1 Ki 19:14
INTRO: We remember Elijah for his courage, boldness ... even audacity. We remember, too, that he was often called by God to confrontations with King Ahab and his pagan queen Jezebel. From the account of Elijahs life I would surmise that he was a solitaryman. Our lesson text has him saying dismally, I, even I only, am left. I am totally alone ... and everyone is seeking my life. That is not a good feeling! I am alone.
I. BUT PEOPLE CAN COME TO FEEL THIS WAY
A. Elijah certainly came to this point
1. and it immobilized him
2. it kept him from seeing reality, from serving
B. Ps 142:3,4 ... no man cared for my soul
1. his spirit was overwhelmed!
2. David was running for his life
3. all he could see was negatives
4. and he felt alone ... note v.7a!
II. AT SUCH TIMES REALITY IS HARD TO SEE
A. Feelings have gotten the upper hand!
1. and feelings are hard masters
2. feelings build fences which keep reality, objectivity from bringing us back to on course
3. and this can happen to strong people
B. Why does it happen to even strong folks?
1. illness, weariness, frustration, lapse in spiritual resources (prayer, study, meditation)?
2. I dont know all of the reasons
3. but I know Elijahs feelings made him feel he was the only faithful man on earth!
III. SOME THOUGHTS ...
A. We need to be comfortable with Gods promises
1. so, Ps 23:1 - Mt 28:20 - Heb 13:5
2. when storms (whatever their nature) swirl around us, Gods promises can be lost in the waves
3. but the Lord has promised - He keeps His promises - nothing that is happening changes that
4. 1 Ki 18:27 with 36,37,38 Elijah knew all this
B. We need the counsel of God
1. Ps 63:5-8 in solitude remembering ... note rejoicing; soul following hard after him
2. Ps 119:148 in solitude remembering the word
3. Ps 119:97 yet, meditation upon the word through the day
4. 1 Sam 3:9 Elis advice to young Samuel is the advice all of us need - I contend that focus on Gods counsel brings assurance and peace out of feelings which may have been damaging - Isa 26:3
C. We need the counsel of spouse, wise friends, etc.
1. with a wise, loving spouse we are not alone - and so often a spouse can help us see reality through deceptive feelings (if not the enabler!)
2. Prov 27:9 sweetness of friends wise counsel
3. it is not uncommon, though, for people who are feeling alone, isolated, emotionally to fence out those who could help them
4. once we begin to feel alone, for all intents and purposes we are ... because we cannot see beyond self
D. We need the church of our Lord
1. Heb 10:24,25 edification encouragement
2. yet, again, so often people withdraw mentally so they can say dismally, No one cares for me. I am alone.
3. should we ask, Why am I feeling this way?
CLOSE: Referring again to Psalm 23, I see the psalmist at his best when he recognizes the sufficiency of his Lord for his life.
Cecil A. Hutson
18 June 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)