What can we learn from the faith of Elijah and apply to our own lives?
Dr. Reagan: We are going to continue to study the life of the Prophet Elijah, one of the most interesting persons in the Bible, by discussing the story of Elijah's confrontation with the prophets of the false gods of Jezebel in 1 Kings 18. We have asked Don McGee, the founder and director of Crown & Sickle Ministries, and Nathan Jones, Web Minister for Lamb & Lion Ministries, to give us some application.
Know God Exists
Dr. Reagan: Nathan, what do you see is the application of the story of Elijah to say the nation or to the Church today?
Nathan Jones: Elijah clearly proved to the people of that time that God exists. And, God clearly proves that He exists to the people of this time through the Bible which is His Word, through the complexity of Creation, and from the lives that are changed when people give their lives to Him by asking for salvation. So, today, we need to take that evidence and act on it and believe.
As a nation, we need to turn to the Lord and proclaim, "Yes, God exists!" We as a nation need to repent and ask Jesus to be our Savior and Lord of our nation once more.
Personally, I think we each need to shore up our faith on the fact that God does exist. We get a little timid thinking, "Well, it's been 2,000 years now. Is God even still around anymore?" But, God does exist, and our faith can stand on that fact.
As a Church, we need to not let false doctrine into the Church. We need to be as brave as Elijah and confront the false religions and teachings of Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, and so forth. We need to declare to them, "You all are wrong! You are false! The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the Bible is the real deal."
Dr. Reagan: Boy! I'd say "amen" to that, because I think one of the biggest problems in the Church today is that the Church has been invaded by the world's attitude of tolerance. Just tolerate anything and everything. Elijah would not have been popular today.
Nathan Jones: Not at all. If these advocates of tolerance would just wait a little while longer, they'll witness Jesus coming back, and there's all the evidence they could ask for right there.
Dr. Reagan: Now you get me preaching on that!
Make a Choice
Dr. Reagan: Don, what do you see as the application of the story of Elijah?
Don McGee: Nathan made an outstanding application in that I believe we need a lot of Elijah's and Amos' today. I like those two guys, because I think we need to confront evil.
But, you know, there's something else in this story that sometimes hides in the background. We don't really think about it as preachers so much because we like giving the action to people. We like to talk about the fire and the sacrifices and all that. But, what we see almost in a subtle way in the background, is the people watching. Notice their attitude. They said to themselves, "We really don't know if Yahweh is God, and we're really are not convinced that Baal is God, so we're going to watch this contest and we're going to see what happens." That's so descriptive of the spiritual mind-set of people today, and I'm not talking about the pagans and the heathens. I'm talking about people who warm a few square inches of pew cushion every Sunday morning.
Dr. Reagan: Well, yes, I would say that's true. I love the way Elijah really makes the application of his message so simple. He just simply says to the effect, "Hey, if you're God is Yahweh, chose Yahweh. If it is Baal, then chose Baal, but you've got to make a choice."
In the world today, people want everything. They want there to be many different roads to God, like there's the road of Buddhism and the road of Hinduism and the road of Judaism and so forth. They want so many different roads, but Jesus said, "I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. There's no other way to God except by me." People need to make a choice.
Peter Marshall gave one of the greatest sermons I've ever heard in my life. I heard it on a tape, and it was all about this topic. When he got to the end of his sermon he said, "I say to you, the message of Elijah is this: if you're God be Yahweh, choose Yahweh. If you're god be Baal, choose Baal... and go to Hell!" I thought, "Boy, he preaches like Amos!"
God Has Your Answers
Dr. Reagan: Nathan, tell us something else that the story of Elijah has impacted you with, maybe for our society as a whole.
Nathan Jones: I think when it comes to our society, many talk philosophy. They want to know, "What is the meaning of life? Why do I exist? What is my future?" Well, the Bible answers all those questions. We don't have to sit around scratching our heads and wondering if there's an answer out there.
God exists! He has a future for us. He has a plan for us. He has an eternity prepared for us in love. Everything that society searches for, God has the answer to.
But, we get scared of God's path, both individually and as a society. We want to find our own way to God which will allow us to continue sinning. When you make the decision for God, you have to give sin up, that's true, but you get so much more in return.
Dr. Reagan: Amen! I think those are some very good applications for both our society and the Church.
Dr. Reagan: I'd like to end this discussion of the faith of Elijah with something on a little lighter note, because this has been some pretty heavy application. And, the lighter note is this. About a year ago we had a special edition of our Lamplighter magazine on Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets. A lady called me and she said, "I'm the teacher of a youth class, and I really appreciated your story. It helped me to tell them the story of Elijah, so I appreciate your magazine, but I want to tell you something funny that happened." She continued, "After I got through with the whole story, I turned to the children and I asked, 'Who knows why Elijah put all that water on his sacrifice? The prophets of Baal didn't do that, why did he put so much water on there?' She said a little girl's hand shot up immediately and the girl said, 'It was for the gravy!'"
The the fourth and last segment on our study on the faith of the Prophet Elijah, we'll look at Elijah's future ministry.