Summary: Elijah asked the question which needs to be asked of God's people today..."How long will you sit on the fence?"
• The first message today is the first message of the church. “Jesus saves.” The second is likened unto the first, “Jesus and Jesus ONLY – SAVES.” The Bible records the very words of our Lord Jesus (John 3:16 & John 14:6). What does Jesus save us from? He saves us from eternal punishment in a place called hell & He saves us to eternal paradise in a place called heaven. Questions? HOW?
• The Call of Salvation - L. O. V. E. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved!
• With that truth stated & prayerfully, clearly understood, it is time for us to face some Biblical questions. Questions are a part of life. Questions, ask with a right spirit & proper motivation never harm, however – they may hurt! The question which hurt are the questions which dig into our lives to reveal the wickedness of our fallen nature, that root out our self-centeredness, & bring into view our selfishness which so displeases our Heavenly Father.
• At the same time, hearing and responding to Godly questions can & should have a challenging & changing effect in our lives. One of the question (humanly speaking) might be, “Will you marry me?” That question is both challenging and changing. It challenges you because to say ‘yes’ is to give your LIFE to ONE person. It is changing because – well, too many reasons to count. For all those who are unmarried let me simply offer this, “Most of us who have been married for any length of time didn’t realize the challenge & the change of saying YES!”
• Some questions challenge, some change, but almost all confront. This past week I was drawn to some of these questions in God’s word. Five of these questions, we will ask over the next three Sunday. We find our first question in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings 18. Now, the backstory!
• The players in this story are pretty familiar, Elijah (prophet of God), Ahab (weak King of Israel), & Jezebel(wicked Queen of Israel) Okay, they were both wicked because chapter 16 tells us that Ahab was ‘more evil that all who were before Him’ & he had some pretty good competition. Both God & His prophet got tired of the evil among God’s people so, Elijah pronounced a drought on the land. That is to say, no rain – so the land dried up. By the way, when Elijah finished doing what God told him, he left town & where God led him. We know about droughts because out in the Western USA they have been on the verge of rationing water because the reservoirs are drying up due to lack of precipitation. We know a ‘little of it’ around here. BUT DEAR FOLKS, our land is experiencing a drought, the likes of which – as a nation – we have not known. It is a spiritual drought. Our land is dry because it has been so long since God poured out His Spirit on us in a ‘manifest way’ or like at Pentecost. Mouths are dry, souls are parched, & hearts are hard. We need the rain (another sermon for another time). Elijah’s drought lasted approximately 3 years.
• As chapter 18 opens, God tells Elijah to go back to Ahab & end the drought, but that was more. With God there usually is more. I wished time allowed us to work through this story detail by detail because there is much detail to learn from. How about just one thought. Verse 17 reveals to us the bent of fallen man. It was Ahab who was leading Israel astray with his evil antics & it was Ahab who caused the judgment of God to fall on Israel, yet when face to face with the man of God, the trouble-make tried to place the blame on God’s prophet. Elijah didn’t back up from the King (Vs 17-18), but Elijah said, “Let’s get together & allow God to sort it out, on Mt Carmel.”
• So get this picture; there were two groups of people who gathered, 850 false prophets & a HOST of God’s people. So now the stage is set, the King and his false prophets who ate at HIS table were there & then there was the opposition. Those would be the “people of God.” However, those people were the people who had been following their “leader” into all kinds of evil.
• Now it’s time for the question. (READ VERSE 21) PRAYER. How Long? What a great question!
• ONE WORD – to warn you that I’m not losing my mind or notes, this may be the shortest message you have ever heard from me, because my heart is only to offer you the truth, not force it on you.