SERMON SUNDAY 24TH MAY 2020

STRENGTH TO MY FAINTING HEART

 

Verse 1 Kings 19:10

“He replied I have been very zealous for the lord God almight”

 

Our scripture concerns Elijah  at a time when he has just  been through a very stressful and testing period and was feeling very low in spirit, and the words he cried were remembering, despite his present feeling of failure he had up to then been “very zealous for the lord.” I looked up the word zealous it said “a single minded desire, characterised by enthusiasm and devotion. As  Christians true followers of Jesus, in our different ways we are all called to be as the words of Jesus reminds us, in Luke’s Gospel Luke 12:35 “be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.”

 

Jesus words are a warning not to become complacent, laid back, about Jesus’ return to earth, so those words “be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” At first of course when we come to know Jesus it can be like falling in love, so exciting, newly discovering the word of scripture, having our eyes opened to Great Truths, real life saving knowledge, having a new focus in our life and all the other blessings.

Later of course come the testing times, yes and even sometimes being disappointed with some out-comes that maybe we’ve been praying about and perhaps after sometime becoming complacent about our worship or faithfulness in supporting our church, even feeling like Elijah at his disappointment, his feeling of failure. I remember when I was very young working in a large department store in Bristol running up an escalator the wrong way, it was hard work.

At the moment many are missing church services with churches locked down, I had a message last week “ pastor when is our church going to be open again, I’m missing church”, of course it’s not the first time this has been said to me. In the early church Christians often met in secret places, such as the catacombs in Rome, because of persecutions but it is against medical advice for us today to meet in a group and yet a Christian once wrote “a faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted” the same writer wrote “if Joseph had not been Egypt’s prisoner he would never have been Egypt’s governor, The iron chains about his feet ushered in the Golden chains about his neck.”William Secker.

A South African pastor Andrew Murray once faced a terrible crisis, Gathering himself into his study, he sat a long while quietly, prayerfully, thoughtfully his mind flew at last to his Lord Jesus and picking up his  pen he wrote these words in his journal: First he brought me here, it is his will that I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest, next he will keep me here in his love, and give me grace to behave as his child, then, he will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons he intends me to learn and working in me the grace he means to bestow. Last, in his good time he can bring me out again-how and when he knows, let me say I am here.

  1. By God’s appointment
  2. In his keeping
  3. Under his training
  4. For his time

Elijah of course in his moment of despair and desperation found that things were no where as bad as he had first thought. The lord had not lost sight of him, Elijah might have felt a coward and a failure and the last true prophet in Israel but God didn’t view him that way. The prophet had some heaven sent help, he was then to experience an amazing encounter with the Lord, and then Elijah was encouraged with the news that he wasn’t the only true prophet in the land, there were another seven thousand. So we might feel lonely if we’re still locked in, we may feel frustrated, but fear not. By Gods good grace this time will pass for God’s church / i.e. his followers have a great commission to fulfil Mathew 28: 18-19. The world evangelist David Hathaway planned (not knowing of the coming virus at the time) a great crusade for October 2020.

So as Jesus said “be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning and may we all be able to say like Elijah “I have been zealous for the Lord God Almighty”

 

Every Blessing

Pastor Terry