Participants: Martin Fancher (Host)
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000288
00:31 Welcome to Faith Chapel.
00:33 My name is Pastor Martin Fancher.
00:34 I pastor the DeFuniak Springs,
00:36 Florida and Fort Walton Beach, Florida,
00:37 Seventh-day Adventist Churches.
00:39 It's pleasure to be here today with you
00:41 to share with you a subject of great importance to me.
00:45 "The Final Showdown"
00:47 is the title of today's message.
00:49 Doesn't that sound like one that will catch you?
00:51 "The Final Showdown" sounds straight from Star Wars.
00:55 Well, it really is.
00:58 Would you bow your head with me as we pray?
01:01 Father in heaven, we thank you so much
01:02 for your love for us.
01:04 Open our hearts and our minds that we may drawn closer
01:08 and closer to you.
01:11 That we will become one with you,
01:13 one in spirit, one in unity, one in thought and desire.
01:18 So that when someone sees us,
01:21 they will see a reflection of Jesus Christ.
01:24 We pray these things in Jesus name, amen.
01:29 Oh, it's such a privilege to talk about a showdown.
01:31 Everybody likes a showdown from the O.K. Corral
01:34 to the Jedi Knights of Star Wars.
01:37 There always comes down this battle between good and evil,
01:40 right and wrong.
01:42 And as always in today's world,
01:43 wrong is about to conquer
01:45 when right at the last moment comes right over the top
01:48 and it's victorious.
01:50 And my friend, that's the way
01:51 that the Great Controversy looks today in our world.
01:54 It appears by all side around us
01:56 and sound that Jesus is loosing and Satan is winning.
02:00 But my friend, what we see often times is deceiving
02:05 and it's not true,
02:06 because my friend Jesus has already won.
02:10 Today we're going to be looking at a story
02:11 from the Old Testament.
02:12 It's a story about the man named Elijah
02:15 who has had an encounter with the king
02:16 and the king lived to regret it.
02:19 Because Elijah was a messenger from God
02:21 and the message was from God
02:23 and any message God gives is gonna come true.
02:26 That's exactly what happened
02:27 and the story we're going to pick up in just a few moments
02:30 is after three years of no rain
02:33 which the Lord had provided for Elijah to tell.
02:37 There would be no rain, the land would be dry.
02:40 The people had slipped into idolatry.
02:43 God's people were now mixing pagan
02:46 and Christian worship together
02:48 and they weren't committing to either one fully
02:51 and God was being angry with that.
02:55 God is a God, a jealous God, the Bible tells us.
03:00 And for what He has done for us,
03:01 He simply asks us to respond in accordance
03:03 with our thankfulness,
03:05 not sharing our affections with a false God.
03:08 And so these people were gathered together,
03:11 God threw His prophet,
03:14 had challenged the king to a showdown.
03:19 A showdown on a mountain and when we get there,
03:23 we're going to discover this people
03:26 didn't just one day wake out of bed
03:27 and decide oh I think today
03:29 we're gonna serve a false God.
03:30 No, we're gonna find out
03:32 that their descent into degradation was gradual.
03:37 They one step at a time,
03:39 turn their backs on God little by little,
03:42 compromise by compromise,
03:45 little white lie by little white lie,
03:47 they turned and walked away from God.
03:51 Now the showdown is about to happen.
03:54 King Ahab has marshaled his forces
03:57 and they have met on Mount Carmel.
04:01 Elijah versus the prophets of Baal.
04:08 That's interesting to see how this turns out.
04:10 If we open our Bibles to 1 Kings Chapter 18,
04:14 we'll begin reading the first few versus 21-24.
04:20 And Elijah came to all the people and said,
04:23 "How long will you falter between two opinions?
04:25 If the Lord is God, follow Him;
04:28 but if Baal, follow him."
04:30 But the people answer him not a word.
04:33 Then Elijah said to the people,
04:35 "I alone am left a prophet of the Lord,
04:38 but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
04:41 Therefore let them give us two bulls.
04:44 Let them choose one bull for themselves
04:46 and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood,
04:48 but put no fire under it,
04:49 and I will prepare the other bull,
04:52 and lay it on the wood, and lay it on the wood,
04:57 but put no fire under it.
04:59 Then you call on the name of your Gods,
05:01 and I will call on the name of the Lord,
05:03 and the God who answers by fire, He is God."
05:09 So all the people answered and said,
05:12 "It is well spoken."
05:14 Do you have the picture? Can you see it now?
05:17 Elijah's up there
05:19 and he lays out the ground rules for this test.
05:21 He says since there are four hundred fifty men,
05:24 we're going to go ahead
05:25 and let them provide the bulls.
05:27 We get one, they get one, they are going to go first.
05:30 Something interesting to note about this test.
05:34 Why did God choose to put a drought on the people?
05:40 Maybe because there was a spiritual drought going on,
05:43 maybe that was the case.
05:45 But it's amazing that instead of saying
05:49 whoever is God provides water, then he is God.
05:53 Elijah's test is whoever produces fire
05:57 then he will be God.
05:59 Interesting how God chooses to work,
06:01 He could have made it rain, but no He calls for fire.
06:04 What's happening here is
06:05 Elijah is comforting the indifference,
06:08 the spiritual indifference of God's people.
06:10 You can't be on both sides of the fence,
06:13 either you are for me or you are against me God says
06:16 and the test is about to take place.
06:20 Let's keep reading versus 27-29.
06:25 And it so it was, at noon,
06:28 that Elijah mocked them and said,
06:30 "Cry aloud, for He is a God, either He is meditating,
06:33 or He is busy, or may be He is on a journey,
06:36 or perhaps He is sleeping and must be awakened."
06:39 So they cried aloud, they cut themselves,
06:40 and was their custom, with knives
06:43 and lances until the blood gushed out on them.
06:48 When midday was past,
06:49 they prophesied until the time
06:52 of the offering of the evening sacrifice.
06:54 But there was no voice,
06:56 no one answered, no one paid attention.
07:00 Well, they are not off to a good start.
07:05 God's people are standing around,
07:07 the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty
07:10 strong have been marching around.
07:12 They've been praying,
07:13 they've been calling upon God of Baal to answer them.
07:18 Elijah appears to be taunting,
07:21 maybe he is gone on a vacation,
07:22 maybe he doesn't hear you, talk a little louder.
07:26 So what happens, they start to scream and rant
07:31 and rave and cry louder to their God.
07:34 They even begin to cut themselves
07:35 the Bible says as we read,
07:37 till the blood was gushing out of them.
07:40 Trying to awaken or catch the attention
07:44 of their God for an answer.
07:46 My friend, aren't you glad
07:47 to capture the attention of the almighty living God,
07:51 we do not have to go to such drastic circumstances.
07:54 We don't have to cut ourselves
07:55 and afflict ourselves to capture His attention.
07:58 We need simply but to call on His name and He will hear.
08:02 While the test isn't over yet.
08:04 The people are wearing over this.
08:06 They are beginning to be tired,
08:08 the day is almost spent.
08:10 I can picture the prophets of Baal
08:13 some of them taking shifts,
08:14 taking turns because they are wearing themselves out.
08:17 They've tired because of the blood they lost.
08:19 They've tired because
08:20 they have been on their feet all day.
08:21 They are physically exhausted
08:23 and the God of Baal remains silent.
08:29 Well, we wonder what kind of a victory that might be.
08:34 But we're gonna have to take a look and see.
08:36 Let's continue with versus 36 and 37.
08:40 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering
08:42 of the evening sacrifice,
08:44 that Elijah the prophet came near and said,
08:46 "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
08:50 let it be known this day that you are God in Israel
08:54 and I am Your servant,
08:56 and that I have done all these things at your word.
08:58 Hear me, O Lord, hear me,
09:01 that this people may know that you are the Lord God,
09:05 and that you have turned
09:06 their hearts back to you again."
09:11 Wow! Do you hear the love in that message?
09:16 I don't know, if I were Elijah,
09:18 I just might want fire to come down out of heaven
09:20 and tackle all the people that were there
09:22 including the Gods of Baal.
09:25 But I'm not Elijah
09:27 and Elijah had a great love for these people.
09:31 He saw only their salvation,
09:33 only what was in their best interest.
09:36 And he prayed in his prayer to God so unselfish,
09:40 turned their hearts towards you.
09:44 Elijah in his prayer even admitted
09:46 that the power to turn comes from God.
09:49 Oh! My friend, He gives us
09:52 the strength to turn our lives over to Him.
09:57 Did you see the difference already?
10:00 The prophets of Baal are screaming.
10:03 They're dancing, they are cutting themselves.
10:05 They're doing whatever they can.
10:06 They're making a huge noise.
10:08 The people are listening and chanting,
10:10 everything is going on.
10:12 But in contrast, the prophet of God,
10:15 the prophet Elijah of the true God
10:19 stands quietly in front of his altar
10:27 and quietly prays to God,
10:29 no frenzy, no jumping up and down, no need to catch
10:33 the attention of God almighty.
10:35 He had the attention of God and he simply bowed his head
10:39 and humbly prayed.
10:42 Oh! I'm so glad that we serve a God
10:44 that isn't into pump and circumstance
10:46 but is into love and acceptance
10:48 and forgiveness.
10:51 And all I know is that those of us
10:53 that have been forgiven by God.
10:56 We respond with love toward God.
11:02 And He continues to draw us closer, and closer to Him.
11:07 Well, we've discovered that they've been praying all day.
11:11 We've discovered that Elijah comes and prays.
11:15 After all this isn't a test for Elijah,
11:17 this is not a test for God,
11:18 this is a test for the people.
11:21 They were started out by asking
11:23 how long do you waver between two opinions.
11:29 Either God is God, or Baal is God,
11:33 whichever one is serve Him.
11:36 Is that simple?
11:38 It always has been that simple.
11:40 If God is God then give Him his due
11:42 and if not then don't.
11:45 So how do we tell the difference?
11:47 How do we know in the day and age in which we live,
11:50 how do we know that God is God?
11:55 Well, if you've ever been forgiven
11:57 and understand the peace that comes.
12:00 And when you discover that when God forgives,
12:02 He not only forgives, but He cleanses us.
12:06 And as the Bible tells us in Jude,
12:08 He presents us before the Father
12:11 just as though we've never sinned.
12:15 Wow! I wonder what I look like having never sinned.
12:20 I wonder when God looks at me.
12:23 How Jesus has presented me in perfection,
12:28 that robe of righteousness
12:29 that He offers to us is freely given,
12:33 but it has to be freely accepted.
12:38 If we keep going in the story,
12:39 we're gonna come to the great finale of this prophet story
12:44 or we got the showdown on the mountain
12:46 has been going on for three years.
12:47 They finally brought it together
12:49 to this great test on the mountain
12:51 and Baal's prophets have been going at it all day.
12:54 Now what does the prophet of God do?
12:58 He humbly prays,
13:00 praise the Gods blessing will be given.
13:03 So that the people may know that He is God
13:07 and that He will turn their hearts toward Him.
13:11 And now follow as we continue versus 38 and 39.
13:15 It tells us then the fir of the Lord
13:19 fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice,
13:22 and the wood and the stones and the dust,
13:25 it licked up the water that was in the trench.
13:29 Now when all the people saw it,
13:31 they fell on their faces, and they said,
13:33 "The Lord He is God! The Lord, He is God!"
13:38 Can you hear it?
13:39 Can you see it?
13:41 In your minds eye, have you looked this whole crowd
13:44 that has been chanting for the God of Baal
13:47 and holding their breath
13:48 that they were to see whose God wins.
13:51 Now in one accord praises the living God
13:55 and proclaims Him victorious.
13:58 Well, that's not the end of the story,
14:00 but the end of the story
14:02 actually isn't good for the prophets of Baal.
14:05 As we well know, Elijah sends his prophet
14:08 to go take a look and see if the rain cloud is there.
14:11 And prophet's servant comes back and says no sir,
14:15 there is no rain cloud
14:16 and he does it again and he does it again
14:19 and he would wonder.
14:21 If God has caused this to happen
14:25 and the fire to come down and not only eat up
14:28 and consume the sacrifice,
14:31 but to consume the rocks and lick up the water
14:36 that they had poured over it from the sea and left nothing
14:40 but a charred hole in the ground,
14:42 why he cause them to wait?
14:46 My faith, my friends,
14:47 faith is what brings us closer to God.
14:53 If we want to build our faith,
14:55 we must exercise that faith.
15:00 The faith of Elijah is steadfast ensure
15:04 and he points to the prophet to go
15:07 and the prophet goes
15:08 and finally the prophet comes back and says,
15:10 I see a cloud about the size of a man's hand.
15:14 And immediately Elijah goes to King Ahab and says
15:17 King we've got to get out of here.
15:20 It's going to let loose and rain
15:23 such as it's never rained before.
15:26 And the Bible tells us
15:28 that Elijah led the King down.
15:30 It started to rain
15:32 and the horses even were confused
15:36 by instinct of the direction they should go.
15:39 And the Bible says that Elijah
15:41 grabbed a holt of the bridle of the horses
15:45 and let them all the way back to the palace
15:48 where he deposited Ahab.
15:51 Now my friend if that isn't a miracle of God,
15:53 I don't know what is because God answers prayer.
15:59 My friend right on the heel of this comes another story.
16:04 He is tired, Elijah has just been up all day,
16:09 he has been working hard for God.
16:13 And he is now led the King chariot back
16:18 and now he is exhausted and he lay sleeping,
16:23 but the showdown isn't over.
16:28 Oh! Yes, King Ahab's wife Jezebel says
16:32 this is not a good thing.
16:34 I cannot have this prophet showing up our prophets
16:38 and so she had a message sent to Elijah
16:41 which simply said this.
16:44 By tomorrow may God due to you
16:48 or due to me rather,
16:50 if you're head is still on you tomorrow,
16:53 you will die Elijah.
16:57 Now Elijah could have stood up and said
17:01 take the queen back the message,
17:04 message received.
17:06 But I'm not afraid, for I serve the living God.
17:09 He just had called fire out of heaven from God.
17:11 He had just slew
17:13 four and hundred fifty of the false prophet.
17:16 He had run all the way back to the palace
17:20 leading the Kings horses.
17:21 And now the queen gives him a death threat
17:27 and he runs scarred.
17:31 The Bible tells us that he left
17:35 and he ran and he ran and he ran and he ran,
17:40 until he was so exhausted
17:43 that he falls down by that brook
17:45 where the angle as you well know
17:48 feeds him by bringing the raven
17:51 and bringing the food.
17:54 God is good to take care of his prophet
17:56 even in the midst of disappointment
17:59 and discouragement.
18:01 My friend there is a lesson that we can learn from this.
18:04 That when we get tired, when we grow weary,
18:09 our faith can lapse and we can grow discouraged.
18:15 Another lesson that we can learn
18:18 is the lesson of faithfulness to God.
18:21 Elijah didn't ask how,
18:24 he just followed the leading of God
18:26 and we're to follow the leading of God as well.
18:29 There is an old song that simply says,
18:31 amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
18:34 that saved a wretch like me.
18:37 I once was lost but now I'm found,
18:39 was blind, but now I see.
18:44 You see we need to understand our condition.
18:48 As the people of God did there,
18:50 when they denounced Baal
18:51 and proclaimed the living God
18:53 as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
18:55 When they shouted together the Lord, He is God,
18:59 the Lord He is God.
19:02 And believe me, it wasn't just words off their lips,
19:05 it was melted and sunk
19:08 and written in their very hearts.
19:11 They knew they had been in the presence of God.
19:15 You and I can know when we've been
19:16 in the presence of God too my friend.
19:19 Each and everyday of our lives,
19:21 we can live in the presence of God.
19:26 God was faithful,
19:27 in the midst of a death threat
19:29 Elijah abandons and runs.
19:32 It appears he abandons God,
19:33 he runs scared rather than
19:36 praying that God will protect him, he flees.
19:40 But though we may run from God,
19:43 God will never leave us or forsake us.
19:48 And that's a promise that you and I
19:49 can go to the bank on each and everyday.
19:52 Now whether we'll take it at face value,
19:55 that's up to each one of us to decide.
19:58 God will never force us to accept Him as Lord
20:02 and Savior of our lives.
20:04 He will never force us to do that.
20:06 He will make Himself available
20:08 just as Elijah made himself available
20:11 to be the prophet of God and to follow Him.
20:14 God will use each one of us,
20:18 if we'll just let Him.
20:22 The final showdown, the final showdown here
20:26 on this earth will be over worship.
20:30 Whom do we serve?
20:33 Do we serve the living God or do we not?
20:39 Well, whether you take it straight from Star Wars
20:41 or you take it from television,
20:43 each and everyday they has the bad guys appear to win
20:46 before the good guy rushes into the rescue.
20:49 The war of the Great Controversy is different
20:51 because God has already won.
20:55 The major battle is over.
20:58 There are still skirmishes here and there.
21:00 God is waiting for us to choose.
21:03 And as He said in the Book of Joshua,
21:05 choose you this day who you will serve.
21:08 But as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord,
21:13 not Baal, not money, not this world,
21:17 not the things this world has to offer,
21:19 but we will serve the living God.
21:23 You and I need to come to the place in our lives
21:26 where each and everyday
21:28 we will make that commitment to Him.
21:33 Not yesterday, or tomorrow,
21:34 but today my friend
21:36 is the day that salvation can come.
21:41 We can also learn from Elijah,
21:46 that when we run from God,
21:47 not only does God not abandon us,
21:50 but God will still take care of us.
21:53 He was beside the brooks, he is right on the shore,
21:57 he had the birds possibly even bringing food
22:01 from the Kings table to Elijah there.
22:07 But God allowed Elijah to get some rest
22:12 and with rest comes strength.
22:15 And with physical strength
22:17 can come physical and spiritual strength.
22:23 Have you ever notice that.
22:24 That when you are tired,
22:27 Bible study and prayer seems more like a chore,
22:30 or it's easier to put it off until tomorrow.
22:33 But my friend, it may not be the showdown
22:36 of Mount Carmel where we're calling
22:37 fire down from heaven,
22:39 but it's a showdown nonetheless
22:40 to invite Jesus into our hearts.
22:43 We may think of that as a little thing,
22:45 but it is no less significant than what Elijah called
22:48 the people of God to commit to on that day.
22:52 That very day he asked them to dethrone their hearts
22:59 and let God have a seat.
23:03 That exactly what you and I can do
23:05 and sometimes when we're tired,
23:07 sometimes when we're physically weak,
23:10 we become spiritually weak.
23:14 And when we get spiritually weak,
23:15 how easy it is to become discouraged.
23:18 When we get discouraged,
23:20 how easy it is to cast disparaging false God.
23:23 Why did you let this happen to me?
23:26 Oh! God, where are you when I need you most.
23:31 God has never left and He has never forsaken us.
23:36 We, who want Jesus in our hearts,
23:41 so, Jesus waits, He feeds us
23:43 He gives us that strength until we're back on our feet
23:46 and when we're back on our feet,
23:48 He continues to woo us
23:51 and to draw us closer and closer to Him.
23:54 Isn't that what the Bible said?
23:56 It said the people when the fire came down
23:59 from heaven and devoured everything.
24:02 They fell on their faces
24:03 in supreme worship to the living God.
24:07 You and I need to understand
24:09 that we have come face to face with God.
24:13 We are at the final showdown,
24:15 the final showdown isn't for a mountain,
24:17 it's not for a hill, it's not for a city,
24:20 it's for a heart and that heart is yours
24:23 and that heart is mine.
24:27 There is a song that says
24:29 that Jesus Christ is Lord of our life.
24:34 And that we crown Him to be Lord
24:37 in that position in our hearts.
24:40 I'll pray that you have prayed that prayer,
24:42 that you've invited Jesus Christ into your heart
24:45 and allowed Him to reign supreme.
24:48 Oh, from time to time, your life will grow weak,
24:51 your spiritual walk with Jesus will grow cool,
24:54 you'll be prone to be discouraged.
24:58 When discouragement comes
25:00 we'll be tempted to just throw in the towel.
25:03 But my friend, don't give way to those feelings.
25:08 When you and I are at our weakest,
25:11 it's when we can become the strongest.
25:16 Don't our children saying Jesus loves me,
25:20 this I know for the Bible tells me so
25:24 little ones to Him belong
25:27 they are weak but He is strong.
25:31 God wants the greatest strength in us,
25:34 not to come from us but to come from Him
25:38 and that is possible
25:41 with total surrender to Jesus.
25:45 And that is possible if we relay waste
25:49 to the altars of our life
25:51 as Elijah did to the altars of Baal there
25:54 that day on Mount Carmel after God answered
25:56 he destroyed them, so that all traces would be gone,
25:59 all remnants would be gone
26:00 and the people wouldn't have opportunity to go back.
26:03 But I pray as he prayed that they would not
26:06 want the opportunity to go back,
26:08 because after all Elijah prayed
26:12 that God would turn their hearts to Him.
26:18 That's all we need today.
26:21 That's all we need everyday
26:24 is to pray that God will take our hearts
26:28 and draw them home.
26:32 God will answer an honest prayer.
26:37 Would you like to share that with me?
26:39 Let's bow your heads as we ask God.
26:42 Father in heaven, we come to You
26:45 to ask You to point our hearts toward home.
26:50 Make us more like You,
26:53 take our hearts, bring us into unity with You
26:59 that our hearts will be cleaned
27:01 and made fresh,
27:03 that we may be represented to God
27:05 the Father just as though we've never sinned.
27:10 We cast down the idols of our hearts
27:12 and ask You to reign supreme from this day
27:15 forward is our prayer in Jesus name. Amen.
27:21 May God continue to give you the strength
27:24 and the courage each and everyday to appoint Him
27:29 Lord of your life and Lord of the day.
27:33 And my friend, I promise you this,
27:35 if you will give your hearts to Him,
27:39 He will here, He will come
27:43 and you will indeed be victorious
27:47 for the greatest showdown that ever lift
27:50 is the showdown for your heart and mind.
27:54 Thank you.