Oct 26, 2009                               "Out of Neutral and in the Trench!"  To listen to this Great Message Click "Here"

Sun Am Worship                                       

Text:  1 kings 18:17 40  (King James Version) THEME: Fireproof your Future -!

Subject:  Equipping the Church for the Harvest"

"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

 

OPEN: I recently read the true story about a preacher who was standing at the door shaking hands as the congregation departed. He grabbed one man by the hand and pulled him aside.
The preacher said to him, "You need to join the Army of the Lord!"
The man replied, "I'm already in the Army of the Lord, Preacher."
The preacher questioned, "How come I don't see you except for Christmas and Easter?"
He whispered back, "I'm in the secret service."

APPLY: The Secret Service? .I don't think so.

ILLUS: Several years ago, I was exchanging ideas with several people on "BibleMaster.com".
In the course of these conversations, I encountered a young man who'd just been called up to go to Iraq, because our nation had declared war on Saddam Hussein.
The problem for this young man was he didn't want to go.
He explained that he hadn't joined the army to go to war.

he'd joined because of the benefits: the pay, the college tuition, the insurance, etc.

Now, something's wrong with that kind of thinking!!
One of the primary functions of the military is to prepare for war.
You've got to know that if you sign up! I'm sure its somewhere in the job description.

Armies do NOT exist to pass out benefits (those are perks).
Armies exists to deal with conflicts.
To defend their people.
To fight the enemy.
And hopefully to contend against evil.

But there are people who actually join up hoping for a free ride.
And that kind of mentality undermines the military of any nation.

That same kind of mentality can also undermine the church.
Too often believers sign up for the benefits. They expect Jesus to "be there" for them. but they don't expect to "be there" for Him.


Matthew 16:24   Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 16:25   For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it


Jesus is explaining to His disciples that they're part of His army.
He has called them to war, and there's a decision to be made.

In other words it's not just about the benefits.
It's about picking up your cross and going into the trenches. Unfortunately all too many Christians thinks the only reason they have a cross is to be able to beat people over the head with it..


It's about being willing (if necessary) to lose your life for Christ.
It's all about being SERIOUS in our commitment to the Lord

(Jesus is saying) I've called each of  you to a very real war.
And in war you face the possibility of real persecution and even death.

That's what my friend on BibleMaster was worried about. He knew that once he went to the trenches he would face suffering, danger.and he could even die.
He didn't want to do that!
And here Jesus is telling His disciples and us THAT IS what we've signed up for.
We've been called to go to war.
And we face the possibility of suffering, danger. and maybe even death.

Now turn with me to 1 Kings 18:17 for some decision making

 

1 Kings 18:17   And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

1 Kings 18:18   And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

1 Kings 18:19   Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.

1 Kings 18:20   So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.

1 Kings 18:21   And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

1 Kings 18:22   Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain  a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

1 Kings 18:23   Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:

1 Kings 18:24   And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

1 Kings 18:25   And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.

1 Kings 18:26   And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

1 Kings 18:27   And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

1 Kings 18:28   And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

1 Kings 18:29   And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

 

 

1 Kings 18:30   And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him.  And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken d 1 Kings 18:31   And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:

1 Kings 18:32   And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.

1 Kings 18:33   And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.

1 Kings 18:34   And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. own.

1 Kings 18:35   And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

1 Kings 18:36   And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

1 Kings 18:37   Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 

1 Kings 18:38   Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

1 Kings 18:39   And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

1 Kings 18:40   And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

 

                    How long halt ye (between) two opinions?
Between = in the middle (neutral)

There is no power in Neutral

Isa 28:6 For strength to them that turn the battle to the gate
Jos 10:25 for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

A church in park or neutral is as useless and powerless as a car without an engine.

You cannot be for without being against
Worship in spirit and truth Selfish living, spiritual idolatry
Humility and service Pride and carelessness
Holiness Impurity and corruption
The power of God, Sickness, poverty, disease, oppression
Faithfulness, Commitment Unfaithfulness, Spiritual Adultery

Satan accomplishes his greatest work when the church falls into the sleep of indifference.
It's not the devil who defeats the church, it's the slumber of indifference, indecision, neutrality.
This Indifference is what produces Impotency = Powerlessness

Power always follows Passion
Passion: If there is true passion there is commitment, there is discipline, there is patience, there is sacrifice.

The greatest display of passion ever seen is the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

In the world: People will go anywhere and do anything for something that they are passionate about.
They will go through hardships, suffer criticism, and opposition, They will sacrifice and put themselves through rigorous difficult training, but it doesn't matter because they are passionate about it.

There are 4 things that Elijah took with him up to Mt Carmel and I believe that they are the ingredients for Passion and power

1. Revelation: That means you have to see something other people don't see, you have to have the ability to see the end before you begin,
You see before Elijah ever took one step up that mountain he could already envision Israel back under the government of God, he could see that false religious order being overthrown.

He could see Baals altars torn down, and the altar of the Lord standing in it's place,
He could see the prophets of Baal slain by the sword.
He could see Israel worshipping the one and only True and living God.


David had Revelation: He could see Goliath lying headless on the ground before he ever put that rock in his sling:
How do we know he had revelation (because he prophesied his revelation-

This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand and I will smite thee and take thine head from thee).

Somebody here today needs to get a revelation of the will and plan of God for your life, You need to see yourself as God sees you, You need to lift your eyes above present circumstances and get a vision of divine destiny.

You want passion: Ask God to show you your purpose, Your destiny
Ask him for a personal revelation.
See yourself healed
See yourself as that anointed Man of God, preaching the gospel and setting the captives free.

See your children saved filled with the Holy Ghost on fire for God
See yourself walking in wisdom, joy, and peace and divine favor. Start seeing and calling
Romans 4:17  those things which be not as though they were.

2. Elijah had an expectation: How many came this morning with great expectation God was about to do something.


He expected the fire to fall, He expected God to show up, He expected Gods power to be manifested
Today God wants to raise your level of expectation,
He wants you to expect better in life,
Expect more from yourself

He wants you to expect more from him
You see Expectation is the breeding ground for Manifestation. If you and I just come to church through the motions of a religious spirit we will leave this place every time the same way we came in. Even the man at the gate called beautiful as he looked upon Peter and John was expectant. Now granted he did not receive what he was expecting but rather what he needed. Silver and Gold have I none this morning but such as I have give I unto thee..

 

Not only do you have to Expect you have to Believe!
Mark 9:23   Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Mark 9:24   And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.


You have to believe to see
Jesus told Mary and Martha (did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God).

Now lets take it to the next level
3. Elijah had a desperation:  A desperate man or woman is a Dangerious Individual!

 

We need to come to God with this same sense of desperation, God I'm desperate for you, I can't do it myself.
Without you I'm lost, If you don't touch me I'll die.

It was desperation that brought the woman with the issue of blood to Jesus.
It was desperation that caused the leper Naaman to come to the prophet of God and dip himself seven times in a mud puddle called Jordan.
It was desperation that caused a respected religious leader of the community to give up his reputation and religious pride to come to Jesus because his daughter had died.
It was desperation that caused Blind Bartimaus to cry out.

It was desperation that caused Little Zacheus to climb that Sycimore tree

It was desperation that caused That caused Peter to Cry out Lord save me.


His life depended upon God answering by fire
If fire did not fall Elijah would die.
  If the Fire of God don't fall the Church as we see and know it is going to die!


When you get desperate you don't care what other people say or think or do, all that matters is: I have got to get to Jesus, and I have got to touch him for myself.

4. Elijah had a resignation:
That means that Elijah had already predetermined in his heart and mind that he was going to through with this challenge, even if he had to die on that mountain.
We have a lot of people that want to serve God as long as it's convenient for them.

Then when things get hard they quit, they bail out.
God is looking for some people that have some grit, that will make up their minds, (For better or worse I am committed, I am resigned) to follow Jesus.
Elijah had his mind made up: If I die let me die in the service of the Lord.

Somebody here today:
God says it's time to get out of neutral, It's time to get in gear for God.
You've been teeter tottering back and forth,
Hot then cold, on then off, In then out. Up then down.
God says it's time to come in and shut the door behind you,
It's time to burn the bridges behind you,
it's time to get off the merry go round.
It's time to sell out.

Today is the day :
I'm climbing that mountain and I am tearing down every other altar, every other love, every other god.
And I want the fire of God to consume me
No more neutral:

They put the wood in Order
You say God loves me just like I am ( Yes but God cannot use you or bless you until you bring your life in order) You must line your life up with the Word of God.

They layed the sacrifice on the altar:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Elijah rebuilt the altar:
You are not going any where with God without prayer, prayer is your umbilical cord that connects you to your life source, Prayer is your Spiritual breath.
If you don't breathe in the natural you die.
If you don't breathe spiritually = (Pray) You will die in your spirit.

They dug a trench around the altar:
This speaks of a deep work, a searching and penetrating work of the Holy Spirit.

A lot of people want to spend just enough time around the altar to feel better but not change.
You have to stay at the altar long enough for the Spirit to plow up the ground of your heart, to Break through the hard and callused places, and tenderize your spirit.

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

I just believe I'm talking to somebody today who is saying, I want that passion and power in my life and I'm ready to climb that mountain today, I'm ready to get out of neutral and I'm ready for God to consume me.

it is in the faithfulness of each of us that God wins this battle.

John Wesley once said: "Give me a hundred men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and I will shake the whole world for Christ."

It doesn't take many. but it does take someone who decides to be faithful.