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Feed Your Faith

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Feed Your Faith

2 Kings 6:8-23

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - October 7, 2012

*Christian, have you ever felt like you had too much faith? -- No, of course not. And I think you never will. Even if you have been a Christian for 50 years, most people would say: “I need more faith. -- I want more faith!”

*The good news is that we all can get more faith, because Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

-In today’s story about Elisha, God gives us 3 realities that can feed our faith.

1. First: Feed your faith on God’s unwavering attention.

*We all get constant attention from God, like the king of Syria got in vs. 8-12. Listen again this part of the story:

8. Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he took counsel with his servants, saying, "My camp will be in such and such a place.''

9. And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.''

10. Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice.

11. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?''

12. And one of his servants said, "None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.''

*God gives us His unwavering attention. In other words: He knows everything that is going on in your life. That was bad news for the king of Syria, because it wasn’t Elisha in the bedroom listening to the king. It was the LORD God!

*God’s attention was bad news for the king, and it’s bad news for everyone who is rebelling against God.

-But the LORD’s attention is good news if you are a child of God...

-Good news if you are a servant of God like Elisha.

*The Lord is never surprised. He never turns away. He’s never caught off guard. The Lord is always tuned in to your life, your thoughts, your needs, your fears and your problems.

*In Matthew 10:30, Jesus told His followers that “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” -- Now that’s paying attention.

*In his book, “Father Knows Less,” Wendell Jamieson gave experts' answers to a bunch of questions from kids. Jamieson was inspired to write the book after listening to endless questions from his 7-year-old son, Dean.

*One question the book answers is, "How many hairs do I have on my head?" Sy Sperling, founder of the Hair Club for Men, responded with the information that an average adult has about 100,000 hairs. He noted that “redheads have fewer because their individual strands are thicker.” (1)

*Some of us have a whole lot fewer than 100,000. But when you multiply the number of hairs per person by the world's population of 7 billion, then consider that everybody’s hair count changes every day, you see how amazing it is that God would even bother to keep up with the number. But that’s how much He cares for us.

*God is paying close attention to your life. And that matters, because as Bruce Ball says: “The deepest expression of love is attention. When you give somebody your attention you’re giving them your love. When you don’t pay attention to your husband or wife or kids you are actually being unloving. (2)

*God is always paying attention to us. It may not seem like it to us, because we often aren’t paying attention to Him.

-But God is always focused on us, because He cares so much about us.

-God proves that He cares by paying attention to our lives.

-So feed your faith on God’s unwavering attention.

2. And feed your faith on our unseen allies.

*We certainly need allies, because we are certainly going to be attacked. We see an example in vs. 13-15, where the king of Syria was trying to attack the Prophet Elisha:

13. So he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.'' And it was told him, saying, "Surely he is in Dothan.''

14. Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

15. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?''

*The enemy surrounded Elisha. And sometimes he is going to surround us.

-Our enemy can surround us in our health, our finances, and our relationships.

-He can surround us with stresses, threats, frustrations and all kinds of ungodly influences.

*In big ways and small, the enemy will surround us. But we are not alone in the battle! We have great unseen allies on our side. God’s Word reveals them to us in vs. 15-18:

15. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?''

16. So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.''

17. And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.'' Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.'' And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

*Now, I don’t want to take anything away from the allies we can see, like the Prophet Elisha in this story.

*One of the best things about being in the family of God is that we are surrounded by people who will love us, encourage us, pray for us and help us any way they can. We have seen a perfect example of that this week, as people have rallied around Pam Shepherd’s family.

*But never forget that as believers, we have unseen allies on our side, allies like the angels in vs. 17. Angels are just as real as we are.

*Hebrews chapter 1 is just one of many places where God’s Word speaks about angels in a totally matter-of-fact way. Hebrews 1:5&6 begins with this question about God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ:

5. For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?''

6. But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him.''

*I suppose there have always been people who do not believe in angels. The Sadducees of Jesus’ day did not believe. And in Matthew 22:29, Jesus told them: “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

*We don’t want to make the same mistake as the Sadducees. And as we go through the Bible, we see that the word “angel” appears 286 times.

*Angels are as real as we are. And Hebrews 1:15 explains one of their main purposes with this question: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”

*Angels are our unseen allies!

-They are sent by God as His servants.

-And that service includes helping God’s people, like us.

*It is mind-boggling, but also comforting to know that God has specific angels assigned to help you. We know this is true because of something Jesus said in Matthew 8:10-11. There the Lord was talking about little children, and Jesus said:

10. “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

11. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

*“THEIR angels see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

-God had specific angels assigned to help them.

-And He has specific angels assigned to help you!

*Many people have been blessed as God pulled back the curtain and let them see angels at work in their lives. Mattie Mercer is one of those people. Mary and I have known Sonny and Mattie for 20 years now. Sonny has served for many years as the Chairman of the Deacons at Agape Baptist Church. Mattie has been a Sunday School Teacher and Church Treasurer for many years.

*In May of 1969, Mattie was heading home from work, when she heard the news about a terrible construction accident at the I-20 Bridge over the Mississippi River. Mattie started praying for the family of the man who had been killed, and for the man who had been critically injured, -- not knowing that the injured man was her own husband, Sonny

*To build the massive supports for that bridge we’ve all crossed over at Vicksburg, they built huge forms out in the river to fill with concrete. The forms were anchored by long cables fastened to massive concrete blocks on the river bank.

*On that day, Sonny and the other man were standing on the river bank, when one of the forms in the river shifted. The cable whipped and the man in front of Sonny was instantly killed. Sonny was hit right above the knees and thrown fifteen feet. Both of his legs were cut off.

*Sometime after Mattie got to the hospital, she was alone in a room next to Sonny’s. He was not supposed to live. Naturally she was devastated.

*But as Mattie prayed, she felt something move her across the room and sit her down in a chair. Then she heard these words (not in her ears, but in her mind): “Sonny is going to live. You and your children are going to be O.K.”

*Sonny spent the next year in the hospital, mostly up in Boston. And sometime during the next year or two, he received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Two deacons carried Sonny down into the water to be baptized.

*Mattie has no doubt that God used an angel to give her the reassurance she needed at just the right time. And you may never hear or see an angel in this world. But Christians, we are surrounded by a host of heavenly helpers!

*Angels are our unseen allies. But our greatest unseen ally is God Himself!

-He is the one who listened to the king of Syria plotting against Israel.

-The LORD is the one who answers our prayers, like He answered Elisha’s prayers in vs. 17&18.

-And God is the one who sends His angels to help us too.

-So feed your faith on our unseen allies.

3. And feed your faith on our undeserved assistance.

*It’s like the undeserved mercy we see in vs. 18-23:

18. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.'' And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

19. Now Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.'' But he led them to Samaria. (That was the capitol city of Israel.)

20. So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, "Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.'' And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria!

21. Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?''

22. And he answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.''

23. Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.

*Those Syrian soldiers surely didn’t deserve mercy. --But that’s what they got.

-And it’s a small picture of the mercy God gives to everyone who will receive it.

*Our God is a merciful God and He wants to have mercy on His enemies.

-And we may never have thought of ourselves as enemies of God.

-But the Bible tells us clearly that we were enemies of God, because of our sin.

*The Bible explains this truth to Christians in Rom 5:6-10. There God’s Word says:

6. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

10. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

*See how much God loves us!

-He loved us when we were without strength!

-He died for us when we were ungodly!

-He demonstrated His love toward us while we were still sinners!

-He reconciled us to God through the death of His Son when we were enemies!

*Jesus Christ left all of His riches in Heaven for us.

-He suffered and died on the cross for us.

-He took the punishment for our sins, so He could have mercy on us.

-And now the Risen Savior offers His mercy to everyone who will receive.

*God will have mercy on you, if you will receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

-He will forgive all of your sins and give you an everlasting home in Heaven!

-This is the mercy that God wants to give to His enemies.

*Again: On a certain level, we were all enemies of God before we trusted in the Lord. But as a young man, Johnny Friloux was openly hostile toward the Lord.

*I heard his story when he was a golf coach at Mississippi State. Johnny said that he grew up in a godless home. He was an atheist. And he started taking drugs at a very young age.

*Johnny told about a beautiful fall morning in 1989, back when he was a student at Mississippi State. On the way to class, he turned the corner at the student union and said he encountered a bunch of old men in suits. They were Gideons passing out New Testaments, and Johnny was infuriated just to see them.

*Johnny said: “As they handed me a Testament, I threw it at them, spit on them, and began to curse and rant and rave. “How dare you come to this campus and bring your religion and push it on us!”

*Those guys just kept smiling, let him say what he had to say, and kept on passing out New Testaments.

*Johnny said that he started running into Jesus Christ everywhere he went!

-People started coming up to him in class to witness to him

-He cursed them to their faces.

*Every weekend he drove to New Orleans. He told his parents he was going to work. But he was really just going to party. That weekend he was in the parking lot of a bar when a guy handed him a tract, and said, “Sir, would you please read this?”

*Johnny crumpled it up, and threw it in the backseat of his car. Then, he began to cuss those two witnesses out. He said: “The madder I got, -- the happier they got!”

*Later that night in the bar. His eyes began to be opened for the first time. He started to see those people like they really were. Then, at 3 a.m. he walked out of that bar, and those two witnesses were still out there praying for him!

*Johnny apologized to them, but he still wasn’t ready to receive Jesus. But after three miserable, sleepless days, he did read that tract. And he said, “I went to my book bag to get a pencil to underline the verses in this tract.”

*And when he unzipped it, there was a New Testament inside. Johnny said, “Some crazy Gideon, while I was cussing them out, was unzipping my book bag and putting a Bible inside.”

*He spent hours studying that Gideon New Testament. And on Oct. 18, 1989, alone in his bedroom, Johnny cried out to God: “Lord Jesus, if you are real, please come in and change me.” And He did! (3)

*The same God who had mercy on Johnny Friloux wants to have mercy on you!

-Put your faith in the Lord.

-Then keep feeding your faith on the truth you will find right here in the Word of God.

-You can call on the Lord to save you right now, as we go to God in prayer.

1. “People,” - 9242007, p.74 - Source: “In Other Words” - October 2007 #3 - produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - 6130 Barrington - Beaumont, Texas 77706 (409) 866-2111 -

2. SermonCentral sermon “Are You Unworthy?” by Bruce Ball - Luke 19:1-9

3. 1994 Gideon Testimony heard from Johnny Friloux (updated by

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