Preached at a Sunday Morning service
We need to avoid being "vaccinated" from true, Biblical religion. By this we mean merely giving lip service to God, with no heart-changing trust. Such a vaccination comes from Satan. The Sidonian woman was taking care of Elijah during the three year drought. She was actually living in God's providence. Then, her son died. She was in a progression from Baal worship to deliverance, and God crushed her. She blamed Elijah for her son being punished for her sin. Elijah cried out to the Lord three times. Do we take our cares to the Lord? God answered by raising the child from death. This is similar to the Luke passage, where Jesus heals the centurion's sick servant. Here we encounter the concept of worthiness to approach God. Our worthiness is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ; those who are forgiven are worthy. The widow at Nain fell into despair and emerged with faith. If we rely on our own strength, despair is often the result. When we think we "have it made," pride wells up and we eventually encounter a humbling experience. She needed a personal encounter with God. He brought the man's life back, a picture of the resurrection. Do we contemplate the resurrection only at Easter or at funerals? We share in Christ's resurrection every Lord's day, even every day. Salvation is accompanied by resurrection from our deadness in sin. We respond in worthiness through our spiritual life--walking with Jesus, taking our cares to the Lord, pointing people to Jesus. We must not merely live in mediocrity, just enduring troublesome times. In the resurrection life, we have direct access to God. We don't have to fall into temptation or be influenced by false teaching. In the resurrection is power for living every day.
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1 Kings 17:17–24 (Listen)
17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”
Luke 7:1–17 (Listen)
7:1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.