Faith for the Future: Elijah's Prayer

I Kings 18:21-40

It is often good to look back at our past and rejoice in God's blessings. It is equally important to have a firm grasp on the present and be what we need to be for the Lord. However, it is also necessary for us to consider the future…where are we going, and how will we get there. This requires faith on our part. We have a great example in our text tonight. Read: 1 Kings 18:21-40 This passage is one of the most familiar in all the O.T. It is exciting for a number of reasons. We love competition, but more than that we love to be on the winning side! Here is the culmination of a great contest between God and Baal. Now notice that there was never any doubt in Elijah's mind as to who would win this contest. He was a man of great faith and obedience. God had called him to take a message to the wicked King Ahab. He was to say that because of the wickedness of the people, there would be no more rain. When it didn't rain, Ahab blamed Elijah and put a price on his head. God protected his prophet by hiding him and providing food for him by sending ravens and giving him shelter and miraculous provision in a poor widow's house. After three years of drought (imagine that devastation), God sent Elijah back to Ahab. In v. 17, Ahab calls him the "troubler of Israel." Notice Elijah's reply in v. 18. In v. 19, he points his finger at Ahab and calls for a showdown, a duel between himself and the prophets of the false god Baal.

In v. 21, He calls for people to make a choice. God still calls for us to make a choice. He will ask some of us to make a choice today. He laid down the odds (note in v. 22 that 400 false prophets didn't even show up) and announced the rules in vv. 22-24. We know the story, the Baal prophets called out to their "god" "from morning even till noon." They jumped and shouted and even cut themselves. Elijah mocked them in v. 27. They cried out until "evening" but "there was no voice; not one answered, no one paid attention." Then Elijah repaired the broken altar to the Lord. He dug a trench about it and made ready the wood and animal sacrifice. He took precious water and poured it over the animal, the wood and the altar three times so that it filled the trench. If the Lord didn't show up, he would absolutely fail. Elijah began to pray. I want us to see three things that are important about that prayer tonight. How this account is applicable to us tonight at Grace Baptist Temple.

1Ki 18:36-37 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

Whatever God does in our church, we will need faith. Someone said it this way, "We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are." I want to issue four challenges for our church that require faith but will dramatically affect our future.

I. We must be Visionaries not Victims.

II. We must have an Outward Focus not an Inward Focus.

III. We must make Eternal Investments not Temporary Investments.

IV. We must exhibit Faith not Fear.

As we consider the future of this ministry, we each need to remember these thoughts. We must be visionaries, with great dreams for we serve a great God! We must turn our focus outward, for there is a world that must hear about that great God. We must invest in that which is eternal, the souls of men, women, boys, and girls. And we must operate by faith! "…Without faith it is impossible to please Him…" Hebrews 11:6