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Which Side Are You On? | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2022 3:00 am

Which Side Are You On? | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 29, 2022 3:00 am

Everyone endures trials in life—even Christians—but Elijah shows us what our response to them should look like. In this episode, Pastor Greg Laurie takes you into 1 Kings 18 with a powerful message on keeping our faith strong.

Notes

What were the secrets of Elijah’s power and boldness?

1. He stood in the presence of God.

When you stand in the presence of God, you will not bow before any man.

What were the secrets of Elijah’s power and boldness?

2. He was a man of prayer (James 5:17).

It was Elijah’s prayer in private that was the source of his power in public.

What were the secrets of Elijah’s power and boldness?

3. He knew Scripture and acted on it (Deuteronomy 11:16).

What were the secrets of Elijah’s power and boldness?

4. He faithfully delivered the message.

What were the secrets of Elijah’s power and boldness?

5. He was a man of faith and obedience.

There is a time to move and a time to wait.

God often places His people in significant positions.

God has not called us to isolate but to infiltrate.

The church is the only hope for America.

An idol is not merely an object or statue we bow before; it is anyone or anything that takes the place of God in our lives.

You can make yourself god in your life.

You can make money god in your life.

If the Lord God is number one in your life, everything else will find its proper balance, but if He’s not, everything else will be in chaos.

Why does God not want us to have any other gods before Him?

Answer: “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5).

Christians trying to live in two worlds are enough into the world to be miserable in God, and enough of God to be miserable in the world.

People slash their souls by compromising their integrity to get everyone’s attention.

God loves you so much, and He wants a relationship with you!

God showed His commitment by sending Jesus to die for our sins!

Medical Science seeks to add years to your life, but only Jesus will add life to your years.

Scripture Referenced

Proverbs 28:1

Isaiah 40:31

Romans 1:25

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners.

I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to Harvest.org. And it's a series we're calling Elijah, The Power to Stand. And we're looking at how one man's life made a difference. And Israel had gone off the rails spiritually and morally. Whenever you go off the rails spiritually, you'll go off the rails morally too. And that's exactly what they had done. Instead of worshiping the true and living God who had been so good to them, they turned to false gods. They turned to idols. And specifically, in their case, they turned to Baal and Ashtoreth. And in fact, it was Jezebel, the queen, who brought the worship of Baal into Israel.

Ahab was a spineless man who was really manipulated by, effectively, the wicked witch of the west, Jezebel. So they're in charge and everything is going the wrong direction. Enter Elijah, who enters the picture with boldness and courage and throws down the gauntlet. I wonder if some of you feel like you're the only one around who speaks up for your faith. Maybe it's in your family.

Maybe it's in your workplace or your campus or your neighborhood or wherever. But you feel all alone. And that's probably how Elijah felt.

He actually wasn't the only one, but he felt like it at times. So we're going to read now one of the most well-known stories in all of the Bible. This is where they're up on Mount Carmel. This is bigger than the thriller in Manila. This is bigger than the rumble in the jungle. Not jumble.

There's no jumble. These are fights from days gone by, if you don't know what I'm talking about. This is the shootout at the Carmel Corral. This is where Elijah stands up on Mount Carmel and throws down a challenge and says, let's ask the real God to answer us by fire. An appropriate challenge considering the fact that Baal, in theory, was the God of the elements, the God of the sun, the God of the rain, the God of everything. And so let's go ahead and just let God answer us himself. Fire from heaven. Can you imagine if you had the power to call fire down from heaven? Elijah did.

And he used it on two occasions. One is on Mount Carmel. The other is when a king sent a captain of 50 soldiers to arrest Elijah, who was up on a hill. And the captain said, Elijah, man of God. The king says, come down from that hill right now. Elijah says, if I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50 soldiers. Well, he was a man of God. And fire came down.

Now another poor guy is tasked with doing the same thing. He comes up to Elijah up in that hill. He says, oh, man of God. The king says, come down from there. Elijah says, if I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50 soldiers. He was still a man of God.

They got torched, too. The third guy is like, hi, sir, Mr. Elijah. Look, I'm just on my job here.

I already heard what happened to the other guys. Would you pretty please come down? Here's pictures of my family. Look. Elijah says, OK, because the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, go with him.

So he had this ability. Man, if I had the ability to call fire down from heaven, there would be some torched people on the freeway. Right? The crazy things people do coming over eight lanes, right? Or tailgating you the whole time or the things that people do. And there would be some torched people using cell phones, too.

And especially people using cell phones on the freeway, which is the reason they do a lot of the crazy things that they do. In fact, an interesting story in the New Testament. James and John, aptly described as the sons of thunder, were upset because a certain city in Samaria was not hospitable to Jesus and the disciples. And they said, Lord, shall we call fire down from heaven on them as Elijah did? Jesus is like, oy vey, guys, come on. I didn't come to torch people.

I came to save people. And then he said, you don't even know what kind of spirit you're of to make a statement like this. But Elijah never used this ability for a personal purpose or to vent his anger. He did it when the Lord called him to do. Where did Elijah get this courage that he had? Reviewing back in something I gave in the first message, if you're taking notes, number one, Elijah stood continually in the presence of God. Elijah stood continually in the presence of God. He said to King Ahab, as the Lord God lives, 1 Kings 17, 1.

As the Lord God lives, before whom I stand, there will not be rain, but according to my word. He served a living God, and he was aware of the fact that he constantly was in the presence of God. And when you stand in the presence of God, you will not bow before any other person.

Proverbs 28 one says, the righteous are as bold as a lion. Secondly, Elijah was a man of prayer. James 5 17 says, Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain in the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crop. It was Elijah's prayer in private that was a source of his power in public.

Let me say that again. It was Elijah's prayer in private that was a source of his power in public. That's where he got his courage. Thirdly, Elijah knew scripture and acted on it. There's a statement given to us in Deuteronomy 11 where God warned if Israel turned to idols, he would send a draught to their land.

And so he knew what the word of God said, so what he did was based on scripture. Fourthly, Elijah faithfully delivered the message. This is not an easy message to deliver. Hey everybody, you're going to experience a great draught, and many of you are going to die. You've been a great audience. Good night. God bless.

Mic drop. Right now, who wants to give a message like that? And in the same way, it's hard for us sometimes to tell people what the Bible says about final judgment and how Christ is the only way to the Father. And maybe we have a discomfort with certain areas of scripture, but if we want to serve the Lord and represent him, we need to give his truth and not edit it or varnish it or whitewash it or anything else. Also, number five, Elijah was a man of faith and obedience. So after he throws down the gauntlet in the court of Ahab and Jezebel, the Lord says, okay, let's go, you're leaving. And he sends him to a little brook called Cherith. He has to go off the grid. Action man has to be quiet, because this is an outdoorsy kind of rough and tumble kind of guy, and now he has to go and basically be silent and wait on the Lord. He could have complained.

He could have said no, but he did exactly what God called him to do. You know, we live in an instant gratification culture today, don't we? You download everything. You want to read a book? Just download it. Have it in a few seconds. You can get your news real time on the feed, on your phone.

You can send a text, and food is on the way. You want to watch a movie? Remember the days Blockbuster? We'd go on Blockbuster and rent these things called video tapes? Remember the statement, be kind, rewind? Remember that?

It's like ancient history. Then there were DVDs. Oh, DVDs. And so you could get an account with Netflix, and they would send you a DVD, and then you would watch it, and you would return the DVD, and so forth. And then it became downloadable, and now everything's downloadable.

Who even looks at DVDs anymore? So we're used to getting things quickly, immediately. Amazon, same-day delivery. Whatever you need, you can have it now. So it's hard. Well, God says to us, slow down. But God has this timing. You know, when you see a work of God that is working, it's always the right person in the right place at the right time. And just as important as the will of God is, is the timing of God.

We read over in Isaiah 41, 40-31. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint. Notice that God energizes us as we wait upon Him. Maybe the reason you're so tired and worn out and depleted is because you haven't taken time to just wait on the Lord. You just sit before the Lord.

You're always on the go, always moving, always active. And sometimes it's good to just sit. And that's what Elijah did for a prolonged period of time. Then the Lord said, now I want you to go over to some widow's house and ask her for free food and live there for a while. And he did it, and he obeyed the Lord, and God was getting him ready. He was preparing him for what was still ahead. So now we come to 1 Kings 18, verse 2, and we're introduced to a man named Obadiah.

Meanwhile, the famine had become very severe in Samaria. So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. And then we have this very important statement. Obadiah was the devoted follower of the Lord. Once when Jezebel had tried to kill all the Lord's prophets, Obadiah hid a hundred of them in two caves. So Elijah's making his way to the palace, and here comes Obadiah, who's in charge of the palace of the king. But then this detail is added, because we could quickly say, oh, in charge of the palace of the king, that's a wicked king, this is a corrupt man.

Oh no, it says he's a devoted follower of the Lord. God often places his people in positions of significance. Think of Joseph, there in the court of the Pharaoh, giving him advice. Daniel, before two kings, advising them as well. Nehemiah, the cup bearer of the king, who had the king's trust, who was able to take that position he had and use it for God's glory and help to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. And the king even funded it.

It was amazing. And so God will often place his people in these important positions. I think sometimes we think, you know, when you become a Christian, now you need to serve the Lord and you probably should be a pastor or a preacher or maybe working at church staff, or at least just go hang around at the church all day and criticize other people, right?

No, no. God is a calling for many people. God has not called us to isolate but to infiltrate. Listen, we need Christian teachers in our schools today, right? We need Christian doctors. We need Christian businessmen. We need Christian lawyers, especially Christian lawyers. We need Christian mayors and congressmen and senators and Christians in politics. You know, I think about some of the people I've gotten to know in Washington, D.C., who are strong believers like Senator Marco Rubio, former Congressman Trey Gowdy, Senator Tim Scott.

And I've talked with these guys and I've prayed with these guys and see how they have their faith. And God puts people in amazing places. How about Alice Cooper, right? I've just written a book, you know, Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus. Is it possible that God can place his men in the middle of rock music to be an influence on other people?

The answer is yes, by the way. And Alice told me that he shared the gospel with Johnny Depp. He told me that he gave a Bible to Marilyn Manson. I said, did he burn it or anything?

He said, oh no, he was thankful to get it, you know. So God can do these things. I just wrote this book that I already mentioned.

I've been doing interviews this last week about it. And on more than one occasion, people have asked me, why would a pastor write a book on rock music? Rock music is evil. And these people have sold their souls to the devil. Number one, you can't sell your soul to the devil, just in case you didn't know.

You can't. Your soul is not yours to sell. The Bible says your soul belongs to God, right? So here's the thing.

Even if you open your heart to evil, if you call on Jesus Christ, he can forgive you and break any so-called deal that you had with the devil. So I said, this isn't a book that's pro-rock music or anti-rock music. This is a book about how God reached people who were at the top of their careers, who climbed to the top of the mountain of fame and realized there was nothing there. Some made the wrong choices. And their lives became a cautionary story, like the people I write about in a chapter called the 27 Club, who died at the age of 27.

Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison of The Doors, and then later Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Amy Winehouse. But then there are stories of redemption, because no one is beyond the reach of God. So this is the thing. Why do I do all this stuff? You know, Greg, why don't you just preach? Why would you write a book like that?

Why do you make a movie like this over here? Because I want to reach as many people as I possibly can in every pond I can fish in. So let's fish in the ocean. Let's fish in this pond.

Let's fish in this lake. Or let's sow our seed in this crop or in that piece of land over there and reach as many as we possibly can. Not everyone's called to be an Elijah. Some are called to be an Obadiah. We might say, well, they're compromisers. Why do you say that?

God put them there. And the Bible says he was a deeply committed man to the Lord. Think of Queen Esther. You know, you can see she was a compromiser. She was in a beauty contest. That's sinful.

Really? Well, looks like the Lord had his hand on all those events. And she ultimately became the queen.

And it's an interesting thing. She didn't walk in and say, hey, everybody, I'm Jewish, just in case you didn't know. She kept it to herself until she needed to use her influence for good and ended up saving the Jewish people because God had put her there for such a time as this. Some of us are called to be Elijah's. Some of us are called to be Obadiah's.

But every one of us is called to use our influence for God's glory wherever we are. You know, it's an interesting story when Jesus was talking about how John would live on longer and how Peter would die. Peter didn't like what he was hearing. And he said about John, well, what about him? And Jesus said, what is that to you? Follow me. And sometimes we're like, hey, what about him?

Well, I don't agree with that. Hey, the Lord says, what's that to you? You follow me. Elijah, don't worry about how well someone is doing it somewhere else or if they're not meeting your expectations and just make sure you're using your life to bring glory to God where the Lord has placed you.

Stay in your lane and focus. All right, so Obadiah goes back and says to Ahab, guess who's back? Elijah the prophet, he's kind of hard to miss. He's that hairy dude with the crazy clothes and the wild look.

Yes, he wants to talk to you. So Ahab can't wait to confront Elijah. 1 Kings 18, verse 16. So Obadiah went to tell Ahab that Elijah had come and Ahab went out to meet Elijah. And when Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, so is that really you troublemaker of Israel? Elijah replied, I didn't make any trouble for Israel. You and your family are the troublemakers, for you've refused to obey the commands of the Lord and you've worshiped the images of Baal instead.

We'll stop there. Interesting statement, Ahab calls Elijah the troublemaker of Israel. It's for troublemakers from a root word that means one who wreaks havoc or brings a pestilence or is a plague.

The Hebrew word is snake, ah, snake in the grass, Elijah, the one that's caused all the chaos. You're like a walking plague, man. And why are you even here? Elijah says, I'm not the walking plague, you are. You're the one that brought this upon yourself.

And I just think about the differences life made. We need more troublemakers like this today, right? Because the church is the only hope for America. The church, you say, why do you say that? Because the church, established by Christ himself, is the restraining force in the world today. You know, I mentioned earlier that we're called to be salt and light in the world. And salt in the first century was used as a preservative.

It was used to stop the rotting of the meat. And in many ways, the church stands and we speak out against what is wrong. We speak up for what is true. And the anti-Christ can't even be revealed until the church is caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Because we're told in Thessalonians, he who now restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that wicked one will be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming.

It's speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. We're the restraining force. Imagine if we were suddenly taken from this earth overnight, how easily evil could spread rapidly, quickly, with no one speaking up. No one saying a thing.

And so you can see how our influence is so needed in our culture. So Elijah says, okay Ahab, here's the deal. I am the king of the Vikings, 18, 19. Summon all of Israel to join me on Mount Carmel along with the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel. Elijah likes these odds.

850 to 1. Bring out all your false prophets. Let's get up there on Mount Carmel, tell Israel to show up, you know, bring their popcorn and milk duds and let's do this thing. Let's have it out. Let's have this battle right now. It was the battle of the gods.

Here's what amazes me. Is Ahab agrees to this. Now why would he think he had any advantage over Elijah? Baal, his god of the elements of the weather, was kind of a dud, right?

He had not brought the rain when Elijah said it would not rain. Why did he think that Baal would be able to send fire from heaven? Why would he agree to this thing and put all Israel up there to watch it? Simple answer, I've said it before, I'll say it again.

Sin makes you stupid. This is the biggest mistake of Ahab's life. To agree with this idea. 1 Kings 18, 20. So Ahab summoned all of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Elijah stood in front of them and said, how much longer will you waver hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him.

If Baal is God, then follow him. But look at this, but the people were completely silent. Their silence was deafening.

Why? Because they worshiped many gods. And they did not want to stop. So hey, let's go, let's see who has the real God.

Elijah looked at Ahab and he said, say when. Now that was Doc Holliday, the Johnny Ringo in Tombstone. Scare film reference. How many got it? All the guys, it's guys.

Because guys like Tombstone, right? Anyway. So here it is, 1 Kings 18, 26. They prepared one of the bowls, placed it on the altar, and called in the name of Baal from morning till noontime, shouting, oh Baal answer us.

But there was no reply of any kind. And then they danced hobbling around the altar that they made. It's kind of funny, and it gets funnier, by the way. So they're screaming and hobbling, doing everything. Come on Baal, hear us. Now we may laugh at that.

Listen to this. Idol worship is alive and well today. Oh sure, they worshiped Baal. They worshiped Ashtoreth. But do we not worship idols today? This is why John, in some of his last words that he gave to the church after walking with the Lord for many years said, little children, keep yourselves from idols. An idol is not merely an object, though it includes that. An idol is anyone or anything that takes the place of God in your life. Let me repeat that.

An idol is anything or anyone that takes the place of God in your life. Answer this question. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Some people say breakfast.

Okay, that's not a bad answer. But I mean, what are you really passionate about? What do you get fired up about? What is the thing that you think about more than any other thing that potentially is your idol? Consider this, an idol is not necessarily a bad thing. It's a good thing that you've made into a God thing. It's a good thing you've made into a God thing, meaning it might be good. There's nothing wrong with a career. There's nothing wrong with making a living. There's nothing wrong with a lot of things that we're involved in. But if that becomes the most important thing that literally can become an evil thing, you've allowed a good thing to become a God thing.

And it's taken the place of God in your life. Here's one way to find out what people are passionate about. Check out their social media.

And by the way, employers are doing this now more. When someone comes in and applies for a job, they go check out their social media. What do they post on Twitter? What do they talk about on Facebook?

What kind of photos do they post on Instagram? This is of interest to them because the Bible says, where your posts are, there will your heart be also. Doesn't say exactly that.

It actually says where your money is, there will your heart be also. But I think it could include your posts as well. I know Christians that used to post about their faith and they would use their social platforms to share the gospel and they'd have scriptures and then something happened, I don't know what, and they became these crazy, ranting people. And everything's in caps, all caps, right?

And if you want to make it even crazier, reverse it out of black so it's white letters, even better, red letters against a black background. You're ranting about this, you're ranting about that, you start losing followers. No one wants to hear your rants anymore.

What happened? Your focus changed. Could that thing that you're so obsessed with now actually become your idol? You can make yourself God in your life. You effectively worship yourself. You don't say it outright, you know, my Greg who art in heaven. No, you don't do that. But in effect, you do. Romans 1.25 says, They traded the truth about God for a lie.

They worshipped and served the things God created, instead of the Creator himself who is worthy of eternal praise. Maybe it's worshipping your body. You attend the first church of the perfect physique, right?

Just getting your body into the perfect shape. You have hundreds of photos of yourself on Instagram doing the trout pout. Do you know the trout pout? Girls, come on now. Girls do it more than guys, that little thing where you push your lips and look at the camera. It's like, I don't know, it's weird looking to me. Or maybe you get plastic surgery to try to look how you look on your social media posts when you use a certain kind of filter. Go for it.

You can nip it, tuck it, tighten it, tat it, color it, whatever. Don't become obsessed with your body or with yourself. Be obsessed, if you will, about Jesus Christ.

That's our message. Others bow at the altars of pleasure. Even others at the altars of possessions or fame.

Your idol could be a car, it could be a house, it could be clothes, it could be so many things. Or it could be money. You know, sometimes people say the Bible says money is the root of all evil. Actually, the Bible does not say that, okay? Here's what the Bible does say. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

There's a difference, isn't there? The love of money, money's not evil, money is not good, money is neutral. The good or the evil of money all depends on what you do with it. So the love of money, or maybe another way to put it, being obsessed with money is the root of all kinds of evil.

And some people craving money, it goes on to say in 1 Timothy 6, 10, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. See, it's a big deal to God to be number one in your life. Think about the Ten Commandments for a moment. Okay, so commandment number one, thou shall not murder, right? No, it's not number one. No, it's thou shall not commit adultery.

That's a bad one, but it's not number one. Nor is it thou shall not steal, or even thou shall not take the Lord's name in vain. Commandment number one is have no other gods before me. Now, if we were to re-prioritize the commandments, we might change the order. But God says, though, big thing, at the beginning of this conversation, let me say, don't have another god before me. Because if you have another god before him, that's where all the problems start. You see, if God is number one in your life, everything will find its proper balance. If he's not number one in your life, everything will be in chaos. I want to be number one.

Why? The Lord says, Ezekiel 20, verse 4. Because I'm a jealous god. I've heard people say, I can't follow a god who's jealous. Hey, his jealousy is an indication of his love for you. Not all jealousy is bad. It speaks of a relationship. God said, hey, I want an exclusive relationship with you. What would you think if your husband came and said, honey, I love you.

We've been married 20 years, but I have five girlfriends now. Are you cool with that? You're not cool with that. Honey, this is a frying pan. Are you cool with this?

Yeah. No, you want an exclusive relationship with your husband, or your boyfriend, or your girlfriend, or your wife. And God says, I want you to be mine and only mine.

I don't want to share you with some false god. So this is what I'm asking of you. Here's the thing that was happening with Israel. Elijah says, you're wavering or hobbling between two opinions. See, they wanted to have their cake and eat it, too. And I've said, jokingly, I don't know why that's a problem. I've had cake and eaten it.

But the idea is, I want the best of both worlds. Here was their thing. Oh, we believe in God. We believe in Jehovah. But, I don't know, Ashtoreth and Baal, kind of cool.

Nice fringe benefits. See, Ashtoreth, the goddess of fertility, there's a lot of immoral things. Well, I don't even know if they are immoral. It's part of the worship.

We kind of want to do that, too. So don't think we don't do that in the church today. Because people say, I'm a Christian, but I'm having sex before marriage.

Wait a second, you can't do that. God says in scripture, this is the will of God, even your sanctification, abstained from immorality. No, no, the Lord told me it was okay.

No, he didn't. So you're saying, no, I want to have it all. I'll go to church on Sunday and worship the Lord, but then I'll go do this other thing. Or someone else might say, well, you know, we love each other, so we're living together. It's a test run before we get married. No, you're living in sin and rebellion against God.

And actually, you want to know something. Statistically, studies have shown that couples who live together have a far higher divorce rate than those who don't. If you want to sabotage a potential marriage, then live together. See, here's my point. People are trying to live in two worlds. Oh, I love the Lord, but we're gonna go party, we're gonna get drunk, we're gonna smoke weed. No, this is what Elijah is saying.

Stop living in two worlds. If the Lord is God, then follow him. And if Baal's God, then follow him. But make a choice right now. And it's still true today.

It's still true today. The Bible says, go big or stay home. Actually, it doesn't say that, but it's a good thought. And really, here's what Elijah's saying. If the Lord is God, then you should follow him.

Joshua gave a similar charge to Israel back in Joshua 24, 15. Standing before the people, he said to them, choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the God your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates?

Or will it be the gods of the Amorites? As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. Make that stand in your home, husbands. Listen to me. Be a man of God.

Stand up and say in your home, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Why would you do the same thing? Because your children need you to do this desperately.

Because only a generation passed after Joshua made that statement when we read in Judges 2 10, but another generation grew up and they worshiped the false gods, see? It's as good as your generation. So you need to pass this on to your children and to your grandchildren. That's our job as we get older.

We've gotta do it. And then as those young people we pass it on to, they're gonna get older, then it's gonna be their job. And then their children and their grandchildren, then on it goes. But we need to make sure we do our job and pass this torch of the truth of God's word and a relationship with Christ on to the next generation. 1 Kings 18 verse 27. Are you bored yet?

Okay, it gets really good now. Look at your Bible. I'm reading from the New Living Translation. About noontime, Elijah began mocking them. I just like that statement. Because I am a mocker. And I'm glad I'm not the only mocker out there.

Elijah began mocking them. Hey, he says you have to shout louder. He is a god. Maybe he's daydreaming or relieving himself. Folks, this is in the Bible. That's actually what he said in the original language. Maybe your god's in the, I don't know, the eternal outhouse right now. Or as the Living Translation puts it, maybe your god's sitting on the toilet.

I always thought that was kind of funny. So that's actually what he was implying. He was joking. Oh, maybe he's away on a trip.

Or maybe he's asleep and you need to wake him up. Verse 28, so they shouted louder and following their normal custom, cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice. I love this statement.

But still, there was no sound, no reply, no response. Isn't that amazing? That's how it is with false gods. You can never make them happy. You ever look at a tiki god?

They're always angry, right? These false gods are not real. They're slushing themselves trying to appease these false gods. Sometimes this can even enter into the Christian life where we get this weird idea about God that we have to do a bunch of stuff to earn his favor. I'll just make this sacrifice.

I'll slash myself. I'll do this other thing and then God will hear my prayer. God hears your prayers because you come to him through Jesus Christ.

That's it, that's it. I have access to the throne of God through the blood that Christ shared. So when I'm doing well and I'm doing all the things that Christians ought to do, God hears my prayer. When I fall short, when I fail, God still hears my prayer.

If I'll repent of my sin and come to him and call on his name, these gods could not hear them because these gods were not real. So I'm gonna put a pause. Greg, what about fire coming from heaven?

Next week. That's right. So we'll just pause the story at this moment and of course we'll see what the Lord did. But here's the thing I want to close with. And I touched on this already. God wants an exclusive relationship with you. Why would you settle for a cheap substitute? We chase after things this world offers that we're told will make us happy and they don't.

In fact, they make us more miserable. What we're really longing for is a relationship with God himself. And he showed how serious he is about this relationship by sending his son to suffer and die on a cross for your sins so you could be forgiven, so you could come into a relationship with him. He not only promises you life beyond the grave, and he does, but he promises you life during life. Medical science can potentially add years to your life, but only Christ can add life to your years. My wife Kathy just had the opportunity to lead her aunt to the Lord. She's 101 years old.

Amazing. You know, you say that stats are pretty unlikely that she'll come to faith that much later in life, but 101 years old. No one is beyond the reach of God. And she prayed with her and her aunt prayed. And Kathy told me that she said, pray these words after me, Lord Jesus, come into my life, forgive me of all of my sins. And she said, and my aunt prayed, forgive me of all of my sins. So she wasn't just repeating it, she was understanding it.

And so now she knows that her aunt is ready to meet the Lord. How wonderful that is. Isn't it?

I wonder if you know that right now, if you're sure your sin is forgiven, if you're certain you'll go to heaven when you die, if you have this relationship with Jesus. Have you been trying to live in two worlds? It's not working out really well, is it? Have you been trying to live in two worlds? It's not working out really well, is it? You're living in a miserable no man's land of compromise and I strongly urge you to make a choice, right? If that's where you're at, if you're living in two worlds, if you're living two lives, you're living the worst possible version of the Christian life, the worst.

So it's kind of all in or not in. What side are you on? Let's pray. Now Lord, we wanna be on your side. We wanna follow Jesus. And if there are any idols in our life, Lord, and we may not think there are, but there may be, would you show us what they are and help us to re-prioritize, to put you at the forefront of our life again where we are more important to us than anything else, you're the one we get up for in the morning, you're the one we're fired up about, you're the one we wanna talk about more than anything else. Lord, we want you to be the Lord God of every area of our life. And I pray now, Lord, for any that have joined us who may not know you, they may not have a relationship with you, they don't have the hope of heaven, let this be the moment they believe in Jesus. Now while our heads are bowed and we're praying, if you want Christ to come into your life, why don't you just pray a prayer similar to the prayer my wife prayed with her aunt, just say, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I am sorry for my sin. And I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Amen, God bless you. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 00:52:17 / 2023-04-12 01:08:55 / 17

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