Keep Your Mind Focused On The Warfare

May 26, 2002 AM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn in your Bibles with me to the book of First Kings chapter nineteen. First Kings chapter nineteen. And when you reach the book of First Kings chapter nineteen, please signify by saying amen. Praise the Lord. In First Kings chapter nineteen, beginning with verse one, it said,

1. And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.

3. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

4. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

5. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

6. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

7. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

8. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

9. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10. And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for who You are and for what You do. Father, hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. Father, as I decrease I ask that You would increase. And Lord God, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name.

And the people of God said amen.

Elijah operated in faith, prayer, and obedience to the voice of the Lord. He had a willingness to put his life on the line to prove that Jehovah was truly his God. He stood alone in First Kings chapter eighteen, and challenged eight hundred and fifty prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel to see who’s God was really God.

Then he challenged the children of Israel to serve God or to serve Baal. He then exposed the false prophets. Prayed and broke the three-year drought. And out ran Ahab’s chariot.

Though he did all of these things, his mind still was not focused. He ran into a cave because he was afraid of what

Jezebel told him.

You see, many of us get into a place. And we need to hear this today. We get into a place where we do powerful and wonderful things for God. But our mind gets off focus because something has come to threaten us.

You see, it’s all a part of the work of a Kingdom. You will be threatened. You will be persecuted. But I got to stand still and be able to see the salvation of my God.

He went and hid himself in a cave. And when we look at what a cave is, it’s a hollow in the side of a hill. And when we look at what that word “hollow” means, it means a place (glory to God) that’s empty, a place that’s false, a place (glory to God) that will keep you separated from everything else. His mentality became hollow.

You see, if you go into hiding your mentality will become empty. It will become false. My way of thinking will become a way (glory to God) that’s contrary to the ways of God.

He got into a place where he was afraid. You see, I can’t be afraid of people. You see, I can’t even be afraid of spirits. You see, the Bible says that Jesus’ words are Spirit and they are life. And when I begin to speak God’s Word, I begin to speak life into every area that I need to speak life into.

You see, even though he did all these great things for the Lord, he did not focus his mind that God that took care of him before was going to take care of him now.

Where are you in your Christian walk? You see, you were at the top of the mountain. But all of a sudden you find yourself hiding in a cave. You thought you on top of Mount Zion. But now you’re hiding (glory to God) inside of Mount Zion, when you should still be on top of Mount Zion, lifting up holy hands and praising Almighty God.

He lost his focus. You see, there are things that come our way that begin to distract us. You see, once I become distracted... Hello, somebody. Once I become distracted, I lose my focus. And when I lose my focus, I begin to get out of the plan and the purpose of God for my life.

When we look at him, he had great anointing. The move of God was in his life. But he had a personality problem. He began to get an attitude problem. He began to get a “woe is me” problem. He said, “I’m the only one left.”

You ain’t never been there. You’ve never been in a place where you thought you were the only one doing the things of God and doing it the way God wanted you to do it.

But God had to speak to Elijah. He said, “Wait a minute, buddy.” He said, “I got seven thousand just like you that have not even bowed their knee to Baal.”

It’s time for you to wake up. Just because the devil is on your track doesn’t mean it’s time for the thing to be over. God spoke to him and told him, “Elijah, what are you doing in this cave? I have not called you to the cave. I’ve called you to the top of the mountain. Why are you not in place?”

Too many times God will get us in place. And in the midst of Him putting us in place, we’ll get out of place, because of our atmosphere and what’s going on around us. You see, you and I can allow our atmosphere to get us off focus. You see, there’s going to be warfare in your atmosphere.

But what are you going to do in the midst of the warfare in your atmosphere? It’s not time to run and hide. It’s time to show yourself. Because once you show yourself, God is going to show Himself. And He’s going to show Himself mighty on your behalf.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise in this house today.

He said, “Elijah.” He said, “Your attitude has changed. You were once a prophet of God that was able to slay and call down fire from heaven against the false prophets. And you got one person after you. And you ready to close up shop.”

When we look at that cave, a cave symbolizes death.

When we look over in the book of John chapter eleven, there was a man named Lazarus. And they called for Jesus to come, because Lazarus was his friend. And Lazarus was sick. But Jesus waited until Lazarus died. By the time Jesus got there, they had already bound him up and put him in the cave.

You see, the cave symbolizes a place of death. You see, if you stay there long enough, just like his sister said, you going to begin to stink.

Once Jesus got there, the Bible said that Jesus wept. And the Bible said that there were groanings that were on the inside of Him. He was beginning to make intercession. Because He wanted to call that dead thing back to life. He said, “Lazarus, come forth.”

When Lazarus came forth, he was all bound up in grave clothes. But then He spoke to them and said, “Loose him and let him go.

That’s what the Lord is saying to the devil that’s attacking your mind today. Loose you and let you go. It’s time to come out of that cave. And it’s time to get back on top of the mountain.

When we look at the cave, it’s a place of burial, a place where you lay the dead to rest. He was telling Elijah, “It ain’t over yet. This ministry that I’ve called you to is not finished. I still got work for you to do. But you got to come back to yourself and realize that it’s not you but it’s Me.”

You see, what happened to Elijah was, he got into a place of self. You see, when I begin to get into a place of self, it’s all about me. It’s not about what I’m doing for God, but it’s about me.

He began to get in a pity party, didn’t he? Oh, you ain’t never been there. He began to cry. And he began to say, you know, “Lord, You know, I am very jealous for You.” He was allowing self to rule him.

You see, when I begin to allow self to rule me, I’ve stepped out of the will of God. I’ve taken Jesus off of the throne. And I’ve stepped into a place where I’ve said, “Well, God ain’t going to come through for me, so I’m going to have to come through for myself.” Who am I preaching to today? Self will get us in trouble. Self will get us off track. And self will take us off course.

God was telling Elijah, He said, “It’s not time for the pity party. It’s time for you to make adjustments.” You see, when I learn how to make adjustments, then I’m able to adapt to any situation that may come my way. But if I’m a rigid person, when change begins to come my way, then (glory to God) I’m not going to be able to accept change.

We’ve got to get to a place where we can make adjustments without compromise. You see, just because you make an adjustment does not mean that you’re compromising your message about Christ in your life. Because we’re living in a new generation. We’re living in a generation (glory to God) that does not look for Jesus. So we’ve got to learn how to make adjustments.

He was telling Elijah, “You need to learn how to make adjustments.” And when we look at who we have as the Adjuster, the Holy Spirit is our Adjuster. Why? Because He will begin to adjust our attitude, our motives, our ambitions.

He was telling Elijah. He said, “You got warfare. But adjust yourself to the warfare.”

He wished that he would die. But God didn’t answer his prayer for death the way that he had hoped. He just turned the fire up a little bit more.

You see, when you get into a hard place and I get into a hard place, we want God to turn the fire down. But that’s when God going to turn the fire up. Because He’s going to burn that dross out of us. He wants us to come forth as pure gold.

We look at the ministry. It will take us to extreme situations. It will take us to success. And it’ll take us to failure. It’ll take us to acceptance. And it’ll take us to rejection. It’ll take us to vindication. It’ll take us to humiliation. It’ll take us to life, and it’ll take us to death.

I don’t know anybody that has worked in God’s ministry that has not received a kind of disappointment and discouragement. But how am I going to handle those times, is the question.

Sometimes we as Christians get disappointed. We cannot allow it to turn into resentment. Because if we allow it to turn into resentment, we will become of a bitter and critical spirit.

Have you ever seen somebody that is resentful? Their spirit is always critical about everything. Oh, hello, somebody. They’re bitter about everything. Nothing seems to work out for them.

When I take on a critical spirit, then I begin to miss out on the blessings of God. When I begin to be critical of my brothers and sisters, I miss out on the blessing that God has for my life.

We have got to get to a place that though disappointment and discouragement comes our way that we will not be resentful. You see, when I become resentful, not only do I become critical. But I come to a place where I want revenge. I must be preaching to myself in this church today. (Tongues.) I come to a place where I say, “I’m going to get you back.” You ain’t never been there. But, “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord. He said, “I will repay.”

I cannot be critical and resentful. Because I will become a person that seeks out revenge.

I’ve seen how we can cut our brothers and sisters, as they say, on the slide. We can pretend like we’re trying to say something in a normal conversation. But really we’re trying to cut them on the slide. But see, God sees all and knows all. And He knows the very intent of our hearts.

See, if Elijah had stayed in that place, even though he was doing the work of the Lord, he would have been traveling with the spirit of error. He would have been a law unto himself.

You see, when I become critical of everyone else, I come to a place of delusion, that everything that I say and do is right, but everything everybody else says or does is wrong. In other words, I’m my own law. And if you don’t abide by my law, then you’re wrong.

God is calling us to come forth from our own ways. Have you ever heard people say, “I’m just... This is just how I am”? If how you are ain’t right, you need to change “how I am.”

All of this caused Elijah to say in verse ten,

10. And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left...

He felt unappreciated. See, when a person begins to feel unappreciated, they’ll stop doing what they’re doing. See, but we as Christians have got to realize that our reward is in heaven and not in the earth. Hello, somebody. See, I can’t look for man to pat me on the back. I got my reward in heaven. And only what I do for Christ is going to last.

He lost his focus. He said, “I’m the only one left.” He was opening himself up to the spirit of error. And therefore he would have started to have all kinds of spiritual problems. He would have had what we call an exclusive spirit. It’s all about me.

Lift your hands to Jesus today. The Lord is speaking this word for a reason. Because it’s time for us to come out of the cave. The cave is a place of death. You will die there unless you come out of that mentality of “woe is me.”

You see, when I take on an exclusive spirit, I take on the spirit of a cult. Listen. Listen. I become cultic in my walk. I become cultic in my talk.

When you look at cults, what they do is, they isolate themselves. And they believe that they’re the only ones that are going to heaven. You all need to help me today.

You see, a church can become cultic when it begins to separate itself from the rest of the body of Christ. Because they believe they’re the only ones that are saved.

When we look at different religions like even Jehovah Witnesses, they’re a cult, because they believe that they’re the only ones that are going to heaven.

When I have that mentality, an exclusive mentality, I become cultic in my operations. I become an instrument of Satan, even to sow discord among the brethren. My feet become quick and swift to mischief, to shed innocent blood. Because I’m seeking my revenge on whatever has hurt me.

He said, “I got seven thousand that are serving Me.” In other words, “I’ve got other folk that can do what you doing.”

See, a lot of times we get to a place where we are possessive of what we do. Now this is a hard thing, but receive it. And we think that things can’t go on because we’re not in the picture. Hello, somebody. But He said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name...”

See, that’s a cultic spirit that tries to enter into the body. It’s time to shake off these pity parties. It’s time to get our mind right.

God told Elijah in verse thirteen... Look at verse nine first. It said,

9. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

What doest thou here?

Then in verse eleven He said,

11. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12. And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

God said it again. He was saying, “I have called you to a great work. And why have you come down from that place?” God is speaking to somebody today.

See, a lot of us get into that he say, she say mess. They say. They done. He did. She did. We’ve got to come out of that. It’ll cause us to get off course and out of God’s will.

God came looking for him. Because He wasn’t finished with him yet. He came looking. He said, “Why are you down here, when you should be up there?”

Then Elijah obeyed Him. And when he did, God gave him a great commission. When I’m obedient to God, that’s when I’ll get a great commission. That’s when I’ll get into a place where God has called me to do the greater works.

See, if I can’t clean the bathroom here, I can’t preach in Africa. Hello, somebody. If I can’t do the little things here, how am I going to do them in the uttermost parts of the world?

See, when you’re called to the uttermost parts of the world, you’re not just called to be on stage and look pretty. But you’re called to do the work. And if you going to really do the work, you got to roll up your sleeves. And you going to get dirty every now and then. But if I can’t learn how to get dirty here, how am I going to get dirty over there?

He called him to a great commission. If you and I want God to give us a great commission, we’ve got to come out of that cave. Get on the mountain. Because there’s a word from the Lord.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise today.

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