and be my successor”.

These things took place during that period when Elijah had informed Ahab that the drought would continue for 3 more years but Jezebel had already began to kill many of God’s prophets.

Elisha made only one request.

Elisha requested just enough time to say good by to his parents.

Many will ask what was the difference in what Elisha requested and that certain one at the time of Jesus.

Luk 9:61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
Luk 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Elisha already had his hand on the plow and already was a true believer.

Elisha was also to replace Elijah at his death, a special calling!

When Elisha went to see his parents, he was saying good bye forever for he knew not whether he would ever see them again this side of Heaven!

To follow the Lord Jesus Christ is to deny one’s own self!

Elisha needed a moment in time to set his family affairs in order for he knew he might not never return to them because he would also be a wanted man.

The Lord Jesus looked into the heart of this man in His day and saw a man who only wanted to say goodbye thinking he could return at any time to his family.

Jesus also said these words to another rich man such as Elisha.

Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

This rich man in the time of Jesus could not give up his worldly riches.

Elisha had no problem giving up his family inheritance or his riches!

How did Elijah respond to this request?

Elijah said go ahead but remember it is not me that called you!

Elijah said to Elisha, “you are not accountable to me but you are accountable to God”!

You see when we allow the things of this world to come between us the Lord, we have in affect become idol worshipers and this was the same problem the nation of Israel was already having in the day of Elijah!

So Elisha took care of his family business.

*****1Ki 19:21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

Elisha called all his family together to announce to them that God, not Elijah, had called him to a work so life fulfilling that he would have to give up his life that had been devoted to his family and totally devote himself to this higher calling of God!

Elisha burnt all his bridges behind him and stepped out on “faith” to minister to Elijah!

What is a minister?

A minister by the Word of God, is a servant to one higher than yourself!

We should also know that it is only God who knows who He will call to be a Pastor or a Preacher.

Being a preacher or a pastor is not just mama called and daddy sent!

Elisha was a farmer.

Amos was a fruit-picker.

Matthew was a tax collector.

Peter, James, and John and others were fishermen.

Luke was a doctor a physician.

What did the Apostle Paul say who was once a hated Pharisee.

Act 20:24 But none of these things move me, “neither count I my life dear unto myself”, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

God had special plans for Elijah.

And God had special plans for Elisha!

And God has special plans for all those He calls!

We don’t have time to cover all the things of Elisha and the miracles that he did in the power of God who by the way was second only to Jesus in the miracles of the Bible.

*****2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
2Ki 2:12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.

As Elisha was the minister to Elijah, then Elijah was also the spiritual father of Elisha.

We should be very clear God does not and never will have any spiritual grandchildren!

We only have one Master and He is not of this Earth!

Elijah was a prophet of God for at least 55 years but his time on this Earth had come to an end.

The false truth of the Atheists, is that we live our life on this Earth and then we die and live no more.

The real truth of the Bible is that our souls are immortal and this picture of Elijah’s return to Heaven is proof of that fact!

Elijah was not the only one in the Bible who went to Heaven without dyeing.

The truth of Enoch is that we know one day Enoch was walking with the Lord and they just walked right on up into Heaven.

Gen 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

This happened because of his great faith!

Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

We know that Enoch was also a prophet of God’s choosing.

Jud 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, “prophesied” of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

Enoch knew of the Coming of the Messiah even in his day!

BUT, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

And Elijah, who was promised a death at the hands of Jezebel, God had also decided would not die at all, at least at this time for we are all appointed to a time of death.

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Elijah had gone to Heaven by a whirlwind or some would say a tempest storm.

But the truth is that just as the Lord was taken up by Angels:

Luk 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

Elijah was also carried up to Heaven in slightly a more dramatic way before only the eyes of Elisha because Elisha was an eyewitness to the rapture of Elijah.

If we study the Bible we will see that the ministry of Elijah was much like that of John the Baptist while the ministry of Elisha will be much more like that of the Lord Jesus Christ when He was in His physical body was up0n this Earth.

Elijah did not live in the public’s sight.

Elisha spent all his days in public life!

Elijah had ministry of “Judgment”.

Elisha will have a ministry of “Mercy”.

Thank goodness God has much more “mercy” than He has “judgment”!

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Most of the time we do not understand when our loved ones seem to leave here so early in life but there is one thing that is very seldom considered when a saint of God goes home to be with the Lord.

Most of the saints go home to be with the Lord if not all, it is God that has decided that we have seen enough of this evil world that drags us down so much!

Isa 57:1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, “none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come”.
Isa 57:2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

When Elisha rent his clothes it was not a sign of mourning for his brother Elijah, it was for the terrible loss of such a mighty man of God to this world.

Our world suffers a loss when any man of God goes home to be with the Lord!

Only then did Elisha know that it was his time.

*****2Ki 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

Elijah had no more need for his mantle so it became Elisha’s mantle.

Remember that mantle had been a sign to all that saw him, that Elijah was God’s man.

It was Elisha who was now God’s man!

Elisha had received a double portion of the same Spirit of God that Elijah had and it was now time to use it!

There are many in our world today that proclaim that receiving the Spiritual power of God will be immediately felt in our bodies but the truth is that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is mostly a quiet and a secret act and is known only to God and then to that saved soul!

When Elisha walked back to the River Jordan, he was not sure if he had received that double portion that he had been promised.

That mantle of Elijah was a sign to those who now saw Elisha, but the power of God was not in that mantle, the power of God was inside Elisha out of view to those that saw him now.

Elisha had one more thing to do.

During all the years that Elisha had been with Elijah it had been this mantle that had caught his eye.

But, the power of Elijah was not in his mantle, the power of Elijah was in his God!

Elisha had not requested any power of that mantle, Elisha had requested the power of the God of Elijah!

*****2Ki 2:14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

Elisha wore the mantle of Elijah as a token of God’s calling.

We know that Elisha had requested a double portion of the same Spirit that had energized Elijah and the Word of God said that it was granted to him.

The Bible records more miracles under the ministry of Elisha than it does of Elijah.

The fact remains that during days of Israel’s darkest days of the apostasy, and of idol worship, God had given Israel two of His greatest prophets for some 85 years.

We can also be sure that in the darkest days of this world we live in, God will show His strength in ways that we have not yet seen but are prophesied, but most of the world will still continue on it’s path to destruction.

When Elisha struck the waters of Jordan with the mantle of Elijah, he was just saying it’s time to get started.

BUT, God also had another reason for this incident with that mantle of Elijah.

All the disciples of Elijah were watching Elisha to see if he was worthy to be followed.

Many people keep their eyes on Christians to see if they can find any faults.

SO, What is the lesson to the child of God?

Jesus said it best!

Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

*****2Ki 2:15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

Now these were not the actual sons of the prophets to Israel but they were actually part of those 7000 who had refused to bow down to false gods.

There many schools of the prophets in those days located in the area of these ten tribes of Israel.

The Bible mentions one in Jericho, and one in Bethel and another one in Gilgal of Ephraim but there was also one on Mount Carmel after the victory of Elijah over those false prophets.

It could be said that these could be considered to be theological seminaries dedicated to the teaching of the Word of God!

Before Elijah left this earth he had taken Elisha to visit all these places and the greatest work of Elisha was not the miracles that he performed in the power of God, Elisha’s greatest work was “in the teaching and the education of these disciples in the Word of God”.

What is the greatest work of the Church?

To make disciples of all those that God calls to salvation!

What kind of men did God use in His work during this time of the divided kingdom of Israel?

Amo 2:11 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD.

Notice these were not Nazarites who had made certain vows but men who would become Nazarites.

Nazarite’s true meaning is to be separate from the world, and consecrated to the work of the Lord!

What does God say to the Church?

2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We should be able to see that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament and just like Elisha we need to get busy in the things God has called us to do!

Let’s look at some things that Elisha did.

*****2Ki 6:8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.

The Bible records some 11 miracles performed by Elisha even before we get to this Scripture.

The King of Syria was using guerrilla warfare tactics in order to weaken the defenses of Israel. These are some of the same tactics used by ISIS today.

Guerrilla warfare will cause any nation to spread it’s military strength across it’s entire region therefore making it suspect to a major assault when the proper time arrives.

These were the tactics of this king as he planned a future assault on Israel.

God was not going to allow this to happen at this time, so whenever the King of Syria had a new plan no matter how secret he tried to keep it, God informed Elisha of that plan who then would tell the King of Israel.

What is the truth of God?

Job 5:12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.
Job 5:13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

There is absolutely nothing that goes on in this world that God is not aware of!

Things only happen because God has allowed them to happen!

God knows all things that exist.
God knows all the variables concerning those things.
God knows all future events.
AND, God’s knowledge is immediate!

There is nothing that God has to wait on to see the outcome of or how it will work according to how certain events will transpire!

God already knows the end before the beginning and God intervenes whenever it is necessary for things to happen according to the Scriptures!

There is nothing that happens in this world we live in that is not according to the Word of God!

Even today as we live in this Age of the Church and this Age of God’s Grace, this world we live in is moving along according to the Scriptures!

God will always adhere to the Words that He has already given to us, because God does not ever change and God does not never have too!

In fact, it is impossible for God to lie to any of us and God in no way will ever lead this world astray!

Heb 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
Heb 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

God must tell the truth or He would not be God!

A warning from God is a sure future happening!

*****2Ki 6:9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
2Ki 6:10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

It is also obvious to us that the King of Syria was trying his best to assassinate the King of Israel which was King Jehoram at this time.

Even as we have learned from the past, the king of Syria of today, is seeing his once great nation destroyed because he placed himself above the Laws of God and his personal god Allah does not have it in his power to do anything about it because he simply is not real!

The traps and ambushes that were prepared for the King of Israel were known to God’s prophet Elisha.

No matter what this king thought of, even in council with his spies, Elisha knew it by the time he had that thought!

King Jehoram had no respect for God’s man Elisha so he still sent his own spies to see if the words of Elisha were true.

What he found to be the truth, was that it was only by Jehovah God that his life had been saved not once and not twice but every time, he had been able to escape the snares of this King of Syria because of the words of Elisha.

The lesson we can learn here is, that not only does God see everything that we do at any moment of time and hear every word that we say, but God also knows our thoughts even before we think them!

Psa 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

The first thing that the King of Syria did was to assume that he had a traitor in his own royal court.

*****2Ki 6:11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?

As we can see, those who do not know God are blind to the truth of God!

What the world has the most trouble with, is when there are no worldly reasons for things that happen then they need to realize that God plays by His own rules and not by the rules of man!

Things that happen in our world, that cannot be explained by the worlds standards, can only be explained by the Word of God!

This King of Syria could only believe that there was a spy within his own servants and he set them against each other.

This created turmoil in the government of Syria!

The King of Syria also worshiped the false god Rimmon who was the Sun god of Syria and the god of the wind, the rain and the storm, but Rimmon was just like Baal and was powerless to help this king.

This king did not know Jehovah, but Jehovah had placed a man amongst these servants of this king who had the answer.

Jeremiah wrote these inspired words of God:

Jer 23:23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Jer 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

God is always the answer to any problem that arises!

*****2Ki 6:12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

Notice that of all the men of Syria, and of all the men of Israel, it was pointed out that it could only be Elisha the prophet of God who could have done such a thing.

The world may seek it’s own answers but in the end the world will look toward those that know the true God!

Here again we also see that anytime there is a problem in this world, the world immediately blames it on the Christian!

The next thing we should clearly understand is that the little nation of Israel can never be attacked by a foreign government unless God allows it to happen and for His own reasons!

Zec 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

We are fools to not believe that God will not fulfill every promise He made to Israel and no foreign power has the ability to overcome the power of God.

The King of Syria needed to find the location of Elisha and he again sent out his own spies.

*****2Ki 6:13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.

Elisha was not hiding from anyone because Elisha was at his home in Dothan and was very easy to find.

We first learned of the city of Dothan in the time of Joseph just before his brothers sold him into slavery.

Dothan was 12 miles from the capitol city of Samaria.

Here in this verse we see the foolishness of the world.

If Elisha was able to know all the thoughts of the King of Syria because of the Lord, then it would seem foolish of this King to believe he could just sneak up on Elisha and just fetch him away to do him harm.

Elisha knew these things before this King gave his instructions to those spies and Elisha remained at home unconcerned at what the world could do to him.

God teaches us these things:

Luk 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

We should also notice something else here.

When a foreign power can send it’s army within 12 miles of a capitol city of any nation without being confronted, it shows the weakness of that nation.

The government of Israel was very weak militarily at this time!

It would be easy to compare these things to what is happening in Iraq today!

When ISIS can send it’s troops so close to the major cities in Iraq and cause harm then Iraq is a very weak nation no matter what our own government says!

BUT, Elisha had no fear of the government of Israel nor the government of Syria at this time, and just went about doing the work God had given him to do!

*****2Ki 6:14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

This was no small army that surrounded the city of Dothan that day.

This was no small army that was sent to take possession of just one wise man of God.

Solomon lived a long time before the days of Elisha but Solomon could have been writing about Elisha when he wrote these words.

Ecc 9:13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:
Ecc 9:14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:
Ecc 9:15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.
Ecc 9:16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
Ecc 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

God says that the “fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”!

Elisha was such a man this day!

*****2Ki 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

Elisha was not caught off guard at the arrival of this army but his new servant did not understand the power of God nor the double portion of the Holy Spirit that made Elisha a true man of God.

When we show our lack of faith, this world we live in will overwhelm us!

When we show our lack of faith, we are suggesting that our Lord can be defeated!

When we show our lack of faith, we are rejecting the Word of God as the truth!

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It is the knowledge of the truth of God where our strength lies!

Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

And there is a reason for everything that happens to us and these things can make us better but only if we learn from them!

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God can protect His people from any army if we open our eyes to the truth of the “Gospel”!

*****2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

It is a fact that there are things of the spirit world going on around us that we cannot see.

We know that angels are ministering spirits:

Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

AND, Part of the ministry of Angels is the physical protection of God’s people!

Angels can protect God’s people from physical harm!

Psa 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psa 91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Psa 91:13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Angels can frustrate the plans of the enemies of God’s people!

Psa 35:4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
Psa 35:5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.

We know that the Angels are innumerable so there are always more of them than there are mankind who can be numbered!

Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

Those chariots of fire can take us home just as they did Elijah or they can simply be that wall of protection in our hour of greatest need!

These things are up to the Lord, as God will not allow this world to frustrate His plan of salvation at any time!

We should also pray for God to open our own eyes to the truth of His Word!

Psa 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

And once again we will see that “Prayer Changes Things”!

The Christian on his knees is still the most powerful force on this Earth!

*****2Ki 6:18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

The truth is that the governments of this world are so afraid of the Christian that they will do everything in their power to stop the spread of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”!

They will continue to send their armies to crush God’s people but they will fail every time!

Elisha was just a man just as we all are, but at this point in Elisha’s life, he had not completed the work God had given him to do and until God’s says that work is complete and God takes us home there is no power on Earth that can stop that man of God!

We should know that it is not courage that drive evil men to do evil things!

It is blindness to the Word of God and in that blindness, evil men can be led to do terrible things that cause harm not only to the Christian, and not only to the world, but most of all to themselves!

We are not to fear what this world is trying to do to us, in fact to have this kind of fear is being disobedient to the Word of God!

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

As far as this army was concerned, they had been defeated by one man, God’s man Elisha!

Elisha led this army right into the hands of the King of Israel and gave orders for them to sent back home with enough bread and water for them to get there.

That day, it was more important to show the government of Syria just how futile is was to defy God rather than allow for the government of Israel to claim some great military victory when Elisha had singlehandedly delivered this foreign army to them.

Our primary job is not to cause the death of our enemies!

Our enemies are sentencing themselves to death!

Our primary job is simply to share the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” with the world along with our testimony of what God has already done for us!

Questions?

Let’s Pray because prayer still changes things!

The Call Of God

Book of Galatians 1:13-24

What is the call of God?

The call of God is an invitation given to each of us by God to accept salvation into His Kingdom through the Lord Jesus Christ.

This invitation is given outwardly by the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This invitation is given inwardly by the Holy Spirit, who will lead us to Jesus.

These two things will happen at the same time.

This first call must be answered before God can call us into some part of His ministry.

It is up to each of us to accept or reject the call of God.

The Apostle Paul preached to the Corinthians that “now is the acceptable time” to accept the call of God because now is the time of God’s Grace.

2Co 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Paul was preaching from the prophecy of the Messiah:

Isa 49:8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

Before Paul became an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul, then called Saul, was one of the most religious Jews of his day.

Paul had dedicated his life to the Law as taught by the Pharisees.

And, Paul relentlessly persecuted the Christian Church.

It was Judaizers who had brought a false message to the Churches of Galatia but before Paul became a Christian, he was much more zealous for the Law than these that had come from Jerusalem with this false message.

Paul had been even more sincere in his zeal to stop the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” but Paul had been very wrong and he now knew this.

When Paul met the Lord Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road there was a change in his life.

Salvation brings a change in the believer!

If there is no change then it is hard to see that salvation has taken place.

Before, Paul had used all his energy to destroy the Church, but now after meeting Jesus, Paul used all his energy to build the Church.

So Paul begins, “I know you have heard all these thing from my past”.

*****Gal 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

The Bible does not try to hide anything and we can clearly see the change that Paul went through by comparing Paul’s former life to his life as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

We can be sure that each of the Apostles went through some drastic changes.

We know some things about Peter, and John, and even a little about Matthew, James and Thomas but the Holy Spirit decided that we needed to know more about the Apostle Paul.

***Paul had been the greatest persecutor of the Church before his conversion besides Satan himself:

Act 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

All those that think that they can persecute the Church without God knowing them personally are in for a real surprise, for they will one day come face to face with our Living God!

No one persecuted the early Church more than Paul.

We also know that God had allowed this persecution so the Church could grow.

The early church had not been obedient to the commands of the Lord!

The Lord had said “go” but the early church had just “stayed” in Jerusalem.

Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

God will always take something that is bad and make something good come out of it!

God also showed the Apostle Paul that it is impossible to stamp out the Church.

God will remove His Church individually or all of it at one time at the Rapture but until that time there will be a functioning Church upon this Earth and there is nothing this world can do to stop it though they continuously try!

Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

We should all have a testimony after salvation and this was part of Paul’s testimony.

Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

***God had used these things to humble Paul for Paul had also been a supreme example of self-righteousness.

Paul had boasted how he had made a great profit not only in finances but also in prestige by being so zealous of his Jewish heritage.

We must love all the Jewish people and they are still God’s chosen nation but Christianity is not an offshoot of Judaism.

Christianity comes by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

To be a Christian is to have Jesus as your example.

*****Gal 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Before Paul became an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul’s intent was to use any means he could to advance Judaism. In fact Paul was so intent upon doing this that he did not hesitate to cut down all those who opposed his religion.

Judaism is a religion that still rejects Jesus Christ.

This puts us in mind of the acts of those of Radical Islam who today are using every means at their disposal to cut down and destroy all religions but Islam, especially Judaism and Christianity. They in fact will try to destroy anyone who disagrees with their beliefs or they make tributaries of them.

Like Judaism, Islam is also a religion that rejects the Lord Jesus Christ as do all other religions!

There may always be some things in our past that should remain in our past but here Paul had to make these Galatians see that he knew as much or more about Judaism as anyone that came from Jerusalem.

Remember Paul had studied under Gamaliel who was the authority on Judaism in all of Israel until his death.

Paul was explaining to these Galatians that it took more than any mere man to change his ways and to change his beliefs. It took the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.

Php 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

We can also see from Paul’s testimony that he had even been more zealous of the traditions of Judaism than the written Word of God.

This is great problem in all religions, people listen to what men teach and ignore what is written down in the books they use in their own religion.

Even Christians depend on the pulpits more than they depend on the written and infallible Word of God!

Now Paul had come to know the truth.

Paul had spent much time in the scriptures and had realized the truth of the Word of God, all the way back to the Book of Genesis.

*****Gal 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

Paul understood Creation by the design of God.

Paul also understood that God had a purpose for his life all along.

Paul realized that just like Jeremiah, God is involved in our lives from the day we are conceived in the womb of our mothers.

Jer 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jer 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Paul had persecuted the Church but since the time of Stephen’s death, God had been working on Paul and in a time of God’s “Grace”, God had called on the Paul and made him an Apostle!

It is obvious that God is working in our lives long before He calls us to the work of Jesus Christ.

God had told the Jews all along to quit listening to false preaching and take the time to study the scriptures.

Deu 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deu 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

In fact God teaches us all to do the same.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Paul realized that he was undeserving of any favor of God and he had only been saved by the “Grace of God”!

We cannot be saved by the “Grace of God” until God reveals the work of His Son Jesus within us!

*****Gal 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

God knows by His infinite wisdom that we cannot make Christ Jesus known to others until we know Him on a personal level ourselves!

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Paul was called to preach.

Our Pastor, Preacher Sam was called to preach.

BUT, we are all called to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul was told to seek the “Gospel” not from men, but from God Himself!

This does not mean we are not to study the “Gospel” from other men who know the truth of Jesus Christ but it does mean that we are not to proclaim some man-made gospel, we are to proclaim the “Gospel of God”!

1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

The “Gospel of God” is the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”, the “Gospel of Grace”!

Jesus Christ freely gave Himself for us so that we could be saved!

We must realize that God will forgive our past life but God may use some the things we learned in that life to bring glory to His Son.

We must realize that there is nothing in our past life that cannot be forgiven!

We must also realize that when we surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ we must walk away from our old life, there must be a change!

We must realize in order to be a benefit in the work of our Lord Jesus, we must consult with God!

And we cannot consult with God with sin in our lives!

Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

We must get alone with God in prayer and in the Scriptures!

If we cannot begin our new life with God on a personal level, then we will never walk with Him in peace in this life!

*****Gal 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

All those that had made accusations toward Paul had come from Jerusalem so Paul insisted that the “Gospel” he preached was not out of Jerusalem.

Paul was proving to these Galatians that his message came directly from God Himself!

As we follow the next few verses we will see how God would direct the life of His new Apostle in order to show how salvation can change even the vilest of men.

Paul’s conversion was the most dramatic experience he had ever had.

Paul had been full of religion.

Paul had observed all the rituals and traditions of his religion.

Paul had believed that it was these things that made him righteous in the eyes of God.

BUT, all these things had only deceived Paul and everything Paul believed, he found out to be false.

Paul’s religion had not brought peace and satisfaction but only hatred toward all those that did not believe the same as he believed.

Paul had studied the Scriptures from an early age but he had allowed false teaching to pervert the truth of those Scriptures.

Paul did not need to return to Jerusalem to those that had taught him all his life.

Paul did not need to return to Jerusalem to confer with the government on what to do.

Paul did not need to contact the Apostles to get their advice, they would not have trusted him anyway.

Paul needed some time alone with God!

Paul knew about God but Paul did not really know God!

If we get alone with God in sincere prayer and study the Word of God as He says, we can come to know the truth!

1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

We find that Paul spent three years in a place that only Gentiles dwelled.

Paul spent three years in the Arabian desert at the feet of Jesus, just as the other Apostles had done.

After this time Paul returned to Damascus.

Before Paul was converted he had gone to Damascus to stamp out Christianity, so Paul now went to Damascus to right that wrong.

Paul was seeking forgiveness for what he had done!

One of the hardest things we must do after salvation is to try to make things right to those we have hurt.

Upon receiving the forgiveness of God, we are to forgive all others.

Mat 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Mat 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

We know that Paul was not well received but he had at least tried.

Act 9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

Paul had to escape Damascus to save his own life.

AND, next Paul knew he had to return to Jerusalem to face his past.

*****Gal 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

Paul had been well know in Jerusalem. So, there was no better place for others to see the great change in the life of the Apostle Paul.

Paul had been a Pharisee.

Paul had been an official of the Sanhedrin Court, somewhat like our own Supreme Court.

Paul knew all his old associates would now be his enemies but after all, Paul had a new understanding of the Word of God.

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Paul spent three years with Christ Jesus, despite all the education he already had in the Scriptures just as the other Apostles had done.

There can be no doubt that Paul witnessed for Jesus during this time but Paul also knew he had a ministry that could not begin until some other things came first.

It is foolish for any new convert to believe they can immediately preach the Word of God without spending some time alone with God in the Scriptures.

It seems that three years may be an example of an appropriate time.

Paul also knew that if he were to trusted by the Church, he would need to convince Peter of his conversion.

As far as Paul was concerned, Peter was the head of the Apostles.

If the Apostle Peter accepted Paul then Paul knew he would be accepted by a majority of the Church.

Remember Paul was writing in defence of his apostleship to these Galatians.

Paul was not saying he went to Peter to see if he was preaching the truth.

That had already been settled by the Lord!

Paul said that he spent 15 days with Peter so that was not enough time for Paul to get some new “Gospel” message.

Act 9:26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.
Act 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Act 9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

It was only after Peter had been convinced that Paul felt he could move in and out of Jerusalem but many in the Church were still wary of Paul and remained afraid of him.

So Paul also met with the Pastor of the Church at Jerusalem.

*****Gal 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

There are many including the Catholic Church that deny that the Lord Jesus had any brothers by Joseph and His mother Mary but what do they do with this verse?

James was the presiding elder, or the Pastor of the church at Jerusalem.

Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

It is this same James who also wrote the “Epistle of James”.

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

It is this same James that the Apostle Paul says was also the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The half-brothers of the Lord did not believe the Lord while He was alive but when they saw Jesus walk out of that grave, they became believers.

Joh 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.

Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

There is also the “Epistle of Jude”. Jude was also a half-brother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jud 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

And then Paul adds, “these things are the truth as I stand before God”.

*****Gal 1:20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

What Paul is saying to these Galatians was, “that if you hear anything that differs from what I am telling you then that thing would be a lie”!

What have we learned so far?

We need to become witnesses to all our old friends and our own family.

We need to allow unbelievers that knew us before we were saved see that knowing the Lord Jesus Christ will make a noticeable change in our life.

We need to seek help from the Church and the Church leaders before we begin a ministry for the Lord.

And most important we need to get alone with God and spend some time with Him!

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

And it is only after these things that Paul went home to witness to his family and his friends from his early life as a child.

After all, the family can be the toughest to win over to the Lord, even Christ Jesus knew this was true.

Mat 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Mat 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

*****Gal 1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

Tarsus is where Paul was born and where his family resided. This would be the area where Paul’s childhood friends were located.

Paul had a desire to share the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” with all those he had ever known.

Tarsus was the capitol of Cilicia but Cilicia was now part of the area called Galatia.

Tarsus was also near the border of Syria and the chief city of Syria at that time was Antioch of Syria.

Later when Barnabas came after Paul, he did not have to go very far.

The roads from Lystra and Iconium ended at Tarsus.

Paul was well acquainted with this region.

Paul had a new outlook on life and he wanted all the world to know!

Paul had a new understanding of those Scriptures he had studied all his life!

Paul finally understood the words of Jesus Christ.

Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Paul had changed so much that he was unrecognizable to the churches that had been established in all Judea.

*****Gal 1:22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:

We must remember the intent of this testimony of Paul was to show these Galatians that he was saved by the “Grace of God” and not by any teaching that had come from the Apostles or from the home church in Jerusalem.

We also know that it was the Church of Antioch of Syria that had approved of Paul’s missionary work and not the Church of Jerusalem.

Paul’s point to these Galatians was that his ministry was recognized by people who had never seen him.

These Galatians had seen Paul, they had heard his message and believed and been saved by God’s Grace, without works but now had been turned around in doubt of the truth by false teachers of a false doctrine.

What was Paul’s reputation in Judea?

*****Gal 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
Gal 1:24 And they glorified God in me.

Here we can see the results of a God centered life after salvation.

There should be a noticeable change after accepting the “Grace of God”!

Those that think they have to do some work in order to pay the debt of those wages of sin, will all their lives seek to pay a debt that they never had the ability to pay to begin with!

The Lord Jesus Christ paid a debt that we could never pay!

1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

One of our best witnessing tools is our testimony of a God-centered life which can encourage others to see the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

People want to see living examples of “Faith”!

It is those who create imaginary works in their own minds trying to please a God, who saves only by His Grace that give Christianity a bad name!

If our testimony is not for God, then it is against God!

If your life is not an example of the life of Jesus, then we need to be working on it!

Joh 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

And Jesus added:

Joh 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

What is the greatest ordinance of the Christian?

To be a servant, surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!