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A God Like No Other, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2024 9:00 am

A God Like No Other, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 10, 2024 9:00 am

When most of us think of “false gods,” we picture different world religions, mythologies, and little golden statues on altars. But the truth is, we might actually be worshiping a false god even if we think we’re worshiping Jesus!

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Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
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J.D. Greear
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Pastor Rick Gaston

Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. False gods favor the insider. They reward you based on how good you are. False gods save through prosperity. False gods reward you for your strengths. The Bible's God meets you in your weaknesses. That's what makes the true God different from every other God ever concocted in the minds of man.

Do not say they're all the same. Thanks for joining us today for Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. Okay, let's be real. When most of us think of false gods, we picture different world religions unlike ours with unusual rituals or little golden statues on altars.

Indiana Jones type stuff, right? But the truth is we might actually be worshiping a false god right here in our own house, even if we think we're worshiping Jesus. Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. unpacks four truths that set the God of the Bible apart from the gods of our own imagination. It's part of our study of the prophet Elijah titled Something Better. And if you missed any of the previous messages, you can find them online at But for now, let's jump back into our message titled A God Like No Other.

So here we go. Verse 10, verse 17. And when Elijah finally, after 100 miles, got to the gate of the city, he saw a widow there gathering sticks, just like God told him would be there. And he asked her, would you please bring me a little water and a cup? As she was going to get it, he called her and said, hey, bring me a bite of bread, too. But she said, I swear by the Lord your God that I don't have a single piece of bread in my house. I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil on the bottom of my jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this very last meal, and then my son and I will die. But Elijah said to her, do not be afraid. Go ahead and do just what you said, but make me a little bread first.

Then use what's left to prepare a meal for yourself and for your son. Verse 14, for this is what the Lord the God of Israel says, there will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again. So she did, as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days.

There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. Sometime later, the woman's son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. Then she said to Elijah, oh man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son? But Elijah replied, give me your son. And he took the child's body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying and laid the body on his bed. Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, oh Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy on this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die? And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, oh Lord my God, please let this child's life return to him. The Lord heard Elijah's prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived. Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother.

Look, he said, your son is alive. Then the woman told Elijah, now I know for sure that you are a man of God and that truly the Lord speaks through you. Four things that you're going to see in this story about the true God.

Now here we go, I'll give you four things. Number one, the true God is a God of the outsider. Why did God send Elijah to a Gentile widow outside of the region of Israel? Do you know what the first sermon that Jesus ever preached was? It was on this passage. Luke chapter four is where it's recorded.

Let me read it to you. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah. When the heavens were shut up, three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon to a woman who was a widow. The famine, Jesus said, affected everybody in Israel, but the only one that Elijah was sent to rescue was a pagan widowed woman in Baal's hometown. And that truth made the Israelite leaders who were listening to Jesus' first sermon so mad that they tried to kill him on the spot.

But this first point I'm making to you is what caused them to be so angry they wanted to kill him. God is a God of the outsider. Number two, the true God is a God who sometimes contradicts and confuses us. The true God is a God who sometimes contradicts and confuses us.

This woman's son dies, and she doesn't know why. She goes to the prophet of God, Elijah. Elijah is a prophet. He's a theologian. He is a seminary graduate. So what's his response? Oh, well, let me just explain to you why all this. No, he doesn't know either. He goes to God and says, God, I don't understand why this kid's dying either.

Can you help here? Notice what they don't do. They don't blame God. They don't start accusing God.

The woman acknowledges she's a sinner, and so God has every right to do what God's going to do. No, they just go to God, asking God for help, appealing to his mercy. They have what I call a humble faith, a humble faith. Humble, they recognize that God often does things that they don't understand. Faith, they never cease believing in the goodness of God, even when their questions aren't being answered. Humble faith, willingness to live with unanswered questions, yet confident in God's goodness, even in the midst of those questions.

That's what you see going on with Elijah and this woman. Is that like your faith? Is that like your faith? Some people, when they suffer, they assume that God just doesn't care. Some people begin to rage against God.

God, how dare you? Other people turn God into some kind of genie that will always heal and always bless if you'll just show enough faith. And that works awesome until it doesn't. And you're like, I did everything right. I named it, I claimed it, I prayed all night, confessed every known sin, thank God in advance for the answer, and my son still died. Humble faith is a willingness to live with unanswered questions, yet you cease, never, or never cease to believe in the goodness of God. Can I tell you this?

Listen to this. Humble faith is a miracle of the Holy Spirit. He's the only one that can produce that faith in you. I know that from experience, because for many years I learned all the right answers, but had no humility in my faith. The reason I couldn't have faith is because I wasn't humble. I pretty much needed to have God justify to me why He said or did anything. And if not, I'd be angry at God, or I just kind of, I just felt myself slipping into unbelief.

The reason some of you can't have faith is because you're not humble. You want me to tell you where God took me to the mat on this one? It was through reading the book of Job. 42 chapters in Job.

I'll summarize it for you in like one point. This is pretty much the whole point of the book of Job. 38 chapters, Job asks, peppers God with questions. And all of his theologian friends are giving them answers.

And at the final scene, God shows up in chapter 38. Now God is, you know, on the dock, and He's going to answer to Job why He did what He did. And you know what God's answer is?

Job? I tell you, once you go get your universe that you created and bring it back here, and we'll compare. Oh, you don't have a universe?

Then why don't you shut up about me running mine? That's essentially the four chapters I just put in one sentence for you, okay? Job, if you don't have the power to create a universe, Job, you can't even get the DVD lights to quit flashing 12 o'clock, okay? If you can't even create a universe, don't think that you have the wisdom to question my ways. It is amazing how much arrogance we approach God with when we want to bring God down to our level and say, I'm not going to believe until I understand you. There's a humility in faith that says, God, you sometimes contradict and confuse me, but I never cease believing in your goodness. See, one of the greatest earthly examples that I know of this in more recent history is Charles Spurgeon.

Charles Spurgeon was one of the greatest theological minds in the 19th century. But he said what was remarkable, most remarkable about Spurgeon was not hearing him pontificate about the mysteries of God. What was remarkable is just hearing him pray for somebody. They would say that when he would begin to pray over somebody, he was reading this one account of a woman in his congregation who had a chronic illness, and he lays his hands on this woman, and he just lifts his eyes to God, and he says, God, Father, if my daughter was sick and she was in this much pain and I could do something about it, I'd do it. God, this is your daughter, and I know you care for her even more than I care for my own daughters. God wants you to heal this woman. Now, Spurgeon realized that God sometimes has ways beyond our ways, but it never caused him to lose touch with the tenderness of God the Father. In fact, in one account, he was listening to some guy at his church get up and just, you know, wax eloquent in one of his prayers about, and when he sat back down the stage, Spurgeon says, why don't you just shut up, call God Father, and ask him for something? The maturity of your prayers is not shown by their theological sophistication.

They're shown by the simplicity of your requests. Humble faith. You don't know everything God's doing, but you never lose touch with his tenderness. Number three, the true God has power over death. The true God has power over death.

The one thing that Baal could not touch was death. That's where all the world's would-be saviors fall short, by the way. So many things, think about this, in our world promise salvation, both secular and religious, but the one thing you always have to ask about any would-be savior is, have they dealt with our primary problem, which is death? Lenin, Hiller, both of them promised, both of them said at one point that their regime would do away with the need for religion, do away with the need for Jesus, both of them.

Lenin said that his new empire would cure world hunger, yet it crumbled a few years ago, fall of the Soviet Union because of poverty. Neither of those guys could deal with death. Both of them are in somewhat in the dustbin of history now.

Muhammad, Buddha, some of the world's great religious leaders all died. You can visit their graves. I remember hearing the one tragic story of a grandmother out in California who was babysitting her grandchildren at her daughter's house. She looked out the window and to her horror saw her granddaughter, two-year-old granddaughter, fall into the deep end of the pool. She ran outside to rescue her, jumped in the pool.

Two hours later, they pulled out both the body of the grandmother and the granddaughter because the grandmother couldn't swim either. Those people that would-be savior cannot suffer from the same thing that they're trying to save people that they suffer with. Does that make sense? These people, they die. They haven't been able to deal with the problem of death. Many of you think of money as a savior. At least that's the way you act about it.

And realize, I know we know this. You don't need me to tell you this, but how crazy is that? I mean, money can give you a comfortable life here, but you're not taking it beyond the grave.

I mean, the proverb is that there's no hearse you've ever seen that's pulling a U-haul. It's just absurd. You're like, well, I want to leave a lot of money for my kids. You leave a lot of money for your kids, you're going to spoil your kids. I'm not saying it's wrong to leave your kids. I'm just saying that it's not a savior. You know that. It can make life a little easier here, but it doesn't take you beyond the grave.

Many of you act like beauty is your savior, functionally speaking. That's why you're trying so hard to hang on to it. I don't mean to be rude, get up on your face, but you're going to do that for so long.

Right? You can tuck it, you can lift it, but... I mean, you know this. You can slow the aging process down a little bit, but you can't stop it.

You can nip it, tuck it, tighten it, tan it, tweak it, tat it, puff it, twist it, lift it, color it, whatever you want. All right? It's just getting older, saggier, flimsier. It's dying. Is that really the place that you want to build your hope? Can your God carry you beyond the grave? That's why God goes into Baal's backyard, raises a kid from the dead, and essentially says, You can't touch this. I can make rain where you can.

I can bring people back from the dead, which you've never been able to do. By the way, right after the sermon in Luke 4 that Jesus preached about Elijah, first thing he did after they tried to push him off the cliff, it says that he just sort of slipped through their midst. I don't know what that was like, but he just like, just slipped through their midst, and they got to the edge of the cliff.

They're like, Oh, where'd he go? You know? He goes straight from there, Luke 7, and he goes to the dead son of a widow, and he raises him from the dead. You know what Jesus is trying to do? He's trying to show you he's walking the same path of Elijah, because it's essentially the same question he's answering. What can God do as a savior that no other God can do? Essentially, Jesus twice there in that scene basically says, Can't touch this. Literally, can't touch this, because I'm passing through your midst, and can't touch this, what I'm doing with death.

Six. It's an eight part devotional looking at some of the highlights of what the Bible teaches about Elijah and Elisha, the prophet who succeeded him, and who we'll be talking about on Summit Life very soon. These devotionals are a great way to take a deep look at why God worked so powerfully through them, and along the way, you'll discover how God can work through you in much of the same ways too. You'll read, study, pray, and apply what you're learning along the way. That's the way we structure many of our resources here at Summit Life, allowing you to connect with God's Word on a deeper level. We'll send you a copy of this devotional with your gift to the ministry right now, so give us a call at 866-335-5220, or give online at Now let's return to today's teaching.

Once again, here's Pastor JD. Now before I move on to our final point, point four, I want to point out one other thing. I want you to think about how confusing this whole thing was for the woman.

I mean, here she's got a need. She's starving, and a prophet of God shows up who doesn't meet the need but asks her for something to eat, and then after he is eventually provided for her, then her son dies. You think about how confusing this is to her, but what if God has a higher agenda than simply multiplying her oil or raising her son? What if there is something even more important he's after, which is why he does it the way he does it, and that higher agenda is that they know the God that is better than multiplied oil and a resurrection that is more permanent than a temporarily raised son? Some of you are frustrated right now in your life because God seems to not do the things that you think he should do. He hasn't gotten you into the school you want to get into. You've lost the job.

You can't seem to get into the relationship you want to be in. He hasn't healed you like you think you want. What if God had a bigger agenda, a better agenda, and that is you coming to know a God that is bigger than all of life, a God so big and so glorious that it's more important than your son temporarily living or dying? Write this down.

Knowing God is better than multiplied oil or even a temporarily resurrected son. You know why I say temporarily? Anybody know this guy? I've actually been to Zarephath.

I've been through that region. He ain't there. He's dead. That means he got old, he died again, and he didn't get resurrected that time. His resurrection was temporary. Every earthly blessing is temporary. What if there was something better than the temporary? What if it was knowing a God who is bigger and better than life and a resurrection more permanent than a temporary blessing?

That's the point. That's what God is trying to show them, and that's what he is trying to show you. Hebrews 11 talks about two groups.

I love this. It actually mentions this woman. Hebrews 11 talks about two kinds of people who pray in faith, and some of them get their prayers answered, and it mentions this woman specifically in Hebrews 11. Their son gets raised from the dead. Others pray in faith, and they don't get their prayer answered, but here's what it says about both groups. Is both of them, watch this, die in faith, neither of them having received the fullness of the promise, because the fullness of the promise is not multiplied oil or a temporarily resurrected son. The fullness of the promise is fellowship with the Lord of life for all of eternity. That's the bigger agenda for you to know God. Number four, the true God saves through death.

The true God not only has power over death, he saves through death. Now, could we confess here for a minute that this final scene is pretty mysterious? Elijah puts the dead boy in his own bed, then stretches out over the boy three times?

What is this? Well, putting him into his own bed, it's hard to think of a place more private to you than your bed, right? So he's putting the boy in his place, stretching out as a position of vulnerability. In fact, I think of Jesus' words to Peter that when you're old, they're going to stretch you out talking about his crucifixion, and you're not going to have any control of what you're doing.

It's vulnerability. Laying on top of him as if absorbing the boy's death into his own body. This is, by the way, get this, the first account in the Bible of somebody actually being raised from the dead.

And don't miss this. The account of the first person in the Bible being raised from the dead begins with the question, is this my son dying for my sins? And then God has his representative lay down over the boy, stretch out and absorb, as it were, that boy's death into his body so the boy lives. The question, is this my son dying for my sins? God's answer is no, your son is not dying for your sins.

My son, my representative will die for your sins. And God will save you through the death of an innocent man. That's how God saved us. And let me add, he continues to work the power of his salvation in us through our death.

That's the big mystery that some of you can't get your minds around. False gods always promise to save around death. If you obey, if you show enough faith, you make me happy, I'll prosper you. That is different than the Christian hope.

The Christian hope is resurrection through death. Many so-called Christian preachers, essentially their message is, obey God and he'll enrich you. He'll give you a BMW. He'll prosper you in your job. He'll turn the fillings in your mouth into gold. Sometimes God does that. Maybe not the gold filling thing, but he does prosper you.

I don't want to take that away at all. What I'm always bothered by is what they admit is that the channel of God's blessing is resurrection through death. It is strength through weakness. So sometimes God makes us weak so he can show off his power in us. That's why Paul said, I delight in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings so that I can know the power of his resurrection. If there is no cross, there can be no resurrection. If you want the power of resurrection in your life, you're going to have to go through the cross, which means cross is weakness.

Cross is struggling. Cross is you being torn down because that's where God's power begins to go in you. Many of you want to be saved around the cross. And there's a lot of false peddlers of religion out there that'll give you exactly what you're looking for.

But not this one, not the Bible. The Bible says you want the power of the resurrection. You go into the fellowship of his sufferings. The fact that Jesus died in weakness didn't mean that God was angry at him, that God was cursing him per se. It didn't mean he was out of the will of God.

It's just how God was saving the world. If you're in the midst of a kind of death, death of a dream, death of your reputation, death of your health, or even death of your body, that doesn't mean that God has forsaken you. He forsook Jesus so he would never forsake you. And in your death now, that's where God does his best work. Resurrection happens through death and weakness.

So Paul said, I will gladly embrace the fellowship of his sufferings so I can walk in the power of his resurrection. No cross, no resurrection. By the way, the word zarephath comes from a Hebrew word that means to melt. And the noun form of that word is crucible, cross. First resurrection story in the Bible took place at the place of the cross.

No cross, no resurrection. The true God is a God who brings in the outsider. The true God is a God who sometimes contradicts and confuses us.

The true God is a God who saves through death. False gods do the opposite. False gods favor the insider.

They reward you based on how good you are. False gods conform to all of our prejudices. False gods save through prosperity. False gods reward you for your strengths. The Bible's God meets you in your weaknesses. That's what makes the true God different from every other God ever concocted in the minds of man.

Do not say they're all the same because they're actually fundamentally different. The last scene or this whole deal, there's one thing I want to turn our attention to the woman because she's in exactly the same place some of you are. In order for the woman to experience this God, she has to take a step of faith.

Right? Now, it's not blind faith. She's seen a little bit. But what God does, and watch this, he shows her a little. She responds, he shows her a little more.

She responds, he shows her a little more. That's the way God works. Listen, Christianity is not turning your mind off, but many of you are like, well, I'm going to need to understand and then I'll believe. And God says, Christianity is not see, then believe. Christianity is see a little, believe, see the rest for the rest of eternity. So if you have seen enough that God, you can hear him beckoning you to follow you. Right?

He's beginning to beckon you and he's saying, follow. You got questions? Me too. You're seeking answers?

Me too. But I've seen enough to know that there is a God, that the God speaks in Jesus and he has said, come and follow me. If you're going to wait until all your questions are answered, it's never going to happen. That you believe. You see a little, you believe, and then he begins to show you the rest. I would invite you to begin to follow, to say yes to what God, you know, is doing in your life. As you begin to obey, God begins to respond. I'm just saying, as you obey, that becomes the vehicle that God begins to pour blessing through.

And some of you need to take that step. You need to just begin to go out and believe and let God begin to unfold his glorious majesty in and through you. Faith precedes God's blessing in your life.

So take a new step of faith today and see what he'll do. You're listening to pastor JD Greer on Summit Life and a message titled A God Like No Other. We have a special devotional to accompany the study of Elijah and the second part of the study about Elisha. It's a devotional called Elijah and Elisha, an eight-day scripture guide through 1st Kings 17 to 2nd Kings 6.

It's an eight-part study and each part includes a short chapter that aligns with the teaching you've been hearing and will be hearing for the next few weeks. It also includes space for notes on the scripture readings from 1st and 2nd Kings, a prayer prompt, and then a challenge to apply the truth to your personal life. We'd love to get you a copy of this practical new devotional and we'll send you a copy today as our way of saying thanks for your financial gift of $35 or more to support this ministry. Your gift to Summit Life opens the door for listeners all across the country and around the world, helping them dive deeper into the gospel through this program and all of our online resources. Join that mission today when you give by calling 866-335-5220. The number again is 866-335-5220 or go online to give and request your copy at When you visit our website, you can also sign up for our email list to get ministry updates, information about new resources, and Pastor JD's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up when you go to I'm Molly Vitovich inviting you to join us next time when we move to the pinnacle of Elijah's life and ministry.

You won't want to miss it. Happy Mother's Day weekend and join us next week on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-10 10:07:47 / 2024-05-10 10:18:45 / 11

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