Summary: Pentecost 4(C) - Our loving Lord preserves his church by imperfect messengers who proclaim God’s perfect message.
OUR LORD PRESERVES HIS CHURCH (Outline)
June 28, 2009 --
PENTECOST 4 --
INTRO: Accidents happen daily in our sinful world. Philosophers teach about the theory of chaos. Scientists would have people believe that everything just fell into place at the right time and thus life began. Everything is different for the believer. There may be accidents but nothing happens accidentally. Our Lord God Almighty keeps us safe in the shadow of his hand. We make plans but it is the Lord who directs our footsteps on his path. Our living, breathing, and believing are not accidents. "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" (2 COR. 1:21,22). It is the Lord our God who guarantees “what is to come”. The future God provides for us is eternal life.
OUR LORD PRESERVES HIS CHURCH.
I. Through imperfect messengers.
II. Through his perfect message.
I. THROUGH IMPERFECT MESSENGERS
A. Biblical heroes make great role models. Even religious role models have their ups and downs in life.
1. Elijah was no different. Verse 14. Elijah complains about Israel’s disobedience and loneliness.
a. Amazing. See chapter 17. The Lord miraculously provides for Elijah’s life.
b. Amazing. See chapter 18. Elijah defeats Baal’s prophets, 450 are killed. God wins!
2. In spite of all this, Elijah is throwing himself a pity party. He is in the depths of despair.
B. Verse 15. The Lord still speaks. Elijah is to anoint a foreign king to be a thorn in the side of Israel.
1. Verse 16. There would also be a new king and new prophet in Israel. God’s word continues.
2. Verse 17. Jehu would defeat Hazael. Elisha would put to death any enemy that escaped Jehu.
3. All of these men would be imperfect messengers of God: some for judgment, others mercy.
C. Verse 18. Elijah was not alone. The Lord had provided many who were still believers in Israel.
D. At times we may be like Elijah. We might feel forsaken and forgotten. We might even want to blame the Lord for our lot in life. We begin to grumble and complain. Soon we forget to be thankful and filled with joy because of the Lord’s many undeserved blessings. Complaining is easy because of our sinful nature. Someone once said, “People are not happy unless they are complaining”. Does that describe you? Take an honest look at the things we constantly complain or grumble about. More often than not these complaints are about very insignificant things. Consider Job. He lost everything: possessions and even his sons and daughters (JOB 1). Yet, his complaining was very limited. "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul" (JOB 10:1). May we never get to the point where we would complain because of “the bitterness” of our soul.
E. Faith overcomes the ingratitude of grumbling and complaining. A father came to Jesus to ask for a healing of his son. In humility he came before the one who could help his son. This man believed in the power of Jesus. Listen to his plea. "Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’" (MARK 9:24). This is a good thought for our daily lives. Satan would have us doubt God and his promises. The world would have us cast aside complete trust in God. Our own sinful flesh desires earthly pleasure more than divine blessings. Whenever sin attacks we would and should and can boldly say, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” Cast out our doubt.
F. Role models rise and fall. They face the same challenges as everyone else. Sin is alive and well. We cannot overcome temptation by our own strength alone. We are imperfect messengers and members of God’s kingdom. But it is God who preserves his church. God equips us. God empowers us. All this the Lord does with gift of faith. With this faith we boldly believe God is always with us. In faith we pray.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints"(EPHESIANS 6:18). We pray for those in authority. We pray for others. As we pray for others, others will be praying for us. Our prayers need not be too selfish.
OUR LORD PRESERVES HIS CHURCH in spite of imperfect messengers and members.
II. THROUGH HIS PERFECT MESSAGE
A. No matter the loneliness that Elijah thought he experienced, the Lord had never left him alone.