Empty Vessel Moments

The Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I have felt the word or theme for this year to be THE GLORY. Lord willing I want to speak about THE GLORY in some way each month to keep it before us. Last month I preached on how We Need the Glory Today. In that sermon I mentioned that a simple definition of God’s glory is: The Glory Is God’s power and presence. Bro. & Sis. Glick wrote the song several years ago that expressed it well,
“The glory of the Lord,
it keeps the church alive.
If we’re content without it
we just will not survive.
This is true - We can use all kinds of church growth methods, plans and ideas and some of them are good and worthy of our attention - but the most important element - the one we dare not forget or neglect is the Glory of the Lord.
Now I’m going to be real honest with you this morning. There are times when it is easy to go on what you know. And in reality we have to do that - that is a part of living by faith. But there also are times when you sense that you are empty, when you realize there is a need - and not enough Spirit, if you will, to meet that need, times when you realize your cup, your vessel, your heart, is nearing empty that you need a refill - that you need another encounter with God’s glory!
That is what I’d like to talk to you about this morning with the Lord’s help - Empty Cup Moments
There is an interesting Old Testament story that illustrates and typifies what I’m talking about this morning.
I invite you to turn with me to 2 Kings 4


2 Kings 4:1–7 KJV 1900
1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. 3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. 5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
Last Wednesday we sang that beautiful chorus: “Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord, Come and quench this thirsting in my soul, Bread of heaven feed me till I want no more, fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”
A beautiful chorus that conveys a sense of need by the author and by the singer. They recognize and sense they are lacking something or in need of something from God.
Now that could be salvation - If you listen to the entire context of the song that is the message being given. “Make me whole.”
But whether we like to face the facts or not - there are times even as Christians - that we either get lax in our pursuit of God, or life gets too busy, or whatever response we want to give there - that we sense in ourselves a need of a fresh encounter with God’s glory.
Sometimes these needs are of our own doing - sometimes they are things that come our way.
That is the predicament of the woman in our story.

A Godly Woman Seeking the Glory

Now I am saying this woman was godly because of three things.
She was a wife of one of the prophets (Who Elisha knew “did fear the Lord” (2 Kings 4:1)
She went directly to the Lord with her need
She acted in faith on what the prophet said, no matter how strange or unique it sounded.
Now this Godly Woman had a desperate need - it was a physical and monetary need.
Notice she is never rebuked for owing the money - but at the same time I am sure she was not irresponsible either.
When we make financial mistakes - we can’t be too shocked when we face repercussions from them.
When we do things that grieve God’s presence we can’t be too shocked if the Glory is withheld from our lives and our services.
I know in our day of softness and delicateness (which I agree the Holiness church has struggled with in the past) we still can never forget that there are ways to Quench the Spirit in our lives and our churches. Let us never be guilty of doing that.
This Godly woman and her desperate need - she seeks God’s glory - no she doesn’t say that, but she is needing the supernatural workings of God on her behalf.
Let me set the scene a little better for you.
Either this woman or her late husband had taken out a loan of some kind. Either for sees for their crops. or for their house or for some reason which we are not told.
The due date for the loan came and went and the loan had not been paid due to lack of funds.
The creditor who was legally within his bounds came to collect - as she did not have any money he was going to take her two sons as slaves. Again legally within his rights as a creditor, as I understand Jewish law.
Elisha doesn’t rebuke her, or lecture her - he asks a strange question.
Look at this question here in 2 Kings 4:2 “What can I do? What hast thou in the house?”
Now what Elisha is doing is checking out her assets. Maybe there was something she had overlooked. And sure enough she had.
The woman’s response - “I don’t have anything in my house except a pot of oil”
And Elisha says “Aha, that is your secret.”
I can only imagine the woman’s bumfuzzeled (Can I say bumfuzzeled - do you know what I mean by that?) Perplexed, may perplexed is a better word, I can only imagine this woman’s perplexed face.
What am I going to do with a pot of oil. Yes oil is expensive and worth something, but I’ve only got a pot.
Elisha says, “You already have what you need in your house.”
You know it has been my experience - this is not an official scientific study - but my personal experience - that typically where there are people who claim to be in a spiritual state of want and need forget some amazing assets they already have in their house.
We spend our time, energy, and money looking for something new and fantastic, an evangelist who will say the Gospel in a way we haven’t heard it before that will stir our hearts and challenge us (And that is helpful at times) we listen for that song that will move us like not other song we have heard before. We try all kinds of things in services.
When all the time if you are connected to Jesus Christ - if you are “IN CHRIST” if you are abiding in HIm this morning -
You already have a part of the GLORY!!!

A Realization The Pot Wasn’t Enough

Now please don’t misunderstand me!
God does amazing work in us - and God’s work is a lasting work if we keep our relationship up.
But there are needs that will arise
There are dry times that will come
There are famines of God’s word that occur
That we will soon realize, my little pot of oil isn’t going to suffice this time.
Can I go out on a limb here this morning and say - I think sometimes this is why we get so bound.
Bound to what others in the church might think of us if we worship like we think we should, or testify more, or express our joy in a different way than others.
Bound to “the way we’ve always done it.”
Bound to the process - and in reality a rut
What is that? It’s we’ve allowed the creditors to come and take some things that are really important to us.
This woman’s legacy and livelihood was at stake. She couldn’t give up that easily - I would challenge us this morning - not to give up that easily either.
Don’t forget about the pot of oil.
You may feel like you have an empty cup this morning - but if you’ve still got a pot of oil in your house —You’ve got access to fill up today!!!
Elisha was so happy to hear she had a pot of oil - but he recognized this pot of oil wasn’t going to be enough. So again he gave her some very interesting instructions:
2 Kings 4:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
Go get a bunch of empty vessels - borrow them from all of thy neighbors.
Can I just interject here - there are a lot of neighbors around us sitting with empty vessels. You could be the means by which God wants to refill, restore, and renew them.
Shut the door - shut out the world, shut you and your boys in - and you would think he would say and get on your knees and beg God to help you - but he doesn’t. He says take what you have and use it.
I’m afraid sometimes we hoard the glory.
Let me say that again - I think one of the biggest problems in the church world today is that we hoard the glory.
We make it all about us - and me - and ours.
And there are times for that.
The woman begins to pour the oil -
and can I just remind you that Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit - a type of The Glory
She fills the first vessel, and starts on the next, and then the next and soon she says, “Son hand me another” and then I can only imagine what took place in that little shack as her tears of joy begins flow, as the oil pours and pours and pours. Now her little pot by itself wasn’t enough to accomplish anything - but when she began to pour it out began to use it - the oil began to multiply - Now I know she had direction from the Lord - but if we are only concerned with how we feel, and how much of the glory WE HAVE it will shrivel up to a little pot - but if we pour it out and use it that’s when it begins to multiply.
How do I use it you ask???
That is a very good question - Use it by being present at church, by worshiping the Lord, by encouraging your brother’s and sisters in the Lord by your testimony and praise and worship - but you also take it out of here and you pour it on your neighbors, pour it on your enemies, pour it on your boss, pour it on your coworkers, pour it on the police officer that pulls you over, pour it on everyone!!!! Their vessels may be empty - and you’ve got a pot in your house - Use it !!!
You say Pastor do you have any scripture for this? I’m glad you asked me that -
I’ve actually got two I want to share with you:
Matthew 5:13 KJV 1900
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Matthew 5:14–16 KJV 1900
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Sometimes we are so preoccupied with bringing our empty vessels that we forget we have a pot to pour out.
Ephesians 3:20 KJV 1900
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Can I just share with you Adrian Rogers outline of this passage, I love this he says:
There was a family that felt forsaken
There was a flask that had been forgotten
There was a faith that learned to function
There’s a flow that never fails.
I like that don’t you - especially that last point - There’s a flow that never fails.
So often when we talk about the Glory - we talk about what God does for us
But this morning I also want us to see that the Glory is what God does through us
And there is a flow that never fails. The woman’s Oil didn’t stay or stop until the last empty vessel was filled.
I believe God wants to send us that kind of Glory. I believe with all of my heart that each of you here this morning who are in a relationship with Jesus Christ have a pot of oil.
That oil wasn’t put there just to have something sitting there-
We used to sing - I’m under the spout where the glory comes out - but in reality you have the Spout in you if you are abiding in Jesus. If you are connected to the Vine!!!
Just yesterday I at Bible study we were talking about Ruth - there is a fascinating passage in the Book of Ruth that I love:
Boaz commanded his workers, as they were going through and harvesting the barley and the wheat to drop some handfuls on purpose. They were not to pick them back up or rebuke Ruth for gleaning them.
This was done no doubt by Boaz to encourage Ruth, to keep her gleaning in his field, to give her a little extra to help keep body and soul together.
I’m sure that as Ruth was gleaning there were other gleaners who would get a little ahead of her and by the time she got there what she needed was gone.
I remember the first time I was at a party with a pinata. While all the other children acted excited and thrilled, I just thought it was a fun game to see who could hit the pinata. But then when one of the other children smacked it real good and all of these goodies began raining down I understood a little better, but everytime I went to grab a piece of candy or a small toy some other child would grab it up real fast. Then an adult or a teacher, I don’t remember now, got in the middle and began to throw the toys and candy out to the edges so children like me could at least get a piece or two.
This is how I picture these reapers doing for Ruth. THings were getting sparse and the sun was sinking lower and lower and it had been a bit since she was able to add any grain to her basket - when all of a sudden right there in front of her was a handful on purpose. a little farther was another and another.
Just so I see God doing that. It seems sometimes the pot is running pretty low, It seems to be more trickling into empty vessels instead of pouring like it has in the past. It seems we just can’t pour out any more - and God begins to pour into us a handful on purpose
Physical need
You name it - Handfuls on purpose -
This morning if your need oil in your vessel this morning - He’s got a supply that will never run dry.
If your pot if pouring out pretty slowly - He’s got a way to renew and resupply to refill and refuel that pot
We might have empty cup moments - but we have a God who is waiting and willing to fill them up.
This must have happened to David -
Psalm 23:5 Thous anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over
I’m praying we’d have some cup spillover in this up coming revival
I’m praying we’d have a fresh encounter with God’s Glory!!!
Lets stand and unite in prayer together for this.
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