Chariots of Fire

Text: II Kings 6:8-23

 

I.         Ben-hadad, king of Syria, caused much grief for the northern kingdom of Israel

            A.        He made many raids into Israel, but he soon ran into problems

            B.        While his strategies were planned in top-secret, the king of Israel always seemed to know them in advance and had counters in place.

            C.        It was obvious to Ben-hadad that he had a spy among his people

                        1.         He called his servants together to find out who was the spy

                        2.         They not only denied being spies, but they also pointed out that the real culprit was a prophet on Israel’s side.

            D.        In our world of espionage, can you think of a better spy than the Lord God.

                        1.         Even Ben-hadad’s bedroom was “bugged” by the Holy Spirit.

            E.        Ben-hadad decided to go to the root of the problem.

                        1.         He would take out this informant

                        2.         When he learned that Elisha was in Dothan, he sent his army out to surround the town. There would be no escape for Israel’s eyes and ears!

            F.        When Elisha’s servant arose early the next morning, he was dismayed to find themselves surrounded by the enemy.

                        1.         Yet Elisha’s response was startling - II Kings 6:16

                        2.         It was then that Elisha asked God to let his servant see how things actually stood - II Kings 6:17

II.        The Old Testament is filled with wondrous stories for our instruction - Romans 15:4

            A.        We are in enemy territory, surrounded on all sides

                        1.         I Peter 5:8 - Satan is looking to bring down God’s people.

                        2.         Some have been taken captive - II Timothy 2:26

                        3.         It is time to don the armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-13

            B.        As Elisha understood, our side is more powerful than the enemy

                        1.         Elisha only saw the enemy. He forgot that God was their ally.

                        2.         There are two planes - II Corinthians 4:16-18

                        3.         We have to walk by faith, not by sight - II Corinthians 5:7

                        4.         The battle is on the spiritual plane - II Corinthians 10:3-5

                        5.         If God is for us, who can oppose us? - Romans 8:31

            C.        God will deliver us

                        1.         Our confidence is in God - Psalm 3:6-8; 27:1-3

                        2.         We must not fear - Isaiah 41:10-14

                        3.         Our confidence reflects the outcome - Philippians 1:27-30

                        4.         Must hold to our confidence to the end - Hebrews 3:6, 14

III.       Therein lies a problem for many. How can I truly be confident?

            A.        Think back to when you first believed the gospel. When you came up out of the watery grave of baptism, were you confident of your salvation? Why?

            B.        The confidence did not come from man, but confidence in God’s promise

                        1.         The gospel came from God and not man - Galatians 1:11

                        2.         It was God who said that baptism washes away sins - Acts 22:16

                        3.         Baptism is the answer of a good conscience towards God - I Peter 3:21

                        4.         So we became new - Romans 6:3

                        5.         A newness created by God - Ephesians 4:17-24

            C.        When a person follows God’s commandments, does that earn God’s aid or causes God to owe us salvation? Not at all.

                        1.         It is a display of our love for the God who has saved us - John 14:15; I John 5:1-3

                        2.         Our keeping the commandments does not save us, but we have confidence that God saves those who keep His commandments - I John 2:3-6

            D.        So how do we know we are saved?

                        1.         Because God promised to save those who obey Him - Titus 1:1-2; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1

                        2.         We know what we must do to obey God because it is written in the Bible - I John 2:24-25

                        3.         All it requires is staying in the bounds of the instruction of God.

IV.      People have lost their confidence because

            A.        They have stopped trusting God

            B.        They have convinced themselves that truth is hard or impossible to discern.

            C.        What about you? - Hebrews 11:6