Summary: “How long will you waver between two opinions?” We need revival! Every kind of problem and disaster has happened to the USA. Have we repented yet? Do we still hesitate to surrender all to Christ? "If Jehovah is God, then serve Him!"
IF GOD IS GOD, THEN SERVE HIM!
1 Kgs 18:21-29, 36-39
A. HUMOR: Watch your CHOICE OF WORDS
1. A doctor was called and asked to visit a sick home-bound man way out in the country. The wife, who made the call, said, “Doctor, I’m sorry to ask you to come so far, but he’s really sick!”
2. The doctor said, “Oh, that’s quite all right. I have another patient in the neighborhood, so I’ll come out and kill two birds with one stone!”
21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them….23 “Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.” 26 Then they [the prophets of Baal] called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!... Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. 36 [Next Elijah prepared his sacrifice.] At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” 1 Kgs 18:21-29; 36-39.
C. THESIS & TITLE
1. It was a day to be remembered, when the multitudes of Israel were assembled at the foot of Carmel and when the solitary prophet of the Lord came forth to defy the 450 priests of the false god.
2. Upon that hill of Carmel, and along the plain, were three kinds of persons. First, the devoted servant of Jehovah. Second, the decided servants of evil (450 prophets of Baal); but the vast majority on that day belonged to a third class—those who were wavering between two opinions.
3. Now, we have these three classes here this morning. So I’m speaking to the issue of “If God be God, then Serve Him!”
I. THE SITUATION LOOKS BLEAK!
A. BLEAK IN ISRAEL
1. Israel had come out of Egypt and experienced transformation by the presence of God in the wilderness for 40 years. Things went well until the times of the Judges, where “another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel” Judges 2:10. It was a national backsliding.
2. The situation became much worse under the evil King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, who forced idolatry on Israel and murdered almost all the prophets of the Lord.
3. But no country and no individual is past being reclaimed by God. If God can save Nineveh and Saul of Tarsus, God can save anyone!
B. OUR CURRENT PARALLEL SITUATION
1. Before the Coronavirus hit, America had dropped from 70% church attendance in the 1970’s to only 18% last year, and only 3% of those 18-25 went to church.
2. Under Coronavirus the picture got much worse. All American churches were forcibly closed for 2 months and some states have hindered their reopening since. 1/3 of former members who’d been watching online services quit after 6 weeks, meaning they effectively backslid.
3. God sent a message to Israel through the prophet Elijah to kickstart revival and we need a message like that too, since the majority of Americans would also find themselves in the class of “wavering between two opinions!”