Pastor Eli Lopez
1 Kings 19:1-18, “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he
had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to
Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this
time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was
afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his
servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He
came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have
had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
What a story! I am sure that many of us have heard many different thoughts
and sermons concerning Elijah and this portion of scripture. What an amazing man
of God, up to this poin,t whom God used to do amazing things. But like most of
us, we see him experience a weak moment in his life. Isn’t that what is usually
spoken about this story -- our weak moments of giving up and wanting to end it
all? Well as you read this, I pray you are receiving the revelation God has
given me concerning this story. I call it “FINISHING WELL.”
As you may know, Elijah is coming to the end of his time on earth and ministry. In just a little while, Elijah is going on the ride of his life, a chariot to heaven. But like most of us, we get tired. The year has taken a lot from us. We have given so much; we are wondering if there is anymore. We have stayed in our race and it looks like we are running alone. And the scenarios are endless to how we may be feeling as this year is coming to an end. How easy it is to think, “I wish it was all over”?
But how many of you know that God promised that what He has begun in you, He will bring it to completion? (Philippians 1:6) And how interesting it is that when we are done, He is completing what He has started? The same is for Elijah. He may be done, but God isn’t finished with him yet. God wants him to finish well.
As you see in scripture there are 3 things that God does to help Elijah finish well. First, God tells Elijah to get up and eat. It’s not time to finish. God knows how tired you may be. He knows all that you have gone through. He also knows what else is left for you to do. At the very moment Elijah wished his life to end, God is getting him up and feeding him for two days. And think about this, it’s going to last Elijah for 40 days! We need to allow God to give us the rest, food and strength we need to finish well. I am here to tell you to GET UP and EAT! You’re not done yet. You have to finish this year off well.
The second thing you find is that God had Elijah go up to the mountain to see Him. God wants to pass by you. It’s in this moment that God desires not only to reveal Himself to you, but to reveal in you what you still have in you. Look at the question that God had asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Now, don’t you hate it sometimes when God asks you a question that you know He already knows the answer? God knew where Elijah was physically -- standing on the mountainside. It wasn’t about where he was physically, but God was asking Elijah, “What did you go through that has gotten you to this place?” And boy was Elijah quick to tell God all that he had gone through! I am sure if someone was to ask you why you were at the place you are currently, you would be able to answer quickly, and probably with plenty of emotion behind it. There is a great song sung by Marvin Sapp entitled, “Never Would Have Made It.” There is one thing you can be sure of at this very moment, because of all that you have gone through this year, you are probably “stronger, wiser and better” because of it. I hope you can see that because you allowed God to walk with you through all you have gone through, He is completing in you the good work He has started. Times alone with God will reveal this to you, so go to the mountain and be alone with God.
Lastly, God told Elijah to go back the same way he came. WHAT? God, are you
crazy? I want to get past all of this and You are asking me to go back the same
way I came? This is where God is letting you know that your work isn’t done yet.
There just may have been something or someone you have missed. Elijah needed to
go back the same way he came to anoint three people. He was anointing them to go
to a higher place in their lives. Look back at all you have learned this year.
What are those things you have learned that can help people go to a higher place
in their lives? Finish well. Everything you are and everything you have gone
through is for someone else. Go and serve others, love them and lead them to
that higher place.
So, get up and eat. Go to the mountain and go serve people. Have a great remaining end of 2014. God isn’t finished with you yet.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40
What a powerful statement we find that Jesus made on various occasions to the people. Through this verse, we not only get direction an understanding of what we can do, but we also see the heart of the Father and how He looks at each and every one of us. If you look fully at what Christ was teaching His disciples you find that His heart of compassion is driven in all that we do
It is here in Matthew 25:31-46 that Jesus is teaching the people and the disciples how He, the Son of Man, is going to separate the sheep from the goats. Now we know that God does not look at the outer man, but He looks at the heart, as was spoken when David was being anointed to be king. We also know that Christ spoke on many occasions that we would know that we are His disciples by the love we have one for another and the fruit that we produce. But even so, many Christians still have a hard time in finding what their purpose in God may be or wonder what pleases the heart of God.
Let me first remind you that we were created for His pleasure (Rev. 4:11). Which means this -- whatever you do in life that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy brings pleasure to God as that is what He desires for us to think upon (Phil. 4:8). Now to whom do we do these to and for? Well before we go there, let us first get the heart of why we do anything for anyone. It’s in Matthew 25 that Jesus teaches the people that whatever you do for the least of these, you have done it for Him. HOW CRAZY! We are actually used by God to love on people for HIM! He trusts us enough to love others like He loves us. So the heart of the matter is that no matter what you desire to do for God, you are doing it for God. You don’t HAVE TO do it, you GET TO do it!
Secondly, to whom do we serve? THE LEAST OF THESE! Isn’t funny how when you are going through a challenging time that seems to overwhelm you or even get you to wonder how you can get out of it, someone always seems to come our way that is going through something that seems worse? Can you see it, that no matter where you are in life, you will always be able to find someone who may be the “least of these”? James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…” The greatest open door that we have to be God’s hands, arms, feet, love outstretched is when someone is in need. And I promise you, if you just take the time to listen to what those in your world are saying, you will hear them speak of their needs freely. That is your open do to give and love.
Lastly, when do we have time to serve others? Go with me to Matthew 26:1-13. You find this to be a time that Jesus is hanging out with His disciples and the community doing life with them. As they are reclining, a young woman steps in and begins to pour perfume on Jesus as they are enjoying each other’s company. There are two powerful things Jesus says about this very moment. First, what this woman has done is a beautiful thing; she has pleased Him by preparing Him for his burial. It is for thy pleasure church, you are created. Secondly, Jesus says, “The poor you will ALWAYS have with you but you will not always have Me.” Church, can I encourage you that serving other people helps you grow in your relationship with Jesus. I understand that many of us want to be the woman who pours perfume upon Jesus and gives Him our attention and deepest praise. But Jesus reminds us that there are a group of people that we will always have, the POOR. And when we do it unto the least of these, we do it unto Him. We are pouring our perfume of praise and we GET to serve the needs of others.
As you are coming to the end of 2014 and desiring to serve the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, don’t forget the poor and those in need. We have great opportunities all around our city that we can be a part of serving the least of these. Look and listen to those in your own family. Find those in your church that you may be able to help. Be the church and take Christ to the streets. HopeFest, Harvest Festivals, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are great opportunities to join your church or other churches and organizations to serve the least of these. Don’t forget, you don’t HAVE TO serve, you GET TO serve.
Eli A. Lopez, Senior Pastor
The Well Worship Center