Pastor Kent Munsey: “The Sneeze”

City Church Chicago

“When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” - 2 Kings 4:32 - 36

Here, we see a child that was a child of promise. He was spoken forth by the prophet to a woman and her husband that had no children and were past the childbearing age. God was faithful to bring out this miracle. One day, during the harvest season, the boy collapses in the field after complaining of some pain in his head. He dies, and his mother lays the child in the bed of the prophet.

It’s kind of a weird miracle. The prophet lays over the child, mouth to mouth and then does this a second time. The child’s body becomes warm and then he sneezes seven times. As the man of God breathed into this boy, it began to expel the infecting agents that had gotten into his body.

A sneeze is an involuntary expelling of breath. Your system responds with a sneeze when something gets into the lungs that shouldn’t be in there.

This child represents God’s goodness and faithfulness. We all have a promise, and we need to know and recognize that God has blessed us. But the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy and is working against the blessing. In this Miracle, there were 7 sneezes (seven things that were dispelled.)

As we are in changing seasons, there are toxic agents that try to invade and bring spiritual death and destruction to the body of Christ. The church in the book of Acts had to sneeze out seven things:

1. Indifference and Disinterest: We need to constantly sneeze out indifference and disinterest from our lives, to realize that things are not all about “us,” but focus on what God wants to do in our community. In Acts 3:1-10, Peter and John didn’t become disinterested or indifferent to the man needing healing, but instead we see them filled with wonder and amazement at God’s healing miracle. How do we expel indifference and disinterest? By breathing in wonder and amazement.

2. Intimidation and Fear: We should never be embarrassed or ashamed about what Jesus is doing in our lives. In Acts 4:18-31, the apostles were threatened with suffering and death if they did not stop preaching about Jesus, but they refused to be intimidated.

3. Selfishness and Greed: In Acts 5:1-10, we read about Ananias and Sapphira who allowed greed to lead them into lying against the Holy Spirit. We need to sneeze out selfishness and greed as the body of Christ.

4. Complaining: Complaining is a toxic agent and you should not allow it to stay in your spirit. (Acts 6)

5. Division: The devil works best in isolation. Do not allow a spirit of division to get into our spiritual body. (Acts 8)

6. Prejudice: Cornelius was a gentile in Acts 10, and it caused division because they were prejudiced against him. We have to violently expel any signs of prejudice from the body of Christ.

7. Doubt: “Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house,” (Acts 11:12). Don’t allow doubt into your spirit. The disciples were inspired with confidence to receive Cornelius and not allow any room for doubt.

These things are toxic, and we as the church need to sneeze them out. Let the word of God dispel these from our spirit. It’s so easy to breathe in these toxic invisible agents and suddenly find ourselves infected, weak and compromised.

When Elisha laid on that boy the Spirit of God began to bring back to life what was dead. Seven is the number of perfection and completion and he sneezed the exact number of times to become healthy and whole. We want to be a community that sneezes, that violently dispels the toxic things that want to get inside and destroy us.

There are a lot of things God can do for us, but some things we have to choose for ourselves. God said he has set before us life and death. We have to choose life and choose to breathe in wonder and amazement, selflessness and love, faith and confidence.

One of the things we can do to get our body to sneeze is to look at the light. Sneezing is a sign of health, sneezing lets me know where I am vulnerable, and it is something that needs to be done regularly by looking at the light.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Which of the seven spiritual toxins do you detect in your own body that need to be sneezed out?

  2. How should we go about removing these toxins?

  3. What do you need to breathe in instead of the toxins?

  4. How can we breathe in wonder and amazement, selflessness and love, and faith and confidence in this season?