Courage Series BadgeCourage Series


Continuing the Courage Series, pastor Adrian takes us through the extraordinary life of Elijah. Exploring Elijah's remarkable courage such as calling fire from heaven as well as some of his failures, this sermon invites us to reflect on obedience to the Word of God despite fear, being doers of the Word and not just hearers.

Small avatar of sermon author Adrian Pratap

Adrian Pratap


Transcript (Auto-generated)

Good morning everybody well as was mentioned earlier we'll be looking at one of the significant characters in The Bible and his name is Elijah do we have any Elijah's in the room and your kids that have gone out I've got no prophets of Elijah here pretty cool name does anyone know what the name Elijah means means Jehovah is my God so just keep that in the back of your mind as we go through the message this morning as we're discussing the some of the life of Elijah and some of the things that God did through him as was mentioned earlier as well this is part of our integrated study this year and the I guess the the overarching theme through the study is courage especially courage when our faith is under Fire our faith is being questioned and I've been finding all of these very encouraging and you feel think about it that word encourage is to put courage in to something to put courage into someone so when you go to encourage someone you're not just saying nice things to them you're putting courage into them and hopefully a little bit later on this morning you'll understand what courage is from a Biblical perspective um as we'll be journeying through much of Elijah's story this morning we won't have a lot of time to go into a lot of detail um but that's what your studies are for and if you're looking for his story most of his story you'll find uh in the passages from one Kings 17 through to 19 and the first couple of chapters of two kings of course there's mention on him of him in a few other verses around the place as well but the bulk of his story is in those sections of scripture and it's the story of a of a man that that God raised up in a very difficult time that Israel was experiencing um we were if we were going to look at it as a snapshot um the the nation of Israel had fractured and so you've now got the ten tribes of Israel up at the northern kingdom and you've got Judah in the South and you've got a long succession of Kings who have been unfaithful to Yahweh who have turned away from the things of God and there has been a almost institutional desire to turn away from Yahweh and we come to this story of of Ahab and Jezebel certainly when Elijah comes on the scene and you'll see that Jezebel is this great proponent of Baal and Ashira these other pagan gods and there's an awesome story if you haven't read it already you'll be reading that in your as part of your stories and your studies this this week about Mount Carmel and how Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and ultimately Yahweh um did something incredible I have a short story to tell you I have had the privilege of going to Israel in 2011 I think it was and part of the tour was to go to Mount Carmel and of course I was thinking that the mountain would no longer be there after reading the story of Elijah and how God brought down these this fire from heaven I thought the whole Mountain would be obliterated because that's what God would do right but no Mount Carmel is still there but it's in the northernmost parts of Israel today and while we were there the Israeli Air Force was doing some exercises over the Northern parts of their border with Syria and so it is quite close to the border and Mount Carmel looks over and across the Jezreel Valley and the Jezreel Valley today is a bit of a salad bowl for Israel there's a lot of agriculture in there and it's a beautiful place and looking around you wouldn't think that anything significant happened on top of this another Hilltop it would seem and as you drive around in this region of caboolture in the Sunshine Coast we see a lot of little sticky Yuppie bits don't we Glass House mountains and a few other things that are sticking up and we we are very privileged to live in a beautiful part of the world just as Mount Carmel is in Israel but there was a story that happened there a little while ago that that Elijah was a part of that we would do well not just to remember but to absorb because this morning we're going to be talking about what courage truly is and we can see the story of Elijah and we can think that all he did was all of these wonderful Miracles that God worked through him um this was of course when Elijah had been used by God to cause rain to cease in Israel as a form of judgment for three and a half years because Israel had turned away from God and so God had used Elijah to to actually cause the rain to stop how popular do you think that would have made him many of us have lived through some form of drought in Brisbane or in Queensland haven't we and we've we've lived through water restrictions and things like that that's at Best in convenient these people lost their livelihoods okay and people were dying because God had caused the rain to stop the other another part of Elijah's story God had used him to multiply a Widow's grain and oil um he basically presumed upon her Hospitality it seems like in the story but ultimately we realized that God had told him to go and stay with this Widow and he was a blessing to her and all she had during this time of drought was a tiny bit of flour and a tiny bit of oil but it didn't seem to run out for the duration of the time that Elijah was there The Widow's son died but Elijah raised him back to life seems like a big miracle right you guys are hard to impress if someone comes back to life that's pretty amazing right right he called down fire from heaven on top of Mount Carmel despite making it almost physically impossible to ignite anything okay part of The Story Goes that he had this this sacrifice on the Altar and he doused it in as much water as he could possibly find and anyone knows that if you're trying to even build a little campfire if the sticks are even a little bit wet it's really really hard isn't it to get those things to ignite here is Elijah pouring water on his sticks and his sacrifice he even has it all running down the side of the mountain basically what he's saying is that this is physically impossible for me to do he was making a making a statement and of course God sends down this fire and obliterates the sacrifice I think that's cool right pretty hot actually he caused it to rain again after three and a half years of drought so it's one thing to to say okay rain stop people might have said oh he just fluked that he was just looking at the weather and he sort of figured it out and he was going to be a drought but no when he said I'm going to make it rain again in response to God's call he made the guy go and look at look out for clouds and on the seventh time he's what a little cloud in the distance and it became this rain again he parted the Jordan River sounds a little bit like Moses doesn't it because Moses was used by God to part the Red Sea and the Jordan and here we have Elijah doing much of the same thing and then another miracle that we don't usually ascribe to Elijah because it sort of just happened to him was that he was caught up to heaven in a chariot of fire he didn't actually die do you remember that part of the story now that's cool too don't you think right but another part of his story that was a miracle and we don't usually ascribe to Elijah was that he appeared with Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane do you remember that in the Transfiguration when you've got Moses and Elijah with Jesus as Jesus stood in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed now that's a miracle and I reckon that's pretty cool so there's been some pretty significant things that have been a part of Elijah's life and part of his story and you can say these were the highs of his life because there was no question it wasn't him it was it was very very certain that it was God would you agree because I don't see too many of you causing it to rain I mean there are some very very clever farmers in our midst and if you've lived in caboolture for any length of time you've got to be good at agriculture right hey Chris and the ginthers you know what I'm talking about it used to be green and Lush here and so you had to have an idea of of the times and the seasons and droughts and rain and all of that but despite your knowledge you can't make it rain every farmer would love to be able to do that but we can't make it happen that's a total God thing and call him down fire from heaven I'm sorry Elijah didn't stand there and cast a spell that's not how it happened okay Elijah did everything that he did on Mount Carmel in response to what God had told him to do and because he did that God was able to use him to work an incredible miracle I think the greater miracle was how his arm didn't fall off as he was killing 450 prophets of bar all right because he killed them all it's it's hard killing one person I don't know okay not from personal experience but I would assume but if you're going around chopping off heads 450 heads later your arm will be pretty sore right so before we get into what courage is this morning let's talk a little bit about what courage is not in one Kings chapter 19 we're going to read the first few first few verses of that section of scripture says Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done now this is after his call down fire from heaven and he's killed the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel okay and so Ahab goes and tattletails to Jezebel his wife about all that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying so may the gods do to me and more also if I do not make your life as a life of one of them by this time tomorrow then he was afraid and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba which belongs to Judah and left his servant there but he himself when a Day's Journey Into the Wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree and he asked that he might die saying it is enough now O Lord take away my life for I am no better than my fathers after this incredible episode on Mount Carmel of Fire coming out of the heavens and scorching that top of the mount and and obliterating the sacrifice after having the energy and the power and the authority to kill these prophets of Baal he got scared by an email that's what it sounds like right he had been witness to an incredible power of God he had been witnessed and used by a God who had great Authority and had proven himself over any other gods that that whole episode of Mount Bal was was Yahweh saying I am God nothing else is not bowel not a sharer Ahab and Jezebel are rulers of Israel by my authority and by my will and that was a statement that was made on Mount Carmel and upon hearing that Jezebel's obviously cranky with Elijah and sends him an email if she was living in the 21st century but of course she sent a messenger to him and it basically said um it when I when I catch up to you I'm going to kill you it seems illogical doesn't it to go from having the power to cast down fire from heaven and kill 450 Prophets to being afraid of one woman who wasn't even there but that's us folks that's us right that's what humans do because we worship the same God don't we the same God who who cast down fire on Mount Carmel and made a statement against all other gods not just the lives of the Israelites then but it's written into God's word for our remembrance and our learning this is the same God that we worship how many times does an email or a message or a situation or a circumstance strike fear into our hearts and not just fear that causes to go oh that's scary fear that causes us to get up and run away because that's what Elijah did and he didn't just run away and we were just talking about how Mount Carmel is in the northernmost part of Israel okay so he didn't just do a runner back to his house he ran almost the length of Israel down south into the southern territory of Judah and he left his servant there and said ah you'll be safe here and he kept going he kept even further south Into the Wilderness in the southern Kingdom of Judah and he found a tree and he threw himself to the ground and said oh woe is me I can't do this anymore God kill me sound familiar maybe you're not as dramatic as I am right but we've been there why does this always happen to me where are all the other Christians in the world right we get a little bit self-righteous don't we and certainly Elijah was going through this this is not courage folks and I think you know that right this is Christians this is a a prophet who was called by God just being human and being afraid and and acting out in fear despite all of the work that God had done through Elijah despite his personal experience despite your experience of Salvation and the way God has worked in your life we just like Elijah run away don't we you know it was interesting the the messenger from the queen came and that one messaged message caused Elijah to forget everything that he just experienced of God and what he had done and to forget God's character and to forget God's word and his fear took over and when his fear took over it caused him to run away from God have you noticed that when you're afraid when when when things happen in your life that cause you to forget God's character to forget your experience or your testimony of God or the word of God what you end up doing is running away from God have you noticed that you probably don't notice it at the time but looking back you can go well I did the exact opposite of what I should have done right and that's certainly what Elijah found himself doing so if that's not what courage is what is courage and one Kings chapter 19 from verse 11 says this is the angel of God saying to Elijah go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord and before the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord but the Lord was not in the Wind and after the wind and earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake and after the earthquake of Fire but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire are still small voice Elijah knew powerful loud obvious God because that had been his experience right God said I'm going to stop it from raining and so God and Elijah was used as the mouthpiece for that and it stopped raining God said I want you to challenge the prophets of Baal and I'm going to use you to work a mighty statement before all gods and all peoples and so Elijah gets up in all confidence and he taunts those prophets and he and he challenges them to a jewel if you would say that and of course this fire comes down from heaven and does an amazing thing he kills the prophets of Baal these are loud big significant things that Elijah knew and so what we see in this section of the story at Elijah's possibly lowest moment okay I'm seeing shades of clinical depression in him at this point and I'm not saying that ingest I think this is legitimately true okay because you've got significant episodes of ministry in his life okay and he would have felt like he was the only one that was there and of course that was false okay and we read later in the story that there were other prophets of God who had survived but Elijah felt like he was the only one and he was doing all this work and God had made such incredible statements in the people's hearts were still hard against God and he heard this this message from Jezebel and he was like no you know what nah I can't do this anymore God how much more is it going to cost to do this and so he ran away because he was afraid and he wasn't just afraid for his life he was afraid I believe for his ministry for the people that God had sent him to his ministry was to the northern tribes of Israel so please don't think that this is just Elijah's own heartbreaking for himself his heart was breaking for his people okay no Prophet is going to be concerned for their own life they're concerned for the call for the for the people that they've been sent to so here we have Elijah saying God it's all for nothing it doesn't seem that I can do anything nothing seems to make any difference and so God comes to him in a powerful show in a in a manner in which Elijah would have recognized that it was God and a powerful wind came and shook the mountains and then something else came and shook his very senses and despite all that what he remembered what struck home was a still small voice I think it was a very familiar still small voice many of you have heard the still small voice he's recognizable he's not foreign to you it's not a voice that causes you fear or anxiety because you recognize the voice you can't place The Voice you don't know where it comes from but it's a familiar voice I think what we see in this part of the scriptures is the mountains get broken and the Rocks fly apart and there's wind and earthquakes that was the largest life right then in the midst of all of that the still quiet voice of God came to him and so I want to just remind you folks courage doesn't come to us with a flashy show if you're waiting for a miraculous sign from God that's not what's going to change your life he's been giving you miraculous signs all your life Elijah had experienced miraculous signs all his life but that's not what spoke to him in his hour of fear Curry doesn't come to us with a flashy shirt or with a loud noise or because of a powerful Act courage comes to us because of the supernatural were of God doesn't come to us from a textbook so many of you might have a paper copy of the Bible in front of you this morning maybe you've got a digital version the container is not important would you agree we've all got preferences of paper or digital but that's not what's going to speak to you what's going to speak to you is the supernatural word of God and so we don't read our Bibles because it's a ritualistic or religious thing that we must do every day because otherwise I'm going to be smarter than go to hell that's not how this works often when I'm meeting up with folks I don't ask them how's your Bible reading going I couldn't care less how much of the Bible they're reading I care how is your relationship with God going because if your relationship with God is going well you will read his word you will hunger for his word remember when you first became a Christian you couldn't get enough of the Bible right that certainly was true for me and it's true for every new born Christian you can't stop them from telling somebody else about who Jesus is and they want to know more Elijah despite the ways in which God had used him despite the flashy shows and the loud Miracles and all of the things it was the still small voice of God the supernatural voice of God that he needed to bring courage back that was the encouragement that he needed do you hear me church so when you encourage Dylan when you encourage the pastors when you encourage Ministry leaders you're not just saying nice things to them you're putting courage back into them so what is the word of God the still small voice of God saying or speaking into that person's Ministry maybe he wants to use you to speak that into someone's life that's encouragement Elijah was a man James 5 17 18 says Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it might not rain and for three years and six months it did not rain on the Earth then he prayed again and Heaven gave rain and the Earth bore its fruit but James is trying to say and relate to the church in Jerusalem there is that Elijah was a man just like anybody else it was just a human being an ordinary bloke he had his faults he had his strengths he had everything in between he was no more special or different than you and I he also worshiped the same God that you and I worship and because as he was inspired by the holy spirit of God he prayed and the heavens was shut up and there was no rain and as he was inspired and he prayed he prayed again in the and the heavens were opened and once that happened God granted rain and you could say that about he's just using one example there but you could say about that about every other miracle that was worked out through Elijah's life but I want you to to get something there's an undercurrent that works all the way through the stories in Elijah's life and the other current is this the still small voice Elijah did not decide one day all by himself that he was going to cause it to stop raining because if he did that nothing would have happened and he would have been stoned and killed I dare you to go and try that by the way all right you know yourself if you go and try and work a miracle you'll look like a turkey okay you're human you can't do that but in response to the word of God in response to this still small voice of God he might not be going to tell you to go and call down fire onto a mountain but maybe he gives you a word that needs to be spoken to someone a word of encouragement maybe he's asking you play more of an active role in a child's life maybe your experiences need to be translated to that child so that they know what discipleship is these are the things that the still small voice of God stirs up for but then there's another voice isn't there and he says Ah a bit tired I'm not sure I've got time right now or think about it and that voice will say why don't you go pray about it and think about it for a while sounds spiritual right there have been Christians who have been praying for 30 years about what God wants them to do the devil loves it because they haven't done anything yet this is what James was talking about be a doer of the word and not just to hear it only Was Elijah a doer of the word I think we see that categorically all the way through his life when the still Small Voice spoke he obeyed and he obeyed with confidence and he could obey with confidence because he recognized the still Small Voice if you're going to have a relationship with anybody you need to spend time with them don't you right who to spend time with them you need to communicate with them you need to do life with them that's all God asks of us for him will you spend time with God so that you recognize his still Small Voice the reason I recognized the voice of my wife in a crowded room is because I have spent years speaking with her okay and so we can be in a crowded room I can always pinpoint her voice can you pinpoint God's voice in all the other noises that are carrying on in your life today it's not because God's voice is not loud enough or clear enough it's because you don't really know him so will you spend the time to get to know him and it doesn't matter if you've been walking with the Lord for 40 years how well can you recognize his voice see leadership spiritual relationship is not about how well you can manage things that's helpful spiritual leadership is about how well you can recognize God's voice and how quick you are to obey pure and simple if I was going to dumb it right down that's all it is how clearly can you discern the voice of God and how quickly will you obey it because that's what you Church need right you're all incredibly capable people you have incredible talents and gifts and abilities I don't need to teach you how to do your jobs and how to live your lives and how to do those things but what you want from your leadership is that they hear from God and that they obey quickly and hopefully they inspires you to do the same you will not always agree with this but we will always be right not because we're amazing but because God is so church I want to challenge you with that this morning there's there's much to learn even even more from Elijah's story and you'll journey through that during the course of the integrative study this week and and maybe you'll get other things from that study and that's great but please see that the undercurrent of the largest life was a still small voice it's the only way in which he was able to be used by God in powerful ways so much so that he even finished well in passing on his ministry to a man called Elisha who also followed God many of us at one end of our lives I'm closer to 50 now than I am to 40. terrifying and I have to think about what Legacy I'm going to leave I don't care how well my kids do academically at school because that can be trained that can be learned that can be achieved I care that they're decent human beings I care that they have a deep love for the word of God would love to be able to baptize them well that's up to God isn't it so this week as you go out would you listen for the still small voice he's always there you hear him all the time I guarantee you if you're a Christian you've been here in the still small voice but maybe you've also been saying I'll get to you in a minute I'll get to you in a minute stop putting him off take a listen and see what he might be saying to you would you do that it's scary because you're probably going to say things that you don't want to hear right but if you do them you won't be having to hang out under the broom Tree in fear anymore maybe there's a bigger plan for your life than you're aware of would you give it to God and James reminds us don't just hear the word of God don't just come and listen to sermons don't just read the Bible you've got to do it and until you start doing it you're not going to get anything out of it so test him hear from God and just do it and see what happens what's the worst that can happen the best maybe your life will get changed maybe we'll see a bit of Fire coming down from heaven would you like that as long as I'm not standing under it we're good let me pray for your heavenly father thank you so much thank you so much for the life of Elijah and the open way in which you've shared with us the the things that he was involved with and but more importantly Lord God that's still Small Voice that voice that you've given all of us to the power of your holy spirit of God who is always there guiding us and prompting us father I pray that we would not filter him out anymore then instead of searching for the the Earth shaking in the mind bending and the and the powerful signs and wonders Lord God that we would recognize the still Small Voice that is loud enough to transform our lives from the inside out father we don't want to just be a people who continually bump into things trying to figure out which way to go we don't want to be responding out of fear all the time either Lord God and just running away from our core father you have a perfect plan I said Lord we want to be a people who don't just hear your still small voice but that we would act in obedience to your call and that we would do it straight away father give us that courage not the the courage that runs away in fear but the courage that walked towards you despite our fear and may that fear transform into a worship of the Living God.