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Sermon - July 5, 2015

Princeton Presbyterian Church (EPC)                                               Sermon # 1219

July 5, 2015                                                                                        1 Kings 18:20-39

Rev. Dr. Ed Pettus                                                                             

 

“The Lord, He is God.  The Lord, He is God.”

 

1.The Prophets of Culture and the Prophet Elijah

a.1 Kings 18:20-21

How strange that we celebrate an Independence Day weekend just after a significant ruling to destroy why we sought independence in the first place.  We wanted a government that would not impose itself upon its citizenry, and yet we are having to become more dependent upon the government minute by minute, decision by decision, and political move by political move. 

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah gathered all the people of Israel together to ask them a question.   “How long will you go limping between two different opinions?”  The challenge is fairly clear.  On the one hand you have the prophets of Baal, a god of the Canaanites, and the Lord God of Israel.  But the problem was in this period of bad kings over Israel.  Ahab was one of the most evil kings.  1 Kings says that Ahab did more to provoke God’s anger than any other king (1 Kings 17:33).  In this first scene Elijah has confronted King Ahab over his idolatry following after Baal.  The people have gathered to see what Elijah will do.

b.SCOTUS

Let us think about the gods of the world today among our nation.  Some might argue that the Supreme Court has acted as a god by making law that goes against God’s laws.  How long will people go along limping over this opinion of the court?  God’s law cannot and will not be negated by anything the highest court in the land might proclaim.  While people may not give the church any attention at this time, there may come a day when many see the folly of their lives and the darkness of the culture. 

c.Hollywood

Let us think about the gods of Hollywood.  It seems that every chance is taken in TV shows and movies to promote the most anti-Christian ideals as possible. 

Should we start considering stepping out of some of the addictions we have to entertainment in order to create a counter culture of church?  Are we limping between cultural norms and biblical norms?  If we continue to numb ourselves through the ideology of “anything goes” entertainment, we may indeed lose our bearings for the Christian faith. 

d.Media

It is no secret that the media has an agenda.  If it is not first to make as much money as possible, it is at least to promote every anti-Christian theme in every show presented us.  News no longer seems to care about informing the public for the public good, but rather to excite and present the most sensationalized stories possible and to also slant the stories in such a way that reflects a certain political ideology. 

There may still be some redeemable TV, decent movies produced, and fair news broadcasts, but we know that the majority is filled with false gods and false religion and false teachings. 

 

Yes, we have taken a stand against what we believed was a denomination that left the truth behind, but perhaps that was only a first step.  Perhaps now it is time to look at our other differing opinions, this time with our own culture in our nation. 

 

2.Time Will Tell  18:22-24

a.Elijah stands alone before four hundred fifty prophets of Baal. 

He makes a proposal to bring two bulls and to offer them as a sacrifice to the respective gods.  The challenge is laid out: you call on your god and I will call on my God and let’s see what happens. 

b.Sounds like a good proposal. 

The people are agreeable to Elijah’s challenge.  It is hard to imagine what type of challenge we might offer to our culture, to the people who believe differently than the Christian.   One thing I thought about was that time will tell.  What we offer the world is what God has given us, time.  While many people have reacted severely to the recent events in our nation, others are seeking more patience out of us.  Let’s see what comes in time.  But we know that time is running out on the nation we once knew.  This isn’t the USA anymore.  Darkness has come upon the land and the church must shine its light of the good news of Jesus Christ. 

 

3.Is There Life in Your god? 

a.1 Kings 18:25-26

People wonder why we oppose so many things that go against the Word of God.

One of the reasons we protest any issue that counters the word is because we know that there is no life in those things.  There is no life in anything that is done apart from the Lord God of Elijah.  The prophets of Baal prayed and prayed but they got the silent treatment because Baal has no voice, no answer to give.  We believe that is true of everything that opposes God’s word.  There is no life in the SCOTUS decision, no life in abortion, no life in anything the world offers.   

 

 

b.Lifeless gods – Isa. 44:9-20;  Psalm 115:1-11

Both of these passages demonstrate that there is no life in these false gods. 

 

 

 

4.Is There Life in your god? II

a.1 Kings 18:27-29

This is one of the most humorous passages in the Bible.  Elijah begins to mock the prophets.  Keep on crying out.  Obviously Baal is either daydreaming, or asleep, or maybe he is in the restroom relieving himself!  Elijah knows that none of that is true.  But I think he just could not resist taunting the 450 prophets.  Still, there was no response from Baal.   

 

 

 

 

5.The Preparation

a.18:30-35

Look what Elijah does to his offering.  First he repairs the altar that had been destroyed.  Then he took twelve stones and made an altar.  Then he dug a trench, a large ditch all around the altar and laid the bull on the wood pile.  He did not stop there.  He wants to show up the prophets of Baal decisively.  Three times he has people fill water jars to douse the offering, so much so that the water filled the ditch around the alter. 

 

6.The Living God

a.18:36-38

This has got to be one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible.  Elijah prays that God would make himself known.  As soon as he finished praying, fire shot down from heaven and burned up everything, and I mean everything, the bull, the wood, the stones, the dist and all the water.  That is a powerful miracle.  It obviously impresses everyone who saw it because they immediately confess the God they will follow. 

 

7.The Lord, He is God

a.18:39 

The Lord, he is God.  The Lord, he is God.  There is a common practice in Hebrew writing to repeat something for emphasis.  I think this is what is happening here with the people of Israel.  They are so enamored with what they have witnessed and with what they have realized; they cannot help but say it two times.  The Lord, he is God.  The Lord, he is God.  This is spontaneous worship at its best.  They see Elijah’s prayer answered and turn immediately to worship the Lord!
 

 

It is beginning to feel a lot like we are standing on Mt. Carmel facing two differing opinions, those of the world and those of the Bible.  Like never before in our country, we even face hostility for being Christian, or at least, being conservative Christians.  We may not have an opportunity to call down fire, but we do have the same kind of opportunity to call down a testimony of faith and love and life.  We have the words that give life.  We have the God who gives life and as long as we have breath, we must offer the world the good news of Jesus Christ in order that others may come to see the truth and proclaim, “The Lord, he is God.  The Lord, he is God.”

 

Like Elijah, we trust that God will demonstrate God’s power among us and God will show us His power to transform death into life.  As we pray this Fourth of July weekend, let us pray that God will indeed rain down fire from heaven to purify His church and our nation.  Amen.