The Great Contest - Part II
“And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.” —I Kings 18:43
What blasphemy is brought forth when men say that the church needs a new way, a new message, and a new presentation. No, the church needs to go back to the old paths. It needs to come back to the cross.
The church that is truly of God does not function according to the ways of the world. That which makes the world go has no bearing whatsoever on the church, and, if employed, will destroy the church, which is happening now.
The church functions solely upon the moving and operation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works totally and completely within the confines of the finished work of Christ. This means the believer must place his faith exclusively in the cross of Christ and not allow it to be moved. With that being the case, the rain will fall in abundant amounts.
This that the Lord did portrays to us the fact that if some few people will go God’s way—the way of the cross—then, beyond the shadow of a doubt, there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, the experience with Elijah and the fire falling from heaven should give hope to any and every individual, irrespective of the difficulties or the problems.
The Scripture says of Elijah, “And he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” (I Ki. 18:42).
Elijah had just seen one of the greatest demonstrations of power that the world had known up to that time, and it had humbled him. It was now time for the rain. The Lord had promised it. He had said some months earlier, “Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” (I Ki. 18:1).
The answer of Elijah was actually the answer to every pulpit, every church, every home, and every problem that plagues our lives. Why is it so hard for us to do this? Why do we seek everyone’s opinion and not God’s knowledge? If we do seek His face, too often it is with a haughty attitude, denying all humility. God will not accept our pompous attitude. The church desperately needs revival, and this verse, I Kings 18:42, tells us how to have it. We need to cast ourselves down upon the earth and put our face between our knees. While the posture is not that important, what it represents is most definitely very important—it represents humility.
Faith Exclusively In Christ And The Cross
The Holy Spirit through Simon Peter said, “For God resists the proud (He sets Himself in array against the proud person), and gives grace to the humble (one who places his faith exclusively in the cross of Christ)” (I Pet. 5:5, The Expositor’s Study Bible).
As the rain was dependent upon the cross being held up as the only solution for mankind, likewise, humility is addressed in the same capacity. It is impossible for anyone to know humility unless he properly understands the cross. The cross of Christ is the very epitome of humility. In fact, there could be no greater example. So when the believer begins to place his faith exclusively in Christ and the cross, he will begin to understand a little bit about humility. Otherwise, such isn’t possible.
“And [Elijah] said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times” (I Ki. 18:43).
This verse portrays faith. It says, “Go again seven times.”
Regrettably, about the greatest admittance of the modern church is the admittance of the servant when he states, “There is nothing.”
We have been compromised in our faith, being led to believe that if we snap our fingers, God is to do it immediately. If it’s not done, we quit, being taught that it’s not faith to continue.
That is unbiblical. No, it doesn’t take the Lord long to do anything, but it takes us awhile to be brought to the place and position desired by the Holy Spirit.
Elijah was one of the greatest men of God who ever lived, but the Lord would teach even Elijah something in this episode. He would be taught a valuable lesson on the grace of God.
Seven Times Speaks Of A Perfect Work
“Seven times” speaks of God’s fulfillment and completion. It speaks of a perfect work, a work that He desires to do within our lives.
If we ask, and the answer is not immediately forthcoming, we must not quit. In fact, faith, if it’s true, will not quit.
What did Jesus say?
“Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves (a meager request); For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? (We as believers must give the message of eternal life to all of mankind, but the truth is, within ourselves, we have nothing to give). And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you (an obvious denial). I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needs (the argument of this parable is that if a sufficiency for daily need can, by importunity, i.e., persistence, be obtained from an unwilling source, how much more from a willing giver, which and who is the Lord). And I say unto you (telling us how to approach the Lord for whatever we need), Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (all of this speaks of persistence and guarantees a positive answer, at least if it’s in the will of God). For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened (he says ‘everyone,’ and that includes you!). If a son shall ask bread of any of you who is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him (an egg containing) a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children (means that an earthly parent certainly would not give a child a stone who has asked for bread, etc.): how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him?” (This refers to God’s goodness and the fact that everything from the Godhead comes to us through the person and agency of the Holy Spirit; and all that He does for us is based upon the cross of Christ and our faith in that finished work. (Luke 11:5-13, The Expositor’s Study Bible).
A Cloud The Size Of A Man’s Hand
“And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand” (I Ki. 18:44).
It must ever be said that what looks like a little cloud to the unbeliever, the doubter, and the skeptic is what faith sees as a coming deluge.
My grandmother taught me a most valuable lesson. Even now, I can see the twinkle in her eyes as she said to me again and again, “Jimmy, God is a big God, so ask big!”
I have never forgotten that. It has helped me touch this world for Christ.
But we must remember that what concludes as big many times starts out small.
Only at the beginning was the cloud the size of a man’s hand. True faith knows that it is only the beginning, which, if God has His way, will ultimately conclude with something great. The Lord does nothing but that which is great. So don’t quit asking, don’t quit seeking, and don’t quit knocking.
A Great Rain
“And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain” (I Ki. 18:45).
You can sense the presence of God as you read the words, “a great rain.” Spiritually speaking, our nation desperately needs this great rain. And, spiritually speaking, untold millions of believers, myself included, need this great rain.
A Personal Experience
Back in 1997, when the Lord began to open up to me the message of the cross, it was like a dream come true. The freedom that this great truth brought to me was unexcelled. It’s not something new but that which was given to the apostle Paul, which he gave to us in his fourteen epistles.
But after a little bit, negative thoughts began to come into my mind about the necessity of this message. The devil said to me that while some few may need this message, virtually the entirety of the church is doing pretty well.
Looking back, it is so easy to recognize the Evil One, but at the time, dressed as an angel of light, he seemed to be plausible.
I did not reveal to anyone what I was feeling in my spirit, but the Lord would soon to address it.
It was Sunday night at Family Worship Center, and Donnie was preaching. He wasn’t preaching about Moses and the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, but in the course of his message, he made the statement uttered by Moses to Pharaoh, “Let My people go.”
Let My People Go
When he said that word, “Let My people go,” the Spirit of God came all over me. I began to weep, actually sob, and the Lord spoke to my heart, and what He told me was not very pleasant to hear. He said, “My people, are in the same condition presently as the children of Israel were in Egyptian bondage.”
To be sure, that’s a powerful statement. To think that the modern church is in the same shape as Israel of old, respecting Egyptian bondage, is beyond our comprehension. In other words, it’s about as bad as it could ever be.
The Devil had almost made me believe that while the cross was definitely necessary, still, the situation was not so desperate among God’s people.
But that night, the Holy Spirit let me know that the church world is in the same condition, spiritually speaking, as Israel of old as it regards her terrible condition of so long, long ago. They were slaves to an evil taskmaster, and the Lord demanded, “Let My people go.”
For a few minutes that night, I saw the entirety of the church world. I saw the bondage, and I saw untold millions who are being held captive by Satan in one way or another, and I’m speaking of God’s people.
As the situation was dire in Egypt at that time, at least as it regarded the people of God, likewise, it is dire now. In fact, the situation is far worse than even I know.
The only answer is the cross of Christ. There is no other!
The church desperately needs a great rain of the Spirit.
Article reprinted from Elijah The Tishbite. To order visit www.shopjsm.org. 09-128