Summary: We can access God’s power in order to bring him glory in our own lives and in our world (Part 1 "Fresh Lessons From Former Leaders").
24 year old Danny Simpson was sentenced to 6 years in jail for robbing a bank. Danny got 6 years in the clink for stealing $6,000. But the gun he used in the robbery ended up in a museum.
The .45 caliber Colt semi-automatic turned out to be an antique made in 1918 by the Ross Rifle Company. His pistol was worth up to $100,000 on the collectors market. If Danny Simpson had known what he had in his hands, he would not have ended up in jail.
Many Christians live like this. They spend their lives searching for God’s power and presence, not realising it’s already in their hands. Somehow we Christians know that God is powerful and that humanity is weak, but we forget that God wants to fill our lives with His power and strength. Do you know that you have been clothed with His power? The Bible says ....
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
We have been saying this year that we want to be a church that is expecting God to achieve marvellous and wonderful things in people’s lives. That’s means your life, and the lives of those around you, through you. And we’ve seen, as we’ve reviewed our goals this morning, that the Lord is doing just that. But if we want to continue to see God sized things achieved in people’s lives, then we need to see God’s power continue to work. But so often we’re like the bank robber Danny Simpson and we don’t realise just what’s at our finger tips. If only we realised the power available to us then maybe we would see God’s work more often.
This account of Elijah on Mount Carmel shows us how to access God’s power in order to bring glory to him in our own lives and in our world.
1. ELIJAH’S WORSHIP WAS REAL (V 30)
I recently had to clean up some brickwork at home. New bricks had been laid and I had to clean off the excess cement. So I bought a litre of hydrochloric acid and mixed it at about ½ litre to a bucket of water. This was just the right amount to keep the acid effective in cleaning the brickwork without eating through my gloves or causing any damage.
However, when it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ – we can’t afford to dilute it one iota. Do you see that a diluted faith is a powerless faith – just as adding ½ a litre of acid to a bucket of water reduced the power of the acid. And when it comes to our faith the equation goes like this, God + another = not God. It’s not just a diluted, less powerful faith – it’s not even God. God + another = not God.
In Elijah’s day Israel experienced a three year drought. Baal worship at this time was seen to be a helpful additive to worshipping the Lord – the logic went something like this, “if the Lord won’t break the drought, maybe Baal would.” So, many people worshipped both.
Now, we know that the fruit of a divided heart is always idolatry, and it will eventually catch up with us. It will steal the power God wishes to release in our lives.
God will release his power when our worship is real and genuine. God is not interested in mere lip service. He wants to be, and he deserves to be, the centre of our attention.
And this is the principle of power that Elijah brings out. That if we want to know God’s power in our lives he must truly be the number one priority for us. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can follow God and live our own way – and then expect to know his power in our lives.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins.
Elijah repaired the altar. What is significant about this is that it shows that Elijah knew the importance of genuine worship. The people had spent too much time worshipping a false god – it was time now to get back to worshipping the real God. It was time to get God back into his rightful place.
They had failed the very first commandment, “You shall have no other god’s before me” (Exodus 20:3), and now it was time to put it right.
Elijah had already issued the ultimatum “If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (I Kings 18:21). Now though, after their god had failed, Elijah leads the people to the altar of the Lord. And this is what we as Believers are to do.