Make Up Your Mind – Today!
Beginning in verse 16. "So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. Then it happened when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahab said to him, is that you, oh troubler of Israel? And he said, I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed the Baals. Now, therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the 450 prophets of Baal, the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table.
And so Ahab sent for all of the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people and said, how long will you falter between two opinions. If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him. But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
Therefore let them give us two bulls, and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call in the name of the Lord. And the god who answers by fire, he is God." So all the people said, right on.
Now this is one of the most dramatic scenes in scripture, and I was going through it this week. I tried to picture myself being there on Mount Carmel. Now every year, we go to Israel. We always make a stop on top of Mount Carmel and try to reenact this whole scene, going through this portion of scripture, looking down at the Kishon brook, seeing what it would be like. But it's sort of tough to reenact this dramatic of a scene.
The language of Elijah is strong. He was a no nonsense kind of a prophet, and so this message this morning hopefully will be a no nonsense kind of a message. The meeting between this King Ahab, who is an idolater, and Elijah, was intense, for on one hand, Ahab the king married Jezebel and brought the whole nation into idolatry. He had a grip over the people as they served false gods. And on the other hand, Elijah, this bold prophet of God, who really didn't care much what people thought about him as long as he was speaking the truth.
He was the kind of person that cared more what God thought about him than what other people thought about him, and he was willing to stand up and say it like it is in the midst of a dark nation that had fallen into idolatry. Now, Elijah wasn't that popular of a person. Even the priests in the temple down in Jerusalem didn't like Elijah. Nobody really liked him. He was too cut and dry. He didn't gloss over things enough. He just said it like it was.
And it was impossible to misunderstand Elijah when he spoke. You know, one time I had a professor say, when you preach, don't preach just so that you can be understood, but preach so that it's impossible for you to be misunderstood. And that was Elijah. He just said it like it was, standing up before the world.
Now, in these first few verses, 16 and 17, I think that there's tension for Ahab as he sees Elijah, because Elijah was the only person that stood up to him. And I'm sure that as he saw Elijah coming with that bold look on his face, oh, they have to have had an Excedrin headache, because Elijah was a constant reminder to Ahab of his failure and sin.
And he always reminded him, get back to the Lord. Turn back to the Lord your God and quit following these idols. Now, the central verse in this passage is actually verse 21. The whole story revolves around verse 21. But before we get to that verse specifically, I want to paint this picture this morning in three different sections.
First of all, let's look at the condition of the nation of Israel, and maybe compare that with the condition of the United States in 1985. Let's see if there's a parallel. Secondly, we'll look at the contest that Elijah has with these prophets. And then third of all, we'll look at the content of his message in verse 21.
First of all, look at verse 17. "Then it happened when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahab said to him, is that you, oh troubler of Israel?" And notice his answer. "I haven't troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals." Now turn back to chapter 16, please.
Let's see a little bio of this man named Ahab. Verse 29, chapter 16. "In the 38th year of Asa the King of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel. And Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel and Samaria 22 years. Now, Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him.
And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, the King of the Sidonians, and he went and he served Baal and worshipped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image, and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all of the kings of Israel who were before him."
Now turn back another couple of chapters to chapter 14. Let's look at the nation as a whole. Verse 22. "Now Judah," which is symbolic of that land of Judah, "did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they", that is the nation of Israel and Judah, "provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, more than all their fathers had done. For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. And there were also perverted persons in the land, and they did according to all of the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel."
This was perhaps the darkest period of Israel's history so far. The nation has plunged into idolatry. The altars of the Lord had been broken down, left desolate, and instead, they built altars on high places on hills to worship idols. And they built underneath trees little altars where they would burn incense to their pagan gods, much like India today. If you were to travel there, it would look much the same today as Israel looked then, a nation given over to idolatry.
Now the nation of Israel had degenerated from the intent that God originally planned. I believe it is possible for a nation to sin and to fall as much as it is for an individual to sin and to fall. You see, the word sin means literally to miss the mark, and God sets a standard for an individual, a standard for them to meet. And if man fails to meet that standard, he has missed the mark or sinned.
God also sets a standard and a purpose for a nation, a goal for a nation to meet, especially this nation of Israel. When a nation fails to meet that standard and that goal and purpose that God has intended for it, that nation had transgressed against the Lord. And so God in chapter 15 says that Judah, the whole land, had sinned and transgressed against the Lord. The nation had failed to live up to what God intended it to be.
You see, this nation of Israel that we're reading about here in 1 Kings, was a nation that was intended by God to be a light to the world, a beacon. It was to be a living message. The whole nation was to be an example to the rest of the world. They were to be an example of a people totally dedicated to God. They were to be an example of a people whom God cared for and blessed, and it was to be a light to the whole world.
Well, as it happened, Israel failed to be the light that God intended it to be. The nation had degenerated, and through many of these steps downward, especially with King Ahab, who did more evil than any of the other kings, the nation plunged headlong into idolatry. Now, think about Israel's heritage. Here was a nation whom God delivered out of Egypt. We all know the story. We've gone through it several times.
They were in bondage to the Egyptians. At first, the children of Israel, when they went into Egypt, were about 70 people. When they left, they were 2 to 3 million. God had multiplied them. And God delivered them out of the bondage of the Egyptians, took them through the desert for 40 years, and cared for them, and led them into a new land, the land of Canaan, the land of Israel, and says, I'm giving you this land. This was a nation established by God.
God gave them a land. God was to be ruler and king over them. While they were in the wilderness, and as they went into the land, God gave them what is called the tabernacle. The tabernacle was the center of the whole nation. The tabernacle was the worship of God, and all of the 12 tribes camped around this structure.
And so what you'd have is the tabernacle, and you'd have three of the tribes on one side, three of the tribes on the other side, three on the other and three on the other, so that when an Israelite walked out of his tent in the morning, the first thing that he saw was the cloud of God hovering over the tabernacle. It was a reminder to him, as that was the first thing that he saw, that God was the center of the national life of his people, Israel. God was to be at the beginning the very center.
And their whole life centered around the worship of God. They had graffiti on everything, holy graffiti. God said to write the law of God on the gates of their homes, on the fences, on their clothes, like holiness into the Lord. And all of the graffiti that was around their homes was worship to the Lord and praise to God. In their school system, their only textbook was the Torah, the law of God. They educated their children with the law.
But what happened? Israel degenerated from that place. What had happened is this. The people of Israel started wanting to become like the nations and the world around them. They said, we want a king who can rule over us like all of the other pagan nations have a king. We don't have a king. All we have is God leading us. It's not good enough. We want a real king with a real crown and a real throne, like all of the other nations.
And so God gave them Saul. It wasn't his original intention. They had forsook the Lord and asked for another King. God makes that clear in 1 Samuel. Then after that came David, who reigned righteously before the Lord. Then came Solomon. And as the king begin to progress, the nation started turning into idolatry. They started setting up other forms of worship, until we get to this guy named Ahab, who was the most wicked king in all of the world.
Israel started out right. Israel started out with that high ideal, but now they've generated from being the light, from God being the center of their society. God was not really the center anymore. Now, here's the lesson. There is always pressure to conform to the world around you. Israel felt that pressure. They said, we want to be like everybody else. And there is always pressure for us to be like the world around us, and if anyone dares stand up for morality or righteousness or truth, they're mocked. Oh, you're old fashioned.
And Israel didn't want to stand up. They said, we want to be like the rest of the world, and they began to conform to the nations around them. So what God did was that he sent messengers, prophets like Elijah, that we read about in 1 Kings 18. And he sent prophets to turn the people of Israel from their path of destruction. The prophets would say, turn away from your sin. Turn back to God. God doesn't want to destroy you, but you're placing yourselves under judgment. Turn back.
And you know what their response was? Oh, get off of it, prophet. You old fashioned prophet, you're so narrow minded. Don't you know that we have new standards today, new morality? We're not like we used to be. And they mocked the prophets of God, and so we had the sad story of a nation established as the light of the world who went downhill and degenerated, and placed themselves under the judgment of God.
Now, God has given us history that we can learn from it. But you know, unfortunately, many times we fail to learn the lessons that are intended to be learned from history, and history often repeats itself. I remember when I was a kid, and I'd look at certain traits in my father. And I love my father very much, but there's always certain traits that you see in someone that you're close to, and you go, when I grew up, I'm never going to be like that. I don't like the way he said that, that I'm not going to be like that.
And then you grow up and you find that you have the same traits that he had. History often repeats itself. Now, what about us? Is there a parallel in the United States? I believe that there is. Let me give you a brief rundown. Our founding fathers who came to this nation sought to establish one nation under God, totally under God. And they knew what the word God meant. It didn't mean just a deity. It was the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They sought to establish a nation that could freely worship God, and they set up a constitution so that people would have the freedom to worship God, not the freedom from worship of God. And they set the nation with the Constitution so that people could be free without the tyranny of a king so that they could worship. And now our courts our ruling got out of our national life. And now they're seeing the Constitution as the freedom from worship of God instead of the freedom to worship the Lord.
And with all of the legal expertise, we have degenerated from the place that God intended us to be. There is a book I recommend you called The Life and the Glory by a man named Peter Marshall, and he does a beautiful job in going through the history of the United States from a Christian perspective. And he believes that God inspired Columbus to come over to this nation to seek a nation with the freedom to worship, and established by God, and that God inspired the writing of the Constitution.
And he does a beautiful job of how the founding fathers came over here, and God established the nation, and how that the United States was actually to be a light to the world, a beacon, a nation that had the freedom to worship God. And you know what? It worked. For years, people have looked at the United States, and as they look at the United States, it's been a beacon of hope to them. A lot of people have sought to come over to the United States to be free, and because of the opportunities and so forth.
Now today, although our coins say, in God we trust, it's become a lie, become a mockery. Our coins say, in God we trust, but as Larry Norman says in one of his songs, your money says, in God we trust, but it's against the law to pray in school. It's become freedom from worship of the Lord. We've degenerated from that place.
At one time, the Bible was the textbook in our first public schools. Now you can't utter a prayer or bring your Bible in and read it. Freedom from worship of God. We all know the statistics about abortion, skyrocketing. We're becoming like the nations around us. Now, here's a statistic you probably haven't heard. This is going through the courts right now.
If a woman decides to have an abortion, which they call a nonentity it's not a real person because it's not born yet, if during that abortion, that little nonentity lives longer than they intended it to, I don't know exact time, maybe over a half an hour before it finally dies, those parents or that woman can claim that nonentity as a dependent on her income tax.
We have sinned against God. We have failed to live up to the life that God intended for us to live up to, and we're setting ourselves up for judgment. God would love to bless us, and I think God has blessed us. But we've turned from God and we've gone our own way. But you say, oh, wait a minute. We're a Christian nation. Are we really? Maybe we're a Christian nation in name only.
In fact, eight out of 10 people in the United States claim to be evangelicals, Christians, yet less than half have ever read the Bible. In God we trust. Now, there is hope, and the hope is a revival like we read in 1 Kings 18 with Elijah. The hope is that God will send thousands of Elijahs like you into this dark nation, and stand up for righteousness at any cost, no matter how you're mocked or no matter how people would say that you're old fashioned to stand up for righteousness, and not be passive anymore, and to preach to this dark nation the message of repentance.
Oh, that's not a word that we like to hear. That's an old fashioned word, man. We don't speak about repentance anymore. I know. That's the trouble. But we need to speak that message to this nation, not a message of positive confession, not a message of raising the self esteem of the individual, but a message of repentance toward God and turning their lives back to Jesus Christ, is the hope for this nation.
In fact, God said, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I the Lord will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land. That's the hope. The nation of the United States is much like the nation of Israel at the time of Elijah, but thank God that he sent messengers like Elijah into their midst.
Now, let's look at the contest between these people, Elijah and the Prophets of Baal, verse 19. "Now therefore, send and gather all of Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table. So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.
And Elijah came to all of the people, and he said, how long will you falter between two opinions. If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him. But the people answered him not a word. And Elijah said to the people, I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
Therefore, let them give us two bulls, and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it, and I'll prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the god who answers by fire, he is God. So all the people answered and said, it is well spoken."
Now, picture this scene. In the morning, thousands of people are coming from everywhere to come on Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel had always been a place, a high place of ancient worship, for years. And the king's up there, and Jezebel is up there. Elijah's up there. The prophets of Baal, prophets of Asherah, and all of the people of Israel are ascending this mountain to see this contest that they're hearing about. What's going to happen?
So Ahab summoned all of these people, and they're coming up there. And Elijah gives them a challenge. On one hand, that's all of the people of Israel undecided. There's also the prophets of Baal. The king also is with them. On the other hand is Elijah, who stood alone all by himself, standing alone with God.
The scripture is full, actually, of people who stand alone for God, Joseph, Daniel, people who stood alone for God. But you know, Martin Luther said, with God, one is a majority. And we're going to see here that one is a majority as far as God's concerned, and Elijah knew it all throughout this contest. Now remember, Elijah was accused by Ahab of one who stirred up the people, what are you doing, you troubler of the people?
And in reality, the word of God always does stir up things, doesn't it? When a person dares to stand up for the truth in the midst of darkness, it's going to stir up some people. They're not going to like it. People are going to be stirred up, and Elijah is like a bright light in the darkness. And you know what happens if you turn on a room that's been dark. You turn the lights on, all the rats scurry toward the corner. That's what's going to happen here. All of the rats are going to scurry toward the corner because they're scared.
Now he challenges them to make the sacrifice, and the challenge was fair, because Baal was the solar god, the god of nature, and they looked to Baal for their heat, for their sun, the storm god as well. And so this is fair aid. If your God is really the storm god and the sun god, he could ignite a fire and consume the sacrifice. And the God who answers by fire, he will be God.
Now, verse 25. "Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, choose one bull for yourselves. Prepare it first, for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it. So they took the bull that was given them and they prepared it, and called in the name of Baal from morning until noon." Quite a long prayer. "And they said, oh Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they leaped about the alter which they had made."
Quite a show they're putting on for Elijah. They are howling and screaming and working themselves into an emotional frenzy, which is always characteristic of idolatry, but no answer. Nothing's happening. Now in verse 27, so it was noon. Now, this is important because noon was considered the height where the sun would be at its strongest, and since Baal was the god of solar energy, noon was the best time for Baal to do something. Now, it was noontime and Elijah knows this.
So Elijah mocked them, and he said, cry louder, for he's a God and either he's meditating, or he's busy. Or he's on a journey, a vacation. Or perhaps he's sleeping, and he has to be awakened. So they cried aloud, and they cut themselves as was their custom, with knives and lances until the blood gushed out on them. And so it was when midday was past that they prophesied until the time of the offering of evening sacrifice, but there was no voice. No one answered. No one paid attention.
Now Elijah's hassling them. He's taunting them, and I don't know that that's the best thing to do. Remember, this is the way of Elijah, not the way of Christ. But Elijah is sort of confident. You know, he had a sense of humor. He's playing with these people. They're making a big, you know, yawn, he goes, cry louder. You know, he's taking a siesta or something, has to be woken up. Maybe he's taken a vacation somewhere, and you know, you really got to get his attention. And he's playing with them. He knew it was going to happen. And as they're crying louder, he's just saying, yeah, go ahead, make my day.
He's hassling them. And so they begin to cry louder. They begin to cut themselves with lances and so forth, but it says no voice, no one answered, no one paid attention. Elijah knew that nothing would happen because he knew that false gods can do nothing for a person. You can cry to false gods all that you want, and they can't help you. Paul spoke about this period of history, and he said this. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and they worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forevermore."
They became fools by worshipping these other gods and forsaking God. Now, everyone has a god. I believe that every human being has a god, whether he says he's an atheist, an agnostic, a Christian or whatever. He has a god. His god is the master passion of his life. Whatever he devotes himself to primarily is his god, although he might not call it that. He enshrines that god in his heart and he worships that god, the primary passion and desire of a human being.
Now, in ancient times, they'd give names to their gods like Venus, Baal, Moloch, Mammon. We're too sophisticated these days to give names to our gods, but it's the same kind of a thing. Now, the god of sensuality and sexual pleasure was Venus, the goddess of love.
Now, a person today won't say, I worship Venus. They'll just say, I'm a lover, man. This is the ultimate goal. But he's worshipping the same god as they did in the Old Testament, Venus. Somebody might have pleasure as their primary pursuit, and just live for the weekends and getting money to have fun all of the time. All they think about is pleasure, and their whole life is revolved around just pleasure for themselves.
They won't say that they serve Moloch, but he was the god of pleasure in the Old Testament. Or someone might serve power, materialism, and they're serving the god of Mammon in the Old Testament, but they won't say that. But every man has a God. The problem with these gods is, they can't help you in times of trouble, like we see here. You can cry to them all day and all night, and they won't help you.
And you know, I've stood at the deathbed of people who've had other gods. I've watched people die who serve the god of materialism, the god of pleasure, the god of sensuality. And I found in those times as they cried to their gods, there was no answer. It was empty, no help. They had served those gods faithfully all of their lives, but now those gods have no power to deliver.
Now going on, "Elijah said to all the people, come near to me, so all the people came near to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. Elijah took 12 stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, Israel shall be your name.
With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seah's of seed, five gallons of seed. And he put the wood in order. He cut the bull in pieces and he laid it on the wood, and he said, fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood." Then he said, do it a second time, and they did it a second time. He said, do it a third time, and they did it a third time.
So the water ran out around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water. Now, what he is doing is decreasing his odds. You know, it's hard to light something that's full of water and drenched in water. And so they put water over it, and he says, do it again. Do it again. So there's water everywhere. Now, he was trusting the Lord, but I'm sure under his breath, he was saying, Lord, if you don't come through, I'm dead meat.
I'm making this big to do about the powerful God and the mighty God, and I have faith, and I trust that you're going to come through. Please do it. In verse 36, "it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all the things at your word. Hear me, oh Lord. Hear me, that this people may know that you are the Lord God, and that you have turned their hearts back to you again."
What a short prayer in contrast to their praying all day long. You know, it's not always the length of the prayer. It's the manner in which it's said. This is a prayer of faith, and it was the fervent, effectual prayer of a righteous man that avails much. And the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust. And it licked up the water that was in the trench, and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, the Lord, he is God. The Lord, he is God.
And Elijah said to them, sieze the prophets of Baal. Do not let one of them escape. So they seize them, and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and executed them there. The contrast between the false gods that can never deliver and the true God who can answer by fire. Now finally, in closing, let's look at the content of his message, at which this whole scenario revolves around.
Verse 21. "Elijah came to all the people. And he said, how long will you falter between two opinions. If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him. But the people answered him not a word." A searching message. He didn't beat around the bush. He made no apology for what he said. He said, how long will you falter between two opinions.
The literal translation is, how long will you continue hopping between two forks of the road. What he means by that is this. Have you ever been down a street, and the street forks into two directions? He's painting a picture here of someone who would start to go down one fork of the road, turn back and go down the other, stop and turn and go back the other, undecided.
They haven't made up their mind. The people of Israel were watching this whole thing, and they hadn't made up their mind of who they're going to follow. He says, how long will you stand at the fork of the road and be indecisive in this whole matter. Now, here was the sin of Israel. Their sin wasn't that they totally rejected God. Their sin is that they tried to combine the worship of God with the worship of Baal and do it at the same time.
Their sin was a divided heart. They were claiming to follow God, but they were hanging on to the world at the same time. That was their sin. They weren't totally rejecting God. They were combining both forms of worship, hopping between two forks, being undecided. Now you say, well, why is that a sin to have a divided heart. Because in the Old Testament, God demanded total, absolute worship from the heart.
"Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is one God, and you shall love the Lord with all of your heart. And the nation had a divided heart, claiming to follow God but still hanging on." So he says, how long are you going to hobble between two forks in the road, or two opinions. The nation had degenerated. The people were undecided. Elijah's saying, make up your minds today whom you're going to serve.
Take sides. Decide if you're going to follow the world or if we're going to follow the Lord. Quit straddling the fence. That's his message. How long will you falter between two opinions? If God is the Lord, then follow him. But if he's not the Lord, and Baal is really the Lord, then follow him. Make up your mind and choose sides.
There's three groups of people here. Follow this with me closely. There's the 450 prophets of Baal, the 400 prophets of Asherah. There's King Ahab. On the other side, there's Elijah. Both of them are totally sold out to what they're doing. The false prophets are sold out to serving their false gods. Elijah is sold out to serving the Lord. And you know what? In a sense, I admire these people, these priests of Baal, because they are serving their god with full passion and fervor. They are following their false gods with all of their hearts and all of their lives.
And I admire Elijah. He's following the Lord with all of his heart and all of his life. There's a third group, a group of undecided people who, yeah, they want to follow the Lord, and sort of they follow the Lord, and they want to combine the worship of God and the worship of Baal. And he says, make up your minds. Don't be undecided. Choose today.
I'd like to read you what G Campbell Morgan says commenting on this. He says, "I look at the men who are sitting hard in this world, and I admire them. I have a great deal more hope of winning that man who serves the devil well than the man who stays halfway between God and the devil, and does not know which to serve. Oh, the passion that men are putting into sin."
I personally believe it's greater blasphemy to claim to have a relationship with God but then to not live for him than it is to say, I don't believe in God. I want nothing to do with him. At least those people are honest. The greatest blasphemy is to say, I'm a child of God, and then live in sin. The undecided multitudes, he says, how long will you go between two opinions.
Now, the US has degenerated and we should pray for them, not just condemn them, but stand behind them and pray for revival. But the people that I'm dealing with today are the indecisive people. I realize that today, I'm probably speaking to three groups of people, mostly to one group of people. Most of you are following the Lord full on. It's great to have you around.
There are some people, though, who are serving sin and serving the world with all of their heart. There's a third group of people, the undecided multitudes, those who pledged their allegiance to God but are still living way, way, way far from the Lord. You'd be surprised at the people who claim to be Christians and are living in adulterous relationships, who are having affairs, who are having sex before marriage, who are still living in the sins constantly of the old nature.
I am making the same plea to you as Elijah did to those people that day. How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord that we're speaking about is God and the satisfier of your soul, then please follow him with all of your heart. If he's not, and something else is God, then go for it with all of your heart. But don't be undecided. Don't be there in the middle.
I want to say this in love, and that's this. If you are straddling the fence, and you're coming to church claiming to be a Christian but living for the world, please don't come. It's leaven in the lump, and you can destroy it. Serve the world with all of your heart. But Asherah said to make up your mind and decide who you're going to serve. Is it going to be the Lord? Then do it. Follow him. If it's not going to be the Lord, then follow the other gods.
You see, Jesus said that. If you're not for me, you're against me. He didn't say there's a gray area. Either you're totally for me, or I say you're totally against me. There's a multitude who says, oh, I'm not against God. You know, I believe in God and all that stuff. But yet they won't totally follow the Lord with all of their hearts. They're still straddling the fence. If you're not for me, you're against me. If you're not for the Lord, you're not a Christian. If your life isn't in pursuit of God, don't claim to be one.
And that was the message of Elijah, as tough, as hard as it was, but he made no apology for it. He didn't try to weasel out of it. He said it like it was. So I asked some of you, how long will you falter between two opinions. How long will you continue to come to church and feel smug hearing messages and singing songs, and not giving your life over to Jesus Christ? Do it today. Turn over to him. God is trying to tell you that you need to follow him with all of your heart because he is the Lord, so pursue him.
Otherwise, pursue the world with all of your heart. But take sides was the message of Elijah, and I encourage you today to turn your life to God. I want to close with one tiny quote. Calvin Miller wrote a book, three books, The Singer, The Song and The Finale. And in his opening chapters, one of his opening chapters in his first book, he says, decision is the key to destiny. God, can you be merciful and send me off to hell to lock me in forever?
No, pilgrim. I will not send you there. But if you chose to go there, I could never lock you out. I couldn't keep you from going. To be undecided is to be decided this morning. If you're saying, well, I'm just undecided, no, then you're decided, because Jesus said, if you're not for me, and you're not making your stand with me, Jesus said you're against him. Those are not my words. That's what he said.
He has already divided the line. Choose this day, as Joshua said, whom you will serve. Father, with great delight, we serve you. We pursue you, Lord, with all of our hearts, and yet, Lord, there might be those people who are undecided. And Father, I feel that you've laid on my heart that there are people who are faltering between two opinions, trying to go down two roads at the same time. And you're speaking to them. You're telling them, knock it off. Let's not play games. It's now time for you to turn your life over to me.
Father, I pray that you just begin to touch those people right now in our congregation this morning, who would be faltering between two opinions. Help them now to make up their minds. And as Christians are praying throughout this auditorium, those of you who are faltering between two opinions, I want to give you the invitation to choose life and find abundant life. God has offered it to you. Today, will you choose it? If you want to know Jesus Christ this morning, please raise up your hand. Don't hesitate. Don't wait. God bless you and you. God bless you in the back.
Anyone else? If you want to know the Lord, God bless you. Anyone else? Don't falter between two opinions. God is saying, make a stand. Anyone else? If you want to know the Lord this morning, lift up your hand. Don't be afraid. God bless you and you and you. Praise the Lord. And there's still more. God bless you way in the back. Raise up your hand. Make that stand today. God is saying, choose one or the other. And God's going to help you make that decision. He'll give you the strength to do that. Just raise your hand. Praise the Lord.
Father, thank you for the work of your Holy Spirit in moving in lives and Lord, although you tell us to make up our minds and choose, once we do decide to turn our lives over to you, you have so much for us. It's such a neat life to follow you as you pour out your grace and your blessings upon us. Father, I pray for those that raised their hands especially that in making up their mind and choosing life, Lord, you'd fill them with your Holy Spirit. Give them the power to live for you. Fill their hearts right now with peace and joy. And Father, for the rest of us, help us, Lord, to constantly stay on the road, pursuing hard after you.