This sermon is part of the sermon series "First Things First". See series.
Elijah is one of the Bible's most dramatic characters, because he experienced the light of God's presence even when everything around him seemed spiritually confused and increasingly dark. The Bible tells us two things about Elijah that many people find hard to reconcile. The first is that Elijah had an extraordinary relationship with God and an important ministry in life. The other equally important truth about Elijah, according to James 5:17, is that he was just like us. If Elijah's experiences of God were the result of some unparalleled, inherent quality in him, then his story would be interesting but unhelpful. But if Elijah was just like us, then his story has a lot to teach us.
The world becomes a dark place to the degree that people turn from God.
First Kings 16:30-31 suggests what happens in a culture that moves away from God. First, things that are very important to God become trivial to us. Verse 31 says, for example, that Ahab "considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat." Jereboam didn't deny the reality of God, but in order to please the people, he mixed the worship of God with elements of paganism that were popular in his day. Ahab followed Jeroboam's lead and did the same thing. It wasn't a big deal to him. What the Bible is telling us is that it was a big deal to God.
We often hear people say, "God, religion—it just isn't important to me. I don't really believe anything. I don't see why it matters." One characteristic of our culture is a desire to pass itself off as tolerant and intelligent while it is actually arrogant and, in some ways, naïve. While claiming to be tolerant, it assumes that all people in all cultures of the world, throughout all history, who take ...
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