Sun, Aug 09, 2015
Alters in Anguish
1 Kings 18:30 & Romans 1:1 by Dale Wilson
Duluth Church Sunday Morning " Altars in Anguish" 1 Kings 18:30 " He repaired the altar of The Lord that was broken down." Now we find Elijah in the of the contest with the false prophets of Baal. And he rebuilt an altar of The Lord. Years before unknown people had built an altar here. It was the highest point around that sticks out over water. On this high promontory, they had worshipped, offering up sacrifices to the True and Living God. Noah built the first altar to The Lord. Just having survived the flood, Noah was grateful, and he offered sacrifice unto The Lord. Altars were places of prayer, places of assembly built out of thankfulness and honor to The Lord. An altar represented a right relationship with God. We Have an altar in our church ... It was brought into use in churches some 200 years ago, the originator Charles Finney, called it the anxious bench or the mourners bench. It was there where people could reconnect with a God. Romans 12 says theses words, " therefore I urge you, brothers , in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. " the altar today is about giving ourselves away... And giving ourselves to God. Yet today we see altars in anguish ... Broken, smashed, scattered and shadowed by evil. 1. Altars have been broken down. Something dreadful had occurred in the land. Swifter than anyone could imagined possible, the civil government was corrupted. Listening to Elijah describe the leaders of the country was forthright ... Every word the prophet used had a ring like chilled steel as it cut like a sword into the putrefying abscesses if the day. Ahab and jezebel were on the throne. A more vicious, iniquitous, rotten man or bike woman never disgraced the earth like these two. Wickedness had the right of way throughout the kingdom, ahad and Jezebel set the pace and others followed. There were no depths of iniquity, adultery, licentiousness, and vileness to which Ahab and Jezebel did not sink. The people approved of the new directions with progressive attitudes. As increasing numbers of prophets compromised with wickedness, embracing the worship of Baal and the asterism, altars that once dotted the land were torn down, replaced by asherah poles. The sacred places where the living Gid had been worshipped were transformed into places of prostitution If a woman who dared say she believed in and worshipped Jehovah, she was an outcast and her children were murdered. An man was subjected to in famines that no tongue would attempt to describe. How did it happen? How did so many surrender to so much evil? Where did they drift away? How does it stop! ? 2. Revisiting a real altar! Professing Christians of this day appear eager to join every noises march. We insist on innocuous prayers at every civic event - prayers that ask nothing of God though they make us feel spiritual: nevertheless few of the professed people of God are ready to engage in prevailing prayer. We who name the Name of Christ are willing to go to a service designed to make us feel good about ourselves, and if it entertains us, that's all the better; but the preacher better not make us feel uncomfortable. We eagerly participate in the rituals but can we can we truly say we have met the Savior?! In short we have forgotten who we are and from whence we came. We need a rude prophet ... Even though we probably would not receive him. God had a plan. God has a man. God will release his power, glory, and fire Elijah was sensational. Elijah had enthusiasm for God Elijah knew enough about God to trust him Elijah's faith held in the midst of tremendous opposition 3. Rebuilding our own broken down altars He repaired the altar of sacrifice when it was broken down. Oh, God's warriors must first be God's worshipers. Uncle Sam's soldiers must first be Uncle Sam's citizens! Get things cleared away. If you want Heaven on your side, the broken-down altars must be rebuilt in your heart. Give yourself to God. Confess your sins. Stand as a solid phalanx for Christ. There are enough men and women in this church this morning to rewrite the religious and moral history of this God-forsaken, whiskey-soaked city and transform it for Jesus Christ, if you would go out and do God's will, if you would line up absolutely as one man and woman for Jesus. But before God will pay any attention to a call for fire, Christians must get right. It is a great mistake to expect a crop without planting the seed. It is a great mistake to expect a blessing without first doing your part. Christian, can anything more important command your attention than to give God a chance in your hear? Perhaps years ago something crept in your life and you have never had a moment of peace since. How did Israel drift so far away from God? So it seems that we come back around to see how we drift out of love towards God, as well as towards other people. Someone compiled a list of what that drift looks like. What does a “broken altar” look like? What does a broken relationship look like? 1. When my delight in the Lord is no longer as great as my delight in someone else, I have lost my first love. 2. When my soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in God’s Word or in prayer, I have lost my first love. 3. When my thoughts during leisure moments do not reflect upon the Lord, I have lost my first love. 4. When I claim to be “only human” and easily give in to those things I know displease the Lord, I have lost my first love. 5. When I do not willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work or to the needs of others, I have lost my first love. 6. When I cease to treat every Christian brother as I would the Lord, I have lost my first love. 7. When I view the commands of Christ as restrictions to my happiness rather than expressions of His love, I have lost my first love. 8. When I inwardly strive for the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of the Lord, I have lost my first love. 9. When I fail to make Christ or His words known because I fear rejection, I have lost my first love. 10. When I refuse to give up an activity which I know is offending a weaker brother, I have lost my first love. 11. When I become complacent to sinful conditions around me, I have lost my first love. 12. When I am unable to forgive another for offending me, I have lost my first love. Is this you? Have you lost what you once had? Have your altars been broken down? Towards God or towards other? How do you find that first love again? I want to suggest 2 things: a change of habit and a change of heart. Whatsoever it was has poisoned your joy and has made serving God the hardest job in the world. Perhaps only God and you knew about it. Your friends never suspected, yet it has been there blighting and blasting. Wherever you go, that secret goes with you. You have cried and sighed to be free. But you haven't taken the course God pointed out to you. You have crucified your conscience. Nothing will give back that peace until you build up that altar in your heart, renew that vow and covenant. Take a clean-cut stand for Jesus. Until you do, you will stay as cold and unresponsive as a stone. Did you quarrel with someone? Did hate get a foothold? Did someone wrong you whom you think you can never forgive? Ask God to take the bitterness out, or give you grace to get rid of it. God stands pledged to help; you do not have to do it in your own strength. No matter what has broken down the altar, build it up. Maybe it is the breaking of vows, or neglect of prayer, or neglect of family worship, or failure to get anything worthwhile done for God; maybe it is that you never go to prayer meeting, or that your business practices are crooked, or that you have been a coward about witnessing for Christ. If you have one drop of red blood in your veins, then when a man talks about your country or your wife, you will knock him down. Yet you will stand around and let somebody damn and curse God and spew out his maledictions against the church, and never open your mouth in protest! Brother, your altar is broken down! Build it up and see what the Lord will do. The broken-down altar at Mount Carmel was built up-not in the name of the prophet, not in the name of the scribes, but Elijah built up the broken altar in the name of the Lord. And the fire of God fell.
Series:
Duluth Church
Sunday Morning
 
" Altars in Anguish"
 
1 Kings 18:30 
" He repaired the altar of The Lord that was broken down."
 
Now we find Elijah  in the of the contest with the false prophets of Baal. And he rebuilt an altar of The Lord.  Years before unknown people had built an altar here. It was the highest point around that sticks out over water.  On this high promontory, they had worshipped, offering up sacrifices to the True and Living God. 
 
Noah built the first altar to The Lord. Just having survived the flood, Noah was grateful, and he offered sacrifice unto The Lord.  Altars were places of prayer, places of assembly built out of thankfulness and honor to The Lord. An altar represented a right relationship with God.
 
 
We Have an altar in our church ... It was brought into use in churches some 200 years ago, the originator Charles Finney, called it the anxious bench or the mourners bench. It was there where people could reconnect with a God.
 
Romans 12 says theses words, " therefore I urge you, brothers , in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. "  the altar today is about giving ourselves away... And giving ourselves to God.
 
Yet today we see altars in anguish ... Broken, smashed, scattered and shadowed by evil.
 
1. Altars have been broken down.
 
Something dreadful had occurred in the land. Swifter than anyone could imagined possible, the civil government was corrupted.  Listening  to Elijah describe the leaders of the country was forthright ... Every word the prophet used had a ring like chilled steel as it cut like a sword into the putrefying abscesses if the day.
 
Ahab and  jezebel were on the throne. A more vicious, iniquitous, rotten man or bike woman never disgraced the earth like these two. Wickedness had the right of way throughout the kingdom, ahad and Jezebel set the pace and others followed.
 
There were no depths of iniquity, adultery, licentiousness, and vileness to which Ahab and Jezebel did not sink. 
 
The people approved of the new directions with progressive attitudes. As increasing numbers of prophets compromised with wickedness, embracing the worship of Baal and the asterism, altars that once dotted the land were torn down, replaced by asherah poles. The sacred places where the living Gid had been worshipped were transformed into places of prostitution
 
If a woman who dared say she believed in and worshipped Jehovah, she was an outcast and her children were murdered. An man was subjected to in famines that no tongue would attempt to describe. 
 
How did it happen?
 
How did so many surrender to so much evil?
 
Where did they drift away?
 
How does it stop! ?
 
 
2. Revisiting a real altar!
 
Professing Christians of this day appear eager to join every noises march. We insist on innocuous prayers at every civic event - prayers that ask nothing of God though they make us feel spiritual: nevertheless few of the professed people of God are ready to engage in prevailing prayer. 
 
We who name the Name of Christ are willing to go to a service designed to make us feel good about ourselves, and if it entertains us, that's all the better; but the preacher better not make us feel uncomfortable. 
 
We eagerly participate in the rituals but can we can we truly say we have met the Savior?!
 
In short we have forgotten who we are and from whence we came.
 
We need a rude prophet ... Even though we probably would not receive him.
 
God had a plan. 
God has a man. 
God will release his power, glory, and fire
 
Elijah was sensational.
 
Elijah had enthusiasm for God 
 
Elijah knew enough about God to trust him
 
Elijah's faith held in the midst of tremendous opposition
 
 
3. Rebuilding our own broken down altars
 
He repaired the altar of sacrifice when it was broken down.
 
Oh, God's warriors must first be God's worshipers.
Uncle Sam's soldiers must first be Uncle Sam's citizens! Get things cleared away. 
If you want Heaven on your side, the broken-down altars must be rebuilt in your heart.
Give yourself to God. Confess your sins. Stand as a solid phalanx for Christ.
 
There are enough men and women in this church this morning to rewrite the religious and moral history of this God-forsaken, whiskey-soaked city and transform it for Jesus Christ, if you would go out and do God's will, if you would line up absolutely as one man and woman for Jesus. 
But before God will pay any attention to a call for fire, Christians must get right.
It is a great mistake to expect a crop without planting the seed. 
 
It is a great mistake to expect a blessing without first doing your part.
 
Christian, can anything more important command your attention than to give God a chance in your hear? 
 
Perhaps years ago something crept in your life and you have never had a moment of peace since. 
 
How did Israel drift so far away from God?
 
So it seems that we come back around to see how we drift out of love towards God, as well as towards other people. Someone compiled a list of what that drift looks like. 
 
What does a “broken altar” look like? What does a broken relationship look like?
 
1. When my delight in the Lord is no longer as great as my delight in someone else, I have lost my first love.
2. When my soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in God’s Word or in prayer, I have lost my first love.
3. When my thoughts during leisure moments do not reflect upon the Lord, I have lost my first love.
4. When I claim to be “only human” and easily give in to those things I know displease the Lord, I have lost my first love.
5. When I do not willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work or to the needs of others, I have lost my first love.
6. When I cease to treat every Christian brother as I would the Lord, I have lost my first love.
7. When I view the commands of Christ as restrictions to my happiness rather than expressions of His love, I have lost my first love.
8. When I inwardly strive for the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of the Lord, I have lost my first love.
9. When I fail to make Christ or His words known because I fear rejection, I have lost my first love.
10. When I refuse to give up an activity which I know is offending a weaker brother, I have lost my first love.
11. When I become complacent to sinful conditions around me, I have lost my first love.
12. When I am unable to forgive another for offending me, I have lost my first love.
 
Is this you? 
Have you lost what you once had? 
Have your altars been broken down? Towards God or towards other?
 
How do you find that first love again?
 
I want to suggest 2 things: a change of habit and a change of heart.
 
Whatsoever it was has poisoned your joy and has made serving God the hardest job in the world.
 
Perhaps only God and you knew about it. 
Your friends never suspected, yet it has been there blighting and blasting. 
Wherever you go, that secret goes with you. You have cried and sighed to be free.
But you haven't taken the course God pointed out to you. 
You have crucified your conscience.
 
Nothing will give back that peace until you build up that altar in your heart, renew that vow and covenant. Take a clean-cut stand for Jesus. Until you do, you will stay as cold and unresponsive as a stone.
 
Did you quarrel with someone? 
Did hate get a foothold? Did someone wrong you whom you think you can never forgive? Ask God to take the bitterness out, or give you grace to get rid of it. God stands pledged to help; you do not have to do it in your own strength. 
 
No matter what has broken down the altar, build it up. 
Maybe it is the breaking of vows, or neglect of prayer, or neglect of family worship, or failure to get anything worthwhile done for God; maybe it is that you never go to prayer meeting, or that your business practices are crooked, or that you have been a coward about witnessing for Christ.
 
 
If you have one drop of red blood in your veins, then when a man talks about your country or your wife, you will knock him down. Yet you will stand around and let somebody damn and curse God and spew out his maledictions against the church, and never open your mouth in protest!
 
Brother, your altar is broken down! Build it up and see what the Lord will do.
The broken-down altar at Mount Carmel was built up-not in the name of the prophet, not in the name of the scribes, but Elijah built up the broken altar in the name of the Lord. 
 
And the fire of God fell.