Summary: John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, a short message on what that was: 1. A passion for the lost 2. Nation changing prayer.
The Spirit and power of Elijah.
PPT 1 (Series Title)
PPT 2 (This scripture)
Lu 1:15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.
Lu 1:16 "And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
Lu 1:17 "It is he who will go [as a forerunner] before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
We are continuing our series of messages on John the Baptist, in our first message we talked about the 4 key ingredients of his spiritual makeup and how they needed to be in balance. They were: Passion; Purity; Power; and Purpose. For example passion without power leads to burnout. In our next message we talked about how John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mothers womb, and we noted that spirit filled people are able to reach those firmly encased in sin:
No one could speak into David's life, then came Nathan.
Paul breathing out threats. - then he met Steven.
Gadarene demoniac no man could tame or bind. - then he met Jesus.
Let me read the description of this man, from the biblical record:
Mr 5:2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. Mr 5:3 This man lived in the tombs, and no-one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. Mr 5:4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No-one was strong enough to subdue him. Mr 5:5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
That is what the power of the Holy Spirit is all about. The ability to touch people, even those so distraught with life they are cutting themselves. There are a lot of different ways to cut yourself. Dancing with the devil will hurt you. John had an anointing that could reach people even those the most bound by sin.
In our last message we talked about how John spent most of his life in the wilderness and how time in the wilderness has a unique way to craft us and shape us for God's use. The bible says John grew strong in spirit while in the desert. We grow strong in spirit in the same way we grow strong physically... we exercise. And because God is such a good trainer He always works on those things that need it the most, but we like least to work on. That is what desert time is all about.
Today I want to talk about the spirit and power of Elijah. The angel of the Lord prophesied and said John would go before Jesus in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
What exactly is the spirit and power of Elijah?
Lets divide those two ideas and look at them individually.
1. What is meant by the spirit of Elijah?
I think that when the bible speaks about the spirit of Elijah it is referring to the focus, direction, and the emphasis of his life. In other words what was he passionate about. What was the emphasis and flavor with which he ministered.
So what was Elijah passionate about?
If you want to know what a Christian is passionate about all you have to do is figure out what they pray about.
Jas 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
For 3 ½ years Elijah prays that it would not rain in Israel so that the people might realize they have sinned and brought God's displeasure upon themselves. The drought was to prepare the people to repent. The drought was to awaken their sleeping conscience through the door of human need. God often has to get our attention in the natural, before He can speak to us about the spiritual. We begin to get a picture of man who's concern for Israel was so great that he didn't care if they suffered in the natural, if it led to spiritual revival. The text in James doesn't simply say, "he prayed," but that he prayed, "earnestly." He was so moved by their sinfulness that he earnestly asked God, "do whatever it takes to get this people's attention."