Earlier this week I woke to a chirping sound. Two quick chirps then silent for 30-45 seconds. It was the unmistakable sound of a battery running low, a smoke alarm perhaps, or the refrigerator door open, or some other electronic. I could not get back to sleep with the intermittent chirp chirp. I got up. Stood in the hallway till I hear it again. Chirp Chirp. Then the kitchen. Listen for 45 seconds. Then a spare bedroom. Then the garage. Then back to the kitchen. on and on it went. I gave up, went to the office to work, and an hour later when Sally got up she found it (it was the phone on the coffee table). There is a lot of chirping in our world, a lot of noise, can’t locate it, listen, wait, frustration, give up, try again, return to where you know it’s not.
Are we in the last days? ABSOLUTELY. There is chirping, unrest, abuses of all kinds, disrespect, pointing fingers at one another. But no matter what happens, God is on the throne. And in the end he is coming to redeem the world for Himself. How do we unite as one people? We look to the future with optimism and hope, knowing God is coming to cleanse this earth. His righteousness, His judgment, His love will pour out through His Spirit. The example of Elijah is a last day message of repentance, transformation and a future hope of the coming glory of Jesus Christ.
God told us in Malachi, before that great and awful day comes when Jesus will return, Elijah would come again. The people looked for Elijah. For 400 years they looked. At last, John the Baptist burst onto the scene. He looked and acted and sounded a lot like Elijah. John came to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. He looked, acted and sounded so much like Elijah, people wondered if John was Elijah. Matt 17:10-13: The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished…. Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Luke 1:17 describes John the Baptist this way: And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Elijah has come, the Spirit and the power of Elijah.
We are in the final days…I am no prophet, so I cannot say this or that is the sign. Maybe it is the latest political scandal. Is that terrorist attack the prelude to the end? Is the threat of nuclear armament by an untrustworthy nation the final disaster? Maybe it is the destruction of the family. (In both Malachi and Luke the final days will be marked by reconciliation in families…) I don’t know when the end is coming, but there is a lot of chirping. In the Spirit and Power of Elijah/John, we are called to a last day ministry. It’s a ministry of repentance, transformation, and a living Hope in Jesus Christ.
We are in the last days. God has not promised another Elijah or John. As we near the end there will be an army of soldiers marching in the Spirit and Power of Elijah: Luke 1:17. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
An army of soldiers is being raised for the last days ministry. James called Elijah, “A man just like us.” What God did through Elijah and John is the same calling he wants for us. There are Many parallels between Elijah and John (i.e. what does a last day minister look like?)
Appearance and lifestyle: Both had a simple diet and lifestyle, Elijah was from the mountains, John from the desert. Elijah was content with only a slice of bread from a widow” (1 Kings 17:11). He was fed by ravens. In 2 Kings 1:8 he dressed in a simple fashion similar to the way John is later describe: “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.” Mark 1:6 describes John: John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.. I hope we aren’t called to eat bugs, but I will say this: we are called to live simply and focus on that which is most important. A person living a simple uncomplicated drama free life is more likely to hear from God and be used by God in a life of sacrificial service. Like Elijah and John, live simple.
Both men boldly confronted kings and authority. Elijah told Ahab, “I have not made trouble for Israel, But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. (1 Kings 18:18). John told the king at his time: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mark 6:18).
Jesus said there would be a boldness in the last days. Mark 13:9: You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. We must not seek to find approval among men but rather God. In order to effect a great revival, the Elijah message must be a bold proclamation of clear, uncompromising, and sometimes unpopular truth.
Elijah and John were humble: “…Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. (1 Ki 18:42). John: But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. (Matt 3:11). Before Jesus comes again, the people of God will learn to reflect the meek and humble character of Jesus in an age of arrogance and pride.
Both men preached a baptism of repentance. “Elijah said, the Lord has sent me to Jordan” (2 Kings 2:6). John: “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Matt 3:5-6).
the Jordan is a symbol of repentance and baptism. just as we enter the waters of baptism to cross from our sinful lives to new lives in Jesus. The great commission of Jesus to the church will have its finest hour in the future when once again modern Elijahs will baptize converts to Christ in a great revival. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19)
Elijah and John believed in discipling others: “So Elijah went from there and found Elisha... Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. (1 Kings 19:19). John: “John’s disciples told him about all these things” (Luke 7:18).
A last days ministry will be characterized by making disciples. This must be a part of our calling…..the last great movement of God will be led by ordinary people that are filled with the spirit willing to be used of God. The Elijah message must give attention to training, discipling, and mobilizing every member of God’s church.
Both endured persecution. Persecution is happening today, and to fully serve God we must each ask if we are willing to die for Christ. Jezebel threatened to kill in 1 Kings 19:2. John was very unpopular with Herod’s wife: “She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.” (Mark 6:24). The persecution experienced by Elijah and John is always possible today from minor to major.
The Elijah message will point people to Christ. “Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. (1 Kings 18:36). The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). The burning desire of modern Elijahs will be to turn people to Jesus that they might know Him and have everlasting life.
Their messages sparked revival and reformation. Elijah: When all the people saw [the fire burn up the altar], they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:39) “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Mark 1:4, 5).
In the days of Elijah and John the Baptist, God’s people had been corrupted by the ungodly society around them and had compromised God’s truth (1 Kings 19:14; Matt 3:1, 2). These two brave prophets delivered a message that sparked revival and reform among God’s people. Revival always refers to a transformation within. Today much of Christianity seems lukewarm and worldly. Revival must start at home!
The message of Elijah is the same message in our day. We are that much closer to “that great and dreadful day of the Lord.” There is a lot of chirping going on. So much restlessness and uncertainty. God is not going to tap a single man on the shoulder to summon him to speak for God. We are living in the last days in which God is assembling his people to be prepared for the Lord. An army of last-day Elijahs to do a great work of revival!
Jesus invites all of us to join the cause of Christ. A simple life, characterized by boldness yet humility, preaching a message of repentance and death to self, making disciples, willing to endure persecution as we steadfastly point to Christ. If God so wills it, we will see revival of men, women, young people, children give their heart to the Lord making a commitment to live for Him. As Elijah was used in power to glorify God, so he can use all who turn to Him in faith, dedicating themselves to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.