It’s not hard to tell we are living in the last days. The world itself testifies of this right now through earthquakes, christian persecution, blood moons, and religious wars. People idolize money and fame, all while transforming themselves into narcissistic Nebuchadnezzar’s and manipulative Jezebel’s. 2 Timothy 1-5 says,
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.
Wow! You can’t turn on the television without seeing this. You can’t go into the marketplace without seeing this.
And the sad thing is, you can’t even go to church without seeing this.
What God intends to be a house of prayer, a safe place for the body of believers to worship Him, we are turning into a den of thieves. Many churches have become more about financial profits than about the prosperity of the soul. We see charismatic pastors turning their God-given platform into an entertainment stage and their congregates are idolizing every word they say. Professed believers are worshipping their pastors and their church rather than the One they profess to have saved their very soul. Church has become more about networking than serving.
Lord have mercy on us!
This realization reminds me of Elijah and his bold question to the people of Israel during King Ahab’s rule. He asked them,
“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow Him.” [1 Kings 18:21]
Oh, how we could ask ourselves the very same question! Are we going to serve the world or the Maker of the universe? Ourselves or our Savior? Are we serving the one true God or a god we’ve conjured up in our own imaginations?
But the people did not answer Elijah a word. So he devised a plan – an ‘I’ll show you who the real God is‘ plan. He told the prophets of Baal to offer up their sacrifice to Baal and then He would offer up his own sacrifice to God. “The God who answers by fire, He is God.” [1 Kings 18:24] It is noteworthy that both prepared an altar and offered a sacrifice. The Lord only responded to one of them.
So Baal’s prophets, all 450 of them, prepared an altar and called upon the name of Baal. They prayed from morning until evening crying out, “O Baal, answer us!” [1 Kings 18:26] They even leaped about the altar and called out louder. Still there was no answer.
My, my, my… I think I’ve seen many a church services filled with acts such as these. People may hoot and holler and shake and roll, but this is not what gets God’s attention. Let’s study Elijah’s sacrifice to see what God is after.
Elijah began his sacrifice by telling all the people, “Come near to me.” [1 Kings 18:30] THAT is exactly what God is after. He tells us to draw near to Him then He will draw near to us. [James 4:8] God responds when our hearts are bent towards Him!
Next Elijah took twelve stones and with these stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Did you know the number twelve symbolizes power and authority and completeness? And Jesus Christ Himself, the stone that the builders rejected, is the chief cornerstone! [Matthew 21:42] He is the giver of power and authority and we can be complete only in Him. [Luke 9:1] When the foundation of our faith is built upon Jesus we grow into a holy temple becoming a dwelling of God in the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:20-22]
After the altar was built then Elijah consecrated his altar by pouring a total of twelve pitchers of water on the sacrifice and on the wood. I’m sure the prophets of Baal were standing by mocking and persecuting Elijah at this one. Everyone knows wet wood does not burn! How ridiculous!
No, not ridiculous. Miraculous! And again, we see the number twelve signifying completeness. Jesus gives us living water and whoever drinks of it shall never thirst again! [John 4:14] In addition, the water symbolizes the consecration, sanctification, of the altar. Jesus sanctifies us by the ‘washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.’ [Ephesians 5:26-27]
Then Elijah prayed a simple prayer. He says, “I have done all these things at Thy word.” [1 Kings 18:36] 1 Samuel 15:22 tells us that to obey is better than sacrifice.
So after Elijah drew near to God, established the Lord as the foundation of his altar, and sanctified himself and his offering by obedience to the word of God, guess what happened? The fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench! [1 Kings 18:38]
When we are on fire for the Lord – real fire, not false fire – not only will we be consumed by the things of God, but everything and everyone in our path will be touched by God’s fire too! And when all the people see it, they will fall on their faces and say, “The Lord, He is God!” [1 Kings 18:39]
The church today must no longer hesitate between two opinions. We must remove all mixture. So many churches have a form of godliness, but they still hold on to the things of this world thus denying the power of God to move in their midst.
This is a Pharisaical spirit and it has penetrated our churches. The Pharisees hesitated between God and tradition. Likewise, many professed believers hesitate between God and the world. Jesus didn’t stutter when He called the Pharisees a ‘brood of vipers’ [Matthew 12:34] and He further spoke of them saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” [Mark 7:6-7]. Their heart is divided and God will break down their altars and destroy the pillars they’ve constructed [Hosea 10:2].
But there is a remnant!
There is a band of survivors whose zeal for the Lord is undefiled! The spirit of Elijah is being poured out and a great and mighty army of the Lord is arising! Strong is he who carries out His word!
Which camp are you in? The righteous remnant camp or the counterfeit christian camp? Ask the Holy Spirit to answer this question for you. Ask Him to open your eyes to the things in your life that are not pleasing to him. He paid a ransom so that the altar of your hearts would be consecrated completely to Him. In light of His glory, the things of the world are no longer appealing.
The Lord is returning for a pure, spotless bride and all imposters will be exposed. It’s not too late to join the righteous remnant! And for those of you who are already remnant warriors, let’s fan the flame! May the fire of our altars never burn out! [Leviticus 6:13]
Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God.” –Joel 2:12-13
In summary, if we follow the directions of Elijah,
- Draw near to God.
- Consecrate our altars – Prepare our hearts before the Lord.
- Make Jesus our foundation for He is the chief cornerstone.
- Be holy as He is holy.
- Emerse ourselves in the Word of God.
Then the fire of God will fall on us and consume our lives. We will be a living demonstration of God’s power and authority and all who see will know the Lord, He is God!!! Amen and amen!