Lesson 12

Turning Hearts in the End Time

(1 Kings 18, Matthew 17)
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Introduction: This week I saw the story of a couple who, with the passage of time, saw the romance drain out of their marriage. The wife was then diagnosed with a brain aneurism. Knowing they had very limited time left together, the couple rekindled the original excitement of their marriage. It took a tragedy to make the couple focus on what was important. Our study this week is about God focusing our attention on what is important, especially as we consider the time of His Second Coming. Let's dive into our study!

  1. Drought


    1. Read 1 Kings 16:29-32. What kind of King is Ahab?


      1. What are his sins?


    2. Read 1 Kings 17:1. What claims does Elijah make to King Ahab? (That his God is alive and that He controls the rain.)


      1. Why do you think God chose rain to be the point of contention? (Read Deuteronomy 11:16-17. Here and elsewhere in the Bible God links the blessing of rain to fidelity to Him. The Bible Knowledge Commentary tells us Baal was claimed to be the god of rain.)


    3. Give me the big picture here. What is God doing? (He is challenging Baal. He is bringing the attention of the people to the issue of who is the true God? Who is worthy to be worshiped?)


  2. The Contest


    1. Read 1 Kings 18:1. What do you think the land was like after three years of no rain or dew?


      1. If you were Elijah, how would you greet these instructions from God?


    2. Read 1 Kings 18:17-18. Has King Ahab learned his lesson?


      1. I thought the lesson was that the Living God was in charge? Hasn't King Ahab learned that lesson?


    3. Read 1 Kings 18:19-20. What picture do you have in your mind of this event? (They are on a mountain top. The people of Israel have assembled to watch. On one side is Elijah and on the other side are 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah along with King Ahab.)


      1. If you were an outsider and were picking a winner in this contest, which side would you pick?


    4. Read 1 Kings 18:21. What is Elijah asking the people to do? (He is asking them the same question I just asked you: Which side will you choose to win? Which side will prevail?)


      1. Why does Elijah ask this?


        1. Is this our task today? To present the choices to others? To try to get a commitment?


      2. What rousing response did the people give? (They said nothing.)


        1. Is this lack of response good or bad?


        2. Or, is this just typical? Are the people sheep who are ready to be led? (The good news is that they have been paying attention to the issue of the drought enough so that they do not cheer for Baal, even though the king and 850 prophets are on Baal's side. I think it is typical that people want to wait and see.)


    5. Read 1 Kings 18:22-24. We finally get a response from the people. To what do they respond? (They respond to the offer of clear evidence.)


    6. Read 1 Kings 18:25-38. How about this for clear proof?


      1. Notice 1 Kings 18:37. What is Elijah's goal?


    7. Read 1 Kings 18:39. How do the people respond to clear proof? (With a clear decision.)


      1. Don't you wish that God would act like this today?


      2. Review in your mind what we have just studied. What plan of God do we see in this story? (People turn away from God. God creates a dramatic problem for them that creates doubt in the strength of the false god. When God has their attention, He arranges an unbelievable show of power.)


  3. John the Baptist


    1. Read Matthew 17:1-3. What is in the future for our friend Elijah? (He goes to heaven and then gets to come back to earth to see Jesus.)


    2. Read Matthew 17:9-13. How does the work of John the Baptist compare to the work of Elijah? (Read Matthew 3:1-3. They were both working to bring the attention of the people back to God. They were a critical part of bringing the people together to view a great manifestation of the power of God.)


      1. Compare Jesus coming to earth to the fire coming down on Mt. Carmel?


        1. How does it compare in the power department?


        2. How does it compare in the miracle department?


        3. How does it compare in the attention- getting department?


        4. Read 1 Kings 18:38. How does this remind you of Jesus? (Jesus "burned up" the sacrificial system. This entire system pointed to Him and He fulfilled it.)


  1. The End Time


    1. Read Malachi 3:17-18. What time is being written about in these texts?


    2. Read Malachi 4:1-3. The time reference in the prior text was not clear to me. What clarity does this text bring?


      1. Read and compare 2 Peter 3:11-13. (There is no doubt in my mind now that Malachi 4:1-3 is at least talking about the Second Coming of Jesus.)


    3. Read Malachi 4:5-6. We had "Elijah" come in the person of John the Baptist before Jesus first coming. Is it reasonable to expect another "Elijah" before the Second Coming of Jesus? Is this a repeating prophecy? (I think the answer is "yes.")


      1. What is the impact of Elijah on families of faith at the end times? (He will bring families of faith together.)


        1. Why will that be true? (Difficult circumstances can bring us closer.)


    4. We see God repeating a pattern. First it was between Elijah and the fire on Mt. Carmel and then John the Baptist and the power of Jesus. Tell me what you predict will be the first act of the Elijah experience before the Second Coming?


      1. Recall that God went straight for the "power" of Baal? Baal was the god of rain and there was no rain. What is the god of our age? (It is hard for me to speak about other countries, but the god of our age in the United States is money and possessions.)


        1. What does this logically suggest is God's first step to prepare us for the Second Coming? (Strike our wealth.)


          1. If you doubt this, read Revelation 3:17-18 and Revelation 13:16-17. Both texts speak of money being a problem. The second text tells us that the penalty for the faithful will be a loss of the use of money.


    5. After the "attention-getter" (the rain drought/ money drought) what will be the next logical step? (The dramatic display of God's awesome power! In the end time we get the previous two displays repeated. We get Jesus coming for the second time(Revelation 19), and He ultimately sends fire to consume the wicked! (Revelation 20)


    6. Friend, will you give God your attention and your loyalty? The Elijah test is coming. Strengthen your faith, strengthen your family so that you will be prepared!


  2. Next week: We start a new quarter on the topic of the Holy Spirit.

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