II Kings 2:8-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
We each have many needs. One is more of God's Spirit.
--More of the Holy Spirit in us, improves all else.
--Jesus possessed the Spirit; gives it to followers.
--Each of the great prophets, and apostles, had it.
--Let's look at Elijah, briefly; lived in Gilead, and able with God to drve evil Baalism out for awhile.
--His name means "Jehovah is God," the fire prophet.
--Calls down fire at Mt. Carmel to defeat idolatry.
--Calls down fire of God to defeat evil other times.
--And soon taken to heaven, without dying, by angels in a "chariot of fire." He and Enoch did not die!
--No question, Elijah was God's "Spirit-filled man."
We know people with a Spirit of God do godly things.
--The more we believe, walk close to Christ, the more of the Holy Spirit one possesses, to bless others.
--And the wonderful thing .. it is available to all!
II Kings 2 has Elijah aware of death or departure to heaven, prepares his assistant, Elisha, who follows, as they cross over the Jordan River to go to an area where Moses had died and was buried. Final journey.
--When they came to the River - with no bridges then - "Elijah struck the water,and it was divided .. so .. the two of them crossed over on dry land" (v 8).
--Years earier, the Lord did that for Joshua at the same river, as they entered the land, from Egypt.
Then Elijah said to Elisha, "What may I do for you .. before I am take away? Ask!" (II Kings 2:9). Wow!
--What would you ask for, if given that request?
--Elisha answered, "Let a double portion of our Spirit be upon me" (v 9). More of God's Spirit!
--Was Elisha's prayer answered? O yes, God does it!
--Waters of the Jordan, divided for him as Elijah!
--The spring in Jericho was miraculously "healed."
--And other outstanding powers of the Spirit made.
Elisha's was an unselfish request, not for self.
--For a help and blessing to others the Spirit came.
--In I Kings,years before, Solomon was given such a request from the Lord, and he asked for "wisdom."
--You want more of God's Spirit? Let's ask Him!
We do not know what a day brings, if our end may be.
--There is "a time to be born; a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:2). So let's be ready. Elijah was.
--But he did not die, He was translated to heaven in a "chariot of fire .. by a whirlwind," II Kings 2:11.
Next we read of Elijah is in Matthew 17:3, when he and Moses appeared with Jesus on the mount, with Apostles.
--In heaven they knew what was going on, Jesus faced.
--Peter and John recognized them. So will we there.
--Indeed, Elijah was a Spirit-filled man of God.
Now, let's meet Elisha. His name, "God is salvation."
--Elijah met young Elisha, plowing in a field.
--Called him to follow him to a prophet's school.
--Years later was asked, "What shall I do for you?"
--He replied, "Let a double portion of your spirit be upon me" (v 9). He could have asked many things.
--Elisha had seen what God's Spirit can do, in lives.
What is the Holy Spirit? People ask. Read John 16.
--The Holy Spirit is God, third Person of the Trinity.
--Father, in heaven. Son, Jesus, of the cross.
--He Who "died for our sins," and "arose" alive.
--He proved it for forty days. Ascended into heaven.
--Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world. To us.
--The Trinity, all Three, are One, True, Living God!
--Think of it as a triangle, within a circle.
--My friend, we need the ministry of all the Trinity.
In Person Jesus could be one place only, at a time.
--The Spirit can be everywhere, like the sun's rays.
--The Spirit is power and wisdom we need over evil.
--In John 16 Jesus tells what the Spirit is and does.
--Our "teacher of truth .. guide you in all truth."
--"He will convict the world of sin, righteousness of judgement" (John 16:8). We can't; the Spirit can!
--He came at Pentecost, Acts 2, in miraculous power.
--To save three thousand! Baptized into Jesus.
How do we get the Holy Spirit? Be "born again."
--How are we "born again"? Believe in Jesus (John 3).
--The Spirit indwells every believer in Him.
--His infilling comes as we each grow in the Lord.
You remember Elijah replied to Elisha's request that "You have asked a hard thing .. but it shall be so for you" (II Kings 2:10). It is hard to live for God!
--Not easy to be "filled with the Spirit," is it?
--It has always been hard for each to "walk .. in the Spirit," but it always pays, and best for us.
--For we may "grieve the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:30).
--We may even "quench the Spirit" (I Thess. 5:19).
--Rather may we seek the "gifts of the Spirit," as we read in I Corinthians 12. Gifts of great joy!
You see the Spirit continues what Jesus commences.
--To give us guidance and grace, to get God's best.
On beautiful Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, across from our hotel, is a huge monument, of many.
--It is of Sir Walter Scott. You've read his books.
--He was a strong Christian, as well as a writer.
--He tells of tossing a stone to rid a stray dog.
--It hit the dog, and hurt the animal. He felt bad.
--Instead of running away, the dog limped to him!
--Slowly came, began to lick his hand! Notice this.
--Sir Walter felt the dog was forgiving him - showed forgiveness in that simple, gracious act.
--A dog, loving and forgiving, the one who hurt it!
--He wrote, "that dog preached a sermon to me as few ministers ever have." Humble forgiveness .. love.
My friend, Jesus is like that. We hurt our Savior.
--With stones, as hard hearts, sins of all sorts, or giving Him, often, last place in time or treasure.
--We hurt Him. Sin against Him. But Jesus comes.
--Offers His grace,and on a cross prays, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." For us.
The way to be forgiven .. and to forgive others .. is to know Jesus .. grow in His grace .. and His Spirit.
--He is "able to make things work for our good," when we let Him be Lord of all; then we have His peace.
--Many lose health making more money, and spend money trying to get our health back. Take time for God.
--Enjoy each day God gives; worry not, future or past!
Our old flesh is weak as water, we need the Spirit.
--Why delay,go our own way? Or try all but Jesus?
--They try in their own strength and ability alone.
--And in all the ways of the world. Often in regret.
--They do break God's commands .. and many hearts.
--When all the while, Jesus is near, to be of help.
--"Call on Him! Seek the Lord while He may be found."
--The old flesh is so weak, without Jesus' Spirit.
--The beautiful thing, forgiveness is a prayer away and ever free for the seeking soul. Trust in Him.
We need the Lord, and His Holy Spirit, ever with us.
--Many have been those defeated and deluded by drugs and drink or some other addiction - and delivered!
--Those with tempers, who have become gentle, kind.
--Those with jealousy, envy, animosity, a vile tongue, or selfish spirit .. change by God's Spirit.
--How? By a decision for the Savior! Growing in His grace and knowledge, by His Word,prayer, worship.
--With a little effort, anyone can claim a victory in Jesus, and become "more than conquerors" as we put on "the whole armor of God .. in truth .. righteousness .. and peace" (Ephesians 6:13,14). Try it.
The true end of life is God's life that has no end.
--To be filled with the Spirit, doesn't require some super-pious superiority, or necessitate speaking in tongues, or having all kinds of visions or dreams.
--It is, rather, just striving to be as much like Jesus, as we feed upon His Word, the "Bread of Life."
And, remember please, it is a growing process - not like a one-time decision, as is salvation; but like a growing of a great, beautiful oak tree that endures.
--It takes time. Consistency. Patience. Prayer.
--But when the Spirit leads, He helps us make decisions and plans in the will of God. That are best.
--To make, and keep, peace in the family; elsewhere.
--To make friends, even with "enemies." To show love.
--Helps us be giving. And forgiving. To truly care.
Some may be tempted to turn away, as being too hard.
--Sure it is - in our own strength; but not with God within us by His Holy Spirit. I know it works!
--It will for you, also. Ask God for "His Spirit."
--For more of it. We need it.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD. DD. 764