2 Kings 11:17-21 – We Must Ensure The Survival of The Revival

Posted: July 15, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 11:17-21

Jehoiada’s Religious Reforms in Judah

We have seen it happen before in Methodist churches! In the United Methodist Church, we have what is called an intinerate system where there is agreement between the larger state or regional state convention (called conferences) and the local United Methodist churches. In this system, every church that is part of the conference is guaranteed a pastor and every pastor that is part of the conference is guaranteed a church within that conference. Each church is subject to directives of the regional or state conference as a result of the conference providing it with collective resources such as providing each chuch with a pastor. It is system that has been in place in the United Methodist Church in its various forms since the late 1700s. It has worked well for the most part.

We have seen it before in Southern Baptist churches. In their call system, each church is individually responsible for filling its pulpit. Though each Baptist church is part of a regional Baptist association and usually a state Baptist convention, they are responsible for finding their own pastors. Each Baptist church is autonomous in its governance including finding its own pastor. It is a system that has appealed to Baptists for several centuries in America. These are opposite approaches to finding pastors and to local church governance.

We have seen it before in independent churches that are becoming increasingly popular in the late 20th century and now here in the 21st century. These are usually churches that are founded by a charismatic pastor and are often less traditional and more modern in worship styles than the older denominational churches. They are centered around the founding pastor. After they reach a certain size, the founding pastor often creates an accountability board of some sort. But the church is governed by the founding pastor and his staff. It is a different approach that has worked well in many cases.

What is it that we have seen? Even in the traditional denominational models we have seen it and we have certainly seen it in the modern founding pastor governed churches. What is it that we have seen? It is when churches become focused around a pastor. We have seen it much more in the founding pastor/modern church model. But it can happen in the traditional denominational church model, too. Churches can take off and grow rapidly when it has a charismatic leader. It is certainly the fleshly dream of pastors to watch a church explode in growth while he is the pastor of that church. That is just a fleshly human response to see a church take off while you are the pastor of that church.

It is that idea of the danger of churches being focused around the pastor that came to mind this morning as I read about this priest who reformed the worship of Judah when the king was just a 7 year old kid. He reformed the people ideas about God and about idol worship and it looked like Judah was on its way back to God. Let’s read the passage, 2 King 11:17-21 now with this idea in mind:

17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. 18 And all the people of the land went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols to pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Jehoiada the priest stationed guards at the Temple of the Lord. 19 Then the commanders, the Carite mercenaries, the palace guards, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord. They went through the gate of the guards and into the palace, and the king took his seat on the royal throne. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed at the king’s palace.

21 [a]Joash[b] was seven years old when he became king.

In this passage, we see that Jehoiada was the priest that made things happen. He encouraged them to return to God and leave their idol worshipping ways. It was a great time for those who had longed to see revival in Judah. For over a hundred years, Judah had become lackadaisical at best in their worship of the one true God. They had fallen in to idol worship of the pagan god, Baal. They had combined idol worship with lip service to the one true God. They were doing what the world around them was doing, idol worship, and yet saying they were God’s people. Then along comes Jehoiada and re-energizes the people for the Lord. They tear down the pagan idols and the temples associated with them. I bet attendance at temple gatherings skyrocketed. It was a grand time of revival for the people of God. However, as we shall see in the coming passages, it was short-lived. After Jehoiada’s death, all the reforms to the religious life of Judah ended and the people returned to their old ways of combining pagan idol worship with worship of the one true God. Apparently, Jehoiada was the focus of the resurgence and not God himself and Jehoiada did not spend time ensuring that the revival would survive after he was gone.

That’s what I was talking about earlier when I was talking about what can happen and we have seen it happen in denominational and independent churches alike. Churches that explode in growth because of a charismatic leader. Then something happens, a pastor moves, retires, dies, or has some moral failure and the church implodes or drops off to something way less than it once was a the height of that pastor’s tenure at the church. When the pastor becomes the center of the church then whatever growth, whatever spiritual revival is caused, cannot be maintained.

We as pastors can never make the church about us. We must always keep the focus on Jesus Christ and always keep developing the church’s leadership that when we leave the church has been prepared for that. In the Methodist Church, we must build our churches to be focused on what churches are in business for rather than making ourselves the center of the focus. Churches are in the business of attracting people far from God to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and then once there disciple them into deeper and deeper relationships with Jesus. In the Methodist Church, we should develop our churches so that when the next pastor is assigned to it and we move away that the church not only survives but thrives. We must have the attitude that we are laying the bricks for the next pastor. We must have the attitude that we point the congregation toward Jesus and not ourselves. Baptist, Presbyterian, non-denominational, all other churches must have the same attitude.

We as pastors must ensure that we build leadership teams of people that are hungry for Jesus Christ and are hungry to see the world impacted by Christ from their local church. It should never be that the first thing people say about your church is who the pastor is. The first thing that should be said about your church is that, “Man, that church really loves Jesus. They are the most loving people I have ever heard of.” That is not often the case in churches focused around a charismatic pastor. We should be building leadership teams that will continue loving the world around them in the name of Jesus regardless of whether we are the pastors or not and somebody else steps into the pulpit.

That’s the lesson for me after reading this passage and knowing what comes after it in 2 Kings. Things made a resurgence under Jehoiada but they fell off and returned to the old ways after he passed away. He did not ensure that he was developing leaders underneath him that would carry on the reforms he was making. He did not ensure the survival of the revival. We as pastors must make sure that we make everything about Jesus and not us. We as pastors must make sure that we develop leadership within our churches so that whatever momentum we create while we are pastors of our churches will survive and continue after we are gone, retired or dead. We must ensure the survival of the revival.

Amen and Amen.

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