Scriptures: I Kings 2: 10-12; 3: 3-14 & Revelation 2: 1a, 2a, 4
Pastor Clyde’s August 16, 2015 Sermon
I Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
(10) “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
(11) As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. (12) Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
(3) Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
(4) Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. (5) But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. (6) So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. (7) He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”
“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
(8) “By what route shall we attack?” he asked.
“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered.
(9) So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.
(10) “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the LORD called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”
(11) But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?”
An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.[a]”
(12) Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
(13) Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”
“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the LORD who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”
(14) Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you.
Revelation 2: 1a, 2a, 4
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
(2) I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.
(4) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
1. I heard it was really hot in New York City this past week. Donald Trump was so mad that he gave out Al Roker’s cellphone number.
2. Trump also said that Hilary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State in history. When he was asked what proof he had for that statement, Trump said, “I just said it. It must be true.”
3. Today we start a sermon series that I have borrowed ideas from Adam Hamilton in Kansas City but I have added things from my own research.
4. It is a series that looks at the insights of John Wesley and applies them to today’s world.
5. John Wesley came into a world very similar to ours and I will use some historical background to make that case and he brought revival to England and it spread to America.
6. You know revival is not a word we use very often in Methodism anymore.
7. It assumes that vitality has leaked out or gone away and it needs to be restored.
8. But think about it. There are many areas where we can talk about a need for revival.
9. In marriage for example. I know that in marriage counseling, it is common to see couples who are so in love with each other that they talk to each other all the time.
10. When they are away from each other, they text or talk on the phone.
11. They cannot believe that a day many come when they run out of things to say to each other.
12. But those days do come. A day may come when you not only have nothing to say but you actually hate to say anything at all.
13. You have, as the scriptures tell us, lost your first love.
14. We have seen similar things happen on a job. We start with enthusiasm. We have fun with our co-workers. We love going to work.
15. Then we burn out. We get irritated. Then we actually hate the idea of going to work.
16. The same thing can happen with God.
17. Maybe you had a great experience coming to God on a youth retreat—or a mission trip—or Emmaus.
18. You are on fire for God.
19. You are like the church at Ephesus which was one of the most important churches in early Christianity.
20. But you begin to lose you fire; you burn out.
21. You stop going to prayer meetings; to worship; you cool off.
22. You lose your first love.
23. Revelation says you should repent and do the things that you did first.
24. So what are some of the things that Wesley did at first to start the great Methodist revival?
25. Many people of his time had lost their spiritual fire and faith had dried up.
26. Even Wesley’s faith had suffered but he was revived by the Holy Spirit and the started a movement that lasted about 150 years.
27. In one period of time, Methodists started a new church every day for 50 years straight.
28. Last year, we closed one church a day—and the year before that and the year before that.
29. Something has happened—how can we go back to the things we did before?
30. John Wesley was born in 1703, the 15th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. There would be 4 more children.
31. It is important to look at a little English religious history.
32. Many of you have heard of Henry VIII. England was a Catholic country under Henry until he wanted to get rid of Catherine of Aragon so he could have a male heir some 200 years before Wesley.
33. The pope would not annul the marriage since Spain was very strong and Catholic.
34. Henry simply started the Church of England which would eventually be the Episcopal Church.
35. The only problem with this was that Henry’s son, Edward, was sickly and took the church more toward the Protestant side.
36. When he died, Mary, made a strong turn toward the Catholic side. She became known as Bloody Mary for doing such things as burning three prominent priests at the stake.
37. When Elizabeth I took over, she steered a middle path which favored the Protestant side.
38. That seemed to work fairly well but then there were those who wanted to purify the church from the Satanic elements—the Puritans—and the more liberal folks.
39. That led to a civil war and the murder of Charles I.
40. The basic thing to get from this was that a lot of blood was shed over religion and people were wary of getting too up tight over religion by the time Wesley came along.
41. In Wesley’s case, he had grandparents who were Puritans while his parents were more moderate Church of England.
42. So what does all of this have to say to us?
43. Wesley discovered that you have to have a humble spirit and listen to the other person.
44. In a time when people still could be very argumentative about religion, Wesley was surprisingly open to different views.
45. This does not mean that Wesley could not be stubborn or get into feuds and arguments. He did.
46. But he was able to be a bridge builder and take ideas from many different groups.
47. We live in a time when it is difficult to even talk to people with whom we disagree because they immediately put us in a box.
48. Wesley put aside differences and worked with others whenever he could.
49. “Whenever I meet with any whom I have reason to believe ‘children of God,’ I do not ask of him with whom I would unite in love, ‘Do you agree with my opinions and mode of worship? Particularly with regard to church government, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.’ . . . My only question is, ‘Is thy heart right?’ . . . ‘Is God the center of your soul? The sum of thy desires?’ . . . If, I say, a man could answer these in the affirmative, I would gladly give ‘him my hand.’ (Letter to the Rev. Mr. Clarke July 3, 1756)
50. Wesley understood that we do not have a corner on knowledge; we are not God.
51. I get so tired of Christians who know exactly how the church should be run and are so quick to condemn anyone and everyone in the church if they do not meet their standards.
52. If the music or the youth program or the preaching or whatever is not up to their standards, then God must not be pleased so they go hopping to the next church on their list for a few months until that church displeases them.
53. Maybe they should look at how they are pleasing God.
54. One seed of revival, then, is being open and humble and treating people with respect.
55. A second seed of revival is seen in how John Wesley was raised.
56. His father, Samuel, was the priest or rector at Epworth about 100 miles north of London.
57. He taught the children theology and languages but the real shaping of their lives came from their mother, Susanna.
58. She is the mother of Wesleyism. She was the daughter of a Puritan priest in London and was given a classical education.
59. That was unheard of for a woman at that time. She was a thinker and theologian.
60. She homeschooled all the children at the rectory.
61. On Sunday afternoons, she taught a bible lesson for her family.
62. One time, her husband spent an extended time in London and the townspeople did not like the substitute rector.
63. Soon over 200 people crowded the rectory for the bible lessons and the rector complained to Samuel.
64. He told Susanna and she said that it would be on his conscience if all those people went to hell and he kept quiet.
65. She resolved to give one hour a week to each child—how is it with your soul; your prayer life; how is God speaking to you?
66. John used it in the Methodist classes.
67. Wrote letters, prayers, catechisms.
68. When John was going to stop a layman from preaching, Susanna said to go hear him first since she had heard him and he was preaching the Word of God. After hearing him, John began using lay preachers.
69. She was not perfect. Children after age of one not allowed to cry.
70. Very strict discipline.
71. Made her children drink glass of beer each morning.
72. But when asked what led to his conversion—Wesley said, “The prayers of my mother.”
73. We all have had someone praying for us. Most of us have mothers or fathers or grandparents or aunts or uncles or teachers.
74. A seed of revival is to be that person praying for a child who needs the Lord.
75. Pray for that child; send a note; invest in children.
76. Finally, never give up. That is a seed of revival.
77. Some people get angry at God when things go badly.
78. They leave the church or stop praying when they need it the most.
79. Look at the Wesleys. They had 19 children but only 10 survived. They lost 9.
80. They didn’t blame God; they trusted him.
81. Samuel was constantly rejected by people.
82. He was constantly in debt. Once he had to borrow 30 pounds from a member.
83. The member had him thrown in Debtor’s Prison. The congregation left him there for 3 months.
84. The bishop finally got him out. While there he set about converting the prisoners.
85. In 1709, someone set the rectory on fire. John was trapped in the attic. Two townspeople managed to grab him right before he perished and house collapsed.
86. Would you continue to be pastor of church that burned down your house?
87. Samuel did for 35 years.
88. Do not give up!
89. Winston Churchill; Martin Luther King, Jr; Nelson Mandela; Apostle Paul.
90. We all feel like giving up at some time—never give up.
91. Three seeds of revival—have a humble spirit and listen with respect to others; pray for the children and invest in them; never give up.