A Double Portion

Lesson: 6
Elisha closely followed his Master Elijah and received a double portion of his spirit. Jesus promises the same thing for his followers.
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Tonight is presentation #6 in our heroes of faith seminar and, in particular, tonight we're going to be talking about a double portion. That double portion, if you know your Bibles is dealing with a double portion of the Holy Spirit. In our last presentation we talked about the importance of water baptism. I'd like to bring you back to a verse in John chapter , verse 5, and Christ said, "...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." Now I know a lot of dear Christians in good churches that emphasize the importance of water baptism and that's appropriate. But they may over-emphasize that and forget that of the two, the most important baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Matter of fact, John the baptist - talking about when Jesus was coming - as much emphasis as John the baptist put on water baptism, he said, 'i baptize you with water, but there's one coming after me who is mightier than i, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.' And there may be some people in heaven that were never baptized with water but there won't be anyone in heaven that doesn't have the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace. And so tonight we're going to be talking about what that means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and as we always do, we're going to pick out a story of a hero of faith. Actually, we're going to be looking at a couple of heroes and, if you turn in your Bibles to the 2 book of Kings - 2 Kings chapter 2 - now this, I'll tell you right now - and you all pray for me - it's a difficult message to share, for a couple of reasons, but one being the two heroes have names that sound very much like each other and so preaching this message is a tongue twister. I'm trying really hard to speak clearly, even now, to see if I can train myself.

One of them is Elijah. Now Elijah is that famous fiery prophet that prayed and fire came down from heaven - he prayed and water came down from heaven and then he went to heaven in a fiery chariot. And then he has a servant, his attendant - his apprentice - his name was Elisha. Elijah means 'my God is jehovah'. Elisha was in our story last night with naaman, his name means 'my God is Savior' but they sound alike - Elijah - Elisha - and so, turn with me in your Bibles to the 2 book of Kings chapter 2, and I'm just going to begin with the first verse and I think that you'll find this interesting as we proceed.

"And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind," - you know, because they're prophets, they know in advance - God revealed what was going to happen. He was going to do something with Elijah he had not done with anyone before. He'd taken Enoch to heaven - Enoch walked with God and God took him. He was not. But Elijah's going, in front of others watching, in a fiery chariot - "that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

" Now the word 'Gilgal' means 'circle' or 'something rolling' and it was an important place in Bible history. And as Elijah is sent by the Lord to go to Gilgal, he says to Elisha, "'stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to bethel.' But Elisha said, 'as the lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!' So before Elijah goes to heaven, the prophets had a number of schools surrounded around the northern kingdom. They'd been established by Samuel the prophet - a place to train families and people for ministry. There were the levites, but God had another way where people might be called into working for God and it was called the schools of the prophets. How many of you have read about the schools of the prophets in the Bible? And it was especially important during the days of Elijah and Elisha, because there was a lot of apostasy in the Kingdom.

And so, before Elijah goes to heaven, he wants to go and visit the different schools of the prophets to strengthen them before he ascends. You know, after Jesus rose from the dead, he didn't just take off to heaven. He spent 40 days appearing to the disciples and the apostles to strengthen them in the word before he ascended. So already, you can see some analogies in this story. Now I should probably back up and explain how Elijah first met Elisha.

Elijah was on Mount Sinai. He had run from jezebel, who was trying to kill him, and while Elijah was on Mount Sinai, the Lord appeared to him. There was a fire and there was a tremendous wind and there was an earthquake and God, then, spoke to him in a still, small voice and he said, 'you don't need to run from jezebel. I want you to go back into Israel and, on your way back, I want you to anoint Elisha, The Son of shaphat, to be prophet in your place.' In other words, he would walk with you and train with you for a number of years and you would disciple him so that he could carry on your work when you're gone. That's what Jesus did.

Jesus had a number of disciples, but he especially appointed twelve apostles and he worked with them and he trained them so that they could carry on his work when he was gone. So Elijah's going through the countryside and he came to the region where Elisha lived and Elisha's out in the field plowing with - there's twelve other yoke of oxen - twelve - important number - and Elijah takes his robe off his shoulders and he walks up to Elisha and he places his robe - his mantle - this is the call of Elisha. He places it on his shoulders and Elisha understood what that meant. It meant 'you're going to be prophet in my place when I'm gone. That was very significant when this happened because Elisha was a wealthy young man.

Elisha's father and mother must have had money because they've got all this land - twelve yoke of oxen. And I - I don't know what you've got here in Michigan - probably you've got some farmers that have some pretty big spreads of land. I know when I was in Texas, you go around west Texas and there's farmers there - one farmer's got thousands and thousands of acres and they've got these John deere tractors that are as long as a football field - at least what they pull is that long - and they just make these tremendous swaths and inside they've got, you know, air conditioning and television and gps and jacuzzi and just about everything you could think of inside. (Laughter) well, back in Bible times, the most expensive sacrifice was an oxen. If you had twelve yoke of oxen, that meant you've got a lot of land.

And here Elisha is a son who stands to inherit a lot. Now keep that in mind. But Elijah says, 'follow me.' Elijah's a poor prophet. I mean, Elijah, he had to run and he was fed by birds. Any of you remember the story of when the ravens had to feed him? And then he had to run - he lived in the attic of a widow.

So to be the servant of a prophet that has nowhere to lay his head - isn't that what Jesus said to the apostles? 'Foxes have their holes and the birds of the air have their nests, but The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.' And so, when we decide to follow Jesus, we might need to be willing to forsake all kinds of earthly gain. And Elijah - Elisha - see, I messed up - Elisha, proving that he was willing to follow Elijah and accept this invitation, sacrificed the oxen he was plowing with, he burned the wooden implements, and he followed Elijah. Do you remember Jesus saying one time, 'if any man comes after me, if you put your hand to the plow do not look back.'? And so when Elisha decided to follow Elijah he was putting his hand to a new plow and he said, 'I'm not going to look back. I burned my yoke of oxen and the plow. I'm going to now follow you.

He forsook everything to follow Elijah - and that's what it means to be a disciple. You take up your cross, you forsake everything, you deny yourself, and there are great rewards that come with that. We'll talk about the inheritance of Elisha in a little bit. So he's saying, 'Elisha, look, you know the Lord sent me on a circuit and you may get tired following me from place to place.' And Elisha said, 'look, I've heard how the Lord is going to take you to heaven in a supernatural way and I want to be with you to the end. I want to spend every minute with you.

' Just as the disciples craved every moment with Jesus before he ascended. So he said, 'okay, I'm going to bethel.' - I'm only in verse 2 - and he said, "'as the Lord lives...i will not leave you!' Now The Sons of the prophets who were at bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, 'do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?' " - 'You're going to be the prophet large and in charge. You won't have Elijah telling you what to do anymore.' - And Elisha said, 'hold your peace. I know it. Keep silent.

It breaks my heart that he's leaving. I am happy to serve him.' Look at his attitude: instead of thinking, 'oh, I'm going to get a promotion and he'll be out of the way and I'll be in charge.' He's thinking, 'i am pleased. It is an honor to serve him.' How sad were the disciples when Jesus said, 'I have to go away from you and where I go you cannot come right now.' Elisha was broken hearted. So then Elijah says, 'please stay here' - I'm in verse 4 - "'for the lord has sent me to Jericho.' But he said, 'as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!' So they came to Jericho." - Then again "The Sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elijah - Elisha (laughs) and they said to him, 'do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?'" - They said the same thing as the guys back at bethel - "so he answered, 'yes, I know; keep silent!' He was happy to serve. And then notice - a third time - Elijah says to Elisha, "'stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.

' But he said, 'as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!' So the two of them went on." Now in this story - I just want to tell you ahead of time so you can be thinking about it as we go - before the story's over, Elijah goes to heaven and Elisha is filled with a double portion of Elijah's spirit. When Jesus ascended to heaven he said to the disciples, 'don't go out preaching yet, but you wait in Jerusalem until you receive the promise of The Father.' Acts chapter 1, verse 8 says 'the holy spirit will come upon you and you will be my witnesses.' God gives us his spirit because he has a work for us to do. And in the same way, when Jesus went up, the Spirit came down. When Elijah goes up, the Spirit comes down on Elisha. You and I want to know 'what do we do - what can we learn from this story so that we could be filled with the Holy Spirit the way Elisha was when Elijah went to heaven?' How many of you believe it's important to be filled with the Holy Spirit? You cannot live the Christian life without the Christian spirit.

Matter of fact, it's impossible to be the kind of Christian Christ is calling us to be without a miracle. Trying to live a holy life in this wicked world is impossible. It's like trying to walk on water. But can you walk on water if you have your eyes on Jesus? If Jesus tells you to walk on water, can you walk on water? But it is a supernatural thing for a Christian to live a Godly, holy life in this evil and adulterous generation - to use Jesus' words - unless you're filled with the Spirit and you keep your eyes on Christ. In fact, you're going to hear lots of professed Christians, even some pastors, that will say, 'don't take holiness too seriously, you know, we've got God's grace and we're just going to sin a little less than everybody else and.

..' - You need to strive to be like Christ - that's what a Christian is. And the only way we're going to do that is to learn from Elisha how did he receive a double portion of Elijah's spirit? First thing, he followed everywhere Elijah went. He would not take his eyes off Elijah. You know, every now and then I'm asked to do a wedding and I'll just tell you right now, weddings make me very nervous. It is easier for me to preach on television like this than to do a wedding.

In weddings there are just so many things that have to go right. And I'm always afraid, you know, everyone's taking pictures and they're going to be looking at it for years and you try and hear this couple, they're getting married and they're all starry-eyed and they have no idea what they're getting into, usually. (Laughter) and you're always afraid someone's going to faint and it could be the pastor, and so, weddings make me nervous. Those protocols - they say, 'here you walk out. Now you stop.

' But every now and then I do a wedding. I don't get asked very often and I suspect it's because my name is Batchelor and ladies are superstitious about having that written on the marriage certificate, you know? But when I do, I like to quote from the book of Ruth. You remember where Naomi says to Ruth, 'thank you for seeing me on my way, but now you can go home.' And Ruth said, 'no, it's not just a friendly gesture to follow you down the road.' You see, in Bible times, when someone was going on their journey, you'd walk with them a little bit like you were sorry to see them go. When I first married Karen, I just had no couth or manners at all and when I was visiting with somebody and they were at our home and would say, 'well, we've got to go now.' I'd say, 'okay, we'll see you later.' (Laughter) Karen said, 'get up and walk them to the door and then you stand there and you wave.' Okay, walk me - so in Bible times it's like, even Abraham, when the angels came to visit them, he went with them part of the way on their way. And Ruth and Oprah - oh, Orpah - I always want to say 'Oprah' - I'm so sorry.

They went together for a way and then Oprah went back - Orpah! (Laughter) Elisha - Elijah - Oprah - Orpah - it's a tough sermon - but Ruth said, 'no, I'm going with you all the way.' She said, 'do not ask me to turn back from following you because where you go, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. Where you die, there I'll die and be buried and the lord do so to me and more also' - she closes with an oath just like Elisha - 'if anything but death' - it's like in a wedding, 'til death do you part' - except 'anything but death parts us.

' Making a vow to follow Jesus to the death, that's what it means to be a real Christian. Some people say, 'well, I think I'll try this for a little while.' But it doesn't work. 'I'll try buddhism. I'll try this' - that's not what it means to be a Christian. If you're going to follow Jesus, Christ said, 'you need to count the cost.

' What it means. He'll tell you what it's worth - 'what profit is it if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?' So it's worth it, friends, trust me. It costs something to be a Christian but it pays a lot more than it costs. But if you're going to do it, then do it. We need more Christians that are sealed in their covenant to follow Jesus.

And maybe I should bring out a little bit about what these words mean. The word 'Gilgal' means 'circle.' Have you ever felt like the Lord is leading you in circles and you're not getting anywhere? Keep following. The word 'bethel' means 'house of God.' When the lord says, 'I'm going to bethel', do we go with him? Should we have enough faith to take us to the house of God? At least once a week? It's amazing, I meet Christians that don't have enough faith to get them to church once a week and they think they have enough faith to get to heaven. 'You're going to bethel, I'm going with you.' Then he says, 'I'm going to Jericho.' 'Jericho' means 'fragrant places'. Sometimes the Lord leads us in fragrant places.

But then Jordan - we talked about Jordan last night - Jordan represents descending. It represents, like, a death in the Bible. If you look in your Bible at all the different - your Bible and in the hymnals - Christian hymnals - it doesn't matter if it's baptist, methodist hymnal - all these Christian hymnals, the great hymn writers understood the word 'Jordan' - 'through Jordan's stormy billows thou leadest me. By Jordan's banks' - and there's all these songs about the Jordan and they understood the theology that Jordan represented that - that crossing point. It represented that descending.

It was like a death. And so he said, 'I'm going to follow you to Gilgal. I'm going to follow you to bethel. I'm going to follow you to jordan. Wherever you lead, I'm going to follow you.

' 'I will follow thee my Savior' - you ever sung that song before? Amen. It means a commitment that wherever Jesus goes, I will go with you all the way 'my Savior leads me.' So he followed. Very simple truth: how did the children of Israel get out of the - how did they get through the wilderness? They followed where the Lord led. We need to be willing to follow Jesus. So it says that - finally he says, 'the Lord has led me to Jordan.

' And he says, "as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!" So the two of them go on together. "And fifty men of The Sons of the prophets" - you know when pentecost happened? Who knows what 'pentecost' means? It means it's fifty days after the passover, and here you've got fifty men watching as he's about to be filled with the Holy Spirit - you've heard of that song, 'swing low sweet chariot'? And it has a verse that says, 'i looked over jordan and what did I see?' And so here they're watching and it's these prophets that are watching across the - or these sons of the prophets. Now Elijah - they come to the jordan and it's flooding. They can't cross. And so Elijah takes off his robe - that's the same robe that he had placed on the shoulders of Elisha when he called him.

And he strikes the water and it was divided this way and that way. Had that happened before? When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan into the promised land, remember how the waters miraculously parted? And Elijah's got the faith that it's going to happen again, so he takes the mantle and he hits the water and it parts and the ground dries up and, the Bible says, the two of them go across together on dry land. Now, you know, in my mind, when I picture this - I don't know if any of you had siblings when you were growing up and you got into a rat-tail fight. Do you know what that is? Any of you men know? You take a towel when it's a little damp - come on, I see some nods out there, who knows what I'm talking about? Okay. (Laughter) it's mostly men that are raising their hands.

(Laughter) and you roll it up - this sometimes happens in the military, you know, during shower time. You take a towel and you roll it up and you leave it with a point and you can snap it and pop it and just - it's, you know - I got pretty good. I used to go to military school - with the rat tail - and when I think of Elijah crossing the jordan I just see it as something that is dramatic. I think he takes his mantle and he rolls it up and he goes 'crack!' And the waters part. I don't know if the Lord just had angels peeling it back like an aquarium or if the wind was blowing - the Bible doesn't say - but the ground dried up and they crossed over.

And they're walking across the jordan. And once you go across the jordan going east, you're heading off into a vast desert and they start just heading off into the wilderness. That's the wilderness where Moses died. And so, as they go off there - they go together - they're walking and talking together and Elijah says to Elisha, "ask! What I may do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Now you know, this is, I think, one of the most beautiful things - God is saying 'ask!' What does that mean? Pray. Do you have a request? You know, the Lord is saying this to us as well, 'ask!' Now what is the most important thing you could possibly think to ask about? Here you've got a mighty prophet - I mean, this is a fellow - he prays, fire comes down.

How many times did Elijah pray and then fire came down from heaven? Three times: once on Mount Carmel, twice when the king of Israel sent soldiers to arrest him. Any of you know that story? Yeah, he's up on the mountain - The Son of Ahab sent soldiers to arrest him - and Elijah said, 'if I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and burn up you and your fifty soldiers.' Fire came down and burned them up. And the King was upset - instead of saying, 'oh wow, that's the power of God, I better back off.' - Stubborn. And he comes again with another fifty soldiers and he said, 'man of God come down right away.' He said, 'if I'm a man of God, let fire come down and burn you up.' And fire comes down again - burns up - now there's a hundred dead soldiers and horses there. the King was so stubborn he said, 'send another fifty to arrest him.

' It's like the pharaoh, no matter how many plagues came, he just kept going. You know, pride will make you stupid and it makes you just keep doing things where you hurt yourself. So the - but, you know, I felt sorry for the soldiers at this point - they're obeying orders what are they going to do? So this last captain with his fifty soldiers - he comes up to Elijah - Elijah's sitting up there on the hillside. He says, 'man of God, can I talk to you?' the King has told me I have to arrest you, but I see that all the others that have tried to do that are dead. I don't want to die, but if I don't obey the King I'll die.

What do I do?' I'm paraphrasing. He said, 'well, since you put it kindly, I'll go with you.' And so he didn't burn up that group. See, God's merciful. But here's a guy who prays and fire comes down from heaven. He prays and rain comes down from heaven.

Elijah prays and birds feed him and he says, 'can I do something for you before I leave?' What would you ask for if you had a blank check? If you could ask for anything, what would you ask for? What's the most important request? I know that sometimes we think, 'if bill gates gave me a blank check' - how much - how many zeros would you put in? Now if I gave you a blank check, you could actually bounce it if you're not careful. But you wouldn't want to ask too little - I mean, if bill gates said, 'look, I really like you' and asked, 'is there anything I could do for you?' Would you ask big or would you ask small? You know, there's very few prayers in the Bible where God said, 'i can't answer that because it's too big a prayer.' Matter of fact, I can't think of any. Joshua prays and says, 'lord, make the sun stand still.' God doesn't say, 'oh - I can't do that.' He does it. So maybe the problem isn't that God isn't powerful enough to give us what we're asking for, maybe we're not asking big enough. He says, 'ask what I can do for you.

' I wasted a lot of my youth and watched goofy television programs and I remember watching these programs about arabian nights and genies and, you know, they've got all these different variations of these stories where a person finds a genie and they get - how many wishes? Three. Your three wishes, that's right. And invariably - the first thing I'd ask for, of course, is if my wishes are anything, then I want more genies or more wishes, right? Isn't that - you want it to keep going. But you read the stories and they always do something silly and waste their wishes. Now I suppose there's object lessons in there.

And I remember hearing a story one time about these three guys that were shipwrecked and stranded on a deserted island down in the south pacific and they had nothing to do for a long period of time. And they're just staring out into the ocean and eating coconuts every day - and then they see, one day, washing up on the waves is a shiny object. And the shiny object gets a little closer and they're all excited to get up off the sand and they walk towards the water and they get closer and closer and they say 'what is it ?' And they all get down in the waves - they want to grab it first - they all grab this bottle and a genie pops out and - true story - (laughter) just in case. And he said, 'look, I normally give away three wishes, but since there are three of you here - I usually give three wishes to one person - I'll give you each one wish. And they said, 'that sounds good.

' And the first one doesn't hesitate and he says, 'i know what I want. I am so tired of this hot island.' He said, 'i just keep thinking about aspen, Colorado. I want to be snow skiing in aspen, Colorado in the winter.' Poof! He disappears. And the second one, he didn't hesitate. He said, 'i know what I want.

' He said, 'I've just been eating coconuts every day, three times a day, coconuts for breakfast and coconut for lunch and coconut for dinner.' He said, 'I'm dreaming of being in a New York smorgasbord eating all I can.' He said, 'i want to be in a New York smorgasbord and poof! He disappeared. And the third one is always - not the brightest of the three - and he says to the genie, 'one wish?' 'One wish.' 'Oh, that's difficult. Oooh, I'm not sure what to ask for. I wish my friends were here.' (Laughter) poof! They're back. I heard one more - the typical guy, he asks for, you know, you get three wishes and he said, 'i want a swiss bank account with a billion dollars.

' Poof! He's got this swiss bank account that says one billion dollars in there. He said, 'i want the fastest red ferrari they make.' Poof! He's got this beautiful red convertible ferrari. And the third wish, he says, 'now I want you to make me irresistible to women.' Poof! He turn into a box of chocolates. (Laughter) so you've got to be careful what you ask for. What's the most important thing you could ask for? What did king Solomon ask for when God said, 'what do you want?' When he asked for wisdom, what's he really asking for? That's the Holy Spirit.

That's one of the gifts of the Spirit that you find listed. Jesus says, in John 16:24, "until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full." Zechariah chapter 10, "ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. the Lord will make flashing clouds;" - latter rain is a symbol for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit - "the Lord will make flashing clouds; he will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone." It's like new life - the outpouring. God said to Solomon, 'ask what you will.

' He asked for the Holy Spirit when he asked for a wise and understanding heart. You know, Jesus, he says in Luke chapter 11, "if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children," - maybe I ought to quote what he says just before that - 'if your son is hungry and asks for a loaf of bread, will you give him a stone? If he asks for a fish will you give him a serpent? If he asks for an egg with you give him a scorpion?' "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" What is the one thing that Jesus itemized that we should be especially asking for? Holy Spirit. Every other good gift from God is going to come through the Holy Spirit. You know the most important things we ought to be praying for - we always think, you know, 'give me this daily bread' and I want water and I want clothing, I want a home, and I want to keep everyone safe and - when you mature as a Christian, instead of praying for things you start praying for character changes. You know, when you first become a Christian you think, 'i want to worship God because of the fringe benefits and maybe he'll watch me with his angels, keep me safe, keep me alive.

I want everlasting life. I don't want to go to the lake of fire.' But as you mature and you fall in love with the Lord, you say, 'lord, I'm so selfish. I'm so proud. I need to be more like you.' And the only way that the inside can change is through a supernatural power called God the Spirit. But he will not force himself on somebody, you need to ask him in.

He wants to be invited in. And how often do we do it? Every day. Every day. Paul said, 'i die daily.' That means he surrenders himself - he's crucified with Christ every day. And if you're going to die daily, you need to be born again every day.

Isn't it amazing how new life comes into a baby? You know, through this cooperative act of love a new life is conceived. The comingling of the dna, in essence, the genes of two creatures forming a completely new composite and that baby comes out and it takes a breath and it grows into a new creature. And when we pray for the Holy Spirit it's like the breath of God. Jesus, before he went to heaven, he breathed on the disciples and said, 'receive ye the Holy Spirit.' So much of what Jesus said - he prioritized the importance of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Let me just - if you don't mind, I'm going to take a little detour and I want to talk for a moment about why it is absolutely essential for us to have the Holy Spirit.

I talked about water baptism. Some of you might be making that decision. By the way, when the Lord says, 'unless you're born of the water and the Spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.' Water baptism is a choice you make. You arrange it with the pastor and you set a date. You publicly declare that you're following Jesus - like the people came to John the baptist and they were publicly baptized.

Spirit baptism, you can't orchestrate that - you cannot send out invitations and say, 'would you like to join me and watch me get baptized in the Holy Spirit?' That's something God does. And it surprises us when he does it. Some people got baptized by the Holy Spirit before they were baptized in water. Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit and water at the same moment. Some people were baptized by the Holy Spirit after water baptism.

And so it's a decision that God makes, but you need to ask for it. He may give it to you right when you ask. And the Holy Spirit comes in different degrees. You look at the - even in the life of the apostles - they prayed and they were filled with the holy spirit in acts chapter 2 at pentecost. Then you go to acts chapter 4 - they're praying again and the Holy Spirit fills them again.

And, by the way, both times when they're filled with the spirit, why does God fill them with the Spirit? So they can not only live the Christian life, but so they can share with others. He filled them with the Spirit to be his witnesses. Amen. They said, 'lord, give us the Holy Spirit so that we can preach the word with boldness. If you're willing to be used by God, he's going to be a lot more inclined to give you the Holy Spirit.

If you just want it for you, then you're going to be waiting awhile. But if you want it for him and others, what are the great commandments? Love the Lord; love your neighbor as you love yourself. Someone said, 'that's spells joy - Jesus - others - you - and that's the key to joy. Why do we need the Holy Spirit? First of all, even as I'm preaching to you, you need the Holy Spirit to understand the word. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

It's the Spirit that quickens and gives life. You need the Holy Spirit to understand the holy Bible. You need the Holy Spirit to obey. Without the Spirit of God giving us power inside, it is so hard to fight the devil. Without the Spirit of God you can't fight the Spirit of the enemy.

But if you have the holy spirit, Jesus promises 'greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. You need the Holy Spirit for effective praying. That sounds like catch 22 - you need the Holy Spirit to pray better for the Holy Spirit. Yeah, you could even pray for that: 'lord, give me your spirit that I could pray more effectively.' The Holy Spirit will help you "pray with groanings that cannot be uttered." That's Romans 8:26. You know, I notice I always sound better singing with other people that can sing well.

How many of you like to sing with others that sing well? How you sing doesn't matter. You'll always sound better when you sing with people that are better than you, right? And if you pray with the Holy Spirit, your prayers become melodious to God. You need the Holy Spirit for love. In Romans chapter 5 it says, "and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy (spirit) which is given unto us." Don't we all want peace? What brings us peace in our lives? "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It's expedient for you that I go away" - this is Jesus in John 16:7 - "for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.

" He gives us comfort. He gives us peace. You need the Holy Spirit for cleansing. We all need to be cleansed. Romans 15:16, "that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the holy spirit.

" And I'm not covering all the points, these are just some highlights. You need the Holy Spirit for guidance. You'll hear a small voice behind you - like Elijah heard this still small voice. Isaiah 30, "your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'this is the way, walk in it.'" How many of you felt like you heard the Holy Spirit directing you before and making decisions? 'Commit your way unto the Lord; he will direct your paths.' We need it for power - "not by might" - Zechariah 4:6 - "nor by power, but by my spirit." - Meaning not by earthly power but by the power of his spirit we'll be successful. And we need it for witnessing - and I touched on that.

We need the Holy Spirit for sealing. You've all heard about the Mark of the beast and have you heard about the seal of God? There's an inner seal of God, which is the Holy Spirit. Those who are ready for Jesus when he comes must have the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30, "and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." It's like you're vaccinated for the second coming by the Holy Spirit. You need it for joy.

Romans 14:17, "for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." So that's another good reason to pray for the Holy Spirit. It'll give you peace and joy. And, of course, you need the Holy Spirit even just for salvation. Romans 8:9, "now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his." And again, Jesus said, 'unless you're born of the water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.' So is having the Holy Spirit something optional for the Christian or is it required? It's urgent. It's absolutely essential.

So don't you think it's something we ought to be praying about? Amen. But Elisha did not just want some of the Spirit, he got greedy. Go back to Kings chapter 2. I'm just being facetious, he wasn't really greedy. "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" Elisha said, 'please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.

'" And even Elijah realized, 'you're thinking pretty big.' "So he said, 'you have asked a hard thing.'" - I mean, who could have twice the Holy Spirit of Elijah? - "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless," - here's the criteria - "if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you;" - your prayer will be answered - "but if not, it shall not be so." Now, you've just heard from Elijah you're going to have the potential to receive a double portion of the Holy Spirit. What's the criteria? 'If you see me when I'm caught up. If you see me lifted up it will be so.' Now, if you know that in order for you to receive a double portion of the Holy Spirit, you've got to keep your eye on Elijah, how carefully would you keep your eye on Elijah? Have you ever tried to keep your eyes open when you sneeze? Isn't it hard? You ever been, like, driving in serious traffic and all of a sudden you feel a sneeze coming on? You're going...right? It's tough. You wouldn't want to sneeze.

You wouldn't want to blink. You wouldn't turn your head for fear that he'd disappear. You would fix your eyes on Elijah knowing that 'if I don't let him out of my sight I will receive a double portion.' That means real focus. You know, it says in Hebrews chapter 12, "...since we are surrounded" - verse 1 - "by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us...looking unto Jesus," - that translates 'fixing our eyes on Jesus - "the author and finisher of our faith." Gluing our eyes on Jesus. Didn't Jesus say, 'if I am lifted up, I will draw all men'? He said, 'if you see me lifted up' - is what Elijah said to Elisha - if we see Christ lifted up - if we know that he is not only lifted up on the cross - Jesus Christ and him crucified is the center of our salvation.

But when the disciples stood there and Christ ascended to heaven - acts chapter 1 - they stood there and they gazed until angels came and spoke to them. They had their eyes fixed on Jesus as he ascended and then angels spoke to them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, weren't they? Two days later. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus now. Looking at the cross, where he was lifted up for you and me - looking upon him as he's in heaven now. When you pray, and you pray in Jesus' name, aren't you fixing your eyes on Jesus? You know how Enoch got to heaven? He walked with God.

That means he went wherever God went and he had his eyes fixed on the Lord. That's the key for our being filled with the Holy Spirit. And one more thing: we need to be empty of self because God does not fill full vessels - he fills the empty ones. We come to him and, if we're emptied of self and if we're hungry, Jesus promised 'if you hunger and thirst for righteousness' - what's the promise? 'You will be filled.' Are you hungry for God? Are you thirsty? I will pour water on those that are thirsty. He promises that if you recognize the Spiritual bankruptcy - that we are poor in spirit - he will pour water on us.

He will give the Spirit to those that appreciate it. So they walked and talked together as they had done many times before and Elijah's giving some last-minute advice, encouragement - verse 11, "then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly" - how did the Holy Spirit fall? You read in acts chapter 2 they were all in one place and of one accord and then suddenly there was the sound of a mighty rushing wind - as they walked and talked together suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them;" - down from heaven swooped this vortex of angels with - the only words they could find was chariots and horses of fire and, you know, I always try and figure out why God needs horses in heaven. Even in Revelation it talks about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I don't where they get the pasture for those horses up there in heaven, but that's the word that they used for these mighty transporting messengers that he sends. It's, basically, angels and they come swooping down - God's army - perhaps you remember that time when Elisha said to his servant, 'open his eyes' and the servant saw, on the hills all around, chariots and horses of fire.

And they swooped down and - you've seen - you've seen, probably, stories and hopefully you haven't seen it firsthand - where tornadoes pick things up - and he gets sucked up in this vortex of power and light. And as he's being caught up to heaven, Elisha saw it - notice in verse 12, "and Elisha saw it," - what's the promise if he sees it? You're going to get a double portion. Why did he ask for a double portion? Was he being greedy? Let me tell you two things that I think: in the Bible, who got a double portion? Well one, the first-born son got a double portion of The Father's inheritance. Elisha walked away from his earthly inheritance. He was adopted by Elijah.

Elijah had no wife or children. His only son - like Paul adopted Timothy - like Jesus adopted the apostles - Elijah adopted Elisha. And so, Elisha's asking for something really normal. He's saying, 'i want a double portion of your earthly inheritance.' Elijah goes, 'well, I don't have anything. I've got my robe and I've got the Holy Spirit.

' He said, "I want a double portion of your spirit. If you've adopted me, I want a double portion of your spirit. The other person who got a double portion - if you read 1 Samuel - the wife of elkanah - her name was hannah - it says elkanah gave hannah a double portion because he loved her. It's like Joseph gave benjamin much more than his brothers because he loved him. And so Elisha is saying, 'if you love me and if you've adopted me, I want a double portion.

' And so that's why we're asking for so much, because we say, 'lord, I want to know I'm adopted. I want to know I'm loved.' And Elisha had a big work left to do. As you read on in the Bible, you'll discover Elisha ends up doing twice the miracles of Elijah. He really does get a double portion of the Spirit. But now we're getting ahead of ourselves.

So Elijah is going up to heaven and Elisha sees it - verse 12 - and he cries out - for those that joined us I'm in 2 Kings chapter 2, verse 12 - he cries out - he falls to his knees - "my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" Because the strength of Israel was in this prophet, more than all the soldiers. "So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him." Now notice something that's happening with clothes. I asked you on another evening, 'what does clothing represent in the Bible?' Character - the robe of Christ would be righteousness.

Our clothing in our lost condition is filthy rags - unrighteousness. Notice that something very interesting happens: he kneels down, he tears his own, and he takes up Elijah's. What is going to make it possible for you and I to cross the jordan and to get to heaven clean? What made it possible for Elisha to cross the jordan? You know, God dried the ground. They didn't get muddy on the way. It was the robe of Elijah.

What makes it possible for us to go through death and be clean on the other side? It's the robe of Christ's righteousness. It is not our good works that we will plead. We need to put on the wedding garment that Jesus provides. And then, when we are justified by faith, through the righteousness of Christ, that will react in our living lives of sanctification by faith. Did you get that? I know that may have been a little deep.

First you come just like you are and through faith he accepts you and you are justified. He covers you and then, through continuing to follow him, we are sanctified. He tears his own and he takes up the mantle of Elijah. And that's what all of us do. The only thing Jesus left behind was a blood-stained robe - a symbol of his righteousness that covers our sin.

Some of you know the story of blind Bartimaeus. Jesus called him and it said, 'casting aside his garment he came to Jesus.' We come to Jesus - we throw aside our filthy rags and we take up his robe. So he took - and, you know, I can't prove it to you, but since you can't prove I'm wrong, I can still tell you. I think that when Elijah was going up in this great splendor and glory and these angels and their trumpets and the heavens part and music is coming down and it's light and he's going up and he says to the angel, 'hold on a moment!' And they look at each other like 'what? Here we're taking you to heaven. What do you mean 'hold on'?' He says, 'wait!' And he takes off his mantle and he throws it down to Elijah.

It says it fell from him - Elisha, thank you. Elijah throws down his mantle to Elisha. It fell from him. And, you know, Jesus, he sends it to us from the cross. Then he goes back to the jordan river and he says, 'where is the Lord God of Elijah?' He's claiming that promise.

He strikes the water the same way that Elijah had done it, and the waters of the jordan part again and he crosses over. And The Sons of the prophets who were from jericho, they come - the ones who had been watching - and they said, 'the Spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.' And it's interesting, as you continue to read in the Bible, you'll discover Elijah raises a boy to life; Elisha raises a boy to life. Elijah multiplies oil; Elisha multiplies oil. Elijah multiplies bread; Elisha multiplies bread. He ends up mirroring many of the same miracles plus many more.

Do you know what Christ said to the disciples? It's almost unbelievable. Jesus said, 'these works that I have done, greater things than this will you do because I go to the father.' What did he mean by that? I'm going to The Father and I'm sending the holy spirit and what I can only do through one person, through many of you, you will do even more at a broader expanse through the Holy Spirit. Elisha received a double portion. If we're living in a time when people need a double portion, it's now, friends, amen? How is it in your life? Do you struggle sometimes trying to live the Christian life without the power of the Spirit? The most important thing that we should be praying for - if you want revival, just praying for revival - the answer is praying for the Spirit. It's not just praying for revival, we need the power of God's spirit.

That requires us to relentlessly fix our eyes on Jesus to follow wherever he leads and to say, 'the Lord do so to me and more also - anything but death separate you and me. That way, I am determined to follow wherever you lead.' I remember reading in history - years ago, during the civil war, one of the most notorious pow camps was called fort sumpter, better known as andersonville. It was the largest civil war pow camp operated by the confederate states. And, especially in 1864, conditions there were very tragic. The camp was sixteen acres, designed to hold about 10,000 men.

At one point they had 32,000 men in this pow camp. They didn't have food near the end of the war so they were basically starving. They had no shelters for them. They were just all penned up. They had a dead man zone.

You couldn't cross a line - and then a big fence and if anyone crossed the line, they just shot them. They're out there freezing in the winter, burning up in the summer, and in one summer in August 1864, it was especially brutal. I read that they were losing a hundred men a day from starvation and dysentery, malaria - and what made things especially bad was the only water supply for the camp was a very small dribble of a creek that ran through the middle of the camp - totally unsanitary. Before it even entered the camp it ran through the guards' quarters where all the animals were. And that's all the men had for their thirst.

And one August afternoon, when they were just dying of thirst and, literally, dying, all the men decided to have a prayer meeting and they knelt down together that hot afternoon and prayed for rain and they continued to pray and they prayed like their lives depended on it because they did. And out of a cloudless sky, all of a sudden a front began to move in and these thunderheads began to form and cracked and poured and a great storm - they called it a 'gullywasher' went through the camp, refreshing the men, washing the camp, and what was the most amazing thing is, those watching said it was truly a miracle and answer to prayer. Lightning struck in the middle of this prayer meeting right in the middle of the camp. Now I don't know if I mentioned, there were 32,000 men and they barely had room to lay down without touching each other and yet, somehow, that lightning struck in the middle of the camp, during that storm, and it never hit anybody. And when the storm blew over, not only was the camp clean and the creek was running much better, but where the lightning struck, a new spring of clear water began to burst from the ground and still is flowing today if you look at the site.

They named it providence spring. They were all praying for rain and the rain came. Perhaps we should be praying for rain. the Lord gives it to us sometimes when we really want it the most and when we need it the most. And when we see all that's happening in the world today friends, (soft piano music) I can't think of a more important thing or a better time, than to pray for the Holy Spirit.

How about you? Amen. We need to be born of the water and we need to be born of the Spirit. And Jesus wants us to have both baptisms, but you've got to ask him. You've got to ask him with all your heart. You've got to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and he'll give it to you when you ask him.

Is that your desire, you who are watching? He wants to give you that gift. Let's ask him even now. Father in Heaven, we're following your word. We need the Holy Spirit poured out on these people and make this the beginning of many prayers that yearn for the greatest gift. We ask in Jesus' name and we thank you.


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