May 20, 2018
Pastor Jeff Struecker
I. The showdown begins in your soul
1 Kings 18:17-21
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one ruining Israel?” 18 He replied, “I have not ruined Israel, but you and your father’s family have, because you have abandoned the Lord’s commands and followed the Baals. 19 Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word.
II. The showdown becomes public
1 Kings 18:22-25
Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us. They are to choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The God who answers with fire, he is God.” All the people answered, “That’s fine.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Since you are so numerous, choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first. Then call on the name of your god but don’t light the fire.”
III. This showdown is winner take all
1 Kings 18:26-29
So they took the bull that he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound; no one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them. He said, “Shout loudly, for he’s a god! Maybe he’s thinking it over; maybe he has wandered away; or maybe he’s on the road. Perhaps he’s sleeping and will wake up!” 28 They shouted loudly, and cut themselves with knives and spears, according to their custom, until blood gushed over them. 29 All afternoon they kept on raving until the offering of the evening sacrifice, but there was no sound; no one answered, no one paid attention.
IV. Be deadly serious about sin
1 Kings 18:30-40
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near me.” So all the people approached him. Then he repaired the Lord’s altar that had been torn down: 31 Elijah took twelve stones—according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel will be your name”—32 and he built an altar with the stones in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold about four gallons. 33 Next, he arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. He said, “Fill four water pots with water and pour it on the offering to be burned and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “A second time!” and they did it a second time. And then he said, “A third time!” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; he even filled the trench with water. 36 At the time for offering the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah approached the altar and said, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and I am your servant, and that at your word I have done all these things. 37 Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the Lord’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, “The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!” 40 Then Elijah ordered them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let even one of them escape.” So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.
How to have a public showdown this week:
Confess your struggles to someone else
Challenge others to hold you accountable
Confront someone you love about sin
Catch up with an old friend
Cancel an old habit
• Today, I trusted in Jesus’s death and resurrection to wash my sins for the first time.
– I have been wrestling with some temptations lately. Pray for me to have a personal showdown this week.
+ I will have a public showdown with sin this week.
- Have you ever spoken out against something wrong when no one else was willing to? If so, what compelled you to speak out?
- Read 1 Kings 18:1-16. Why was Elijah the most wanted man in Israel? What courage did it take just for him to show up in public?
- Elijah felt like the only prophet left in Israel. Why is it easier to practice your faith in community with other believers?
- Why was Elijah certain, to the point that he was willing to bet his life, on this showdown?
- Are people still confused about who the real god is today? Explain your answer.
- Does our silence about Jesus allow others to be complacent about their beliefs?
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you victory over sin this week.