End Of Days Persecution, Instability & Double-Minded Believers - Portrayed By Elijah & Fire Of God - Discover the Book Ministries

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End Of Days Persecution, Instability & Double-Minded Believers – Portrayed By Elijah & Fire Of God

Tagged With: / 52 Greatest Chapters Of The Bible

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I just finished my challenge to a small group I lead. We are going through the whole Bible in 2021 by studying the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible. This week was extra special, I hope it will challenge your life as it did ours. These are unprecedented days in the life of Christ’s Church in the world. The Covid-19 Pandemic’s quarantine, social-distancing rules have led to the most drastic weakening of churches across the world. More services have been canceled, more Bible studies suspended, and more Biblical accountability has lapsed than at any other time in modern history. The result is the growth of darkness all around us. Righteousness is being criminalized and iniquity is being legalized at a faster rate than ever. 1 Kings 18 is the titanic confrontation between the god of this world (represented by the prophets of Baal) and the True & Living God. Elijah faces off with the people of God who were wavering between God and Baal and says in 1 Kings 18:21— “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.” (ESV)

Transcript

Welcome to the 52 Greatest Chapters in the Bible, study. John Barnett here. As you’ve heard, if you’ve been in any of our other times, my wonderful wife is sitting right over there, and she runs the studio board to capture all the camera views. I would invite you to grab your Bible and open to 1 Kings 18.

If you look at your slides, we’re on the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible and that’s my Bible sitting there. What we’re looking at is Elijah and the fire from Heaven. What I wrote in my notes, he was weak like us but Elijah, and this is what is so important, was a man of God and a man of prayer. Week nine and we’re in 1 Kings 18.

I love this picture. If you just look at it for a second, it captures Elijah kneeling in front of that alter that he had made, built up from the 12 stones representing the 12 tribes. You can probably see at the bottom the little marks or water in the ditch around there. Then of course, off here on the side are all the spectators. This is one of the biggest moments in Old Testament history.

In the next slide, what we’re really getting to. The instability and ruin of double minded believers. You see the tracks going two directions? You cannot serve two masters. Look up for a second, let’s begin by reading from 1 Kings 18. I remind you, before I study the Bible, before I get into all my note taking, before I grabbed my Study Bible… my MacArthur Study Bible that I always use each day to look at the background notes, but before any of that the most important thing is to invite the author Himself to open our minds.

Let’s bow and ask Him to help us.

Father in Heaven, I thank you. This is your word. We are your children. We love you. Your Spirit has come to live within all of us who have been born again and your Spirit can illumine our hearts. Open our eyes. My eyes, as I teach. The eyes of each of these that are sitting across the table from me in this little Bible study that we’re having today, going through the 52 chapters. Open our eyes to behold, wonderful things from your word. In Jesus name, Amen.

In your Bible, look at 1 Kings chapter 18, I’m going to start reading in verse 1. “And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, ‘Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the Earth.’ So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly.)”

So right away, we’re jumping into a time in history. In geography, remember, everything happens some time and somewhere. Let me show you on a map where we’re going today. Remember we’re looking at the dangers of double mindedness, Elijah, and 1 Kings 18. This is just a typical map that we get when we have Holy Land tours in Israel. It’s just been laminated, and I put it up on the board for you. This is where geography is so important. Ahab, King Ahab, his wife came from up here. This is in Bible times, today it’s Lebanon. If you can see, I don’t know how clearly your view of this map is, it’s kind of small letters, but this is called Phoenicia in Bible times. This is where the Phoenician, seafaring, traders lived.

Right here is where we’re coming in, chapter 18. We’re coming to the climactic event on Mount Carmel. The Carmel range extends 30 miles right here. It’s almost like a wall that divides between Phoenicia and Israel. Ahab, and Samaria, and all that is down here in central Israel. Elijah was a prophet that was here in the north, going up and down in this area. This wall of mountains right here is almost like a divider between the Phoenicians, where Baal comes from, and the Israelites. Baal, and if you want to look up here, Baal was the current temptation for the people of God. Baal was in charge… they thought… of the crops, of their success, of culture. It was what the king and his wife were into. God sets up over in this mountain, Mount Carmel, confrontation between Baal who had a sacred place on this mountain and God. He was thought to be the god of fire. He was thought to be the god of rain, of lightning, that brought the crops, gave success, and shaped their culture. That’s what’s going on right here in chapter 8.

I want to take a moment to show you, here’s my Bible, but I want to read to you the little notes that I put in. I’ve been reading this through every day this week. Whatever chapters we’re working on and that is 1 Kings 18, this whole section I read through, look up all the footnotes here in the MacArthur Study Bible. What I’m doing is taking personal notes in my Bible. The first thing I wrote is in chapter 18 verse 1. The Lord said, go and present yourself to Ahab. The first point is this whole event in week nine, starts out with God sharing His plan. He has a plan, that I showed you over there, to put this massive confrontation between the true and living God and the false god of this current generation, which was Baal. God had that as His plan.

Look at verse 4, “For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah had taken 100 prophets and hidden them.” Jezebel, from up there in Phoenicia, introduced Baal worship into Israel, made it the state religion in place of the true living God and was killing all of the true prophets. She was, see what it says? “Massacred the prophets of the LORD.” Pause for a minute. Do you know why this chapter is so important? It’s because of the growing persecution that was coming on God’s people. There was persecution. Jezebel massacring the true prophets. All of a sudden, since the culture of the day and the leaders of the day we’re all going toward Baal, the people had become unstable and ruined because they were double-minded.

Think about what’s going on in our culture. Did you know that we’re living in a time unlike any, I’m aware of, that’s ever happened? When iniquity, sin, has been legalized everyone is told that what God calls iniquity is okay. Righteousness, for you to declare what God believes, is now criminal. You can get in trouble for declaring what God says. It’s exactly like what was going on in this time. The people of Israel were now double-minded. They said, whoa, if I don’t go along with the current culture that believes in Baal I’ll be persecuted. If I don’t go along with their iniquity, that they have legalized, I’m going to be persecuted. If I don’t close my mouth about the righteousness of God that I should believe and follow I’ll be a criminal, persecuted. Jezebel was massacring them. We haven’t quite faced that in our society, but this is so timely. What I wrote in my Bible, in verse 4, is God knows what’s going on. God knew this persecution was going on. Of course, His eyes are open, His ears are open, He’s here with us, He knows what’s going.

Look at verse 9, this conversation you’ve already read it if you’re studying it this week, but it says, Obadiah says this, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?” What Obadiah said is, oh no, if I say Elijah’s over there God’s going to protect him. He’ll disappear, and Ahab will get mad at me, and Jezebel will probably kill me, and massacre me too. What did I write in my Bible? This is something that is so helpful. We all have fears. Obadiah had fears. We’re going to see in a little bit, Elijah had fears to keep going.

Obadiah gives his testimony in verse 12. He said, “It shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the LORD will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me.” That was his fear, “But I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth.” This is captured in the Bible. This is part of the eternal, living, abiding, Word of God that’s forever settled in Heaven. God knows the investments, the sacrifices, the time we’ve spent serving Him and He never forgets it.

Keep going, we’re getting to verse 20, to what we’re looking at right here. This is Mount Carmel over here. A 30 mile long range of mountains, dividing the people of God from the pagans, the Baal worshipers. The whole chapter is about the danger of double mindedness. God sets up, in the spot where the god of the Phoenicians, Baal, is worshiped; in the spot, which is his sacred mountain God says, I want you to go there. Look at chapter 18, verse 20. “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people.”

Look at this up here. The key verse that we’re focusing on in this chapter is chapter 18, verse 21. That’s where this instability and ruin of double mindedness is clearly declared. Verse 21, “Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter…” Interesting Hebrew word there. The Hebrew word speaks of someone that has a crutch and they’re going along, and the crutch keeps breaking. They’re leaning on it, and they can’t even use the crutch for their lameness because the crutch keeps falling down. “How long are you going to falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” Look what verse 21 ends with, “the people answered him not a word.” This is the most amazing moment that the Lord has set up.

He is showing the people that they’re double-minded. He is confronting them with halting, with being lame, with being crippled, by not believing the truth. They keep going back and forth between two opinions. Keep reading, you know the story. In verse 25, “Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull for yourself and prepare it.’ “ Then, verse 26 “They took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning till noon, saying, ‘O Baal, hear us!’ But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the alter which they had made.” This whole story, it’s one of my favorite Sunday school stories when I would teach young people.

Look back at your slides, I want to remind you of this slide, the main theme is the instability and ruin of double-minded believers. It’s about the danger that Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” Do you remember that? What Jesus said in Matthew 6? He says, you can’t serve two masters. You’ll either love the one and hate the other. You can’t serve God and money. Really underlining that is, that theme is, who is really the ruler of your life?

Here’s another lesson. Elijah was just like us. That’s what James tells us. The result of this incredible outpouring of God’s plan was a reminder, it was God’s power, not Elijah’s. We’re going to see in a little bit, Elijah was afraid. He ran and hid, but he was a tool God could use. Look up for a second. Do you know what the greatest thing in all of life is? To be useful to God. That’s what sanctification is about. We were bought at a price that we might serve God, be useful to Him, be His servants. I wonder in this week’s lesson, will you really, deeply, as you’re reading through the texts with me, as you’re studying on your own and taking notes… I just take pages of notes as I study, but you know what? I pause, and it’s not just getting more facts, I keep asking myself, am I really living like I believe the Lord? Not the current culture. Not worried about being persecuted for standing up for righteousness. Not worrying that sin all around us, in 2021… March 7th, sin is being legalized. Those of us who believe righteousness are being canceled. That’s the big word today, cancel. You know what a lot of Christians are doing? They don’t want to be canceled, so they’re backing up and starting to be double-minded. It’s like, God is for church but I’m going to live like the culture in my job, and in society, and on social media, and whatever, so I don’t get canceled.

Back to the slides. Elijah was a tool God could use because he surrendered. Remember where we are in this. That sheet I showed you that has all of the chapters of the 52 Greatest Chapters. 1 Kings 18 is week nine.

Let me show you this. This is what you can download from our website. This two page sheet, first of all the 52 Greatest Chapters is on the Discover the Book Ministry website. You see the web address there, just go to DTBM or discoverthebook.org. There is a sheet that talks about the resources you need, like the MacArthur Study Bible, and your journal, and online resources. It explains the Bible study method that I’ll show you in a sec. Then, it lists off the 52 chapters. That’s there on our website. It’s also on Facebook. If you go to Facebook, there’s actually a whole page dedicated to the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible. It has this sheet, as well as, each of the lessons are posted there so you don’t miss them.

Back at the slide, that’s the sheet we looked at. Also, on YouTube, we have extra online resources to deepen your study in Elijah’s life. You can tell that I haven’t had time to work on my slides, but here’s the extra resources.

Making disciples in a hostile world in the first century. This is a lesson I did for a group of evangelists in the British Isles about following Jesus. The Lord says the world is going to get more and more hostile, so let’s keep doing what we’re going to do and not be double-minded.

The next slide reminds us of what I just showed you on the map. Here on this map, I’ll show you that right here is the Carmel mountain range, up here is Phoenicia. Phoenicia and Baal are up here. It was like a wall. Here’s God’s people right here. Sacred geography is something that we covered on the map.

Sacred history, remember where we are, we’re right here in this time between David and all the kings and the coming exile. The children of Israel are exiled because sadly, Baal prevailed and God’s people became idolatrous. God put them into exile, but that’s where we are in the Panorama of biblical history.

Each day of the week I read the passage, I’ve already told you that, in my Bible. While I’m doing that, I’m marking my Bible. I check background materials and MacArthur Study Bible. Right here is my MacArthur Study Bible. Let me just share with you some of the things that I’ve found in 1 Kings 18. In 1 Kings 18 here are just a few of the study notes. There’s a whole section on people that Elijah raised from the dead. Remember he raised the Shunammite’s son? It talks about all the people that are raised from the dead, which is something that is fascinating. It’s just a little note there that MacArthur added. The Baal’s and it describes the local deities. Mount Carmel talks about what I showed you over on the map there. Falter between two opinions, this is what the note says, limp along between two twigs. It’s like using these really, not very strong little branches, and trying to lean on them and they cause you to collapse. That’s what the Hebrew word means. The God who answers by fire, which means the true and living God. Then there’s a map on the next page, just like I showed you. You can read all this. It tells you two seahs is about a third of a bushel. The 12 stones, the significance and the blood gushing out. All those things are just great background. That’s what the MacArthur study Bible is about. Remember I taught at the master’s seminary and the MacArthur Study Bible is the equivalent, in my mind, to you going for a Bible College education.

This is a devotional method that I’m going to walk through my findings with. It has three parts. Part one, you do a title. You saw my title, that I talk about Elisha and the fire from Heaven. Then, I note the lessons in my journal. I look back at my Bible and all the things that I’ve noted. Words. Things I’ve written in. Now, I start copying them into my journal and I find lessons, and trues, and doctrines. Then, this is the most important, from those I write a prayer. I asked the Lord to do that in my life.

Here’s my journal and I just typed it out. We’re on week nine. 1 Kings 18 and 19. Here’s the title. Elijah and the fire from Heaven. I added, remember the longer I do this I keep writing more down, he was weak like us, but Elijah was a man of God and a man of prayer. That, I will point out as we walk through the text. Here’s my summary. After reading the MacArthur Study Bible, after reading this through seven times, chapter 18 and 19, this is what I wrote in my Journal.

Why is Elijah so special to study? He’s the most vivid picture of Christ’s warning, that no person can serve two masters. Elijah confronts God’s people who were “limping along.” Do you see how that Hebrew word study affected me? Torn between the true and living God and the current world. Remember, Satan is the God of this world and at that moment he got everybody distracted with Baal. Today it might be with cryptocurrency or whatever, or video games. He always has something to distract God’s people.

So, God sets up a Titanic confrontation with Baal the god of rain (so God stopped the rain for 42 months); he was also the God of fire (so God sends down fire from Heaven after Baal’s priest try to do that all day long.) All of this culminates on the Carmel mountain range that was sacred to Baal worship and that faced the land of Phoenicia where Jezebel came from bringing the Baal worship. What a complete set up that God designed, a confrontation.

We know from scripture that only a few (God says 7,000 in the text did not bow a knee. There were well over a million Israelites and only 7,000 were not following Baal.) Look up for a second. Do you remember why I said this is so important? The culture of the day, the whole Baal worship, this had attracted 1 million plus of the people of Israel. The persecution had caused only 7,000 out of that million plus, probably a million and a half, only 7,000 we’re not worshiping Baal. How sadly God’s people had declined. That’s why this moment, this ruin of the people of God, is such a crucial reminder that we’re getting closer and closer to the end of days. As Jesus said, the love of many will grow cold and there are more and more people that are loving the things in this world. That makes their hearts grow cold.

Back to the slides. (Only 7,000 out of a million did not follow Baal.) Only a few will respond to God, follow Him, serve Him, resist the world as embodied in whatever form of Baal worship, Satan uses at that moment. Here’s the big question today. Are you willing to choose to obey and follow the True and Living God today?

Further summary, Elijah’s unique and in my week I write down that he is one of only two men that God took to Heaven without them dying. Enoch and Elijah. He’s also one of the two men on the Mount of Transfiguration, which were Moses and Elijah. Elijah is like Jesus and Moses. He had a 40 day time of testing with the Lord. He’s unique.

Secondly, he’s an example. Elijah’s described, we’ll see in a minute in James 5, being like us in his struggles. Yet his prayers made it stop raining for three years. James says Elijah is subject to like passions or feelings. The Greek word is pathēs, like pathetic, or sympathy. He was also subject to temptations like us.

Now look at this, Elijah felt despair, depression, and fear in 1 Kings 19. Wow. Here’s his resume. I noted everything about him. 1 Kings 18, our chapter flows right from 17 where Elijah just appears out of nowhere. He’s not introduced in relation to the king’s reign years, he just appears and speaks. He’s like a monument God puts up. Here’s what’s on his resume.

  • He battles with Ahab and Jezebel, and the 450 Baal prophets.
  • He calls down fire from Heaven.
  • He asks God to stop it raining and it does for three and a half years.
  • He raises the dead.
  • He can multiply food. God sends him food long before Uber or Grub Hub or anything else. God sent food by Ravens.
  • He’s also fed by angels.
  • He can foretell the future, both the famine and the drought.
  • How do you like this one? We’re going to see in a minute… he outruns Ahab’s chariot, which could go almost as fast as a car.
  • He hears God’s voice.
  • He vanishes from Earth in a chariot of fire.
  • He’s connected by the last chapter of the Bible with Messiah’s coming. Amazing stuff.

Now let’s look at the fourth one. He was so normal. James 5: 17 says, he’s a man just like us. Homoiopathēs. That’s the same word Paul describes himself with. Paul says we’re all normal, we have the same struggles but, number five in my summary, Elijah understood prayer. James 5:17, Elijah “prayed fervently.” That is in 1 Kings, but also that is here in James 5:17. Look at this, God delights to answer earnest or passionate prayers like Jacob’s, Moses’. I did a little study. Jacob prayed passionately. Jacob wrestles, Moses wrestles with God. Hannah begs the Lord and weeps as she prays earnestly. Nehemiah, Paul, Epaphras, and the Widow in Luke 18, but most of all Jesus. Righteous prayer is powerful.

A final lesson from James 5 I found, confessing saints. We confess our hurts, and bumps, and sins, and faults to those we’ve sinned against. It humbles us. It is very Christian, as Luther said, “when we’re confessing we are admonishing,” one another. When we say, I’m struggling, it helps others. That makes us powerful, praying saints.

Here’s my journal typed out. In verses 1-2, I noted God is watching. He knows what’s needed and He always has a plan. He’s just looking for people like us that will respond to it. Verse 3, I wrote my journal, God always has His servants that are responsive to His plan. I hope you want to be one of those. God always knows what we’re going through for Him, He is not forgetful of that. He knows our fears. I already showed you that He exposes them, and He always gives us an opportunity to trust Him. That’s what’s going on here in verse 17 through 19. Elijah is fearless, he confronts Ahab’s sins. Then, in verses 20 to 24 he challenges God’s people, remember I already read you that. Look up here, remember he says you are unstable and you’re ruining your lives because you’re halting, remember in verse 21, between two opinions. If the Lord is the Lord, then serve Him. If Baal, if you’re going with the current manifestation of the world and Satan’s distraction, and if you’re afraid of the persecution, then I can’t use you. You’re not doing the most important thing in life.

Do you know what the most important thing in life is? The greatest thing in all of life is serving, knowing, and loving God. This chapter makes all of us stop and say, is that really what I’m working for? Am I working for another degree, or a better job, or more financial security, or more popularity? All of those things are part of life. We need jobs, and we need security, and we need to have friends and relate with people, but what is the god of our life? Is it Baal and the culture and the world, or is it the true, living, God? That’s what this chapter keeps bringing back to us.

Look down. We did number six there, Elijah challenges God’s people. Number seven, Elijah makes it clear that God gets all the credit. He keeps pointing to the Lord. As you read 25 to 29, remember they’re jumping around and screaming all day, Elijah’s mocking them because Baal is powerless like it says in Hebrews. God has destroyed the devil, who has a power of death. He’s still strong, but he no longer has power over us. That’s what Elijah was reminding them. Verse 30 to 35, Elijah reminds the people about the true and living God. In 1 Kings 18:36-37, Elijah was a servant who reminded and pointed people to look at God. In verses 38 to 40, the true God answers with fire and His people kill the false prophets. These are all the things I’m finding as I’m reading through. Then, the drought ends, and Elijah outruns the king’s chariot all the way to the city.

Let me show you these now, in the Bible. If you haven’t marked these yet, these are the things you should. You just have a pen; I always have a pen. See it stuck right in my journal? A little holder. As soon as I see something, I underline it in my Bible. Verse 29, there I wrote all day long. It says they started in the morning and at midday they’re there still. All day long crying out to their god. Then, verse 30 look at this, I wrote go back to the old paths like it says in Jeremiah chapter 1. “When midday was past, they prophesied,” all day, in 29. Verse 30, “Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ […] And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took 12 stones.” He’s taking them back to the old paths, to God’s way, to the altar, just as He said it should be built.

Then, I wrote in verse 36, I wrote in my Bible, Elijah only spoke 63 words in his prayer. Very focused. This is what he said, Elijah said, verse 36. “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God…” not Baal. This was one of those moments where there’s such a distinction that people could choose clearly. Remember how Jesus said there’s only two destinations, there’s two gates, there’s two roads. That’s what Elijah’s saying. You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and I am Your servant.” Now I circled that in red. I got a red pen and I circled, “I am Your servant.” I put a line down and right there I wrote in my Bible this, and you might want to do it too. Then, every time you look at this it will remind you of this moment. I wrote, the greatest thing in all my life is knowing and serving you, God. Have you ever surrendered and said, that’s the greatest thing? It’s greater than my financial success, my popularity, my comfort.

That’s how you face persecution. If God is greater than the culture in the world, and even though the whole culture says that iniquity is right, it’s not. Even though the whole culture says righteousness is wrong and criminal, you say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” I’m going to obey God rather than man.

Keep going. Verse 37, finishing up his 63 words. “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that you are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Notice not Elijah. God isn’t looking for us to be so powerful we turn the whole culture back. No. God turns one heart at a time. Elijah said, God is going to turn your hearts. You know what? Some of those people did respond that day. Look at verse 38, “Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!’ ” Wow. Back down to your notes, number 11. The drought ends, that’s verses 41-46, Elijah outruns the chariot.

Here’s the key to this whole study. We’ve piled up lots of facts. In fact, how many did I find? 12 different notes I’ve made, but from those notes look what I wrote. Lord, thanks for reminding me that You’re watching… that was from that initial part of the chapter… The evils that are overflowing this world. I am Your servant and I want to fulfill Your calling and purposes for me in my generation. You know the sacrifices I’ve made for you. My fears helped me to trust you more. Helped me to confront sin, expose sin, and remind people to know, trust, and follow You more. Because of my life offered for You to use. For Christ’s sake, Amen.

Look up for a second. That’s actually the prayer that I wrote, that’s actually the prayer that I bowed my head and prayed to the Lord. That’s actually the prayer that’s right here in my journal. From now on, every time I pick up my Bible and I’m flipping through it, I have that little note at the bottom, I am your servant. I will always remember this week, this study, this bowing and saying Lord, when the world is legalizing sin and criminalizing righteousness, I’m going to live for you. It’s just like a little memorial in my copy of the word of God, that I carry around with me. But more than that, it’s in my heart.

Back down to the slides, so that’s the application prayer, that’s the goal of the week. Do you remember, this whole process is we are looking in the Bible and finding God’s words. That’s our devotional reading time. Then, we sit there prayerfully and eat them. That’s as we meditate and record things. Then, this prayer is the transformation. God is, as we respond to Him, He transforms us to give us joy and rejoicing. Then, we start getting this boldness.

Look up over here on the board, I wrote these points for you on the board. Elijah’s like us. Remember, James 5:17 says that he prayed. Look at this in Acts 4:31, when the early church was persecuted, remember they arrested the apostles and they beat them up, and the people were afraid, and they were hiding. It says in Acts 4:31, and let me find that in my Bible for you. Acts chapter 4 and verse 31. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” This is interesting, I’m not trying to get off track of Elijah and everything, but I think it’s fascinating. “And they spoke the word of God with boldness.” A lot of people think that if you were full of the Holy Spirit, you have to speak in tongues. They did in Acts chapter 2, and every time the gospel was introduced to new group of people they spoke in tongues. In Corinth they seem to speak in tongues. But right here, the early Church, when they were persecuted and they were filled again with the Holy Spirit, do you know what they spoke? They shared the word of God, the gospel with boldness in their language. Do you know what the real sign of fullness of Holy Spirit is? Boldness, when you’re persecuted. Boldness, when the culture and the leaders are going after the god of this world. Boldness, when everything around us is upside down. We boldly identify with God. Look back at the slides. That’s the result of this study when we are devoted, meditating, we’re transformed, we identify with the Lord, and we have great boldness.

Next slide, two final challenges. Number one, find someone you can share your findings and application prayer with. The best thing in the world, we’re in COVID-19 time, we’re in lockdown time, we’re in a time where the news is filled with: oh, this state is relaxing, don’t relax, keep up all the rules. Did you know, this is the most dangerous time I’ve ever seen in modern history for the Church of Jesus Christ. More church services have been canceled. More disciple groups have not met. More Bible studies have been delayed or canceled. I remember my youth director when I was a young person just learning about, growing in the Lord. Our youth group went once to our youth leader’s home. In the backyard he had made a little fire pit and he built a fire. He started talking to us and it was this big blazing bonfire. He went over and he took his tongs. He took one burning stick out of that fire and put it off on the side, on a rock outside, on the edge of the fire pit away from the fire. He kept talking, and talking, and talking. He says, hey look what’s happening. He said, that burning bright stick in the fire has gone from blazing red to pink. He kept talking. He says, and now it’s turning gray. He said, now it’s not on fire at all. Why? He was showing us that, isolated from the fellowship of other believers we slowly cool down and we slowly let the sins that so easily beset us arise. So, what should we do? Take your findings and your Bible. Go to someone and say, you know what? I’m in this Bible study and I’m supposed to share what I find. Find someone with whom you can share your findings. Just tell them, I’m supposed to share this, and I’m supposed to share my application prayer of what I want God to do in my life. You know what they might say? I’ve never gotten anything out of the Bible when they see what you found. I’ve never, I don’t know how to apply the Bible. This applying the Bible and prayer to the Lord, I don’t know how to do that. Do you know what? You might just find someone that will join you in your Bible study?

Next slide, start a review of scripture passages. Take the ultimate challenge. Grab the most valuable space in your life, the back of your smartphone and start memorizing verses. I say that every week.

Here are, also on the website, the MacArthur 52 passage list. It’s both on the Discover the Book website, and it’s also on our Facebook page. Here are the 52 verses that right now I’m working on every other day. I’m working on memorizing them. I would encourage you to start working on them too.

Here’s what my verse card looks like. This is week 10. It’s Psalm 19. I do the first letter of each word. “The law of the LORD is perfect.” T.L.O.T.L.I.P. See the first letter and that’s how I memorize verses? I would encourage you to do that.

Finally, I remind you that my wonderful wife, Bonnie and I are missionaries and that you would pray for us. We’re actually, right now, getting ready to pack up and go on the next round. We were constantly going. Right now, in the COVID time, we’re going from one studio to another teaching classes. I’m getting ready, and in fact you can see all the boards here, the Holy Land map. This Holy Land map, I’m not only leading a virtual tour through the Holy Land, but I’m also teaching books of the Bible. Currently, I’m reading the entire book of Hebrews through once a day and I’m preparing to teach, the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, in 10 class periods for classes that are awaiting this, in their Bible College preparation. Pray for us. That’s what we do full-time, we travel when airports are open and teach in what you saw on our prayer card, in Bible training centers for the next generation, as well as with the frontline missionaries that are on the front lines, giving the gospel all over the world. So, pray for us.

I’m going to close in prayer right now, praying for you, that this chapter will help you resist the cultural push to be afraid of being persecuted because the righteousness of God, and what God calls sin is being criminalized and canceled. Us, who represent God, are being marginalized and pushed out of the way because no one wants to hear what God has to say. Don’t be unstable. Don’t ruin your testimony by being double-minded. Know that Elijah was weak, but he prayed. God gave him boldness. Let’s pray.

Father, thank you for 1 Kings 18. Thank you for these students. Thank you that they’d sit across the table from me and study this with me. But more than that, I pray that you would speak to their hearts and that they would say, yes. Just like I wrote my Bible, I am your servant, and I will serve the Lord to my last breath, my last day, because there’s nothing in life greater than loving, serving, and knowing you, God. In the name of Jesus we pray. And all God’s people said, Amen. God bless you.

Transcript

Welcome to the 52 Greatest Chapters in the Bible, study. John Barnett here. As you’ve heard, if you’ve been in any of our other times, my wonderful wife is sitting right over there, and she runs the studio board to capture all the camera views. I would invite you to grab your Bible and open to 1 Kings 18.

If you look at your slides, we’re on the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible and that’s my Bible sitting there. What we’re looking at is Elijah and the fire from Heaven. What I wrote in my notes, he was weak like us but Elijah, and this is what is so important, was a man of God and a man of prayer. Week nine and we’re in 1 Kings 18.

I love this picture. If you just look at it for a second, it captures Elijah kneeling in front of that alter that he had made, built up from the 12 stones representing the 12 tribes. You can probably see at the bottom the little marks or water in the ditch around there. Then of course, off here on the side are all the spectators. This is one of the biggest moments in Old Testament history.

In the next slide, what we’re really getting to. The instability and ruin of double minded believers. You see the tracks going two directions? You cannot serve two masters. Look up for a second, let’s begin by reading from 1 Kings 18. I remind you, before I study the Bible, before I get into all my note taking, before I grabbed my Study Bible… my MacArthur Study Bible that I always use each day to look at the background notes, but before any of that the most important thing is to invite the author Himself to open our minds.

Let’s bow and ask Him to help us.

Father in Heaven, I thank you. This is your word. We are your children. We love you. Your Spirit has come to live within all of us who have been born again and your Spirit can illumine our hearts. Open our eyes. My eyes, as I teach. The eyes of each of these that are sitting across the table from me in this little Bible study that we’re having today, going through the 52 chapters. Open our eyes to behold, wonderful things from your word. In Jesus name, Amen.

In your Bible, look at 1 Kings chapter 18, I’m going to start reading in verse 1. “And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, ‘Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the Earth.’ So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly.)”

So right away, we’re jumping into a time in history. In geography, remember, everything happens some time and somewhere. Let me show you on a map where we’re going today. Remember we’re looking at the dangers of double mindedness, Elijah, and 1 Kings 18. This is just a typical map that we get when we have Holy Land tours in Israel. It’s just been laminated, and I put it up on the board for you. This is where geography is so important. Ahab, King Ahab, his wife came from up here. This is in Bible times, today it’s Lebanon. If you can see, I don’t know how clearly your view of this map is, it’s kind of small letters, but this is called Phoenicia in Bible times. This is where the Phoenician, seafaring, traders lived.

Right here is where we’re coming in, chapter 18. We’re coming to the climactic event on Mount Carmel. The Carmel range extends 30 miles right here. It’s almost like a wall that divides between Phoenicia and Israel. Ahab, and Samaria, and all that is down here in central Israel. Elijah was a prophet that was here in the north, going up and down in this area. This wall of mountains right here is almost like a divider between the Phoenicians, where Baal comes from, and the Israelites. Baal, and if you want to look up here, Baal was the current temptation for the people of God. Baal was in charge… they thought… of the crops, of their success, of culture. It was what the king and his wife were into. God sets up over in this mountain, Mount Carmel, confrontation between Baal who had a sacred place on this mountain and God. He was thought to be the god of fire. He was thought to be the god of rain, of lightning, that brought the crops, gave success, and shaped their culture. That’s what’s going on right here in chapter 8.

I want to take a moment to show you, here’s my Bible, but I want to read to you the little notes that I put in. I’ve been reading this through every day this week. Whatever chapters we’re working on and that is 1 Kings 18, this whole section I read through, look up all the footnotes here in the MacArthur Study Bible. What I’m doing is taking personal notes in my Bible. The first thing I wrote is in chapter 18 verse 1. The Lord said, go and present yourself to Ahab. The first point is this whole event in week nine, starts out with God sharing His plan. He has a plan, that I showed you over there, to put this massive confrontation between the true and living God and the false god of this current generation, which was Baal. God had that as His plan.

Look at verse 4, “For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah had taken 100 prophets and hidden them.” Jezebel, from up there in Phoenicia, introduced Baal worship into Israel, made it the state religion in place of the true living God and was killing all of the true prophets. She was, see what it says? “Massacred the prophets of the LORD.” Pause for a minute. Do you know why this chapter is so important? It’s because of the growing persecution that was coming on God’s people. There was persecution. Jezebel massacring the true prophets. All of a sudden, since the culture of the day and the leaders of the day we’re all going toward Baal, the people had become unstable and ruined because they were double-minded.

Think about what’s going on in our culture. Did you know that we’re living in a time unlike any, I’m aware of, that’s ever happened? When iniquity, sin, has been legalized everyone is told that what God calls iniquity is okay. Righteousness, for you to declare what God believes, is now criminal. You can get in trouble for declaring what God says. It’s exactly like what was going on in this time. The people of Israel were now double-minded. They said, whoa, if I don’t go along with the current culture that believes in Baal I’ll be persecuted. If I don’t go along with their iniquity, that they have legalized, I’m going to be persecuted. If I don’t close my mouth about the righteousness of God that I should believe and follow I’ll be a criminal, persecuted. Jezebel was massacring them. We haven’t quite faced that in our society, but this is so timely. What I wrote in my Bible, in verse 4, is God knows what’s going on. God knew this persecution was going on. Of course, His eyes are open, His ears are open, He’s here with us, He knows what’s going.

Look at verse 9, this conversation you’ve already read it if you’re studying it this week, but it says, Obadiah says this, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me?” What Obadiah said is, oh no, if I say Elijah’s over there God’s going to protect him. He’ll disappear, and Ahab will get mad at me, and Jezebel will probably kill me, and massacre me too. What did I write in my Bible? This is something that is so helpful. We all have fears. Obadiah had fears. We’re going to see in a little bit, Elijah had fears to keep going.

Obadiah gives his testimony in verse 12. He said, “It shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the LORD will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me.” That was his fear, “But I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth.” This is captured in the Bible. This is part of the eternal, living, abiding, Word of God that’s forever settled in Heaven. God knows the investments, the sacrifices, the time we’ve spent serving Him and He never forgets it.

Keep going, we’re getting to verse 20, to what we’re looking at right here. This is Mount Carmel over here. A 30 mile long range of mountains, dividing the people of God from the pagans, the Baal worshipers. The whole chapter is about the danger of double mindedness. God sets up, in the spot where the god of the Phoenicians, Baal, is worshiped; in the spot, which is his sacred mountain God says, I want you to go there. Look at chapter 18, verse 20. “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people.”

Look at this up here. The key verse that we’re focusing on in this chapter is chapter 18, verse 21. That’s where this instability and ruin of double mindedness is clearly declared. Verse 21, “Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter…” Interesting Hebrew word there. The Hebrew word speaks of someone that has a crutch and they’re going along, and the crutch keeps breaking. They’re leaning on it, and they can’t even use the crutch for their lameness because the crutch keeps falling down. “How long are you going to falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” Look what verse 21 ends with, “the people answered him not a word.” This is the most amazing moment that the Lord has set up.

He is showing the people that they’re double-minded. He is confronting them with halting, with being lame, with being crippled, by not believing the truth. They keep going back and forth between two opinions. Keep reading, you know the story. In verse 25, “Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull for yourself and prepare it.’ “ Then, verse 26 “They took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning till noon, saying, ‘O Baal, hear us!’ But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the alter which they had made.” This whole story, it’s one of my favorite Sunday school stories when I would teach young people.

Look back at your slides, I want to remind you of this slide, the main theme is the instability and ruin of double-minded believers. It’s about the danger that Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” Do you remember that? What Jesus said in Matthew 6? He says, you can’t serve two masters. You’ll either love the one and hate the other. You can’t serve God and money. Really underlining that is, that theme is, who is really the ruler of your life?

Here’s another lesson. Elijah was just like us. That’s what James tells us. The result of this incredible outpouring of God’s plan was a reminder, it was God’s power, not Elijah’s. We’re going to see in a little bit, Elijah was afraid. He ran and hid, but he was a tool God could use. Look up for a second. Do you know what the greatest thing in all of life is? To be useful to God. That’s what sanctification is about. We were bought at a price that we might serve God, be useful to Him, be His servants. I wonder in this week’s lesson, will you really, deeply, as you’re reading through the texts with me, as you’re studying on your own and taking notes… I just take pages of notes as I study, but you know what? I pause, and it’s not just getting more facts, I keep asking myself, am I really living like I believe the Lord? Not the current culture. Not worried about being persecuted for standing up for righteousness. Not worrying that sin all around us, in 2021… March 7th, sin is being legalized. Those of us who believe righteousness are being canceled. That’s the big word today, cancel. You know what a lot of Christians are doing? They don’t want to be canceled, so they’re backing up and starting to be double-minded. It’s like, God is for church but I’m going to live like the culture in my job, and in society, and on social media, and whatever, so I don’t get canceled.

Back to the slides. Elijah was a tool God could use because he surrendered. Remember where we are in this. That sheet I showed you that has all of the chapters of the 52 Greatest Chapters. 1 Kings 18 is week nine.

Let me show you this. This is what you can download from our website. This two page sheet, first of all the 52 Greatest Chapters is on the Discover the Book Ministry website. You see the web address there, just go to DTBM or discoverthebook.org. There is a sheet that talks about the resources you need, like the MacArthur Study Bible, and your journal, and online resources. It explains the Bible study method that I’ll show you in a sec. Then, it lists off the 52 chapters. That’s there on our website. It’s also on Facebook. If you go to Facebook, there’s actually a whole page dedicated to the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible. It has this sheet, as well as, each of the lessons are posted there so you don’t miss them.

Back at the slide, that’s the sheet we looked at. Also, on YouTube, we have extra online resources to deepen your study in Elijah’s life. You can tell that I haven’t had time to work on my slides, but here’s the extra resources.

Making disciples in a hostile world in the first century. This is a lesson I did for a group of evangelists in the British Isles about following Jesus. The Lord says the world is going to get more and more hostile, so let’s keep doing what we’re going to do and not be double-minded.

The next slide reminds us of what I just showed you on the map. Here on this map, I’ll show you that right here is the Carmel mountain range, up here is Phoenicia. Phoenicia and Baal are up here. It was like a wall. Here’s God’s people right here. Sacred geography is something that we covered on the map.

Sacred history, remember where we are, we’re right here in this time between David and all the kings and the coming exile. The children of Israel are exiled because sadly, Baal prevailed and God’s people became idolatrous. God put them into exile, but that’s where we are in the Panorama of biblical history.

Each day of the week I read the passage, I’ve already told you that, in my Bible. While I’m doing that, I’m marking my Bible. I check background materials and MacArthur Study Bible. Right here is my MacArthur Study Bible. Let me just share with you some of the things that I’ve found in 1 Kings 18. In 1 Kings 18 here are just a few of the study notes. There’s a whole section on people that Elijah raised from the dead. Remember he raised the Shunammite’s son? It talks about all the people that are raised from the dead, which is something that is fascinating. It’s just a little note there that MacArthur added. The Baal’s and it describes the local deities. Mount Carmel talks about what I showed you over on the map there. Falter between two opinions, this is what the note says, limp along between two twigs. It’s like using these really, not very strong little branches, and trying to lean on them and they cause you to collapse. That’s what the Hebrew word means. The God who answers by fire, which means the true and living God. Then there’s a map on the next page, just like I showed you. You can read all this. It tells you two seahs is about a third of a bushel. The 12 stones, the significance and the blood gushing out. All those things are just great background. That’s what the MacArthur study Bible is about. Remember I taught at the master’s seminary and the MacArthur Study Bible is the equivalent, in my mind, to you going for a Bible College education.

This is a devotional method that I’m going to walk through my findings with. It has three parts. Part one, you do a title. You saw my title, that I talk about Elisha and the fire from Heaven. Then, I note the lessons in my journal. I look back at my Bible and all the things that I’ve noted. Words. Things I’ve written in. Now, I start copying them into my journal and I find lessons, and trues, and doctrines. Then, this is the most important, from those I write a prayer. I asked the Lord to do that in my life.

Here’s my journal and I just typed it out. We’re on week nine. 1 Kings 18 and 19. Here’s the title. Elijah and the fire from Heaven. I added, remember the longer I do this I keep writing more down, he was weak like us, but Elijah was a man of God and a man of prayer. That, I will point out as we walk through the text. Here’s my summary. After reading the MacArthur Study Bible, after reading this through seven times, chapter 18 and 19, this is what I wrote in my Journal.

Why is Elijah so special to study? He’s the most vivid picture of Christ’s warning, that no person can serve two masters. Elijah confronts God’s people who were “limping along.” Do you see how that Hebrew word study affected me? Torn between the true and living God and the current world. Remember, Satan is the God of this world and at that moment he got everybody distracted with Baal. Today it might be with cryptocurrency or whatever, or video games. He always has something to distract God’s people.

So, God sets up a Titanic confrontation with Baal the god of rain (so God stopped the rain for 42 months); he was also the God of fire (so God sends down fire from Heaven after Baal’s priest try to do that all day long.) All of this culminates on the Carmel mountain range that was sacred to Baal worship and that faced the land of Phoenicia where Jezebel came from bringing the Baal worship. What a complete set up that God designed, a confrontation.

We know from scripture that only a few (God says 7,000 in the text did not bow a knee. There were well over a million Israelites and only 7,000 were not following Baal.) Look up for a second. Do you remember why I said this is so important? The culture of the day, the whole Baal worship, this had attracted 1 million plus of the people of Israel. The persecution had caused only 7,000 out of that million plus, probably a million and a half, only 7,000 we’re not worshiping Baal. How sadly God’s people had declined. That’s why this moment, this ruin of the people of God, is such a crucial reminder that we’re getting closer and closer to the end of days. As Jesus said, the love of many will grow cold and there are more and more people that are loving the things in this world. That makes their hearts grow cold.

Back to the slides. (Only 7,000 out of a million did not follow Baal.) Only a few will respond to God, follow Him, serve Him, resist the world as embodied in whatever form of Baal worship, Satan uses at that moment. Here’s the big question today. Are you willing to choose to obey and follow the True and Living God today?

Further summary, Elijah’s unique and in my week I write down that he is one of only two men that God took to Heaven without them dying. Enoch and Elijah. He’s also one of the two men on the Mount of Transfiguration, which were Moses and Elijah. Elijah is like Jesus and Moses. He had a 40 day time of testing with the Lord. He’s unique.

Secondly, he’s an example. Elijah’s described, we’ll see in a minute in James 5, being like us in his struggles. Yet his prayers made it stop raining for three years. James says Elijah is subject to like passions or feelings. The Greek word is pathēs, like pathetic, or sympathy. He was also subject to temptations like us.

Now look at this, Elijah felt despair, depression, and fear in 1 Kings 19. Wow. Here’s his resume. I noted everything about him. 1 Kings 18, our chapter flows right from 17 where Elijah just appears out of nowhere. He’s not introduced in relation to the king’s reign years, he just appears and speaks. He’s like a monument God puts up. Here’s what’s on his resume.

  • He battles with Ahab and Jezebel, and the 450 Baal prophets.
  • He calls down fire from Heaven.
  • He asks God to stop it raining and it does for three and a half years.
  • He raises the dead.
  • He can multiply food. God sends him food long before Uber or Grub Hub or anything else. God sent food by Ravens.
  • He’s also fed by angels.
  • He can foretell the future, both the famine and the drought.
  • How do you like this one? We’re going to see in a minute… he outruns Ahab’s chariot, which could go almost as fast as a car.
  • He hears God’s voice.
  • He vanishes from Earth in a chariot of fire.
  • He’s connected by the last chapter of the Bible with Messiah’s coming. Amazing stuff.

Now let’s look at the fourth one. He was so normal. James 5: 17 says, he’s a man just like us. Homoiopathēs. That’s the same word Paul describes himself with. Paul says we’re all normal, we have the same struggles but, number five in my summary, Elijah understood prayer. James 5:17, Elijah “prayed fervently.” That is in 1 Kings, but also that is here in James 5:17. Look at this, God delights to answer earnest or passionate prayers like Jacob’s, Moses’. I did a little study. Jacob prayed passionately. Jacob wrestles, Moses wrestles with God. Hannah begs the Lord and weeps as she prays earnestly. Nehemiah, Paul, Epaphras, and the Widow in Luke 18, but most of all Jesus. Righteous prayer is powerful.

A final lesson from James 5 I found, confessing saints. We confess our hurts, and bumps, and sins, and faults to those we’ve sinned against. It humbles us. It is very Christian, as Luther said, “when we’re confessing we are admonishing,” one another. When we say, I’m struggling, it helps others. That makes us powerful, praying saints.

Here’s my journal typed out. In verses 1-2, I noted God is watching. He knows what’s needed and He always has a plan. He’s just looking for people like us that will respond to it. Verse 3, I wrote my journal, God always has His servants that are responsive to His plan. I hope you want to be one of those. God always knows what we’re going through for Him, He is not forgetful of that. He knows our fears. I already showed you that He exposes them, and He always gives us an opportunity to trust Him. That’s what’s going on here in verse 17 through 19. Elijah is fearless, he confronts Ahab’s sins. Then, in verses 20 to 24 he challenges God’s people, remember I already read you that. Look up here, remember he says you are unstable and you’re ruining your lives because you’re halting, remember in verse 21, between two opinions. If the Lord is the Lord, then serve Him. If Baal, if you’re going with the current manifestation of the world and Satan’s distraction, and if you’re afraid of the persecution, then I can’t use you. You’re not doing the most important thing in life.

Do you know what the most important thing in life is? The greatest thing in all of life is serving, knowing, and loving God. This chapter makes all of us stop and say, is that really what I’m working for? Am I working for another degree, or a better job, or more financial security, or more popularity? All of those things are part of life. We need jobs, and we need security, and we need to have friends and relate with people, but what is the god of our life? Is it Baal and the culture and the world, or is it the true, living, God? That’s what this chapter keeps bringing back to us.

Look down. We did number six there, Elijah challenges God’s people. Number seven, Elijah makes it clear that God gets all the credit. He keeps pointing to the Lord. As you read 25 to 29, remember they’re jumping around and screaming all day, Elijah’s mocking them because Baal is powerless like it says in Hebrews. God has destroyed the devil, who has a power of death. He’s still strong, but he no longer has power over us. That’s what Elijah was reminding them. Verse 30 to 35, Elijah reminds the people about the true and living God. In 1 Kings 18:36-37, Elijah was a servant who reminded and pointed people to look at God. In verses 38 to 40, the true God answers with fire and His people kill the false prophets. These are all the things I’m finding as I’m reading through. Then, the drought ends, and Elijah outruns the king’s chariot all the way to the city.

Let me show you these now, in the Bible. If you haven’t marked these yet, these are the things you should. You just have a pen; I always have a pen. See it stuck right in my journal? A little holder. As soon as I see something, I underline it in my Bible. Verse 29, there I wrote all day long. It says they started in the morning and at midday they’re there still. All day long crying out to their god. Then, verse 30 look at this, I wrote go back to the old paths like it says in Jeremiah chapter 1. “When midday was past, they prophesied,” all day, in 29. Verse 30, “Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ […] And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took 12 stones.” He’s taking them back to the old paths, to God’s way, to the altar, just as He said it should be built.

Then, I wrote in verse 36, I wrote in my Bible, Elijah only spoke 63 words in his prayer. Very focused. This is what he said, Elijah said, verse 36. “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God…” not Baal. This was one of those moments where there’s such a distinction that people could choose clearly. Remember how Jesus said there’s only two destinations, there’s two gates, there’s two roads. That’s what Elijah’s saying. You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and I am Your servant.” Now I circled that in red. I got a red pen and I circled, “I am Your servant.” I put a line down and right there I wrote in my Bible this, and you might want to do it too. Then, every time you look at this it will remind you of this moment. I wrote, the greatest thing in all my life is knowing and serving you, God. Have you ever surrendered and said, that’s the greatest thing? It’s greater than my financial success, my popularity, my comfort.

That’s how you face persecution. If God is greater than the culture in the world, and even though the whole culture says that iniquity is right, it’s not. Even though the whole culture says righteousness is wrong and criminal, you say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” I’m going to obey God rather than man.

Keep going. Verse 37, finishing up his 63 words. “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that you are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Notice not Elijah. God isn’t looking for us to be so powerful we turn the whole culture back. No. God turns one heart at a time. Elijah said, God is going to turn your hearts. You know what? Some of those people did respond that day. Look at verse 38, “Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!’ ” Wow. Back down to your notes, number 11. The drought ends, that’s verses 41-46, Elijah outruns the chariot.

Here’s the key to this whole study. We’ve piled up lots of facts. In fact, how many did I find? 12 different notes I’ve made, but from those notes look what I wrote. Lord, thanks for reminding me that You’re watching… that was from that initial part of the chapter… The evils that are overflowing this world. I am Your servant and I want to fulfill Your calling and purposes for me in my generation. You know the sacrifices I’ve made for you. My fears helped me to trust you more. Helped me to confront sin, expose sin, and remind people to know, trust, and follow You more. Because of my life offered for You to use. For Christ’s sake, Amen.

Look up for a second. That’s actually the prayer that I wrote, that’s actually the prayer that I bowed my head and prayed to the Lord. That’s actually the prayer that’s right here in my journal. From now on, every time I pick up my Bible and I’m flipping through it, I have that little note at the bottom, I am your servant. I will always remember this week, this study, this bowing and saying Lord, when the world is legalizing sin and criminalizing righteousness, I’m going to live for you. It’s just like a little memorial in my copy of the word of God, that I carry around with me. But more than that, it’s in my heart.

Back down to the slides, so that’s the application prayer, that’s the goal of the week. Do you remember, this whole process is we are looking in the Bible and finding God’s words. That’s our devotional reading time. Then, we sit there prayerfully and eat them. That’s as we meditate and record things. Then, this prayer is the transformation. God is, as we respond to Him, He transforms us to give us joy and rejoicing. Then, we start getting this boldness.

Look up over here on the board, I wrote these points for you on the board. Elijah’s like us. Remember, James 5:17 says that he prayed. Look at this in Acts 4:31, when the early church was persecuted, remember they arrested the apostles and they beat them up, and the people were afraid, and they were hiding. It says in Acts 4:31, and let me find that in my Bible for you. Acts chapter 4 and verse 31. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” This is interesting, I’m not trying to get off track of Elijah and everything, but I think it’s fascinating. “And they spoke the word of God with boldness.” A lot of people think that if you were full of the Holy Spirit, you have to speak in tongues. They did in Acts chapter 2, and every time the gospel was introduced to new group of people they spoke in tongues. In Corinth they seem to speak in tongues. But right here, the early Church, when they were persecuted and they were filled again with the Holy Spirit, do you know what they spoke? They shared the word of God, the gospel with boldness in their language. Do you know what the real sign of fullness of Holy Spirit is? Boldness, when you’re persecuted. Boldness, when the culture and the leaders are going after the god of this world. Boldness, when everything around us is upside down. We boldly identify with God. Look back at the slides. That’s the result of this study when we are devoted, meditating, we’re transformed, we identify with the Lord, and we have great boldness.

Next slide, two final challenges. Number one, find someone you can share your findings and application prayer with. The best thing in the world, we’re in COVID-19 time, we’re in lockdown time, we’re in a time where the news is filled with: oh, this state is relaxing, don’t relax, keep up all the rules. Did you know, this is the most dangerous time I’ve ever seen in modern history for the Church of Jesus Christ. More church services have been canceled. More disciple groups have not met. More Bible studies have been delayed or canceled. I remember my youth director when I was a young person just learning about, growing in the Lord. Our youth group went once to our youth leader’s home. In the backyard he had made a little fire pit and he built a fire. He started talking to us and it was this big blazing bonfire. He went over and he took his tongs. He took one burning stick out of that fire and put it off on the side, on a rock outside, on the edge of the fire pit away from the fire. He kept talking, and talking, and talking. He says, hey look what’s happening. He said, that burning bright stick in the fire has gone from blazing red to pink. He kept talking. He says, and now it’s turning gray. He said, now it’s not on fire at all. Why? He was showing us that, isolated from the fellowship of other believers we slowly cool down and we slowly let the sins that so easily beset us arise. So, what should we do? Take your findings and your Bible. Go to someone and say, you know what? I’m in this Bible study and I’m supposed to share what I find. Find someone with whom you can share your findings. Just tell them, I’m supposed to share this, and I’m supposed to share my application prayer of what I want God to do in my life. You know what they might say? I’ve never gotten anything out of the Bible when they see what you found. I’ve never, I don’t know how to apply the Bible. This applying the Bible and prayer to the Lord, I don’t know how to do that. Do you know what? You might just find someone that will join you in your Bible study?

Next slide, start a review of scripture passages. Take the ultimate challenge. Grab the most valuable space in your life, the back of your smartphone and start memorizing verses. I say that every week.

Here are, also on the website, the MacArthur 52 passage list. It’s both on the Discover the Book website, and it’s also on our Facebook page. Here are the 52 verses that right now I’m working on every other day. I’m working on memorizing them. I would encourage you to start working on them too.

Here’s what my verse card looks like. This is week 10. It’s Psalm 19. I do the first letter of each word. “The law of the LORD is perfect.” T.L.O.T.L.I.P. See the first letter and that’s how I memorize verses? I would encourage you to do that.

Finally, I remind you that my wonderful wife, Bonnie and I are missionaries and that you would pray for us. We’re actually, right now, getting ready to pack up and go on the next round. We were constantly going. Right now, in the COVID time, we’re going from one studio to another teaching classes. I’m getting ready, and in fact you can see all the boards here, the Holy Land map. This Holy Land map, I’m not only leading a virtual tour through the Holy Land, but I’m also teaching books of the Bible. Currently, I’m reading the entire book of Hebrews through once a day and I’m preparing to teach, the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, in 10 class periods for classes that are awaiting this, in their Bible College preparation. Pray for us. That’s what we do full-time, we travel when airports are open and teach in what you saw on our prayer card, in Bible training centers for the next generation, as well as with the frontline missionaries that are on the front lines, giving the gospel all over the world. So, pray for us.

I’m going to close in prayer right now, praying for you, that this chapter will help you resist the cultural push to be afraid of being persecuted because the righteousness of God, and what God calls sin is being criminalized and canceled. Us, who represent God, are being marginalized and pushed out of the way because no one wants to hear what God has to say. Don’t be unstable. Don’t ruin your testimony by being double-minded. Know that Elijah was weak, but he prayed. God gave him boldness. Let’s pray.

Father, thank you for 1 Kings 18. Thank you for these students. Thank you that they’d sit across the table from me and study this with me. But more than that, I pray that you would speak to their hearts and that they would say, yes. Just like I wrote my Bible, I am your servant, and I will serve the Lord to my last breath, my last day, because there’s nothing in life greater than loving, serving, and knowing you, God. In the name of Jesus we pray. And all God’s people said, Amen. God bless you.

 
 
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