Summary: In the last days there will be a lot of people sportin’ a brand of Carmel-Coated Christianity that looks and sounds good that will be powerless.
I Kings 18:1-40 (READ)
II Timothy 3:1 & 5 – “Mark my words. (Pay attention). In the last days there will be a lot of people who have a form of Godliness but there won’t be any power in it. Have nothing to do with them.”
In the last days there will be a lot of people sportin’ a brand of Carmel-Coated Christianity that looks and sounds good that will be powerless. We are living in those last days. The world has seen enough fakes. They’ve seen enough weak-kneed, empty-headed, two-faced, finger-pointin’, big talkin’, no walkin’, wimpy actin’, church-playin’, Godless-livin’, non-givin’, doubt’n, pout’n, gossip-spoutin’, 3 strikes and you’re out’n, “I got problems big as a mountain”, cussin’ on Friday but Sunday morning shoutin’, Christians!
Elijah’s about to teach us a lesson we should already know: “Carmel-Coated Christianity won’t cut it!” When the chips are down, you’ve gotta’ have something real or you’ll be exposed as a fraud. A watered-down gospel will never light anyone’s fire for Jesus. And a thousand Carmel-coated Christians will never have the impact of one man/woman that’s on fire with the genuine power of the living God! If you’re serving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, be encouraged. You’re making an impact even when you can’t see it. If you’re faking it - you look like a Christian on the outside but inside you know all the power’s gone out of your life, pay attention. God wants to light your fire again. I hope and pray we all walk out of this place on fire!
Elijah’s “Showdown at Mt. Carmel” is a great example of what can happen if we uncompromisingly take a stand for God. Consider these thoughts the next time you’re tempted to sugarcoat your testimony with a bunch of religious nonsense.
1. Troubled sinners may view committed believers as troublemakers. Vs. 17-18; Ahab to Elijah, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
If you are truly making a stand for God you should expect a reaction. Sinners should react to the God who lives in you. Don’t take it personally. Ahab wouldn’t have had a problem with Elijah if Ahab had been living for God. But he wasn’t. He was a troubled man who viewed Elijah as one of the main sources of that trouble. (famine)
Anyone ever say anything similar to what Ahab said to Elijah to you? “Is that you, you old troubler of (your place of work.)” “Oh great, here comes ‘Mr. Clean’ again to tell us about Jesus!” “I’m sick of her and all her ‘Jesus talk’. If you ask me, she’s nothin’ but trouble.” Isn’t that a typical response? You’re doing your best to live for God, putting in an honest days work. You’re not lying, cheatin’ – not ripping anybody off. Not standing around at break time telling dirty jokes or talking behind your employers/fellow employee’s backs. You’re always on time. Always do your very best. Try to keep the peace around the office. You encourage co-workers when they’re having a bad day. And yet, you’re the one labeled as a troublemaker because you tell people about God and read your Bible over lunch break! (not talking obnoxious; not a turn-off)
I like Elijah’s response. (Vs. 18) Elijah “called a spade a spade”. “Whoa now, Cap’n Ahab. Hang on a second. I’m not the guy whose family abandoned the Lord’s commands and built all the shrines to Baal & Asherah that dot our countryside. I’m not the one who led our people away from God into idolatry. If you’re looking for the source of your troubles, look no further than into your own mirror!” “Mirror, mirror on the wall, biggest trouble-maker of all?” (See II Kings 16:30-33)
If you know in your heart you’re doing your best to live a Godly life – you’re not obnoxious or hypocritical or “faking it” in any way – refuse to take responsibility for the troubles of sinners. You didn’t give anyone a hangover from the party they went to last night; create the guilt they feel from having cheated, lied, bribed or slept their way to the top of the corporate ladder; cause their marriage to fail or their child’s rebellion; work hard to get a raise because you wanted them to look bad when you got the promotion. The truth is, you aren’t out to get anyone. You just want to live for God and tell others how He can make their lives different too. And people label you “trouble-maker”. It goes with the territory.
(Jesus) Matt. 5:11 – “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” Don’t “Carmel-coat” the gospel so people will like you. You’ve got a responsibility to tell them the truth.