2 Kings 13:21
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
Elisha fell sick and died and was buried in a sepulchre. After some time, Israel was at war with the Syrians. A man who died in the battle was being buried when a band of men came to fight. Instead of finishing the burial, they laid the man in Elisha’s sepulchre. As they laid his body down, his body touched Elisha’s bones, and the Scriptures say that the man revived and lived.
A valuable truth is found in this illustration that should cause all to pause and learn. Though Elisha was dead, there was still power in his bones. Though men of God from the past are in Heaven, their teachings, principles, church-building methods, and life examples are still powerful today if followed. Sadly, too many let these men from the past stay dead instead of learning what made their works so powerful.
I have recently read several books of men from the past and have gleaned from these books invaluable ideas that can help me to reach more people for Christ and influence people to become fruit that remains. What I have learned from these books is that there is still power in their wisdom and methods that can help us today if we don't destroy the legacy they have left behind. Let me help you with this truth.
First, the men from the past cannot help you if you don't study the books they wrote. Many people can write books about someone from the past, but the best books to read about these men are the books they wrote. In their books are truths that can help both the pastor and church member. You can only benefit from the power of these great men if you take the time to read their books. I believe it is a travesty that we are more interested in modern theories of church building than following the tried and true methods of God’s men from the past. If you would read from these men, you can learn much to help you in your walk with God and in building a church.
Second, the methods, principles, and truths these men from the past taught will still work today. Oh, there may be a few out-of-date things, but the structure of how to build a Sunday school or church that we learn from these men still works today if we would apply them. So many are following the methods of liberals and criticize the methods of past preachers, but they have never truly followed these past men’s methods. One thing I have done as a pastor is apply what I have learned and continue to learn from these men. It still works if you will work what you learn from them.
Third, get to know the men that knew the men from the past and you can learn the wisdom of those great men of God who are now in Heaven. I have made a great effort in getting to know older men of God who knew the men from the past. In my conversations with these older men, I have gleaned much wisdom about how to do things. These older, successful men of God who have not changed are successful because they followed what they learned from past men of God, and the counsel they give is just as powerful today if you will seek it out. My friend, there is power in the dead bones; don't miss the power because you are too proud to ask or too critical to learn from these past men of God.