This is part 1 of the Saturday Sermons series.
Main Point: I follow the transitions of Elijah. His faith was always required to expand in order to experience the next level of God. Faith is not static. Nor is a growing church. Ultimately Elijah dares to believe for resurrection. Something he had never even heard of happening before. There was no precedent to follow. Once again, it required Elijah to stretch. It’s a challenge to believers to break down the barriers around their faith and go for it.
STRETCHING FOR THE SUPERNATURAL. Text: I Kings 17:17-22
I Kings 17:17-22 – and it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house fell sick, and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 18 and she said unto Elijah, what have I to do with thee, o thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 and he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft where he abode and laid him upon his own bed. 20 and he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn by slaying her son? 21 and he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, Let this childs soul come into him again. 22 and the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
A. ELIJAH-JUST LIKE US.
James 5:17 –Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are -KJV
2. NIV …just like us..
3. Living …as completely human as we are.
4. Remember that the bible was written for us, but not to us. This was addressed to a specific people with some specific problems
5. James had just written to saints, talking about their need to work on their faith.
6. Notice the biblical analysis of their faith paralysis.
James 1:6 – but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7. This speaks of circumstances that dictate our faith. Up one moment not the next.
8. Faith doesn’t deny the facts: it’s belief in spite of the facts.
James 2:17 – even so faith if it hath not works is dead being alone.
James 3:4 – behold also the ships, which though they be great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, withersoever the governor listeth.
9. You get what and go where you speak.
James 4:2 …yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
10. Then He says Elijah is like us, His faith wavered too.
11. And yet look at what God did through an imperfect vessel.
B. PRAYER OF FAITH.
1. Notice he was of Gilead. Desert. Where God always does His training.
2. Contradiction? For James says he earnestly prayed. But I Kings 17 doesn’t record a deep prayer but rather a man speaking with authority.
3. Connection not Contradiction. There is a relationship between earnestly praying for hours and then speaking with authority for seconds.
4. The longer the time in His presence, the more power in public.
5. Jesus prayed for hours on the mountain and then ministered in seconds to the lame, halt, blind. Hours of prayer = instant ministry.
Notice: I Kings 17:1 …as the Lord God liveth before whom I stand.
6. God usually wants you to act and then He’ll act. You move and then He moves.
C. MOVE WITH GOD.
I Kings 17:3 – get thee hence, and turn thee…
2. You must be willing to move when God moves, you stay at your latest stage you won’t get the provision of God.
3. You cannot do what you have always done and expect new results.
4. To get to the next level of Supernatural Elijah had to grow in God.
5. Get thee hence…turn… Sometimes we have to turn from what we have always done. Paradigms and Parameters must be flexible.
6. God never told Elijah what the 2nd step was until he took the 1st step.
D. HIDE THYSELF.
I Kings 17:3 – Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
2. Hide thyself = absent yourself.
3. Everything to follow is contingent upon this 1 thing. Lose yourself Elijah.
4. As long as there is too much of me I will never operate in the supernatural like God wants me to. Lose your pride, ambition.
5. Why? God is fixing to move Elijah in His process and if flesh tries to figure it all out He will never grow.
6. Lose yourself Elijah. History must go, pride must go, tradition must go.
7. Cherith a tributary of a bigger river. That’s what you are Elijah… just one creek feeding the main and bigger purpose.
8. Elijah must lose himself because of what is happening next. Otherwise he would question his way out of a miracle. Don’t let the mystery keep you from your manifestation.
9. Ravens are fixing to feed you.
10. Leviticus 11:15 ravens declared unclean..
11. This is contrary to Everything He has known till now.
12. It won’t always be the saints that provide for the Church.
13. Nehemiahs project was funded by sinners money.
Proverbs 13:22 – and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
14. Can you believe for that kind of a move of God? You will only experience this type of demonstration if you get out of the way.
E. BROOK AND BIRDS.
1. Combination of natural and Spiritual.
2. God will move us into the supernatural slowly, a brook was something Elijah could believe in, ravens were totally God’s operation.
3. Natural is something you are used to like church services. Comfortable with that. Ravens are something you have to rely totally on God for. Like laying hands on the lame in line at Starbucks. Or giving a word to the man in the other cubicle.
4. Notice: God feeds him bread and meat. Nothing sweet. But Jesus only ever fed fish and loaves. Nothing fancy but its sure healthy.Preacher give me sustenance not sweets and sugary words.
5. Bible doesn’t say that the ravens quit coming but that the brook dried up.
6. Cherith dried up. God seeing if Elijahs faith was in the brook or God.
Watchman Nee – ‘because of our proneness to look at the bucket and forget the fountain, God has frequently to change his means of supply to keep our eyes fixed on the source.’
8. That brook drying up was the answer to Elijahs’ own prayer (If there is no rain there will be no water in the brook).
9. Have you ever prayed your way into a mess?
10. God use me more: you may be drying up an old resource with that prayer, So that God can move you deeper in Him.
11. Weaning you off of the natural support, little by little the brook dried up.
12. When things begin to dry up start looking for the next – there.
F. WIDOW WOMAN TO SUSTAIN YOU.
I Kings 17:9 – arise…
1. Notice He says arise from the brook. Elijah let circumstances dictate his posture.
2. The lower the brook became, Elijah’s position shifted lower too.
3. For the next move of God we have to have the right spiritual posture.
I Kings 17:9 – get thee to Zarephath which belongeth to Zidon and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
1. God works on both ends. While He was telling Elijah to move, He was speaking to the woman in his destiny.
2. Don’t think it’s an accident when conversation comes around to the things of God.
G. GIVE AND LIVE. EAT AND DIE.
I Kings 17:10 – fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. I Kings 17:11 – and as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread…
3. Note: she didn’t get the second word until she was obeying the first.
4. As long as he asked for the common she was fine. When he asked for the precious she questioned.
5. God will always ask for the precious.
6. She was the one that was in need of the blessing. God didn’t need her to provide for Elijah. He needed her to give so He could bless her.
7. You aren’t giving for the man of God. You are giving so the blessing can come upon your head.
8. You give to God first. It puts the blessing upon the rest.
9. You will be around when the rain comes.
10. The result: Something that doesn’t even make sense. It doesn’t figure in the mind or on paper but it’s a God thing.
11. You may not know how you have the money to pay the bills. It doesn’t work out on paper but somehow…
12. Elijah is here getting used to the daily provision of God. Faith every day that when I pour the vile – the oil is coming.
13. No sure source like the brook this time, all reliance on the supernatural presence of God.
14. It’s still just enough to get by. Not abundance.
II. SCRIPTURE SETTING:
A. THE 1ST RESURRECTION IN BIBLE.
1. Up to this pt. in Elijah’s life the miracles had been laid out for him. Mapped out. God said this and that are going to happen.
2. But this time, Elijah is marching off the mapped out situations, and making it happen.
3. Notice: something bad happens and the immediate reaction is to think I must be living wrong.
I Kings 17:18 – what have I to do with thee, o thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
5. Up to this pt. Elijah was involved in God sustaining life (wilderness). Just enuf, day to day. But now He was fixing to impart life (promise land).
B. WHATS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.
1. The challenge to Elijah was do what has never been done before. You are the first. The map maker, the ground breaker.
2. Is that this Church? Doing what has never been done before?
3. Can you believe for epoch revival? Will you attempt it?
C. THE UPPER ROOM.
1. Pentecost will return to the church when we return to Pentecost.
2. Go to the highest level of your spiritual life.
3. This is the place Elijah had been abiding in for years.
4. The upper room reminds me of Acts 2.
D. STRETCHED HIMSELF 3 TIMES.
1. After the 1st prayer its not recorded that anything happened, or that God even responded.
2. Then Elijah remembers his Journey of faith, I have to go beyond the last level to get the next.
3. I have to stretch.
I Kings 17:21 – and he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this Childs soul come into him again.I Kings 17:22 – and the Lord heard the voice of Elijah and the soul of the Child came into him again, and he revived.
5. Webster Dictionary: stretch – to extend fully, to extend forcibly beyond proper limits.
6. To get the next level we must stretch ourselves: prayer, fasting, faith, giving.
Luke 6:6-12 –Right hand withered. Stretch forth thy hand, then the power came.
7. Right hand is of course the power hand.
8. Note: God never said which hand to stretch forth. He leaves that up to the man. You going to play it safe and show your good hand? Or accept the challenge and stretch forth something you could never fix without supernatural intervention.
9. Aaron and Moses had to stretch forth the rod and then Supernatural would follow. Stretching brought the rod from support to supernatural.
10. For every plague to be dealt with the power and authority in their hands had to be stretched. Quit living in the comfortable limits of normal power and dare to stretch beyond.
11. Jesus was a healer until He stretched His arms out on the cross: then He became a Savior.
12. Isaiah 54:2; 2 Kings 4:34; David stretch a sling.
1. After Elijah stretched – the child revived.
2. Revival and resurrection are just beyond where you usually stop in prayer and faith.
3. Return to the upper room power – experience day of Pentecost results.