From Rut To Revival 2-6-05
FROM RUT TO REVIVAL
2 Kings 4:1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. 3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
Introduction: The greatest achievements in life are usually accomplished by people who have a singular desire or a vision that becomes the ruling passion of their lives. I think the “Body of Christ” needs to understand that today. God has a purpose and plan for each Church body and we all need to be devoted to accomplishing our goal. The average Church today is like the Super Bowl football game; you have 22 players in desperate need of rest, being watched by 50,000 people in desperate need of exercise.
Passion – (Webster’s) intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.
One of the many things I have learned while trying to Pastor is this…if you are not passionate about the things of God, you will find yourself in a place called “Rut.” A “Rut” is the place where routine causes a lost of excitement for life and helplessness turns into hopelessness. It is that place where one fills wedged in without any answers. It is the unyielding point where frustration awakens our senses to a feeling that nothing has been accomplished, while the assignments from God set on shelves.
Being in a rut will sometimes cause you to be irritable and hard to get along with. But the worst thing about being in a rut is that if you don’t find a way to get out of it, a rut will turn into rot! In other words, a rut can have such an effect on your life, that if you don’t have a way of escape, it will rob you of your joy and leave you in a boring and wasteful position.
When a person is in a rut, effectiveness becomes something of a memory because of the lack of activity. A rut will also cause our decisions for now to be flawed based upon pictures of what was, our past accomplishments, or what we used to do. Then faith takes a back seat as one considers their newly discovered inabilities in the face of unhappiness.
So how does a person escape “Rut?” You must have a “Revival.” So what is a “Revival?”
Revival – is Spiritual renewal or God’s quickening visitation of his people caused by the Holy Spirit through the proclamation of the gospel.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
As we look at the text we see several truths that the Church needs to understand if she is going to have a revival and accomplish great things for God.
Here in the scripture we find this poor widow in a desperate situation. Her husband died leaving her with a mountain of debt. She was trying to raise her family alone. How many of you know that bills will mess with your mind and put you in a mental rut?
The record says that she found herself in such financial trouble that the creditor had threatened to come and take her sons as slaves. It was not unusual, during Bible times that if a person got behind in their bills members of their family were sold into slavery until the bills were paid off. Thank God they don’t do that today. If they did… there might not be many of us in church today.
So, this widow woman does what many of us have learned to do when we find ourselves in a rut. In her despair she cries out to the man of God. It is good to have a preacher in your corner! She needed a revival to take place in her life.
I’ll give this woman credit…she got in touch with somebody who knew how to get in touch with heaven. Even if know how to pray for yourself, it’s good to be able to get in agreement with someone who has a right relationship with God. That way, you can touch on a thing and get a good result as you petition God together.
Matt 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Matt 18:19 (Amplified) Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.
The Bible says that this widow woman called on Elisha and asked him to help her find a way out of this impossible situation. She was looking for a miracle.
Now Note: the first thing Elisha does is to ask her a rather strange question. While she has already explained that she is bankrupt, he asks her what she has in her house. She responds by saying: “Well, nothing at all,” but then she remembers, “Well really we do have something... there is just a little bit of oil.”
Of course this is one of those O.T. stories that is really very rich in meaning. You have probably heard this passage preached many times before. You know that as the widow gathers up empty jars from her neighbors, God does a wonderful miracle with that tiny bit of oil. He multiplies it so that once she starts to pour; the oil doesn’t stop flowing until every vessel is filled. Then she takes the oil and sells it to pay off her debts.
The only thing that caused the oil to stop flowing was the fact that they ran out of jars to contain it. But God was able to fill every jar that she was able to produce.
It is an amazing story about making room for God’s blessing! But as is often the case with these Old Testament passages, this story has a deeper layer of meaning too. I believe that there’s another message here just beneath the surface.
It is a message that is found as we analyze the symbols in the story. Elisha is a type of Christ and oil is a type of the presents of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t think it would be stretching it to suggest that the widow’s house represents the Church and the widow represents this present generation of believers. She is in a “Rut and needing a revival.”
Notice, she is in danger of losing her children, the next generation, to the creditor, who I think represents the World. Again, she is in danger of losing her children because there is nothing left in her house.
Now follow me for a moment. If there is a deeper message coming out of this passage, could it be that the world is in fact at the door ready to snatch away the next generation into a life of sin and slavery?
Could it be that when one generation allows God’s house to become empty, the next generation pays the price? Could it be that we are in danger of losing our children to the world because we have neglected to show them the power of God at work in the Church?
The thing is most of us are now in the third generation as Christians. Most of us, my age, can remember our great-grandparents, our grandparents, and our parents. If you are saved and in the church now, it is probably because you had some strong Christian roots that were handed down from perhaps your great-grandparents, to your grand-parents, to your parents. In other words, you have a background of folk who knew the Lord as their Savior!
You remember they were people of sacrifice and prayer. They cherished the Touch of God. Many of them blazed the trails. They laid the groundwork for our modern movement. In that sense we owe a great debt to those old soldiers, but the question for us is: “What’s happened to the fire and the sacrifice, and the prayer in us? What will we leave for the generation of young people who are coming after us? Don’t you know they are watching what we do and how we act and how we treat one another?
Are we leaving them a legacy of faith and endurance or are we simply preparing them a Rut. We must be revived by the Holy Spirit if we are going to leave with them a Revival? Is there any oil in the house?
We need a revival. The Oil of God the Holy Spirit is ready to be poured out.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit ; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Our text said that oil poured out until the widow ran out of containers. Do we have any more containers? Can we find just a few more people that still want to filled with the Holy Spirit? All we need is a few more Dads and Moms and A few more Brothers and Sisters.
When fathers get saved, young boys get off street corners!
When mothers get saved, young girls grow up to be virtuous young women!
When brothers get saved, they become mentors to other brothers!
When sisters get saved, they become mentors to other sisters!
And when that happens… Ruts, Turn into Revival!