Jan 03, 2021 | Lee Becknell

“What every Christian should know, living in a society that has rejected God.” #7 “You cannot give what you do not have.”

    Text: 1 Kings 19:9-18

    * Ever since there’s been a Post Office, it seems that children have written letters to God. Here are just a few of them:

    * A little girl named Jane wrote: “In Sunday school they told us what you do. Who does it when you are on vacation? Nan wrote: “I bet it is very hard for you to love everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.” Norma asked “Did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?” Mickey said: Dear God, if you watch in church on Sunday, I will show you my new shoes.” Another child: “I read that Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday School they said you did it. I bet he stole your idea.” Sincerely, Donna. Larry “Dear God, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.”

    * And my favorite: “Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I’m not praying”

    Title: “What every Christian should know, living in a society that has rejected God.” #7 “You cannot give what you do not have.”

    * If you listen, you just might hear from God.

    Theme: “Children never doubt that God is there and that He cares for them. But as we get older things change. Life can disappoint us, dreams get damaged. We experience pain and loss and rejection. And People hurt us. When things like that happen, we tend to lose the innocence and trust we had as children. God hasn’t changed. He’s still the same God we knew as children, and He still cares for us.”

    * God could have just told us just the cool stuff in Elijah’s life – the miracles, the battles he waged, and the prayers God answered.  God also saw fit to include the story of this great man when he needed to learn valuable spiritual lessons. God included this part of Elijah’s story in the Bible because we need to realize that God cared for him just like He cares for us.

    * This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

    1. What are you doing here? It is important that you can answer this question.

    1Kings 19:9-10, “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

    * This is a great question and it applies to all of us. Beloved, twice the Lord will ask him this question (end of verse 13).

    * Each time Elijah goes in to his speech he talks about how good he is and how bad Israel is but the real issue is Elijah fears death!

    * Do you realize the power of Covid-19 is the fear of death?  People are confronted with their own death. 

    Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

     

    * Beloved, you will not die one moment before the Lord has ordained your death! 

    * In 2005, I was in Fallujah Iraq and a message came in that I had Melanoma.  I had a biopsy six months before. The senior medical officer called me down to the field hospital.  I remember walking with my CO. He was so sad.  When we arrived she went into this speech about how I had to Medivac immediately or I could die.  They had a hello waiting for the light to fade that would fly me to Balaod the first leg of my journey home.  At this point we mostly flew at night.  Much safer. I was very conflicted.  I was there only Chaplain.  I was scheduled to preach on Sunday in Sadaam Hussain’s, ex movie theater. I guess she could tell that I was thinking about not going home.  She said, “Do you understand, you could be dead in a few weeks?”  I will never forget what I said to her.  I bet my Colonel will never forget and I am sure she will never forget.  I looked at her and said, “Are you trying to scare me with Heaven?”

    * Now, don’t get nervous, I did not die.  In fact, I flew home had surgery and eight days later I was preaching in Sadamm’s Hussain’s movie theater.

    Psalm 139:16, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

    Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

    * If God keeps records like this don’t worry about a premature death.  There is no such thing.

    1. Listening to the voice of God sets us free to serve Him.

    1Kings 19:11-13, “And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

    * Beloved, I want you to notice that before Elijah heard the whisper he had experience in hearing God’s voice. Verse 9

    * The Bible is full of stories of people who have heard the voice of God. It wasn't the Burning Bush which caused Moses to kneel, but the Voice coming from the Bush. Adam heard the Voice of the Lord walking in the Garden; Samuel heard that Voice calling him at the tabernacle; Isaiah heard the Voice of the Lord when he saw a vision of heaven and his lips had been cleansed; Jesus' disciples heard that Voice at the Mt. of Transfiguration -- "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him" Matthew 17:5.

    * We need to hear from God! You must get past all the rushing and crashing of outside pressures and your own inside pressures, before you will get quiet enough to hear the Holy Spirit.

    * God whispered to show His gentleness. “Go out and stand before me on the mountain, the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper”

    * God still speaks to His people today. Jesus says in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

    1. We are not alone in serving the Lord.

    1Kings 19:15-18, “And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

    * One of the problems in serving the Lord is that many times God does things that we just can’t understand. We think that’s not the way I would have done it. nothing is happening and we have failed.

    Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    * God is so different; we must learn to think His way.

    * It kind of reminds me of the true story of a preacher was teaching a children’s Sunday School class. He was teaching them about the 23rd Psalm and he’d spent a lot of time talking about sheep. What they were like, how they ate, how they interacted with the shepherd and so on. Then he pointed out that the kids in the class who were Christians were kind of like the “sheep of the flock.” Then he asked, "If you are the sheep then who is the shepherd?" Now, in that church, they referred to preachers as “Pastors” – which is another word for shepherd, and so he was expecting the kids to say that he was the shepherd of the flock. But apparently he’d failed to set the question up properly, and one little boy answered his question: “Jesus Is the Shepherd.” Now that shocked the preacher (because it was true) and he was so flustered, he almost couldn’t help himself. He blurted out “Well then, who am I?” And the little boy said “Well, I guess you must be a sheepdog.”

    * God is saying; “Elijah, you’re not the only one left, and I do have everything in hand. I’m the shepherd you’re my sheepdog.” But Elijah had forgotten that.

    * And when we forget that God is the shepherd and we’re the sheepdog, we can tend to get depressed. God’s answer is for Elijah to get back to work.

    * You are exactly where God wants you to be. God has plans for each Christian.  God told Elijah to go back the way he came and do three assignments; anoint Hazeal king of Aram, Jehu king of Israel, and anoint Elisha to be your successor.

    * None of these three people seemed that important at the time Elijah got the assignment. But God was using Elijah to prepare for the next generation of leaders. God has us here in 2021 to raise up the next generation of leaders to make a difference for Christ in our world.

    * God also lets him know, I’m working in far more people than you think. I have seven thousand in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal and who have not kissed his feet. Our society wants us to believe we are the only ones in our school, on our jobs, or in our community who still believe the truth taught in the Scriptures. God says there are a lot more.

    * In the days before widespread refrigeration, when ice blocks were distributed to people's homes to keep their food cool, there were large warehouses in which ice was stored, packed in hay. One of the men working there had a very fine pocket watch, which fell out of his pocket and ended up lost in the hay. Several of the men searched for half an hour, but could not find it. They gave it up and went to lunch. When the men came back from lunch, a young man stood at the door holding the pocket watch. "How in the world did you find it?" said its owner.

    "Easy. I waited until everyone left and it was quiet. Then I laid down in the hay and listened for the ticking. The sound led me right to it."

    * That's how it is when we get quiet before God; then we can hear the still small voice of the Lord speaking to us!

    * Will you listen for the Lord’s voice?

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