Summary: Not "go say it in your closet". 95% of professing Christians never share their faith, and of the 5% that do, 80% of them are new believers.

Not "go say it in your closet". 95% of professing Christians never share their faith, and of the 5% that do, 80% of them are new believers.

As I tell this story from 1 Kings 18, I want you to wonder why I’m using it to begin a sermon on evangelism…. Imagine the scene, over 400 decked out Baal prophets, 100’s or 1000’s of frenzied worshippers dancing, yelling, cutting themselves up with swords and spears, and lots of sexual immorality out in the open on Mt Carmel. All around a little man-made statue. Lots of action, lots of pleasure and emotional frenzy.

The frenzy increases as the worshippers try to bring fire down from heaven to cook a bull for a sacrifice. Many of these worshippers are God’s own people, the Israelites. Elijah yells over to them, “yell louder you bunch of nutcases, maybe your God is sleeping or stepped out to the outhouse”. And this went on all day, no fire came.

Finally Elijah says, “hey you all come over here”. He had built a little altar with 12 stones in the name of the Lord. He built a trench around it filled it with water and doused water all over the wood and the bull a few times, it was completely saturated. Then Elijah just stepped forward and simply asked God to let Himself be known. Immediately fire came from heaven, burnt up everything and even dried up all the water in the trench. And all the people fell on the ground and proclaimed “the Lord is God!”

I think the story of Elijah is relevant when we look at modern worship. What we are dealing with bears little difference to what he dealt with in his day. The constant problem throughout the history of the people of God is that they always wanted to worship their way. They wanted worship to be about their pleasure, not God’s.

The Baal worship didn’t focus on a deity, but the focus was on the emotional ecstasy of manipulated emotions, with a lifeless statue symbolizing the reason for all of it. It’s quite a show aimed at an emotional experience for the worshippers. Then there’s the solitary Elijah there present in the midst of the person of God not for his own pleasure, but to witness God glorifying Himself.

Elijah simply asks God to glorify himself, and he does, and the simple act of bringing down fire because of a simple request, trumped all the religious frenzy created by the Baal worshippers, who had lots of emotional experience but absolutely no experience of God. And when Elijah got the fire just by being in God’s presence and asking Him to do what he does, it stopped the frenzied Baal folks in their tracks with their jaws dropped. Elijah simply asked God to show himself.

“Ah, pastor, I’ not gettin’ it, we’re talking about worship. I thought we were going to be talking about that word that we don’t like to talk about… evangelism” Let me respond this way, what do think would be the best way to get people to give their lives to Christ? Would it not be to actually witness Him doing something? And could that something be what He has done in your life?

And I want to say with all the love I have for you and for myself, that today the biggest miracle God could do would be to get us out there telling the world about Jesus. I’m sure that would please Him more than what we do on Sunday mornings.

I tell that story about Elijah because people in this world are deceived like the Canaanites, and I truly believe we have gotten so tied up in our idols that we call Christianity (going to church, bible study, concerts, prayer groups) none of which are bad, that we have forgotten the fact that our worship is to be a living sacrifice, in obedience to Jesus, and our calling is what we read in Matthew 28 verses 18-20 which we all call the “not so bad for others who have the gift of evangelism commission”.

No, we call it the great commission, but apparently not too many of us think it’s that great. Jesus physically rises from the dead, comes to his disciples and says, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It’s about Him not us, and our duty is to give the deceived world the truth that many don’t want to hear, and even more don’t want to share. Jesus says “GO” and most of us say “no”.

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