Summary: Eighth in a series on Revival influenced by Rick Atchley. This lesson draws upon the work of Elijah.
HOW TO LIGHT A FIRE
INTRODUCTION: Let me being by telling you a story about a man who was going skydiving for the first time. He had taken all his lessons and it was time for his first solo jump. So he jumped out of the plane, but he panicked and couldn’t remember how to open his parachute. As he was falling rapidly to the earth he suddenly met another guy who is going up. So he seizes the opportunity and shouts, "Hey, buddy do you know how to open a parachute?" The guy shouts back, "No! Do you know how to light a propane stove?" It is not wise to play with fire. Maybe that is why God has chosen fire to be the symbol of His presence. Maybe you haven’t noticed but it is the all through the Bible. When Moses met the presence of God in the desert it was in the form of a burning bush. When the people of Israel confronted the presence of God at Sinai it says the Mountain was on fire. And when Solomon dedicated the Temple it says the glory of the Lord fell and fire fell from heaven. When Daniel had a vision of the Ancient of Days it says that the throne was on fire and a river of fire came out from it. When Ezekiel has his vision in Ezekiel 1 he saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it full of fire. In the Law of Moses God said to the Priests, "Don’t ever let the fire on the altar go out. It must burn continually." John the Baptist said, "I baptize with water, but there is on coming after me who is mightier than I. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire." In fact Jesus Himself said in Luke 12:45, "I have come to bring fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled." Maybe that is why throughout history Revival has always been associated with fire and to ask God for Revival is to pray for fire from heaven to break out. And no one knew how to start a fire like Elijah. This morning we are going to study the only revival that took place in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Northern Kingdom had 19 kings and the Bible says that every one of them was wicked. But ironically this single revival took place during the reign of the most wicked king of them all. READ I Kings 16:29-33. 21:25 This was as dark a time as we ever read in the history of the Northern Kingdom, but in the midst of this darkness, like a fire from heaven, a bold prophet of God appears. It is what Elijah says and does over the next two chapters that provides us with today’s lesson about Revival – How to Light a Revival Fire.
I. REVIVAL FIRE CALLS FOR HARD PRAYERS
A. I Kings 17:1 – After saying this Elijah had to go into hiding. Ahab was furious and he sent his soldiers everywhere looking for him, even into foreign countries. Ahab had every intention of killing Elijah just like he had killed all the other prophets of God, but he never found him. During this time Elijah wasn’t just hiding, the Bible tells us that he was praying.
1. For 3 1/2 years Elijah prayed that it would not rain in Israel. Can you imagine praying such a prayer, asking God for such a calamity to befall His people? It had to pain Elijah to pray that prayer. Just think of what he was asking for.
2. He was asking for drought and famine and devastation to come to the people he loved more than anybody on the earth. He was praying for hardship and destruction to visit God’s people. But he was willing to ask, willing to ask for physical famine if it would put an end to the spiritual famine in Israel.
3. Elijah’s prayer was both terrible and necessary if the plague of sin was to be wiped out and he knew that his people, his kinsmen would never ever survive if they were not forced to get rid of their sin.
B. Revival fire breaks out when someone is so burdened and grieved in their spirit at the rebellion against God that they begin to pray hard, terrible prayers asking that people be driven back to the Lord. And there comes a time when Godly people need to ask God to bring calamity upon the ungodly in order to bring them out of their ungodliness and back to God.
1. There are some people who need to become so miserable in their sins, so crushed by its weight that the only option they have is to come back to God. That is the only way they will ever make a move toward God, when they cannot stand the torture sin has brought upon their lives anymore.