2 KINGS 4

5 Outlines

 

2 Kings 4:1-7

GOD’S PROVISION

 

LARGE NEED – Vs. 1

LIMITED RESOURCES – Vs. 2

LARGER SUPPLY – Vss. 3-7

Notice that the supply from God was only limited by the lack of empty vessels.

 

 

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2 KINGS 4:1-7

THE STEADY FLOW

 

Introduce this sermon by talking about some successful people you know personally.

 

I think that most of us would like to be successful.  As Christians, we should desire to be successful in the eyes of God. To be a success in God's eyes, you must be a born again Christian. (John 3:1-16). Also, to be a success, you need to be successful, you must be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Thirdly, to be a success, you must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

 

An illustration of success in God's eyes is found in our text. We often relegate such stories to children's church or Sunday School, but don't consider the value of the story for us adults.

This story tells of a steady flow of oil that continued to flow until all was full. In order for us to be successful Christians, we must have the steady, continuous flow of God's Holy Spirit in our lives. As Christians, we will go through three stages if we experience the filling or controlling of the Holy Spirit.  In this story I see pictures of the:

 

THE BANKRUPT CHRISTIAN - Vs. 1

 

Elisha was apparently the chief prophet in Israel at this time.  There were schools of training for those who would aspire to be prophets. They were the Bible Schools of their day.  Today we might call the students "preacher boys".

 

One of the widows of one of the sons of the prophets came to Elijah. Her husband was dead. She was bankrupt, and creditors were coming to take her sons as slaves to pay the debt.

 

There are many Christians like this women in our story. They are bankrupt.

They have tired in their own strength to do something for God. They have tried in their own effort to be successful. They have made their own plans to serve God and have met with nothing but disappointment. They have done battle with habitual sin in their lives and have ended up losing (Romans 7:18-21).

 

Please note that this woman was honest. She came to Elisha. She did not try to fool him. She simply told the truth.  As Christians, we need to be equally honest. When we sense bankruptcy in our Spiritual lives, we must come and honestly humble ourselves before God (James 4:6-10)

 

THE RESOURCEFUL CHRISTIAN - Vs. 2

Elisha wants to know, "What do you have on hand?" He wants to know, "What are your resources?" What was available for God to multiply?  You might recall that the Scripture tells how God multiplied a little meal and a little oil belonging to another widow (1 Kings 17:8-16). We also know that God the Son multiplied a little boy's lunch so that it fed a multitude (John 6:1-14).

 

This lady only had a little oil. It was a valuable commodity, but not enough to get her out of debt.

 

What do Christians have to help them when they sense that they are bankrupt?

They do not have merit.

They do not have strength within themselves.

They do not have ability.

BUT THEY DO HAVE OIL!

Oil is often symbolic for God's Holy Spirit.

We do have the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9, Zechariah 4:6, Acts 1:8,

Like the woman in the story we need to be resourceful. We must realize that we have all we need for success through the Holy Spirit.

 

THE VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN - Vss. 3-7

 

Vs. 3-4 - Elisha's advice was simple. It was for her to use her resources. She was to borrow empty pots, go home, shut the door, and start pouring.

The victorious Christian will do something similar. We do not need more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit needs more of us. As we provide ourselves as an empty vessel, He will fill us.

 

An empty vessel is one that has confessed all known sin.

An empty vessel is one that contains nothing of self (Romans 12:1).

An empty vessel is one that has an open lid, ready, willing, and asking to be filled (1 John 5:14-15).

 

Vss. 5-6 - The woman did as she was told. When there was no longer an empty vessel, the oil stopped flowing. We must continually present to God an empty vessel, so he can fill it.

 

The results of Spirit filling are seen in Acts 1:8, Ephesians 3:16, 5:18-21 and Galatians 5:22-23.

 

Remember that the steady flow of the Holy Spirit, which gives power, victory, joy and fruitfulness, will stop flowing when we fail to provide an empty vessel. However, the flow of the Spirit will resume when there is again an empty vessel available to be filled.

 

 

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2 Kings 4:1-7

SUPPLIED!

 

Here is a Bible story that most of us are familiar with.  We know about the pot of oil that didn't stop flowing until every empty pot in the house was filled.  This story is a great reminder of how God supplies us with the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

As we consider the filling of the Holy Spirit, we can ask ourselves some questions based on this story.

 

WHAT ARE THE RESTRICTIONS? - Vs. 1

The widow lady was restricted by a great debt that she could not pay.

We are restricted by various problems. Some of our problems are personal, while other problems involve others.

 

WHAT ARE THE RESOURCES? - Vs. 2

Elijah wanted to know what the lady had available as resources to help the problem to be solved. Her comment was that she had a little oil.  Sometimes oil is symbolic in the Scriptures for the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the resource that God has placed inside of us to help with our problems. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9, John 14:16-18, John 16:12-14

 

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS? - Vss. 3-4

 

The woman was to borrow many empty pots and start pouring until there were no more pots left.  She was to provide empty pots to be filled.

As Christians, we are to provide empty pots or vessels that can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

We need to be empty of sin, confessing and forsaking it. Ephesians 4:30, 1 John 1:9

Just as the woman repeatedly provided empty pots, we must repeatedly cleanse our lives of all known sin.

 

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS? - Vss. 5-7

As long as there was an empty vessel it was filled with oil.

As long as we present a clean vessel, we will be filled with the Spirit.

The woman's needs were met.  Our Spiritual needs will be met. Ephesians 5:18-21, Galatians 5:16, 22-23, Acts 1:8

 

 

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2 Kings 4:9-37

HOW TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE

 

Most of us see situations we don't like.  There is nothing we can do about some situations, but there are many situations that can be changed. We just have to know how to bring about the changes we want to see!

 

We can learn how to bring about change by studying this event from the life of Elisha.

 

CATASTROPHE - Vss. 8-23

A lady had taken care of Elisha's physical needs and Elisha promised the reward of a child. Vss. 8-16

The child was born. Vs. 17

The child died. The lady went to find Elisha. Vss. 18-23

There was need for a change!

 

CHARACTER - Vs. 9

It was obvious that Elisha was a "holy man of God."

If we expect to bring about change, we need to have a similar character.

 

CONCERN - Vss. 24-30

Elisha was genuinely concerned about the well being of this woman and her family. Vss. 25-26

He understood that the woman was hurting. Vss. 27-28

He sent Gehazi, his servant to help. Vs. 29

He went himself. He was willing to get involved. Vs. 30

 

CRY - Vss. 31-33

Gehazi was unsuccessful. Evidently there was no prayer on his part.

Elisha got alone with God and the problem and cried out in prayer.

 

CLOSENESS - Vs. 34

After prayer, Elisha got involved with a dirty problem. He was dealing with a corpse. He got close anyway. Often God will require us to get close to unpleasant problems in order for them to be solved.

 

CONTINUATION - Vs. 35

Elisha stuck with the problem until it was totally solved.

 

CONCLUSION - Vss. 36-37

Change occurred!

The boy came back to life!

 

 

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2 Kings 4:8-37

FOUND! - A VIRTUOUS WOMAN!

(A complete Sunday School Lesson)

 

Proverbs 31:10 - Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

 

·       Tell us about a “virtuous woman” you know or have known.

·       What qualities does a virtuous woman have?

·       How can studying about the virtuous woman be frustrating?

·       What benefits are there for men in studying the virtuous woman?

 

Although it is Proverbs 31 that describes the virtuous woman, I believe this passage before us gives us a live picture of the type of woman who is virtuous.  It is to our advantage to learn from this classy lady.

HER PERCEPTION OF CHARACTER - Vss. 8-9

 

·       Elisha probably traveled much in his role as prophet in Israel.  He was invited to stop in and eat once, and the woman evidently gave him an open invitation to continue to stop.

·       This lady was a good judge of character.  She could tell that Elisha was a “holy man of God”.  What qualities might there have been in Elisha that led her to this conclusion?

·       Why is perception of character an important trait to have?

·       How does one become so perceptive?

·       What must we avoid when trying to perceive the character of another?

HER PROVISION FOR GOD'S PROPHET - Vs. 10

 

·       Why is hospitality important? 1 Peter 4:9

·       Why is hospitality becoming a lost grace among Christians?

·       To you, how does each piece of furniture represent a different aspect of hospitality?

·       To you, what spiritual significance is there in the bed, table, stool, and candlestick?

·       How does one learn to become hospitable?

HER PEACE IN SERVICE - Vss. 12-13

 

·       This woman was obviously the type of person who anxiously wanted to meet the needs of others.  My mother in-law, Grace Adams, was like that.

·       What natural characteristic is Elisha showing in these verses?

·       Elisha asked if she would like to have some special favor from a general or the king.  Did she want special protection or favor?

·       The woman was content with her lot in life, even though she had a deep, secret hurt.  Although her situation was not perfect, she was contented.

·       1 Timothy 6:6 - But godliness with contentment is great gain.

·       Why is contentment such an admirable trait?

HER PROMISE OF BLESSING - Vss. 14-17

 

·       Elisha still wanted to help this woman.  Sometimes it is hard to do something for someone who is contented.

·       The lady’s husband was old. She had no child.  Why didn’t she mention her want of a child?

·       Elisha promised her that she would conceive and have a child about the same time in the following year.

·       What exactly was this woman saying?

·       Why is it hard for us to believe that God can do the impossible?  Luke 1:37

·       A child was born as promised.

HER PROBLEM WITH HER SON - Vss. 18-21

 

·       Notice the typical reaction, “Take him to his mother.”

·       What do you think was going through this woman’s mind as she sat with her son?

·       The boy eventually died. Why do you think she put the child on the man of God’s bed?

HER PILGRIMAGE OF FAITH - Vss. 21-30

1.    To Her Husband - Vss. 21-23

·       The lady didn’t tell her husband that the boy was dead. Why?

·       The husband wondered why a visit to the man of God was in order. It wasn’t a “holy day”.

·       The woman’s answer “It is well”, or “peace”, was either an indication of her faith in spite of a heart breaking situation or a realization that her husband could do nothing to help her, so he should be at peace.

·       For good reason the woman was in a hurry.

2.    To Gehazzi - Vss. 24-26

·       Inquiry was made by Gehazzi in Elijah’s behalf.  The prophet realized that something must be wrong with her, her husband, or her child.

·       Again the answer to the inquiry was, “It is well,” or “peace”.  Again, there was nothing that Gehazzi could do.

3.    To Elisha - Vss. 27-30

 

·       What does verse 27 tell you about the woman, Gehazzi, and Elisha?

·       What was the woman saying in verse 28?

·       Vs. 29 – Perhaps Elisha thought that a miracle could be wrought through the staff without his being present.  Or perhaps Gehazzi was to stand guard until Elisha arrived.  In those days bodies were buried immediately.

·       What does verse 30 say about the woman’s faith?

HER PLEASURE IN VICTORY - Vss. 31-38

 

·       Why do you think the staff failed to resurrect the child?

·       What can we learn about Elisha’s methods?

·       What does the woman’s reaction to her son’s revival tell us about the woman’s heart?

 

 

 

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