Summary: Part two focuses on the third indicator of our becoming lukewarm - caught between two opinions (indecisiveness.)
Our Source Part 2
This is part two of my series “Our Source.” Last week I shared with you what Jesus said to John pertaining to the church of Laodicea. Jesus did not commend that prosperous church on anything because they had become lukewarm. If you recall, I shared with you the Laodiceans did not have neither cold nor hot water so they understood what Jesus was saying to them when He said they were lukewarm and neither hot nor cold. Remember, being hot or cold related to purpose, not that one was better than the other. If hot water is needed, lukewarm water will not serve the same purpose. The same with cold water. So being hot or cold in the example would have been preferred versus being lukewarm. In my message last week I used the analogy of two cups of water. One was ice cold and the other boiling hot when I started the message. By the end of the message, the boiling hot water had become warm while the ice cold water had become cool. If we had the time and we let the water stay there longer, both the hot and cold water would eventually reach the same temperature, the temperature of the room. Please keep this in mind as I will come back to this analogy later.
Last week I shared with you that each person must judge themselves as it relates to where they are with being lukewarm towards the things of God. I gave you two examples on last week with the first being your love of God and the second being whether you are serving Him or money (the things of this world.) These are the first two indicators of our becoming lukewarm. Even though we may be attending Church faithfully and going through all of the religious motions of our service, we could still be lukewarm based on where we are internally, within our hearts. This morning I want to share with you the third indicator – hesitating between two opinions. When you examine our love for God and Whom/what we choose to worship, it can be traced back to what we believe. The core of our lukewarmness starts with what we believe. What we believe about God directly impacts our love for Him just as our love for others is impacted by what we believe about them. What we believe about God and ultimately money directly impacts our choice to serve either. For example, if we believe God is our source, we by default understand that money is not. If we are unsure if God will provide for us (as our source) then by default we must provide for ourselves and then money becomes our source to do that. In my opinion, the first two indicators (our love for God and whether we are serving Him or money) can be traced back to the third indication – having two opposing opinions and hesitating between the two.
For the purposes of my visual this morning, I have again placed two cups of water on the table. Unlike last week, instead of the water being in cups, they are in insulated containers. Again, one contains boiling hot water while the other contains ice cold water. I will come back to these at the conclusion of the message this morning. So let’s begin with First Kings chapter eighteen.
I. Being Connected To Our Source (cont.)
Hesitating Between Two Opinions. The third measure of our lukewarmness towards God pertains to what we believe. Again, people are good at expressing what people want to hear, but God knows what we truly believe within our hearts. It is hard to be settled on one belief if we believe everything about everything! Let’s begin reading at verse nineteen. “Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table. So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:19-21)
When you read this story in its entirety you will discover that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel served as leaders of the northern kingdom of Israel. During their time of reign, there was much evil in the land. King Ahab was a Jewish king who married Jezebel, a Sidonian woman. The Bible tells us that Ahab was an evil king even before he married Jezebel. 1 Kings 16:30-31 tell us the following: “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him. It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethball, king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.” Please understand that he was evil before he married Jezebel and his marriage to her enhanced the rebellion against God that already existed within him. The real issue here, (beyond his personal rebellion) was the effect his rebellion, as a leader, had on the Israelite people. The Israelites became indecisive as it related to who was the one true God. Initially they believed in the one true God, but after Ahab built a house to Baal in the capital city of Samaria and made an Asherah pole as a tool of pagan worship they began to shift. (An Asherah pole was a sacred pole (or sometimes a tree) that was used in the worship of the pagan goddess Asherah. The Asherah pole was often mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the ways the Israelites sinned against the Lord and worshiped other gods. The first mention of the Asherah pole is in Exodus 34:13 where God instructs the Israelites to destroy any Asherah pole they found among the other people in the land. In Deuteronomy 16:21, the Lord commanded the people of Israel to not make Asherah poles of their own. Although God had given a commandment pertaining to these pagan worship symbols, King Ahab ignored them.)