Intro: Danny Simpson a 24 year old Canadian, went to jail for robbing a bank, in Ottawa.
His gun went to a museum. He was arrested for robbing a bank of $6,000 and
then sent to jail for six years. He had used a .45 caliber Colt semi-automatic, which turned out to be an antique made by the Ross Rifle Company, Quebec City, in 1918. The pistol is worth up to $100,000. If Danny Simpson had just known what he carried in his hand, he wouldn’t have robbed the bank.
In other words, Danny already had what he needed.
There are so many Churches in the world today are searching for power and presence of God, not knowing they already have what they need in their heart.
God’s power and presence always shows up…the question is do we show up with the right perspective expecting God to do something great?
Illustration: It is physically impossible for me to drink all the water from my faucet to the point that I would drink the Pruitt-Sand Flat water system dry. The water system can provide more water than I can possible drink. For us that are born again God has given us an infinite supply of His power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have more God than we could possible use…the reason we don’t experience this fact is because we have turned down the supply to our life. We don’t purposefully turn it down, we just get too busy with worldly stuff, and have too much of the world poring into our lives that we inadvertently turn down the power supply of the Holy Spirit. Also when we have unconfused sin in our lives this serves to hinder the Holy Spirit’s productivity in our lives. We need to confess all our sins and focus on God and experience the filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
GOD WANTS TO SHOW HIS PRESENCE AND POWER THROUGH YOUR LIFE.
We learn from Elijah what we need to do for God’s power and presence to be evident in our lives. Do you want God’s help in your life, family, heath, job, church, and relationships? For many of us the question isn’t, do we want God’s help? The question is, are we willing to do what’s necessary to receive God’s help.
V.17 YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT A PERSON BY HOW THEY TREAT GOD’S PEOPLE.
This meeting between Elijah and Ahab is an interesting one. Ahab is the king of Israel. He has chosen to lead the people of God away from the worship of God into the worship of a false God Baal. Elijah, on the other hand, knows nothing of compromise! He is totally sold out to the will of God for himself and for his nation. It is safe to say that these two men are not best of friends! In fact, some may wonder why Ahab would even allow Elijah to live at this point. After all, Elijah is the one who pronounced the drought that has nearly destroyed Israel and that has taken the lives of thousands of people. Why not just kill him and be finished with it? I believe that Ahab has come to believe that the drought will not end unless Elijah prays for it to. Therefore, he must indulge this man that he despises so deeply.
MANY PEOPLE ARE OFFENDED BY THE TRUTH.
They fail to understand that when God’s man tells them the truth, he does so because he loves them and God loves them. You see, the truth has the power to set you free, John 8:32. Therefore, people would do well to receive the message of God and deal with it personally. The man who tells you the truth is not your enemy. Why is it that God’s people forget that there is a price on sin? When we make wrong choices in our lives and wander away from God, why are we surprised when He chastens us? After all, isn’t that what He promised to do? (Heb. 12:5-11; Rev. 3:19; Pro. 3:11-12) There always has been, and there always will be a price to pay for sin, Gal. 6:9. You never get away with it!
V.18 ABANDONDED GOD
Just look at the first commandment. “You shall have not other Gods before me.”
God never abandons us, we abandon Him. We live in a day of half-hearted service, when people serve the gods of self, materialism, recreation and pleasure more than the serve the God of Heaven. And, I am not just talking about the world. The same mentality that drive the world today has invaded the church! God wants us to know today that He is still the Lord! He hasn’t forgotten the investment He made in us, and like He called Israel back to Himself on Mount Carmel, He wants to call His people back to Him today.
V. 19-20 ONE PLUS GOD EQUALS A MAJORITY
Ahab must have thought the odds where stacked in his favor, 450 of his prophets and the majority of Israel, against one little back-woods preacher. Notice that in verse 19 Elijah points out that it was Jezebel who provided for the prophets of baal while it was God who had provided for Elijah.
V. 21-24 THE WORLD HUNGERS FOR THE EXTREME.
Survivor has sparked an entertainment revolution in our culture today. Reality based entertainment were individuals are pitted against one another are taking over television. We are fascinated by fierce competition between people, and then add into the mix the possibility of God getting involved in the show and you’ve got a blockbuster event.
Now the people and the prophets have heeded the call of Elijah and they have gathered themselves on top of Mount Carmel. This large mountain, near the Mediterranean Sea has a large flat top that would allow such a great crowd to assemble. Once they are there, Elijah ignores the prophets of Baal and turns his attention to the people of Israel, God’s chosen.
Elijah’s question is this: "How long are you going to waiver or vacillate between two ways of life?" These people were guilty of trying to hold hands with God and Baal. They were guilty of what many people are guilty of this morning. They wanted the best God could give them and they wanted what they could get from Baal worship. They wanted the best of both worlds! The words "How long" indicate that this had been going on for quiet some time. So it is in the church. People want the assurance that they are saved and a member of the church, but they want to hold on to their sins too. We can’t come to church on Sunday morning and think we have fulfilled our duty to God and go out and forget about Him Monday thru Saturday. What do you believe is most important to God, what you think in here this morning, or how you live out there this week? What you face the judgment God isn’t going to say, Oh, forget about what you did and didn’t do, on Sunday mornings you were thinking about me, and that’s all that matters.
2 Cor 5:9-10
9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
ONLY ROOM FOR ONE GOD
Elijah presents the people with a problem. He tells them that they are being contradictory. If God is Lord, then Baal cannot be. If Baal is Lord then God cannot be. What Elijah is saying is that both God and Baal cannot both exist. There is room in the universe for only one Lord and one God! They are challenged to choose whom they will follow.
THE SILENCE OF CONVICTION
When Elijah extends this challenge to the people, they just say nothing! They know enough to know that what Elijah says is true. They remember enough from their teaching of God and His commandments that they can’t argue or refute Elijah’s challenge.
THE CONFORMATION BY FIRE
Elijah lays out the challenge to the people and the prophets. They will offer a bull and pray. The God who answers by sending fire from Heaven will be worshiped as God. Of course, Elijah tells them that they are to put not "fire under", v. 23. History records that often pagan altars had a dug out underneath where a priest could hide and light a fire, making it look as though a pagan god was responding. This was just fine with the Baal prophets. After all, Baal was the god of life! He was a fertility god who was seen in the rain and in the sun. They felt that he was responsible for life. Of course, Baal hadn’t been able to send rain for three and a half years, but surely he could send fire. You see, the worshipers of Baal believed that he could be seen in the great thunder heads that brought rain to the land, but they also thought he could be seen in the sun itself. When they looked into the sky and saw the bright, burning sun overhead, they felt that they were looking directly at Baal. This was a contest that they felt confident of winning! Did you know that our English word "bonfire" came from the old Saxon word "Bael-fyr"? Interesting, huh? Of course, Satan would have given them fire if he had been permitted to, Job 1:9-12!
Of course, there were some in the crowd who would remember that Jehovah had also spoken by fire in the past. They might have remembered the burning bush, the fire on the altar of the Temple, the pillar of fire in the wilderness, the fact that God had consumed a murmuring crowd with fire, or the fact that God’s fire had lit the top of Mt. Sinai. Either way, it seemed a fair challenge to the people and to the prophets of Baal.
THE FLESH CAN BLIND THE SPIRIT
The people where so caught up in the sensual pagan worship of baal that they where beyond doubting God and where at a dangerous place spiritually. The danger lies in the fact that the people are even willing to consider that Baal might be real. After all the things that God had done for them, how could they stoop to the place where they would even consider a contest of this nature? Imagine them expecting God to prove Himself to them after all He had already done for them and their nation! Before we come down too harshly on these people, maybe we should admit that we are often guilty of the same things. When we allow the world and all of its distractions to crowd God out, we are as guilty as they are. When we come to the place where we wonder what God has to offer, then we are in bad shape. When we forget His blessings, His power, His grace and His goodness, we are in terrible shape spiritually.
Before we come down too harshly on these people, maybe we should admit that we are often guilty of the same things. When we allow life and all of its distractions crowd God out, we are as guilty as they are. When we come to the place where we wonder what God has to offer, then we are in bad shape. When we forget His blessings, His power, His grace and His goodness, we are in terrible shape spiritually.
V. 25-29 SINCERELY WRONG
You have heard people say it doesn’t matter what a person believes just as long as they’re sincere…all roads lead to heaven. From these versed it’s easy to see that the prophets of baal where sincere, but they were sincerely wrong. Verse 28 says they cut themselves until there blood flowed, this tells us they were not only sincere but they were also frantic. The fact that they cut themselves is very interesting to me because self-mutilation is the same practice that devil worshipers perform today. My point is this; either you serve God or you serve the devil. Satan has deceived many people with the cloak of religion; I’m not just speaking of the occult here but also any religion that doesn’t recognize Jesus Christ as God is considered a cult and fall in this category also.
Elijah’s mockery sent these men into a fit! They screamed, jumped, even cut their bodies in an attempt to get a response from Baal. However, the Bible tells us that there was no voice, neither any to answer, nor any that regarded! That last phrase means that by this time, even the people watching this spectacle had lost interest in what these false prophets were doing. Just try to imagine this scene! 450 crazed prophets of Baal, prophesying, yelling, dancing, jumping, cutting themselves all in an effort to get the attention of a god that didn’t even exist.
A parallel to that are those people who live their lives in a frenzy to acquire and do more than their neighbor, only to die with nothing. They do it for their god: self. But, too late, they realize that their god cannot save nor can he give them happiness or peace. What a terrible way to live and die!
ELIJAH PUT EVERTHING ON THE LINE
It wasn’t just Elijah’s reputation and life that where on the line this day it was also all of Israel’s faith in God. We must remember that when we take a stand against sin and the enemy of our soul it’s not just our personal life that’s affected it’s everyone that our life comes in contact with and then everyone their life comes in contact with and so on all the way through eternity.
THE POWER AND PRESENCE OF GOD REVELED.
THE PREPARATIONS V. 30-35
HE CALLED EVERYONE TO COME NEAR.
True faith, unlike false worship, has absolutely nothing to hide! You had better watch the group that talks of secret things and hidden truth! My friend, do not be afraid to put Christianity under the microscope, it can stand the test!
HE REPAIRED THE ALTER V.30-32
The first thing this tells us is that the people had not been worshiping God, because it was in ruins. . He used 12 stones to speak of the 12 tribes and he did his work in the name of the Lord. The people of Israel had constructed altars to Baal, while the altars to Jehovah had come into disrepair. There are people here today who need to rebuild their altars! Are you spending the time in prayer that you need to? Not prayer behind the wheel of the car, but real prayer, where all distractions are put away and God has your undivided attention. How many would have to be honest and say their prayer lives need rebuilding?
HE ADDRESSED SIN V.33
V. 33 He slaughtered and presented a sin offering. A bull was used for the sin offering. The people had sinned and Elijah is offering a sin offering for the people. Elijah knew where the real problem was! Sin is what keeps God’s power and presence from being revealed in our life. If you are saved, the sin offering has already been presented and the blood of Jesus has cleansed you. However, what God wants from you is a sacrifice of repentance and confession, 1 John 1:9.
HE REMOVED ELIJAH FROM THE DEAL V. 33-35
Elijah wanted there to be no doubt that it was the work of the Lord. He was so certain that God would do this thing that he removed all human effort and ability from the situation. There were 12 stones for 12 tribes divided through idolatry. He used 12 barrels of water to signify that these 12 tribes were 12 hindrances to the glory of God being revealed in them! Elijah’s primary goal was that God get every ounce of the glory! When that becomes your goal and mine, we will see the Lord work wonders in our midst as well!
Don’t forget that their had been a 3 ½ year drought on the land when Elijah calls for all this water at the top of Mount Carmel. This is another act of faith, not only that God could do it saturated with water but also that God was about to supply all the water they would need.
HE ALSO SATURATED THE SACRAFICE WITH PRAYER V.36-37
Even though when we know we are in the will of God we need to saturate everything we do with prayer. Prayer simply gets us in line with God and gives us a heavenly perspective.
The Baal prophets had prayed at least 6 hours and nothing had happened. Elijah stepped up to his altar and prayed a 63 word prayer. His prayer was constructed to accomplish three things.
A. That God be glorified.
B. That the power and presence of God be shown through Elijah.
C. The people recognize that God was stirring in their hearts.
Elijah could have prayed for rain, but he did not. Why? He knew that as badly as rain was needed, the people needed revival more! We may think we know what we need in our lives, but, in truth, the greatest need we have is to get exactly where God wants us and serve Him. That was the heart of Elijah and it should be our heart as well!
GOD’S ORDER V.38
When Elijah finished praying, God answered in a spectacular fashion. Note the order in which the elements were consumed. If the items had burned from the bottom up, it might have looked like man did it. However, everything burned from the top down, proving it was the work of God alone!
Notice that when the fire fell, it fell on the sacrifice and not on the sinners. What a picture of Jesus! He took our place on the cross and absorbed the wrath of God so that we might be free from wrath, death and Hell! What a Savior!
CONVICTION AND CONFESSION V. 39
When the people saw the power and presence of the Lord they fell on their faces and confessed that God truly is the only God. You and I should find ourselves often in the place where we are laid out before him in praise, honor and worship! How long has it been since you found yourself in the presence of God for no other purpose than just to love Him and to worship Him? If it has been a while, let no more time pass! Honor Him, as He deserves to be honored!
A NEW BEGINNING V. 40
When we bring our sinful lives to an end God has a new beginning for us. When we empty our lives of sin, it’s God’s desire to fill us with the Holy Spirit. You may feel like the church wants your help, your money, and your presence so we can look better. And to a certain degree that may be true. But I also know that more than anything else God wants your heart. He desires to commune with you on a daily basis. And it’s our job as a church to equip you to carry that out and teach others to do the same.
WHEN DID THE FIRE FALL? (When did Elijah receive God’s help?)
1. WHEN ELIJAH PRAYED THE WORD OF GOD.
2.WHEN ELIJAH REPAIRED THE ALTER. The alter in the Old Testament always represents our pray and devotional life to God. Do you feel kind of cold toward God? Do you feel distant from Him this morning? Does it feel like your spiritual life is fading? To receive God’s help you must have a clear line between you and God.
3. WHEN THE SACRAFICE WAS OFFERED.
Rom 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.
How many living sacrifices where offered in the Old Testament? None! Now God wants us to live for Him; that means everyday I’m to put my body on the alter and die to self so I can live for God. God and self both can’t be on the throne of my heart at the same time…to receive God’s help I must put Him number one.
Either God is Lord of all or He’s not Lord at all.
The world needs to see the power and presence of God through our daily lives.
We must not let any sin in our lives escape. So many individuals and churches today are not experiencing the power and presence of God because they have allowed sin to carry on in their midst.