1 KI 18:17,18
INTRO: I am not particularly comfortable with "change". "I like my ruts," I often tell people. But some "change" is undeniably good, and I just have to become comfortable with it. On the other hand, there is "change" that is not good. The particular "change" to which I refer is the insistence on "change" which is taking place within the Lord's church. I am not referring to change in times of worship, or the color of the carpet, or the arrangement of the worship service. I am referring to dramatic change in doctrine and questionable practices resulting from that change. However, if I challenge that change, I am liable to be labeled legalistic, divisive. That was exactly the situation in the text I read! Elijah was labeled as the "troubler".
I. AHAB BECOMES THE KING IN ISRAEL (1 KI 16:29-33)
1. he was an evil king - "did evil...above all that were before him"
2. he married a pagan wife who often controlled him - Jezebel
3. he served & worshiped Baal - the pagan god
4. he made an altar to Baal in the temple to Baal which he built
5. his behavior provoked "the Lord God of Israel to anger..."
II. ELIJAH ANNOUNCED TO AHAB THAT IT WOULD NOT RAIN (1 KI 17:1)
1. Elijah, the faithful prophet of God - representative of all the prophets!
2. apparently, this action was at the direction of the Lord for Ahab's sin
3. Elijah is mentioned at Jas 5:17,18in connection with this event
4. Elijah was decidedly a man of prayer - see 1 Ki 17:20-24
5. from v. 24 is noted that a "man of God" is a man of prayer!
III. AHAB'S ACCUSING QUESTION (1 KI 18:17)
1. no rain in Israel, and a great famine ensues (1 Ki 18:2b)
2. Israel is, indeed, in serious trouble (1 Ki 18:5)
3. Ahab, the unfaithful, accuses the faithful prophet of being the troubler! - "Elijah, you're the cause of our problems in Israel"
4. but such a charge as this from the unfaithful to the faithful is not unusual
5. unfaithful people, when challenged and confronted, often look for others to blame, to accuse, etc.
IV. HOW DID ELIJAH RESP0ND? (1 KI 18:18)
1. he identified the true troubler ... it was Ahab
2. his charge? "in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord"
3. when the commandments of the Lord are forsaken, "change" results
4. the Lord, His worship were forsaken and replaced by that which the Lord had not authorized
5. how serious was this change? 1 Ki 19:18 - just 7000 faithful in Israel
unfaithful people, when challenged, often look for others to blame, to accuse, etc.
V. CHANGE TOWARD TOLERATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF ERROR
1. today, there are calls for major changes in doctrine and practice
2. these changes ultimately lead toward both toleration and acceptance of denominational beliefs - fellowship included
3. these changes involve very basic and clear New Testament doctrines such as the necessity of baptism for remission of sins, the day of observance for the Lord's supper, the role of women in worship and organization, the use of instrumental music in worship, the organization of the church, etc.
4. here is what I read in scripture: 2 Tim 1:13 - 2 Thes 2:15
5. if changes are advocated which are in conflict with the pattern of scripture, I have no option but to stand fast with and in the pattern
VI AM I NOW THE TROUBLER?
1. that is what I have been told - and occasionally I am told that with sarcasm
2. but my question is, "Who moved?" - it was not I
3. and there is no "new truth" which has been revealed to authorize these changes - what is happening is a widespread alteration of the scripture of truth through a variety of means
4. according to 1 Ki 18:18, it is those who move away from God's commandments who are the "troublers"!
5. most assuredly, I must preach the truth in love and concern - and I often wonder as did Paul, "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth" (Gal 4:16)
CLOSE: I do not like controversy and confrontation. But when it comes to the truth of God's word, I have no choice but to teach and preach with clarity, with sincerity and with authority. I would like to close with Col 1:21-23.
Cecil A. Hutson
06 July 09
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)