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Preparation for the Battle

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2021 9:00 am

Preparation for the Battle

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 9, 2021 9:00 am

For many people, religion isn’t really so much about truth as it is about finding a faith that “works for you.” But that’s not how truth works!

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Janie Greer, Elijah's greatest enemy was not his weakness.

It was his strength is about to go into a battle where God first has to take him back to the brook Sheriff to remove his most basic abilities is there to learn to the Pentagon. Sometimes God makes you weak. You can find your strength in him as this happened to you like the Bible. We pastor of the Summit church in Raleigh, North Carolina. I'm your host Molly noticed that a lot of people these days tend to see religion as a personal choice about discovering truth as it is about finding the faith that works for you and our brand-new series called something better pastor. Janie explains why that attitude doesn't really work. We are looking at the book of first Kings in the life of the prophet Elijah. In Israel's history that eerily similar to our world today to grab your Bible will be in the Old Testament today. Let's jump right in yesterday titled this message preparation for the battle. Question for most Americans is not, is there a God question for most Americans, which God is the right one and how can we know which God is right wonders that even the thing that you didn't know you all hold Proverbs like you know about the godlike amount and in whatever way you choose him atop his role in the same place you think that there's a good truth in every religion and what you do is you take the best out of the different religions gonna come up with what works for you.

That's the world we live in, which makes it work in a study over the next few weeks together particularly relevant to the lives of a couple of Old Testament characters, God raised up during the time when Israel as a nation was considering this very question which God is the right one in those characters by the names of Elijah and Elisha so you have a Bible I love you take it out now to open it to the book of first Kings chapter 71st and seventh illegal historical context getting in the first Kings. Israel know anything about the Bible, Israel was founded as a monotheistic nation, God called them out of Egypt around the worship of the one, one God Jehovah, but between that Exodus and the book of first things, a lot of happened. I mainly just for the Civil War the Civil War this about a northern kingdom in the southern kingdom told Israel and her 10 of the tribes. The southern kingdom is only two tribes. It is called Judah, will Israel the northern kingdom has a succession of really bad ungodly Kings 19 of them to be exact, spending about 200 years, culminating in the worst thing ever obtaining a have the Queen Mother of all the bad things it says bursting says that he did more evil in God's sight in any other king would ever come before him humble and have married a cute little thing from the neighboring pagan nation of Saigon called Jezebel. Jezebel has become sort of a the epitome of the evil woman in our culture. That's why not many girls that you know her name Jezebel. Most of us think of just Bella. Something is not flattering as a reason for that. Jezebel was just a wicked woman, she brought into Israel. They were silver her to favor gods, which were bail and answer to set up temples to worship them all over the countryside of Israel, the people of Israel are so far away from God. At this point the big along with her because bail and Asherah promised to things that Israel really felt like they needed which were practical protection and prosperity was a certain worship is God the worse it gets increasingly dark. Jezebel after she's firmly entrenched in power has hundreds of God's prophets prophet slaughtered and in their place. He sets up priests and prophets of of her own. So for the first time point is this for the first time in Israel's history were dealing with a pluralistic society which means that everybody has their own different God.

By the way, when I was a kid and I would hear bail.

Mitch and I always thought bail met one God name may bail bail is more like a title that it is a name. There were hundreds of bales there was you the bail of nature.

The bail of rain. There was the bail of fertility. Each career field had its own bail you the bill of medicine, the Bella business success. The bill of the harvesters nickname was the bail of a subject I just made that up. There was the bail of scholarship. Each region had its own bail come into this situation. This pluralistic situation, God sends a man named Elijah and the whole point of Elijah's life is which God is the real God. Is there a way to know which God is a real God or is it whatever bail works for you is fine. Elijah's name means in Hebrew literally the Lord is God which kind of gives you the punchline of his life, but that was his life calling to show that the Lord was the only true God, the primary seen in Elijah's life is good take place in first Kings 18 where there's a showdown between the prophets of bail and Elijah the prophet of God atop Mount caramel which was a real God of the battle prayer to see which God answers from heaven by fire and biblical scholars tell us that every other scene in Elijah's life rotates around that the reader headed to that mountain, or they're coming from that mountain to the point is that our world that we live in today is much like Elijah's, and therefore we got a lot we can learn from Elijah maybe more than any other Old Testament prophet were dealing with somebody who was called to be God's prophet, in the midst of a context very much like you and Irene. How can we be effective, showing our society that God is the only true God, and you realize this, but no longer are we simply calling people on our side come back to church like a 30 years ago but now it's not your deal with people you completely different context.

How can you be effective you ever feel like you wonder Emma actually making a difference in my work making one of my family will make you one of my school. Maybe you confront the questions you have the me not too long ago was in an airport which you think everything significant happens may have run airport and you're probably right but yet unclear on her plane was waiting room was packed and and the way there and so I look a marina book about God and so some about the title and I looked off in businesswoman just staring at me right across the road so I just try to ignore. Look I got my book and look back up at her and she still staring at him like she was the summer church and so I look up in her seat to get responses. This like God and I was like alright let's go here and so I cannot answer her question. We started to talk a little bit.

It's because you know I can tell you how comforting it is to know that there's to be a pastor.

I'm on the flight and were about to get is likewise not desirable because God certainly some plain W on what brings you comfort and so she says I consider myself a religious person to I will call myself a Christian.

She says I'm probably 60% Christian, but I try to take a little bit from the different parts enough to come up with something that really really works for me. What about the time she's in the midst of this sitting next to her is this is older couple house which is wondrously older couples where the lady is talking to the man in a voice which he sees about 2 feet from her but she talking him like he's about 35 feet from her sweet old people like that and so she's she's told him well enough for everybody in the airport here and she asked the new paper out and she's reading a horoscope and she's like a look at here. The horse says that my son can have peace today so we got a safe flight coming up what my little woman here thinks it is the greatest thing she's ever heard her last. Can I see that she looked at it and solicit the past and is she's reviewing this guy three seats down from her, please forward it says I got St. Christopher right here in the back what you love to carry him off at the patron saint traveling and this woman over here says she is. We got a pastor we got the horse go. We got St. Christopher. This is also able you probably for yourself or someone you know to say these kind of questions right. How how are you effective in this kind of context we have missionaries and places members of our church with the worship of other gods is the official state religion where little Jezebel's are trying to kill them. How are they supposed to conduct themselves in that kind of context that's what the stories are about what's really encouraging to me. When God wanted to do something about the situation in Israel. Raise up an army. He could have inlays up 10,000 people and like a good 10,000 now they make awesome gritty congressmen and their rich people and we have people write music in our sports teams, a better nurse course if you knew that there is a one-man one man and I believe that's what God wants to do today and through this series. He wants to raise up some of you as an Elijah in your circle of friends.

He was to raise you up as a man or woman as an Elijah in your workplace and Elijah in your family.

One business leader to stand for integrity within an organization that is corrupt. One teenager who will stand for purity in the truth of God's word in a school where the only one. It seems the stand that way and just the way that God changed Israel to the ministry of one man. I believe these are raise up some of his men women over the next several weeks. That's what I'm believing God for some of you that are listening right now are going to be that Elijah and if you are one of those who were not convinced that there is only one God, you're not convinced of the Christian God is the true God. The stories are going to present you with reasons which really sought to consider about why God is the only true God listened.

Pluralism is not new. That's not something we invented in the 21st century actually became sophisticated and globalized pluralism is as old as the world itself and I could for the oldest religions you ever gonna find the idea that there's multiple gods we gotta find one that works for you. Somebody says to me, all religions are the same as that to me.

I don't really know how to respond.

Always put in the category this for me out here. I put in the same category when I hear somebody say that everybody else in another race all looks the same, like like when I lived in Southeast Asia I would have when I first got there. One of the guys I met the Southeast Asia got him some says you look like Kevin Costner. Alright.*Yeah but two weeks later. Some else's, you look just like Sylvester Stallone.

How might you think all white people would think that's the problem in which somebody says that end up thinking about them is like we actually know anybody from another race. We may never have you partner paying attention.

You're kind of a big Mike was semi-says to me all the same.

Unlike you must not actually know any of them. You're kind of a religious bigot.

So what I want to invite you to do is just kind of put that bigotry down and actually consider what the Bible presents about God and the uniqueness of God is God, at least consider what's being said all of us. Don't wait till all of us know somebody who asked this question today were to look specifically at how God prepared Elijah for this conflict is the stories of Elijah go from big picture what God is doing in the world through Elijah and soon back down to what God is doing in Elijah's heart to go in that rhythm and so were to look first at what God is doing big and what he's doing and Elijah to see today that God has one major obstacle to overcome in using Elijah one God conquers this one thing in eyes. This is one area that he conquers becomes the source of most of his power in our lives now to give you little warning. This is totally different than the culture. But you live in, and what you been programmed to believe it most likely different than what your parents taught you, even if they were good parents.

It's different than what your teachers filled the web is different what you coach a sexy I go first in 17 verse one now Elijah, despite when I was a kid we always put out that tick bite when I was in middle school. We printed that is pushed bite, but neither of those is correct, right, it's to spite because he was from Tisha b'Av in Gilead. He said Ahab is the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except by my word easy. Remember, one of the main veils was the bail of rain. So what Elijah is doing is going up all in the bills business going into his hometown on his home court saying I own this court as was happening. He's like you think you control your God control heating bill controls rain I see what the three years I would like to have rain until I say it's time to have rain because I serve the God of the universe. Just pick a fight, pursue, and the warlord came doing department here and turn eastward, and hide yourself a chair which is east of the Jordan you shall drink from the brook, and I've commanded the ravens to feed you there.

So we went and did according to the Lord of the Lord went live by the brook Sheriff that is east of the Jordan and the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening he drank from the brook, which proves that spirit filled people eat lots of meat, because whatever God hand select the menu. It always includes me right, look it up is probably not the main point of this passage, but I couldn't let that go right what you have here is what I told you about a minute ago that you go for the big picture of what God is doing through Elijah in the world.

Verse one and narrowing down really quickly into what God is doing in Elijah's heart and God is going to teach Elijah.

One major lesson one major lesson, he has to teach to anybody that he uses ready here is the lesson of complete dependence. The lesson of complete dependence, and here's how we did it. Elijah was a man like any man who'd always taking care of himself. He got a job and earn some money it spent the money to take care of his needs within God takes that ability away from him and puts him in a place where Elijah has to depend on the special provision of God for the food that he eats and even the water that he drinks Elijah functionally speaking is like a baby. A baby is totally dependent on the parent to give it the food and water, that's what Elijah a grown man has been reduced to the ravens bring him food and water, brings them something to drink.

The brook that God placed him by was called the brook Sheriff Sheriff in Hebrew literally means to cut down. In other words, God is saying to Elijah. Elijah I'm going to cut you down.

I'm going to remove from you any strength you have in yourself. I'm even going to remove the ability that you have. Take care of your own most basic needs and I'm going to teach you.

I'm going to reduce you to the status of an infant and teach you to depend completely on me practice them before God can use us. We must first break us before God to use us. We must first break us and sometimes God does this to you, and you can't figure out what is doing right.

Sometimes God doesn't see you in your like I don't understand what you're doing God why you would let this happen. You been there maybe some of you were there this morning. Somebody let you down a friend to Tracy. Your spouse may be a father or mother let you down.

Something or someone that you always depended on gets taken away, you lose a talent that you've always had you lose a job you get past up for an opportunity that you believe that you should have the school that you always plan on getting into. Suddenly the door closes in front of your face and that opportunity that you thought was going to be yours that was there to provide for your future is no longer open to you and now you face the prospect of a future without that something or someone in it that you really thought would be there at the point of profound weakness and you're not quite sure what to do. God was doing this to Elijah as a way of preparing him to use them in the same way God is at work in those things in you removing false idols and teaching you to depend totally on him. The way AW toes are said that is this it is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he is hurt him deeply. I don't love you like I like how you will be used by God and he will be blessed by God and you have got tie-dye outside me up you want to get on this path is doubtful whether God can actually use a man greatly are blessed greatly until he first heard them very deeply. Craig Rachelle says that the story reminds him of Mr. little bird who got a late start flying south for the winter because he got a late start. He got caught in a snowstorm so so so bad that his wings frozen so he had to make a crash landing. Is there crash landed with his wings frozen can't fly think she's going to die when along by comes a cow who takes a dump on you like the Mrs. went from bad to worse, because I'm a wings are frozen and a couch. Crystal could tell by me, but the manure once his wings and they fall, and he realizes that he's going to be able to fly again so we get so happy about it. He begins to chirp and sing with us attracts a cat who comes along and eats them and there are three things that we can learn from the story number one. Not everyone who drops manure on you is your enemy.

Lesson number two. Not everyone who did you out as your friend. Lesson number three. When you're in manure.

Sometimes it's helpful for you just to keep your little chirp or shut. I got no I know some of you that is the only thing that you're going to remember from the sermon was discerned out of some Old Testament unalike about the burden manure. God is at work in your disappointment and your pain.

Removing your idols which is your false sources of trust and joy and hope, making you depend on him write this down to down if dependence is the objective, then weakness is an advantage if dependence is the objective, then weakness is an advantage. Elijah's greatest enemy was not his weakness. It was his strength and he is about to go into a battle where you have the strength to do it. So God first has to take him back to the brook Sheriff to remove his most basic abilities because there to learn to depend on God and sometimes God makes you weak so that you can find your strength in him. Has this happened to you grimace 12 nine Paul says it this way. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. How crazy is that statement I will boast about my weaknesses, was less than he did to you how my weaknesses with the thing I think that I was thinking this way just about where I've seen this principle played out in my life in several think and I want the first was when I am was a missionary over in Southeast Asia. Been there for seven or eight months and my roommate. He was also good friends. He raise more questions. I don't have time to answer them about this condition where he developed 103 kidney stones in his left kidney and so obviously had to be medevac out what that remove for me the only English speaker within 100 miles of where I live and I was by myself and that's little city where I was for about four months and looking back on it now I realize very clearly that that marked a turning point in the effectiveness of anything I did in that region. God took what was a weakness he wounded me PE interval, weakness, and he made at the strongest point of the ministry that I was a part of. I thought about my ministry here in the United States in the last 20 years Veronica and I were talking about this in the other night that there are couple skills that I lack in ministry, but I've noticed that over the last 20 years that these skills that I lack told God that since you call me ministry. I got it. If I'm thinking that God has always in every ministry been a part of supplied somebody who would come alongside me. That was strong in that area sometimes was a volunteer. Sometimes it was a friend. Sometimes it was another staff member, I can tell you over 20 years in these areas, but on the weakest that have been the strongest areas in the organization that Eileen why because God takes one weakness and God freedom when encouraging message from Pastor JD Greer you're listening to Senate life and today was the first message enter new series called something better. You can find today's teaching and much more online when you visit JD Pastor Jenny is were kicking off this series. Today we bring a resource for our listeners. You write a new study but based on this two-part teaching series that something better and something greater about Elijah and Elisha, can you give us a brief intro for some of the topics that are covered in this new study yeah I would love to in the something better part of the study were to see how Elijah wanted a pluralistic religious environment like our own.

That certainly if you're out of the public square with a vegan education or your business place or talk with a neighbor found that there is this attitude of what you got your God. You get your religion I got mine. Religion is a private matter.

Elijah and Elisha believe it or not confronted environment very much like what Elijah shows this is that there really is only one true God and he has revealed himself to us.

If we want to make it safely into heaven if we want to live with his presence and his power. We don't define her own way he lays out the truth about himself.

He lays out the path of salvation. Elisha comes along. His ministry is very similar but about which we can slightly and say he shows us the something greater, the secret behind Elisha's power here on earth was his fierce devotion to the God of heaven. You have an amazing legacy of his life, not because he was thinking about how to establish himself and his kingdom here, but because he was focused on what God's agenda was gender that was eternal and timeless. This is an eight part study that will take you to the ministries of two of the Old Testament's most eccentric and most powerful prophets. I'm cut short chapters that align directly with the teaching that aired on the broadcast. Right now it's got an interactive workbook style layout of the questions deeper Scripture study and prayer prompt you more. More about this industry connected to JD and you'll see is had already shaped you to make warrior for his investment will help you do just like for you to get a copy today.

You can request something better something greater study and Elisha and Elisha I Pastor JD when you donate today to support this ministry suggested level of $25 or more is just one way, thanks for your support, your gifts make daily message is heard on the media writing people around the world the opportunity deeper into the gospel in pre-k doing I miss you when you begin by calling 833-5835 20 where it might be easier to give online. Remember that Molly had advance and be sure to join us tomorrow. You are reading. When I rear ministry

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