The Greatest Of Questions
Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
May 7, 2017
Central Passage
1 Kings 18:21
Attached Document
Open Document

Today I want to pose to you the most important question you will ever have to answer. You may not want to answer it…but it’s a question that you’ll eventually have to answer. You can speak up and answer the question…or you can answer it with your silence.


It’s also important for you know that this church is in danger today and every day…as are all Christian churches. That’s because God’s word and God’s people are under constant attack. Elijah lived in a similar time…which is why…led by the Holy Spirit…I have chosen 1 Kings 18:21 as today’s text. Here it is:


Elijah went before the people, and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing (1 Kings 18:21).


Some pundit once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” If you’re trying to be funny, that’s somewhat humorous. But, if you’re talking about something serious…the statement takes on an altogether different meaning.


Today we’re talking about something serious. We’re talking about this country that God gave to us…and the direction in which each of us…individually…is choosing to take it. And, make no mistake about it…if you’re a Christian you’re going to be forced to make a choice about the direction this country takes.


You see, whether we want to admit it or not…America has come to that fork in the road…and to a time of critical spiritual decision. We (you and I) must choose whether we’re going to take the fork in the road that Christ took…which is the road less traveled…or whether we’re going to follow Baal (Satan) down his road…which is easy because it’s all downhill.


The decisions we make aren’t a laughing matter. I can stand behind the pulpit…be politically correct and offend nobody…or preach the Bible and what Christ taught and offend almost everybody. I’ve chosen the latter.


You see, we must admit that Jesus is the most hated person in all of earth’s history…and if you pledge allegiance to Him…you’re hated, too. And know this…Jesus isn’t just hated in some foreign land by ignorant and stupid people. He’s hated in America, too. And, if you’re a Christian…the more attention you call to God’s word and Jesus…the more hated you’re going to be.


Some churchgoers get bent out of shape when we call attention to specific sins…such as the murder of babies in the womb…homosexuality and the like. That’s because it offends their sensibilities and allegiances to various political alliances.


But a Christian shouldn’t ignore addressing sin because it makes people uncomfortable. One of the best ways to call attention to what the Bible defines as sin is with questions…especially questions that make people think…and that demand an answer based on biblical truth.


Elijah knew that…so he asked the peopleHow long will you waver between two opinions?” In other words, whose side are you on?


That’s the most important question you’ll ever be asked to answer…and there are only two sides…God’s and Satan’s. You may not choose a side today…and you may not choose a side tomorrow…but you will be forced to choose a side before your eternal destination is determined.


So, which side will you choose? Will you choose to be on God’s side…or will you choose Satan and the world? If you’re thinking logically…and eternally…it’s a no-brainer. But choosing God requires more than simply mouthing what you think He wants to hear. It requires a commitment of heart, soul and mind…and that’s a commitment that’s difficult for anyone to give.


You can tell yourself and others that you love God…but until He becomes your Number One priority you’re lying to yourself. Until He becomes more important to you than self, family and stuff…you’re deceiving yourself. Just remember that worship in a church building often becomes more about the worshiper than about the one we’re supposed to be worshipping.


When Elijah posed the choice question in his day…the people remained silent. That’s understandable, because there were political…and sometimes deadly…consequences for speaking up…just as there are today. You see, truth is always the first victim of any government…and keeping people in line is the priority of those who rule. All governments want taxes from their citizens…but don’t want any accountability for how they use those taxes.


For example, true Christians believe in the authenticity of the Bible…which means that they believe that abortion is murder and that…for those who practice it…homosexuality is sexual perversion that leads to hell. Yet true Christians are, in a sense, forced to support…through their taxes…that which God calls sin.


Of course, some people…like those in Elijah’s day…will choose to remain silent…because they don’t want to offend those who rule. But can you be a true Christian and be silent about a political ideology that supports abortion, homosexuality and the like? And, if you do support abortion, homosexuality and the like…how can you justify saying that God and His word are important to you?


Maybe you’re one of those churchgoers who think you can keep your religion and politics separate. In other words, maybe your concept of church/state separation is to allow politicians and judges to determine the country’s morality…and maybe you even prefer that your church be made up of socially acceptable people who don’t make waves. Maybe even a ripple of dissent by other churchgoers is too much for you.


Do you wish that you didn’t have to make a choice between God and Satan…that you could just be left alone to live peacefully in the world? On that score, we’re not given an option. When God asks a question…we must answer.


God called Jonah to go to Nineveh. And it wasn’t one of those “It’s up to you as to whether you want to go or not.” Jonah balked at the calling…but before it was over God made it clear to him that he would be going…and that his only choice was whether it would be by boat or by fish.


So, like it or not…we can’t just make choices on those things in life with which we feel comfortable. We don’t live in a vacuum. We live in a world of cause and effect…where the actions of a single person can dramatically affect the lives of millions of people. That’s why what you think…and what you do…is important.


You may not consider what you think and do all that important…but I’m here to tell you that your relationship with Jesus Christ…and how you represent Him in the world…affects millions of people. That’s right, millions…because of the ripple effect of your actions.


How we react to evil in the world…or don’t react…affects millions of people. We’re contagious. We either spread the love of Christ and His word…or we accept and spread the deceit and lies of Satan and his minions.


One of the most damning descriptions of God’s people in the entire Bible is found in today’s text: But the people said nothing.” Unfortunately, too many people who say they’re Christian say nothing about the sins that are inundating the world. But you can’t remain neutral in your relationship with God. When you allow evil to gain momentum…it gobbles up everything in its path. We’re called to stop evil in its tracks…to not allow it to accelerate and move forward.


If you remain silent…do nothing and say nothing…you’re surrendering to Satan’s will…not to God’s will.


Our forefathers founded the United States of America on Christian principles. And, yes, on freedom of religion. Their intention was not to force us to worship Almighty God, but to ensure that government not keep us from honoring Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives.


Satan’s disciples…many of whom now occupy the highest echelons of our government…are attempting to destroy every vestige of decency and Christianity in this country. They are much more eager to poison the world with their master’s venom than alleged Christians are eager to offer the antidote to that poison…which is the shed blood of Jesus Christ.


There are more prophets of Baal or Satan in our government than Elijah faced on Mount Carmel. That’s because we’ve been silent and allowed them to infiltrate even churches with their lies…and we’ve been even more content to simply let Christ’s Great Commission remain dormant. Churchgoers have been content to let somebody else take God’s word to the multitudes. So, because of the let someone else do it attitude…it isn’t getting done.


Satan’s helpers…on the other hand…have been much more active in converting people to his way of thinking. Elijah was up against the same sort of attitude that we’re experiencing in our churches. He was only prophet of the Lord left in Israel. The land was experiencing physical and spiritual drought. The very people God had blessed…and had kept on blessing…had forsaken His commandments in favor of the teachings of Baal (Satan).


Does that sound familiar? America is the most blessed land in the world…and we’re the most blessed people…and we continue to take God for granted. It’s high time Christians confronted the evil that encompasses this world.


Elijah confronted his situation…and we need to confront ours. He faced up to 850 false prophets…and he defeated them because he had faith. He not only listened to God…he believed God.


When the Holy Spirit speaks to us…we don’t need to worry about the odds against us. God often gives us the opportunity to show what we’re made of. That’s what Elijah saw…opportunity…an opportunity to show doubters once and for all that the Lord God reigns.


There’s a saying her in Texas about one riot…one ranger. That was borrowed from the Bible…because God has often sent just one person to take care of a problem. One Christian…plus God…is a majority. And, if you’re that one person…don’t try to pass that God-given responsibility off to someone else. Changing the world for Christ is your assignment. And, you can do it because faith in God is your weapon…and God is able.


In 1 Kings 18:30, we read these important words about Elijah: “And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.”


The altar was broken down from lack of use. The people…including their priests…had been too busy chasing after goofy leaders and goofy gods to keep the altar repaired.


Every Christian has a spiritual altar to the Lord within his or her heart, mind and soul. And…each Christian determines the condition of that altar…whether it’s in good condition from use…or whether it’s in disrepair from lack of use.


If you’re waiting on the government to repair your altar…you’ve got a long wait coming. No stimulus funds are available for repairing altars to God. And, if you’re waiting on government to do the job that God gave you to do…you’ve got a long wait coming.


Today’s government isn’t any more interested in God than it was in Elijah’s day…and today’s politicians and bureaucrats aren’t any more interested in serving God than Ahab and Jezebel were in Elijah’s day.


We all need a good dose of fire from heaven. Getting through life as easily and comfortably as possible isn’t what Christianity is all about. Jesus never promised comfort for his followers. If your Christianity is easy and comfortable…there’s something wrong with it. That’s not what Jesus promised.


Some people try to rewrite the Bible…and others just delete the portions that don’t fit their political and societal views. Some alleged theologians and churches have already eliminated the writings of Paul from the Bible because they conflict with today’s culture. Is that the direction we’re headed…eliminating from the Bible all of God’s words that we don’t like?


Unfortunately, it’s just a direction we’re taking…we’re already there. So, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”


I can talk until I’m blue in the face…but I can’t convict you of the sin of silence. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Only the Holy Spirit can set your tongue on fire for Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can make you the witness that God called you to be.


If you’re really a Christian…be one. And, if you’re not a Christian…become one. Quit straddling the fence. When at Pentecost the Holy Spirit called on the people in the Upper Room to become witnesses for Christ…they became the noisiest group of folks in Jerusalem.


It’s time for Christians to make some noise.

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