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Making Room for the Greater Things, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 22, 2024 9:00 am

Making Room for the Greater Things, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 22, 2024 9:00 am

In Christian circles, we tend to throw the word “blessing” around a lot. And it’s true that every good gift is from God! But even non-believers enjoy the “common grace” of everyday blessings. There’s a big difference between good things happening to us, and God actively moving in a miraculous way.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. While it's true that every good and perfect gift comes from God, there's a difference between the common grace that even non-believers enjoy and God actively moving in a miraculous way in our lives as believers.

After all, there's good and then there's better and then there's best, right? As usual, it may not be in the way you expect. We're in a teaching series called Something Greater, and if you've missed any of the previous messages, you can find them all at jdgreer.com.

J.D. titled this message, Making Room for the Greater Things, and we're in 2 Kings, Chapter 4. Let's read this passage, and as we do, I'm going to give you six principles about your heart that must be true if you're going to receive the blessing of God. Verse 8, One day Elisha went to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived. The word wealthy in Hebrew, we don't have a great translation for it in English. Wealthy, to be honest, is not a great translation.

It's the Hebrew word gadol, and what it really means is powerful, great in every way, mighty. She is great in every possible way. She urged him to eat some food, and she said to her husband, Behold, now I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, and a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there. If you're taking notes, here's number one.

I hope you are. Number one, we can't make God move in our lives, but we can make room for him to move. This decision to make a little room for Elisha is going to be instrumental in what happens in the rest of the story. Verse 11, One time when Elisha was staying there, he says to Gehazi, his assistant, he's like, You know, this woman has been so kind to us.

What do you think we can do for her? So they suggest some things to her, but she didn't really have any needs because she was gadol. But then Gehazi comes to Elisha and says she actually does have one, but she's never brought it up.

This woman has no son. Interestingly, she doesn't complain about that. She seems content, but Elisha on his own goes up to her and says, This time next year, God is going to give you a son. Verse 16, she says, Don't tease me. This is sensitive because having a child was a dream that she had given up on. And Elisha says, I'm not.

And sure enough, in a year, she has a baby by her octogenarian husband. Mercifully, the Bible leaves out the details and we pick back up in verse 18. When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers, and he said to his father, Oh, my head, my head. The father said to his servant, Carry him to his mother. And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap until noon.

And then he died. Verse 25, so she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi, his servant, Look, there is a Shunammite, the Shunammite woman. Run at once to meet her and say to her, Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband?

Is all well with your child? And she answered, All is well. Verse 27, and when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet.

And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress. And the Lord has hidden it from me, and he has not told me. Then she said, Did I ask my Lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not deceive me? Verse 29, he said to Gehazi, Tie up your garment, take my staff in your hand and go.

If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child. Then the mother of the child said, Nope, as the Lord lives and as you yourself lives, I am not leaving you.

You are not sending your assistant. So he arose and followed her. Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but it did not work. Therefore, he returned to meet him and said, The child has not awakened.

Verse 32, when Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. And so he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house and went up and stretched himself upon him.

The child sneezed seven times, and then the child opened his eyes. Then he summoned Gehazi and said, Call this Shunammite woman. So he called her, and when she came to him, he said, Pick up your son. She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground.

Then she picked up her son, and she went home. Number two, the blessing of God is only found in the place of our weakness. As I pointed out to you, this woman had everything. She's Godot. If this miracle, don't miss this, occurs in the one place in which she's not Godot, the place in which she is actually poor and desperate. And so sometimes, like this woman, God puts things into our lives that we just can't conquer. The death of a child we're unable to prevent, a divorce that we can't avoid, a health scare, an addiction that you can't overcome. These things are not the judgment of God. These things are the mercy of God.

Because maybe for the first time in your life, he has given you just a taste of what he gave to this woman, that about the most important things in life, you are totally powerless. And these things are God's mercy to you. So blessed are you when you are poor in spirit, because there you now have access to the kingdom of God. Number three, we cannot manipulate God, but we can trust him. This story, as I pointed out to you, is not presented in terms of a formula, how to get your miracle.

The woman, she's not demanding things of God. You see, religion, listen, teaches you to approach God based on formula. If you do this, God will do this.

Religion is mechanical. You do A, God's obligated to do B. And so you come to God and you say something like this, God, I kept up my part of this bargain. God, I was a good girl all through college.

It's time for me to get a husband. God, you ought to be blessing my business, because I've always been fair. I tried to employ the right people.

I even tried to give part of my profits to you. You owe me, God. Listen, gospel faith is not faith in a formula. Gospel faith is faith in a person. An almighty, all-knowing, infinitely caring person.

We know him as someone, a father we trust, not a vending machine or a genie in a bottle that if you rub him the right way, or you put in the correct change, out comes your blessing. Have you ever thought about how bad it would be if God was a vending machine? I mean, just think about your own life. I thought about mine this week. How many girls did I ask God in college to make fall in love with me?

That would have been a disaster, right? It was only the last one that he said yes on. All these others, I'm like, thank you, God. We're sinners and we're foolish, and half the time we don't know what we're asking for from God is not good. You ought to get a journal sometimes.

Seriously, I'm totally legit. You ought to get a journal and open it to a clean page and just write out God's blessings in my unanswered prayers and just list them out. And then at the very end, write, sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.

Just remember when you're talking to the man upstairs, just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care. Some of God's greatest gift are unanswered prayers. And yes, that is the first time I have ever quoted a Garth Brooks song in a sermon and I'm downright proud of it. We're sinners. Because we're sinners, we need a loving father, not a genie in a bottle.

A loving father who sometimes overrules us, like I do my children, not in spite of the fact that I love them, but because that I love them. Sometimes a no answer to prayer is not no answer to prayer. Sometimes God answers our prayers by giving us what we would ask for if we knew what he knew. This woman trusts God, which is why she keeps repeating when people ask her, is everything okay?

All is well. Because she trusts him. But she also believes that he's good.

So that leads me to number four. Gospel faith is a mixture of contentment and holy discontentment. Isn't this woman a curious mixture of contentment and discontentment? I mean, after her son dies, people keep asking what's going on, and she's like, all is well.

Your son just died! All is well? But at the same time, she's like a bulldog.

I mean, she ain't taking no from anybody. She goes up to Elisha's house, she knocks on the doorbell, and God, as he comes out, I need to see the man of God. Oh, well, I'm the assistant to the man of God. Why don't you tell me what you need? I said, I need to see the man of God.

I'm sorry, I don't think you heard me. I'm the executive assistant to the man of God. What's your problem? You're my problem because I need to see the man of God. Gospel faith, earth-transforming faith, is like that. It's a curious mixture of contentment and holy discontentment. There is a sense deep in your soul that all is well, but there's another sense that all is not well, and you're not leaving God alone until he moves.

And so this woman is going to grab ahold of Elisha's garment, his feet, and she's going to say, not Gehazi, not anybody, not even you. I'm not letting go. All is well with my soul, but all is not well with my world. I see people suffering, and I see people who need to know Jesus, and that's not okay. And so I will go to God, not because I'm discontent in my soul, but because I am discontent for seeing the power of God come into my world.

All is well, but all is not well. Interestingly, there's a link between those two, because it is only when you are content in Christ, see, that you can ever be discontent from compassion. It is only when you know that in Christ you can give away all that you have, because in Christ you have all that you need.

It is only when your soul has been satisfied in Christ that whether the Son gets raised or not, all is well, that you can then be in a place to plead with God's compassion and give yourself away so that you can see God move through you. You see, there's this link between those two, and for most of us it's reversed, isn't it? Most of us are discontent in our soul, but we're content with the needs of the world because we're complacent. You see, we got it backwards. Rather than being satisfied in Christ and feeling compassion for the world, we're discontent in Christ and we're complacent with the world.

All is well, but all is not well. Contentment and holy discontentment. Thanks for joining us today for Summit Life with Pastor J.E.

Greer. We'll get back to today's teaching in a moment, but I'm very excited to tell you about our latest premium resource here on Summit Life. It's a short study called Elijah and Elisha, an eight-day scripture guide through 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 6, and the best part is that it parallels this teaching series we've been in here for a while. It's an eight-part devotional that takes you through the amazing, extraordinary lives and ministries of these two prophets, and like most of our resources, you can walk through it on your own or bring someone along the journey with you as you explore some key passages in 1 and 2 Kings.

As you'll see, reading, studying, praying, and personalizing the stories detailing the great faith of others is a very helpful way to grow your own faith in God's power. We'd love to send you a copy of this new devotional today as our thanks with your gift of $35 or more to this ministry. You know, at the end of the day, we want everyone to be drawn deeper into the gospel and to fall more in love with Jesus. So won't you join us in that mission today? To give, call us at 866-335-5220, or you can give online at jdgrier.com.

Now let's get back to today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor JD. A man named Horatio Spafford, 1871, was a large real estate owner in the city of Chicago. The great Chicago fire in 1871 destroyed his entire, in days before insurance, his entire possessions. He was left with nothing except his family.

So D.L. Moody, who he was connected to, told him that there was some mission opportunity in England. Having nothing left, he said, Well, I'll go serve God in England. He was a rich man, now a poor man. He wanted to take care of some final business things there in Chicago, so he sent his wife and his four daughters under the age of 10 on ahead.

That was 1873. As they were crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship they were on struck another ship, and the ship sank, and all four of Horatio Spafford's daughters died, drowned. His wife survived, was one of the few survivors. Spafford got the news, immediately left, and took that journey across the Atlantic to go join his grieving wife, and when they got to the spot in the Atlantic Ocean where that boat with his daughters, where they had drowned, the captain comes to him and said, This is the place. This is the place where the action had occurred, and this is the place where your daughters were drowned. And Spafford went down into his cabin on the bottom of the ship, and he wrote the words that you probably are familiar with, When peace like a river attends my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my law thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul. And what people don't know is the rest of the story where he went, joined his wife, started in England there, but eventually heard about people in the Middle East that were suffering from war, being ravaged by war and destitute. And Spafford went on there to found a mission, and what you see is a man who would say when his daughters had died, It's well with my soul, but then would look at his world and say, It is not well with my world. And it is because he was content in Christ that he could be discontent with his world. In Christ, I can give up all that I have because in Christ I already have all that I need.

Which leads me to number five. The blessings of the gospel are appropriated only through persistence. This woman grabs a hold of Elisha and she won't let go. Cleaning, it says, to his garment. By the way, does that remind you of a New Testament story?

It better. Jesus is pressing through a crowd, and there's a woman who's had a disease for 12 years. It's a flow of blood, which means that not only is she diseased, she's unclean.

She hadn't been able to go in the temple. Nobody would touch her because you can't touch an unclean person. This woman thinks that I bet Jesus has the power to heal me, and I bet he's willing to heal me. So she takes an extreme risk. She pushes through the crowd, and as Jesus is passing by, she reaches out on her belly and grabs a hold of his garment and his ankle.

Here's the reason it was risky. This is a holy man of God. If Jesus had been the typical Pharisee and religious leader, he would have turned to her and said, You filthy woman, you have defiled me. He would have gone Old Testament on that girl.

But Jesus stops and says the most odd thing I think maybe he ever said. Did the power go out? What just happened? Did somebody touch me?

I thought the power went out for me. Is this guy not all-knowing? Isn't he God? Doesn't he know the end from the beginning? He's acting like he doesn't even know what just happened? He just accidentally healed somebody? Oh, excuse me, I just healed you. Is that really what he's trying to say?

Of course he knew. It's written like that to show you that when somebody comes to God with that kind of resolve and that kind of trust in his grace, that power goes out for him like a reflex. And Jesus looks at her, and the crowd parts, and he looks at her, and he calls her a name she has not been called in years, daughter, which means one that I love, a tender one. It's like saying a little girl, a little girl that nobody's touched or loved for 12 years.

You're my daughter. Your sins are forgiven, and you have been healed. It is that kind of resolve and persistence where you say, it's not well, and God, I'm laying hold of this, and I'm not letting Gehazi, I'm not letting anybody push me away.

God, I'm staying here. Jesus told a parable in which he described prayer like this. You may know this.

I've certainly taught on it before. He said, prayer is like a woman who's old and poor, who gets wronged, and she goes to this judge to try to get justice. But the judge is corrupt, so he only takes bribes. Well, she ain't got no money, so she ain't got none to bribe him with.

And so he's like, I'm not really paying attention to you. He says, so she goes the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, until she annoys this guy to death. She set up a little tent right outside of his house, and when he walks out, he's like, hey, judge, remember that thing that you were going to, you know. He says, finally, Jesus said, not because he's a good judge, not because he's fair, and not because he cares about this woman, but simply because she annoys him to death, he gives her what she's asking. And then Jesus says, unbelievably, this is what prayer is like. Who but Jesus could get away with a parable like that one? I mean, seriously, like comparing God to a cranky, old, unjust judge, and us to a bunch of annoying widows? Only Jesus. And Jesus' point, listen, was not to compare God to an unjust judge.

It was to contrast him with an unjust judge. And to say, if even an unjust judge would relent through persistence, don't you think your heavenly Father, who cares about you enough that he gave his life for you and died on you for a cross, don't you think that he will listen to you? Don't you think he will answer?

Do you feel like you're coming to somebody who's deaf? Keep asking. Now, as a theologian, my question is, well, if it was God's will, why didn't he do it the first time we asked? I don't know. I wish I did know. I would tell you, I'd make millions of dollars off selling that.

I'd say, I don't know. I just know that in the Bible, certain things only come through persistence. And you've got to keep asking. And you've got to say, God, here it is. Here's what we need. This is what I need for my family. God, here's what I need.

Here's what I need for my world. Hey, God, I'm going to be back tomorrow, and I'll be back the day after that, and I'll be back the day after that, and I'm not going to let you go until you give that blessing because it's not something I need for my soul because all is well with my soul. It's something they need because they're broken, and they need you, and I know that's what you're about. And Jesus said, I haven't seen faith like that in Israel. You will get your miracle. I don't know why God doesn't do it the first time if it's his will.

That's a mystery of sovereignty, but I know that certain things only come through persistence. Number six, God gave the ultimate blessing, deliverance from death, by taking our death into himself. I'm sure you notice this. It's an odd detail in the story, but Elisha covered the boy with himself. Eyes to eyes, nose to nose, mouth to mouth.

Complete identification. In fact, if you were looking down from heaven, think about this. If you were looking down from heaven, you could no longer see the little boy.

You could just see Elisha. That's how Jesus would save us. He would unite himself to us completely.

Eyes to our eyes, nose to our nose, heart to our heart, flesh to our flesh. He would take upon himself the form of a servant and unite himself to sinful flesh, and God would make him sin who knew no sin so that we could become the righteousness of God in him. He would completely cover us so that when God looks down from heaven, he no longer sees the dead child. What he sees is the Lord Jesus stretched out on top of him, and he would take his righteousness as ours, and he would let our death be absorbed into his.

And here's the thought that comes out of that. If God did that for you, if he loved you that much, don't you think you can trust that he cares about you in the other situations you deal with, and don't you think he's capable enough of handling them? What is outside the scope of God's care in your life? While we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous man. There's some even for a good man might dare to die, but God demonstrates his love for us and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He who did not spare his own son, will he not also now freely give us all things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Yes, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. There is not death, nor life, nor principality, nor power, nor creature, nor thing above or thing below. Nothing can separate us and all the world from the love of Jesus Christ. If God conquered death when you were his enemy, don't you know that he will give himself to you when you are his friend?

There is no addiction too strong, no life too broken, no sin too wicked, no regret too severe. The writer of Hebrews says that God is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him. And don't you realize that if he's conquered death, then there really is nothing that can happen to us down here that will devastate us. Because he's already blessed you with the ultimate blessing. He's given you every spiritual blessing in Christ already because he's delivered death, he's taken the sting out of death.

So is your health broken? God will raise you in a redeemed body. If you lose a loved one, you'll live with them in eternity.

Has your reputation, your marriage, your career been destroyed? Well, I consider the sufferings of this world to not even be worthy to be compared to the weight of glory that shall be revealed in us. When you see that God cannot be defeated, you will become more confident than ever in what you believe God has called you to do.

And you'll press on and you'll say all is well and you'll be content but you'll be a holy discontent and you'll never let go and you will give the rest of your life trying to bring the peace and the salvation of God to people that you care about and people across the world that you don't even know. Number one, we can't make God move in our lives but we can make room for him to move. Number two, the blessing of God is only found in the place of our weakness. Number three, we cannot manipulate God but we can trust him. Number four, gospel faith is a mixture of contentment and discontentment. Number five, the blessings of the gospel are appropriated only through persistence. And number six, God gave the ultimate blessing, deliverance from death by taking our death into himself. From that will come all the other blessings because he will along with that freely give us all things. If God did that for you, if he loved you enough to die for you, don't you think you can trust he cares about everything in your life and can handle it all? Just let him do his thing.

You won't regret it for a moment. You were listening to Pastor J.D. Greer in a message titled Making Room for the Greater Things here on Summit Life.

As you hopefully know, the mission of Summit Life is to help you dive deeper into the message of the gospel. Recently, I sat down with Pastor J.D. and asked him to show us how our new resource, a study on Elijah and Elisha, will help us grow in our faith.

Here's what he had to say. One of the things that was surprising to me, Molly, about Elijah's life in particular was how before we have the famous scene of him on top of Mount Carmel, God takes him down to the brook Cherith and he works on him, he humbles him. And what you realize is that for each of us that God is going to use, whether that's in a big way, a public way, or whether it's just in the life of somebody else, it's almost always preceded by a time of humbling. And so I think this study of Elijah and Elisha will help you track some of what God is doing in your life. That's why we provided this workbook to go along with it that studies through the lives of Elijah and Elisha to help you work more deeply into the scriptures and apply them to yourself. This devotional workbook will follow along very closely with our on-air teaching. So I don't think you want to miss this resource.

I think it'll really amplify what you're learning and I think it'll help you really go deep into this. So we'd love to give you one of these. You can learn more at jdgrier.com. Ask for your copy of Elijah and Elisha, an eight-day scripture guide through 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 6 when you give today the suggested level of $35 or more. Call 866-335-5220. Again, that's 866-335-5220.

Or give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again Thursday when we continue our study of the prophet Elisha on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-22 10:59:42 / 2024-05-22 11:11:22 / 12

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