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Summary: Pentecost 12(A) - Appearances can be and often are deceiving. Our Almighty God comes as a gentle Savior and his believers go out with this power of the Lord.

APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING (Outline)

August 19, 2007 -

PENTECOST 12 -

1 Kings 19:9b-18

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INTRO: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? That is the question that haunts every living being. Thankfully, you and I are not able to look into the hearts of men. We see what is on the outside. Man’s hearts are filled with evil thoughts and wicked intentions from his youth. It is the Lord who looks at the hearts of men and knows what they contain. You may remember how the Lord sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel. Saul had become disobedient in his duties as king. Samuel was directed to the house of Jesse. The oldest was brought. Samuel thought he looked like he could be the next king. But that was only an outward impression. "But the LORD said to Samuel, ’Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’"(1 SAMUEL 16:7). All the sons passed by and none were chosen. Then the youngest son was brought in from the fields. Only a boy and yet the Lord choose him to be king – David. Yes, appearances can be and often times are deceiving. Prayerfully we consider:

APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING.

I. Almighty God comes as a gentle Savior, and:

II. Believers go out with the power of the Lord.

I. ALMIGHTY GOD COMES AS A GENTLE SAVIOR

A. At this time in the history of Israel the people absolutely, positively hated the prophet Elijah.

1. Israel would rather worship Baal and many other false gods. Elijah declared God’s judgment.

2. Elijah grew tired of standing up to all the opposition - King Ahab, his wife Jezebel and others.

B. Elijah went to a mountain and hid out in a cave. The Lord did not forget his servant, verse 9b.

1. In verse 10 Elijah lets out all his frustration. He is throwing himself a pity party.

2. The Lord is not going to let Elijah be overcome by despair. Verse 11a the Lord comes.

C. Verses 11b, 12 describe the mighty power of the Lord of creation; a wind, an earthquake, and a fire.

1. Almighty God is not in them but in a gentle whisper – the original says sound of gentle silence.

2. 13a Elijah knows here is the Lord. To make sure the voice repeats the Lord’s question, v. 13b.

D. Today we have heard the voice of the Lord. Today we sit in the presence of the Lord God Almighty. Nature reveals him with all of its force, fury, and power. Still the Lord God Almighty speaks to us with a gentle whisper. At times, that voice of the Lord can and ought to make us tremble as if we are being assaulted by the forces of nature. Look at Adam and Eve after they sinned. One day they were walking with God and talking with God. The next day after they sinned everything changed. "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden"(GENESIS 3:8). Sin changed them and us forever. The voice of the Lord strikes fear in our hearts when we see how they are filled with sin.

E. The voice of the Lord is also, especially the gentle whisper. God’s voice is heard through his Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. It does not condemn, but forgives. The Lord Jesus spoke with a voice of complete mercy and undeserved forgiveness. Quietly Jesus reaches out and speaks to our hearts, your sins are forgiven! Even in the midst of death the Savior’s silence speaks loudly. "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly"(1 PETER 2:23). This is the overwhelming testimony of the sound of gentle silence.

F. By God’s grace and God’s grace alone believers recognize the forgiving voice of a merciful and loving Father in heaven. Justly and rightly so, God could and should condemn us for our sinful thoughts, our wicked words, and our evil actions. But he does not. God does not leave us in darkness and eternal punishment. Almighty God comes as a gentle Savior. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand"(JOHN 10:27,28).

APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING. Our Almighty God, creator of the heavens and the earth comes as our gentle Savior. II. Believers go out with the power of the Lord.

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