Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Elijah Syndrome

Temple Baptist Church - 12-9-2018
Romans 11:1-6; 1 Kings 19


A.  Paul begins this chapter with a question that he immediately answers for the believers in Rome.  “Hath God cast away His people?”  “God forbid!”

B.  We need to remember that chapters 9-11 deal with the Nation of Israel.

1.  Chapter 9 – The Election of the Nation of Israel.

2.  Chapter 10 – The Rejection of the Nation of Israel.

3.  Chapter 11 – The Restoration of the Nation of Israel.

C.  Though the Nation of Israel became “marred” in the hands of the Potter, the Potter did not throw the clay away. 

Jeremiah 18:1-6  The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  (2)  Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  (3)  Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  (4)  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.  (5)  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,  (6)  O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

D.  Last week, we saw that God has saved a remnant in Israel and is saving a remnant in our day.  GOD HAS ALWAYS HAD HIS REMNANT!

E.  I want to leave Israel for a few minutes tonight to look at what I call “The Elijah Syndrome.”  Something that none of us are exempt from.  Paul takes us back in time to the condition of the Nation of Israel in the days of Elijah, the prophet.  (1 Kings, chapter 19)

James 5:17  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are …

F.  Often, in this time of apostasy, when most churches and preachers are “falling away” from the Old Paths, we find out selves seemingly alone in the fight.

G.  I use the word “seemingly” because of God’s promise in Hebrews 13:5 to NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  Never is often referred to as an absolute negative. It means never for any reason or at any time.

H.  We often forget this in these last perilous days.  Bible believing, Bible following people are once again a remnant in our day.  Little hands full of people gather around America and the world worshipping God in the old ways of the fathers.

I.  I want to look at Elijah for a few minutes because we now sit where this great prophet of God once sat.

1.  In 1 Kings, chapter 18, Elijah stood alone on Mount Carmel against the 450 prophets of Baal and God stood with him. 

a.  God wrought a great victory that day through a solitary prophet.  God still controls and victory in our day is assured.

b.  You would have thought that Elijah would now be bold enough “to go bear hunting with a switch!”  Instead of defeat,

2.  In 1 Kings, chapter 19, Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah telling him that on the morrow, he would be as dead as the 450 prophets of Baal.

1 Kings 19:1-2  And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.  (2)  Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.

3.  Elijah fled from the face of Jezebel though God was still with him.  “He requested for himself” implies that he was speaking to God.

1 Kings 19:3-4  And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.  (4)  But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree(Elijah left his servant and went alone.  No one is invited to a “Pity Party” because they may tell you their problems instead of listening to yours.  This messes up the party!)

4.  Elijah says that “It is enough.”  Spiritually, Elijah was done.  He had had enough and wanted to die.

1 Kings 19:4 and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my lifefor I am not better than my fathers.  (Both religious people and the world have always “killed the prophets … tore down the altars” of God.  Sometimes, people of God and men of God come to the point of quitting because their eyes are upon their surroundings instead of upon God.)

5.  God’s patience with Elijah.  God sent an angel, ministers to the heirs of salvation, to attend to feed Elijah.

1 Kings 19:5-7  And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.  (6)  And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.  (7)  And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.  (God understands what it is to feel lonely at times.  Just look at our Lord Jesus’ life.  You can be alone in a crowd!  God knows our frame and is very gentle with us.)

6.  Elijah’s journey to come.  “The journey is too great for thee.”  We often sing the little song “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus.”  One verse says, “Though none go with me, still I will follow.”  Are we willing to live for the Lord if we must do it alone?

7.  God gave Elijah all that he needed to carry on.  1 Kings 19:8  And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

8.  God’s question for Elijah. 

1 Kings 19:9  And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?  (The will of God for us in these days is not hiding in a cave but standing openly for the LORD.)

9.  God’s reminder to us that we are not alone in the battle.

Romans 11:4  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.  (As in Nehemiah’s day, we may be scattered upon the wall, but we are not alone.  Live each day for Christ as if it is you last day on earth.)

Where to find encouragement:

1.  You Will Find Encouragement In The Lord - 1 Samuel 30:6  And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

a.  There Is Encouragement In His Person - Habakkuk 3:17-18  Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

b.  There Is Encouragement In His Presence - Hebrews 13:5  Let yourconversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

c.  There Is Encouragement In His Power - Romans 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Hebrews 13:6  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

d.  There Is Encouragement In His Purpose - Philippians 4:12-13  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.   I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

2 Corinthians 1:9  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

e.  There Is Encouragement In His Protection - 2 Corinthians 1:10  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

2.  You Will Find Encouragement In the Word - Psalms 119:28  My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 

a.  There Is Encouragement In Its Promises - Deuteronomy 1:21  Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.

b.  There Is Encouragement In Its Preaching - Hebrews 13:22  And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3.  You Will Find Encouragement In The Church - Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 
a.  There Is Encouragement In Your Pastor

1)  To Continue - Deuteronomy 3:28  But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.

2)  To Contend - Jude 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

3)  To Conform -  Titus 2:11-15  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

b.  There Is Encouragement In Your People
1)  There Is Visual Encouragement - Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  (It encourages me just to see them!)
2)  There Is Vocal Encouragement - Hebrews 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (It encourages me just to hear them!)

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