Summary: Be absolutely dedicated to following God.
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE
I Kings 18.1-46
Th: Choose the Fire
Pr: BE ABSOLUTELY DEDICATED TO FOLLOWING GOD.
I. Trust God [showdown]
II. Worship God alone [no syncretism]
III. Sincerity is overrated [false prophets]
IV. Acknowledge your high calling [Israel]
V. Confess the truth [Lord is God]
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Plan to win
• Be absolutely dedicated to following God
RMBC 13 April 08 AM
This message was well set up by the telling of the story of Elijah throughout the service, including a children’s story by the youth pastor.
ILL Devotion (H)
One day a young man was writing a letter to his girl friend who lived just a few miles away in a nearby town. Among other things, he was telling her how much he loved her and how wonderful he thought she was.
The more he wrote, the more poetic he became. Finally, he said that in order to be with her he would suffer the greatest difficulties, he would face the greatest dangers that anyone could imagine. In fact, to spend only one minute with her, he would climb the highest mountain in the world. He would swim across the widest river. He would enter the deepest forest and with his bare hands fight against the fiercest animals.
He finished the letter, signed his name, and then suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to mention something quite important. So he added:
P.S. I will be over to see you Wednesday night as long as it doesn’t rain.
Well, I am not so sure that this man was as dedicated to the relationship as he thought he was.
Today, we are continuing our series called “Choose the Fire” and we are coming to the familiar story of Elijah that you have been hearing about throughout the service.
Elijah brings a challenge before the people.
Who are they going to follow?
Will they follow God, or will they follow something else?
So, here are some lessons that he taught in this great challenge on Mt. Carmel.
The first is…
1. TRUST GOD.
Last week, we learned that…
God is an able guide in all circumstances.
And it applies this week as well.
Three years prior, Elijah had went into hiding because he brought the pronouncement from God that there would be no rain until he said so.
The drought had been severe.
Now, the marked man, the “most wanted”, returns.
Ahab, the king, has been just waiting to get his hands on him.
Elijah, though, can trust God’s leading.
It may look dangerous, but this was the day to show himself once again.
Ahab may be blaming him, but this was going to be a day when God would be proved out.
The same can be true for you today.
You know that God is urging you forward on something, but you have been resisting.
Take the step.
You can trust God.
He is an able guide.
Elijah was taking that step because Ahab had been a lousy king.
He had no backbone.
He kept listening to his evil wife, Jezebel, and as a result the nation was suffering.
Evil and injustice must be confronted (17-19).
There was going to be a showdown.
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
Elijah calls for a grand contest to prove that he was not the one that was troubling Israel.
It was Ahab.
It was Ahab and his gods – Baal and Asherah.
The lack of rain was their fault, not his.
So Elijah says, I will give you home advantage.
We will go to Mt. Carmel.
The very place that Baal resides.
The very place that Baal rides the thunderclouds, sends the lightning, and brings rain.
It is time to see if the Canaanite god of the sun, who claims to control the weather, has got what it takes.
We will see how your gods stack up to the competition.
This brings us to the second lesson…
2. WORSHIP GOD ALONE.
Ahab had failed to worship God alone, and so had the people.
They had allowed themselves to be sucked in to this kind of worship that committed themselves to everything and nothing at the same time.
So Elijah warns them that…
The fence is a dangerous place to sit (18:21).
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.