FIRE CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN
Text: I Kings 18:20-39
Introduction: What Elijah did in God's name will stand forever as a testimony of God's faithfulness to a man who will take a stand and do His will. True service to God only comes from a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Note the adjective “true.” God can do wonderful things with a man/woman who truly by faith know Him and seeks to be an instrument of God’s grace to others. I am not talking about charitable deeds done in human power, but works done through the Holy Spirit as guided by the Lord.
I. God gives us the account of Elijah as an example of a man whom God can use.
A. No one had ever shut up the rain for three years. Yet Elijah did as God directed him.
1. From nowhere he appears on the scene of God's unfolding working to bring men to himself.
2. He proclaims drought in the name of God - then goes into hiding. 1 K 17:1
3. Three years later he appears again. This time Elijah challenges the sinful King Ahab and the evil prophets who worshipped the idol Baal.
4. An altar is prepared, the first bullock was slain first by the priest of Baal. They pray/chant/cut themselves. Elijah mocked them, “Maybe Baal on a journey, talking, pursing, asleep and must be awakened.” There was not answer, and no fire.
B. Now the question is this: Will the real God answer with fire from heaven and consume the sacrifice?
1. You might ask what right did Elijah have to put God on the spot? To test God this way.
2. The answer is in v36 "I have done all these things at thy word."
3. Elijah had not concocted this event, Oh no. It was not his idea.
4. Look at the Scrpture:17:2 The word of the Lord came unto him, saying:
V8 The word of the Lord came unto him saying. Get thee to Zarephath. God sent him to a Syro-Phoenician woman, a Gentile. V10-12 Elijah ask her to give him a drink and bread.
She only had a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil. She said it was the last she had so she was gathering sticks for a fire to cook the bread and then she and her son would die.
Elijah told her in V13 to first give the cake to him and then to her and her son. Elijah made her a promise in God’s name that the meal and oil would continue to be found in the barrel.
V14 ..thus saith the Lord God of Israel.
V16 ..neither did to cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord.
V17 Her son falls sick and dies. Elijah prayed to God and the boy came back to life.
V24...What was the result? “And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.’ (1 Kings 17:24)
V18:1.....the word of the Lord came to Elijah.
C. Elijah did not act on his own.
1. He did as God directed him by the Word of God.
2. He went where God directed. He spoke what God said speak. He did what God said do.
3. "let it be known this day, that ...."
D. Elijah obeyed God, He let God lead him. (2)
1. 17:1 he proclaimed God's truth...He believed what God had said and acted upon it.
2. God said hide.....he hid.....where God said.
3. He was in great danger, but you see he placed himself and his fate in God’s hands.
4. Further, he accepted God's provision for him; food from ravens, water from the brook.
E. But then trouble! The brook dried up! But the problem was no problem...why? Elijah was acting on God's word.
1. Why did God allow the brook to dry up? God sent him to a widow lady in Zarephath to show of His mercy.
God wanted to bless this woman who when she heard God’s word she believed and was blessed. God wanted to use her as a witness even to us almost 3000 years later. Her faith has been a witness and influence on untold numbers of people over these many years. She didn’t know it at the time and neither did Elijah, but they obeyed God and God used them.
2. So many times we get upset then there is a bump in the road. If we are living for him, He is well aware of the bump. If it comes, He lets it...but if we are living trusting Him, it will not deter us from his will for us if we go on trusting him and being used
a. God did two miracles after Elijah did as God said.
b. Jesus mentioned them in Luke 4:25-26.
3. Then for 3 years Elijah lived as an outlaw under the penalty of death, by Jezebel.
F. Elijah was no coward trembling in fear of death.
Surely he experienced fear, he was no fool...but he stood his ground...he believed what God had said...so he did what God said do...he stayed at the widows house.
II. ELIJAH ACTED ON GOD'S WORD.
A. He was not reckless, but a man of sound mind.
1. A wise man will rely on that which is reliable.
2. He will believe and trust in that which is trustworthy and cannot be false.
3. He trusted in God, not an idol, or manmade god...but the only real and true God.
4. He trusted his creator and naturally expected (3) his creator to do what he said he would do!
B. He did not trust in man, or man’s wisdom on in chance!
1. It is the same today...The Bible which is the very words of God, as real and valid as what Elijah heard...says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.
2. Anyone placing their trust in the God that made them will be saved!
3. But, just as true is that if a person puts their trust in man’s wisdom, worships, and trusts a manmade idea of God, or trusts that even the real God maybe doesn't really mean what he has said will suffer the consequences.
a. Some believe in God, but do not savingly trust him as their Savior. It is one thing to believe that God is and another to trust Him as one’s Savior.
b. Wishfully, Some grasp to the idea, that maybe, when they die and face the Lord, he will be loving and weigh their good with their bad, and they hope somehow there will be enough good to get them into heaven.
c. But this is not according to God revealed word! "For by Grace are ye saved, thru FAITH, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT of Works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9
d. SO....IF a man who hopes he has been good enough to get to heaven asks the question is that what God said? You are saved by trusting Jesus as your personal Savior.
e. The prophets of Baal, stand in testimony of what comes of those who "do it my way".
-they sincerely trusted their manmade god.
-they even worked hard, for him.
-But they failed because they misplaced their trust.
-God’s that do not exist cannot save not matter how sincere a person may be.
C. Two truths are clear.
1. ONE: Trust in anything but God's Holy Word will ultimately fail.
a. The prophets of Baal, did not die never having had the opportunity to turn to God.
b. They had heard the Word of God! They also had seen the 3 years of drought, "As the lord God of Israel liveth it shall not rain or there be even any dew."
c. Yet, like so many folks today, they were unwilling to trust God, in spite of all they saw and heard. It was very profitable for them to serve Baal. Jezebel fed and clothed them.
2. Second: Follow God's Word and live victoriously!
a. In the end the truth always comes out! IT always prevails!
b. Honor God's Word and trust what he has said and reap victory...Salvation and forgiveness of sin.
c. Trust God and See Fire Come Down From Heaven.<
III. WHAT DOES THIS MEANS TO ME?
A. To the preacher it means: You are not sent on a frivolous mission
1. Acting on God word, according to the word he preaches faithfully..thus saith the Lord the whole counsel of the Word of God..
2. He refuses false doctrine and exposes it, even if the he is the only one to do so!18:22 Elijah, said I even, I only remains a prophet of God. 450 to 1
3. He stands true to God, even if he stands alone.
4. NOW HERE IS THE HEART OF THIS MESSAGE... He has a God given right also to expect God to honor his Word. The preacher faithfully claims the promises of God... "the Effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much."
Even so then Lord Jesus let it be so!
He cries to God, I have done all according to thy word...then let it be known this day that thou are God.
Save that lost and dying soul, grow and mature the saved!
B. To the SS Teacher:
1. You say, “Lord I've prayed for those you put in my charge, I've studied and faithfully taught your word, to the best of my ability.
2. Oh, God honor your word, save my boys and girls, let them grow in Christ, keep them from sin and the world.”
3. It is unreasonable to expect God to honor his word! He said his word would not return unto him void.
C. To the parent:
1. Oh, God. we cry, I've prayed as best I know for my husband and children. I’ve faithful lived by your word.
2. OH God, won't you save my family.
3. Lord, you say, keep me faithful to you. Give me patience as you did Elijah to faithful serve you while I'm waiting for the rain to fall.
D. To every Child of God:
1. Lord, your word says I'm to be faithful to your House...I'll be there I'll study your word, I'll hide it in my heart that I might not sin against you. I'll let it light my path, guide me in the way.
Lord, I'll pray without ceasing, I'll be a cheerful giver and tithe as you have instructed. Lord I Will be your witness here in my home, and in my neighborhood in TX, and all over the world.
2. Lord, this is your word, this is what you have said I am to do in faith. Then, Lord Honor your word, let me win souls to you. Bless my family, and Lord, bless my church!
3. If we are trying to do God’s will can’t we rightly expect him to honor his word!
E. To the Lost person who has never put his trust in Jesus Christ:
1. Oh, GOD, I've heard your word, I can’t understand it all, but oh, God how I long to be saved!...To be forgiven of sin and to know I`ll go to heaven when I die.
2. Lord, your word says, I must believe, that’s what the apostles told the Philippian jailer! Then Oh, God the Best I know how I place my trust in you!!!
3. Can you not believe that God will answer that sincere prayer of a heart that loves to know God?
F. The answer to all the questions is YES,! OH, Yes God will honor his word he always has.
1. Elijah, was faithful to God's Word, He heard it and then trusted in it. He shows his trust by acting on it.
2. Today, I call on God to rain fire down from heaven again.
a. Fire to stir Christians to be faithful to God.
b. Fire to keep away sin from our lives.
c. Fire to let Christians surrender their all to Christ.
d. Fire to consume false doctrine, and a hot fire strong enough to burn away the scales from our eyes, and the fog ignorance so that no one of our number be deceived by the devil.
e. A Fire to burn in men’s souls, to give them a desire to win the lost, and make them committed to the Will of God in their lives.
3. Finally, a fire in the souls of lost men, to compel them to flee to the Lord, and be saved.
a. Oh, God make the fires of hell and the warning that the wages of sin is death.
b. Oh God, save the lost.
Oh. God send the fire of conviction from the Holy Spirit, let it consume us, and empower us to do your will in our lives.