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2-11-24 Becoming What We Behold

Becoming What We Behold

David Peterson / General

Transfiguration; Sanctification; Body of Christ; Discipleship / 2 Kings 2:1–12; 2 Corinthians 4:3–6; Mark 9:2–9

Sermon Type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Discipleship means continuing the work of the master. We can only do this if we ourselves are transformed by him into his image.


Key Text: 2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV1984

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

I. The Call of the Disciple (2 Kings 2:9)

1. Explanation

a. Elisha’s call an early example of discipleship

1 Kings 19:19-21 NIV1984

19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” 21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

b. What is the double portion?

i. The Successor of Elijah

2:9. double portion. By asking for a double portion, Elisha is not asking for twice as much as Elijah had, but for twice as much as any other successor would receive. This is the normal inheritance right of the firstborn, who would “carry the torch” for the family. Elisha is requesting that he receive the status as the principal successor to Elijah.

Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., 2 Ki 2:9). InterVarsity Press.

ii. He actually does more (14 Miracles) than Elijah (7)

John 14:12 Jesus said we’d do greater things

2. Application

3. Illustration

The word “disciple” occurs 269 times in the New Testament. “Christian” is found three times, and was first introduced to refer precisely to the disciples.—Dallas Willard

Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 223). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Epigram On Discipleship

• A Negro minister once prayed: “Lord, we can’t hold much but we can overflow lots!”

• A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; a hand through which Christ helps.

Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 336). Bible Communications, Inc.

God Can Do It

Longfellow could take a worthless sheet of paper, write a poem on it, and make it worth $6,000—that’s genius.

Rockefeller could sign his name to a piece of paper and make it worth a million dollars—that’s capital.

Uncle Sam can take gold, stamp an eagle on it, and make it worth $20.00—that’s money.

A mechanic can take material that is worth only $5.00 and make it worth $50.00—that’s skill.

An artist can take a fifty-cent piece of canvas, paint a picture on it, and make it worth $1,000—that’s art.

God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it in the blood of Christ, put His Spirit in it, and make it a blessing to humanity—that’s salvation.

—Christian Digest

II. The Source (2 Kings 2:11)

1. Explanation

Theophany. An appearance or manifestation of God; a compound word derived from the Greek noun for God and the Greek verb “to appear.”

In its broadest meaning the term has been applied to many forms of divine revelation in both Testaments, whether occurring in a vision or dream or in normally perceptible realities such as unusual natural phenomena, appearances of the Deity in human form in the OT, or the incarnation of Christ in the NT.

Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Theophany. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 2050). Baker Book House.

Here his portrayal may share elements with Hadad, the storm god who is accompanied by a charioteer. These similarities suggest the possibility that familiar imagery was being used to clarify the involvement of deity in this unprecedented event.

Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., 2 Ki 2:11). InterVarsity Press.

Rather, he is taken up in a whirlwind, which is elsewhere associated with the revelation or action of God (Job 38:1; 40:6; Isa. 29:6; Nah. 1:3; Zech. 7:14). Verse 12 makes it clear that Elisha sees Elijah as he disappears and so passes the test given to him.

Achtemeier, E. (2001). Last Sunday after the Epiphany (Transfiguration), Year B. In The lectionary commentary: theological exegesis for Sunday’s texts, volume one (p. 244). Eerdmans.

2:2–10 The trip from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho to the Jordan retraces the first movements Israel made in the promised land (cf. Josh 1–8), and the parting of the Jordan may also remind readers of the crossing of the Red Sea.14 Such a scenario calls attention to the similarities of Elisha’s succession of Elijah and Joshua’s succession of Moses (Num 27:18–23; 1 Kgs 19:15–21). Therefore, the text stresses the continuity of God’s message and God’s messengers in Israel’s history and places Elijah on a par with Moses. The reverse tracing of Joshua’s itinerary also serves as a reminder that every foot of the promised land belongs to God and is under the authority of God’s word.

House, P. R. (1995). 1, 2 Kings (Vol. 8, p. 257). Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Besides marking him as an extraordinary prophet, Elijah’s death reminds readers of Scripture of other unusual events. For example, his going skyward in a whirlwind reads much like Job 38:1, where God answers Job out of a similar storm. Unlike this mostly positive self-revelation to Job, God’s presence in a storm means judgment in Jer 23:19; Zech 9:14; and Ps 83:15. Earlier God had spoken to Elijah after a storm of sorts was over (1 Kgs 19:11–13). Also, this scene may be one last time where Yahweh proves stronger than Baal, for once again the Lord conquers death (cf. 1 Kgs 17:7–24), and once again he rules the storms instead of the supposed storm god Baal. Thus, rich irony, not unlike that so evident in the Mount Carmel episode, prevails to the end of the Elijah accounts.

House, P. R. (1995). 1, 2 Kings (Vol. 8, pp. 258–259). Broadman & Holman Publishers.

2. Application

3. Illustration

Brought up in a strong Puritan home near Hartford, Connecticut, David Brainerd had already set his mind on ordination aged nineteen. But to his temperamental introspection was added a sense of guilt over his own selfishness and sin. Though he studied the Scriptures and prayed, he gained little relief. Then on July 12, 1739,

while he was walking in thick wood-land, conscious of the fact that he had reached the end of all his striving, God gave him a sudden revelation of presence. “Unspeakable glory,” so he recalled, “seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul.… It was a new inward apprehension or view that I had of God, such as I never had before.” It was as though some bright vision like that of one of the ancient seers had opened before the eyes of his soul, and he was allowed to taste the bliss of an absolute submission to the God of glory. “Thus God brought me to … set Him on the throne,” he wrote, “and I felt myself in a new world.”

SOURCE: Marcus Loane, They Were Pilgrims (New Creation, 1985), 5.

III. The Means (2 Kings 2:10)

1. Explanation

The sign would indicate to Elisha that God, who alone could grant such a request (cf. Jn 3:34; 1 Jn 3:24; 4:13)

Patterson, R. D., & Austel, H. J. (2009). 1, 2 Kings. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 813). Zondervan.

2. Application

3. Illustration

“Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches his fish; then he cleans them.”

–Mark Potter

In 1933, Waskom Pickett published his book Christian Mass Movements in India. Some of the material in this book included research on 3,947 individuals who had become Christians. Each person was placed in one of four groups to indicate their motives for coming to Christ. People who came for “spiritual” reasons comprised Group 1. Groups 2-4 were made up of people who came for non-spiritual reasons (social status, peer pressure, or family tradition). All four groups were given strong discipleship after baptism and were monitored by Dr. Pickett. He discovered that those who came to Christ for non-spiritual reasons ended up becoming very committed believers. Over 70 percent became regular church attenders, at least 90 percent became financial contributors, and more than 93 percent were free from all signs of idolatry. If such results happen with less than pure motives, how much more could be accomplished if we actively and consistently train and disciple the “pure in heart!” This may reduce the fear of those “would-be-evangelists” who think their inadequacies will cause them to say something that will eternally destroy a lost person’s opportunity for salvation.

* Understanding Church Growth, Dr. Donald McGavran, 1970, p. 150-152

A young boy from New Haven, Connecticut was struggling to memorize the Lord’s Prayer. His mother was concerned by the child’s erroneous recitation of the prayer and sought counsel from her pastor. The minister had the boy recite what he knew and here’s what the little guy said, “Our Father who art in New Haven, how’d you know my name?” The minister chuckled at the twisted phrases and complimented the boy on his work. Turning to the distraught mother, the minister commended her son for his brilliant theology. He said, “Your son has embraced two important truths: God is near, and he knows our names.” The boy misquoted the verse but communicated biblical truth. God knows where we are and he cares about our lives.

* “Honey, I Shrunk Our God,” Lee Strobel, Seeds Tape Ministry, Nov. 8, 1992

Mr. Glory-Face

Adoniram Judson went as a missionary to Burma. He so burned with the desire to preach the gospel before he had learned the language that he walked up to a Burman and embraced him. The man went home and reported that he had seen an angel. The living Christ was so radiant in Mr. Judson’s countenance that men called him “Mr. Glory-Face.”

Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 49). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

At one point in the story a friend says to Lewis, “Christopher can scoff, Jack, but I know how hard you’ve been praying; and now God is answering your prayers.”

Lewis replies “That’s not why I pray, Harry. I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”

Source: Film quote found at Internet Movie Database.

Campus Counselor Shares Professional Frustrations

In the book Unprotected, an anonymous campus psychiatrist writes:

Radical politics pervades my profession, and common sense has vanished. Dangerous behaviors are a personal choice; judgments are prohibited—they might offend…

Where I work, we’re stuck on certain issues, but neglect others. We ask about childhood abuse, but not last week’s hookups. We want to know how many cigarettes and coffees she has each day, but not how many abortions are in her past…We strive to combat suicide, but shun discussion of God and ultimate meaning.

Source: Anonymous, M.D. Unprotected (Sentinel, 2006); quoted in Matt Kaufman’s “Dangerous Liaisons,” Citizen (September 2007), p. 9


If God Could

If God can hang the stars on high,

Can paint the clouds that drift on by;

Can send the sun across the sky,

What could He do through you?

If He can send a storm through space,

And dot with trees the mountain’s face;

If He, the sparrow’s way can trace,

What could He do through you?

If God can do such little things

As count our hairs, or birds that sing,

Control the universe that swings,

What could He do through you?

—G. E. Wagoner


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