Praise YHWH this morning; He is most worthy of all our praise, Amen! I am so excited to be going to the House of Grace orphanage after the service and praise YHWH for the opportunity for us as a family to go and show the love of Messiah Yeshua to these children. This morning I want to talk to you about passionately living for YHWH. In Bible School this week we learnt some great faith lessons on the passion of Elijah – a man who, to the Jewish mind, was a prototype of a rabbi with passion, one who gave his all, one who gave everything he had and with this in mind it is so easy then to understand why some in Yeshua's day thought He was Elijah, for Yeshua certainly displayed for us true passion for the Father and His will, becoming completely submitted and surrendered even unto death – the kind of passion that forsakes all for YHWH of Hosts. When we consider this kind of devotion and dedication it is I feel safe to say that we don’t see enough of this kind of surrendered life being lived out today in the lives of many Believers – those who claim to follow our Saviour Yeshua Messiah. This morning I want to look at an event within an event that took place when YHWH’s people, Israel, had certainly forsaken their passionate devotion to YHWH, and had fallen away to idol worship and wanted the best of both. I am talking about the showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah and the Baal prophets where Elijah called the Israelites to choose that day who they would serve and no longer waver. During this event Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord, and it is this specific act that I want to talk to you about, with my message today called, “Repairing the Altar of the Lord”. So please turn with me to
1 Kings 18:30-32 and let’s read.
Short but yet so powerful, amen!
There is much we can learn form this passage today in coming back to total and devotion and passionate love for YHWH
As we look around today and see the things people do, doesn’t it just make you sick? How about some of the stuff you do, is it any better? Many today and perhaps even at times we too have replaced our altar of worship unto YHWH with the worship of anything and everything imaginable – be it career, sport, movies, music, fashion. Even the environment is worshipped by many more than YHWH is worshipped! Today I am talking about repairing broken altars, that we may restore true and pure worship, and what that means to each of us individually and corporately. If you could categorise most people that go to church today, you could basically identify 3 types of people who actually attend the average church service, let’s briefly look at these 3 categories and then look at altars.
3 types of people attending church today:
1 – CHILLED – The chilled category – these are the ones who see a church service as a cold, sterile ritual – in other words they just go through the motions. They come to church but nothing really happens for them – they simply just come and go whenever they feel like it to complete a ‘duty’ in their eyes, go through the seemingly ritual motions and then leave, not even sure why they are really doing all of this – but just do it because you are ‘supposed to’. They often leave a service or gathering of YHWH’s people and wonder why they are still empty – they are ‘chilled’ – for that is the response some get when coming to worship and fellowship in YHWH’s presence with YHWH’s people. Their worship to YHWH in the week is very scarce or non existent – why would it be – they have fulfilled their duty now they can get on with their empty lives.
2 – THRILLED – The thrilled category – these are the ones who see the service as a ‘great show’ – very entertaining – and they leave thinking, “Wow, that was really great!” And that is where it stops, sadly! The ‘thrilled’ category are simply coming for the great show, and will often be those who hop form church to church just seeking the ‘thrill’, seeking the performance and show being able to walk out and say, “That was an incredible experience.” Perhaps because the pastor was very funny and the music matched their taste – I mean, “If the music doesn’t meet my requirements then I am out of here – got to go where it rocks!” The thrill is where it stays – they do not carry that satisfaction into their daily life and their witness is ineffective as it merely carries with it the wow of the thrill or the event, rather than the love of a Saviour. And sadly many Christians today fall in to this category. They get hyped but it doesn’t progress into disciple making and witnessing of Messiah for they have not died to their need for a thrill!
3 – FILLED – The ‘chilled’, the ‘thrilled’ and now the ‘filled’, our third category. This category speaks of those who are changed through the service. Every time they come into YHWH’s presence they are changed, continually being sanctified. The very Word and presence of YHWH changes them and they worship YHWH daily, and then coming together for church becomes a time of truly celebrating what YHWH is doing in theirs and others lives. They can daily experience the filling of the Love of YHWH as they fellowship with YHWH through intimate worship and yielded devotion to His Word and Will. This is the kind of church we long to be, amen! People who are continually filled with the full measure of the love of Messiah Yeshua able to continually declare His praises, walking in His love and loving others unconditionally and serving YHWH and His kingdom with their all, amen! We want to be an ecclesia that is filled with the ‘filled’, amen!! Filled with YHWH’s awesome power, experiencing His ‘shekinah’ glory, His very manifest presence in our midst! My prayer is that as we come together each week and every time we meet, be it cell, Bible school, prayer or outreaches, that by His grace and through the power of His Word we may be filled and equipped to run with great zeal and passion for Him, amen! When we come here to meet together for Sabbath, I so desire that each of you come and ‘run’ if you will (figure of speech – don’t run and knock each other over!), but in the spirit ‘run’ straight into YHWH’s arms. Is your heart open this morning to be filled in His presence with His love?
I must tell you that some weeks this experience of His filling presence may cause you to encounter His glorious peace that you never thought would be possible because of the battles you have been facing. Other weeks His presence may almost bother you and challenge you – and that is good. Yeshua is the Word and we know that the Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness! Our heart is that every time we come together we will all encounter YHWH and be filled, amen!
So there you have the ‘chilled’, the ‘thrilled’ and the ‘filled’. Which category do you fit in, you may not even know, but YHWH knows and He wants us all to be filled in Him, amen!
Let us look at that filling, that anointing and how we may walk and experience that very filling presence daily:
Our Scripture today spoke about Elijah repairing the altar of the Lord. Well as you know, Elijah means “Yahweh is my God” and so the starting place for us all is to accept and declare Messiah Yeshua as YHWH and Saviour. Elijah repaired the altar – the altar was in ruins – what does that mean? Well in Chapter 19 Elijah tells YHWH that the people had rejected His covenant and broken down YHWH’s altars. The people didn’t want the altar of YHWH around – they didn’t want to walk surrendered, set apart for YHWH – they wanted to live for themselves and so the broken altar symbolises for us that the people were far from YHWH. How is your life right now? Are you far from YHWH – is the altar of YHWH in your life broken? Well first before we go there let us answer what this means, and what the altar of YHWH stands for.
Noah built the first altar to YHWH after having been saved through the flood, and ever since then people have built altars. Altars were places of prayer, places of the assembly of the people of YHWH; a place of refuge and safety from enemies. Altars were built out of thankfulness and were often built to commemorate special events in the lives of YHWH’s people. The main and most important reason for the altars was for sacrifice. An altar was meant to be a place set apart for YHWH to spill the blood of an innocent animal and it was through blood that the people were made right with YHWH.
Hebrews 9:22 (b) “…and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Praise YHWH this morning for the Blood of Yeshua Messiah, our sacrificial Lamb – there is forgiveness in the Blood of Yeshua!
So an altar represented being in a right relationship with YHWH, and Elijah rebuilding a broken altar symbolised a coming back to YHWH. Being right with Him again – a commitment or even a recommitment after wandering from YHWH – it was a symbol of maintaining a right relationship with YHWH.
In Romans 12 we are told to be living sacrifices and so the altar of YHWH today in our lives is about dying to self daily – giving ourselves over to Him cleansed by His Blood through His one time sacrifice. The essence of the altar was also to remind them of their backsliding and remind them of broken relationships with YHWH and others. The 12 stones Elijah used each represented the different tribes of Israel who were at that time a divided nation – Using the 12 Elijah was prophetically speaking of their unity as one with YHWH – one body – one YHWH. In the same sense the altar of YHWH in our lives then represents not only a place where we get right with YHWH but also get right with others too, which at times is often harder!
Yeshua, in the Sermon on the Mount, tells us that if we bring our gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your gift there, go be reconciled and then come and offer your gift. A broken altar is a picture of how one has drifted out of love toward YHWH, drifted out of devotion and wholehearted surrender.
What does a broken altar look like? What does a broken relationship look like? Here are 12 pictures:
1. When my delight in YHWH is no longer as great as my delight in someone else, I have lost my first love.
2. When my soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in YHWH’s Word or in prayer, I have lost my first love.
3. When my thoughts during leisure moments do not reflect upon YHWH, I have lost my first love.
4. When I claim to be “only human” and easily give in to those things I know displease YHWH, I have lost my first love.
5. When I do not willingly and cheerfully give to YHWH’s work or to the needs of others, I have lost my first love.
6. When I cease to treat every brother as I would YHWH, I have lost my first love.
7. When I view the commands of YHWH as restrictions to my happiness rather than expressions of His love, I have lost my first love.
8. When I inwardly strive for the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of YHWH, I have lost my first love.
9. When I fail to make YHWH or His words known because I fear rejection, I have lost my first love.
10. When I refuse to give up an activity which I know is offending a weaker brother, I have lost my first love.
11. When I become complacent to sinful conditions around me, I have lost my first love.
12. When I am unable to forgive another for offending me, I have lost my first love.
A broken altar is a picture of one having lost their first love, which is a loving relationship with YHWH.
We can learn from Elijah’s actions that the fire of YHWH, which represented His very manifest presence or His anointing, His power, will not come down on a broken altar! The altar of YHWH in our lives needs to be repaired if broken in order to have His manifest power and anointing operating in our lives by faith through His grace. The fire of YHWH represents His shekinah glory – that very blue flame that burned on the Ark of the Covenant that all could see when David set up the tabernacle where there was constant worship 24 hours a day every day around the very presence of YHWH for 36 years. In Acts YHWH tells us that He will rebuild the very tabernacle of David. A tabernacle that did not match the design of Moses’ tabernacle or Solomon’s temple, yet was a tabernacle without a veil where YHWH’s presence dwelt amoung the people who worshipped Him. We want to be a people who bring glory to YHWH and show His glory in and through our lives, and for that we need the fire of His presence – and for that our altars cannot be broken.
A repaired altar speaks of the following key elements in the devoted life of worship:
1 – Prayer – This is a constant communion with YHWH through our Messiah Yeshua
2 – Fellowship with YHWH
3 – Fellowship with the family of YHWH
4 – Dying to self – as I said at the altar there was always a sacrifice – were called to be living sacrifices in view of His mercy
5 – Yielding to the will of YHWH – His will not our own. This is a surrender to His ways – not seeking Him to approve our decisions we have made but making decisions according to His will and direction even when it goes against our selfish wants and needs.
6 – Giving – This is a giving of myself and of my resources – after all I am not my own, all I am and all I have is His. If you struggle with the whole giving thing – then just get over yourself this morning and hear the truth – It’s all His! Now give!!!
7 – Devotion to His Word in study – Growing in knowledge through His Word – eating our daily bread. Yeshua said He is the bread of life, and the bread is His flesh which he gave for the life of the world and unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we will have no life in us.
A functional altar of YHWH in our lives will have these key areas we have just mentioned operating daily with devotion and passion. Another thing to note is that Elijah did not use stones from the Baal altars – he took 12 uncut stones – the service and worship to YHWH must be pure and not contaminated in any way with idolatrous abominations. There is to be nothing in common with the unbelieving or any agreement with YHWH’s temple and idols. You are YHWH’s temple. The altar of YHWH in your life cannot have anything in common with any form of idolatry. Repairing the altar was very significant in that Elijah was not introducing a new religion; he was reviving the faith and worship of the Elohim of their fathers and bringing them back to their first love. In Revelation 2 in the letter to the church in Ephesus, Yeshua writes that he knows their deeds, their hard work and perseverance and that they did not tolerate evil and wicked men; they tested those who claimed to be apostles, they endured hardships and not grown weary – sound like many today – but listen to this – Yeshua says he has this against them – they lost their first love – in context of today’s message we could say that their altar of YHWH was not pure and complete. You cannot just have some stones on and others off! His fire will not come – You can be so busy – yet if there is no love – His fire won’t come!
So how do I repair a broken altar? Well first it takes a change of habit – stop doing that which is altar breaking and do those things that are altar building or repairing and secondly it takes a change of mind – you must make a decision to step over the line and follow YHWH wholeheartedly – no more wavering between the two. When Elijah dug a trench around the altar to catch the water, this could be symbolically seen as drawing a line in the sand – saying no more to altar breaking life and stepping over into an altar building life where YHWH’s fire – His very presence can live in and through you powerfully and effectively. The trench in other words represents a commitment or a recommitment to YHWH and the family of YHWH. Crossing the line to what matters most - loving YHWH and unity in the body.
Where are you today in your life of worship to YHWH? How is your ‘altar’ experience with YHWH in your life? Is there some repairing needed, let us look at 12 areas of repairing the altar of the Lord. 12 stones if you will of a repaired altar through passionate and devoted hardcore commitment to YHWH.
Repairing the altar of the Lord – 12 stones
1 – Stone of attendance – Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to give up meeting together, but to encourage each other as we see the Day of coming of YHWH approaching. Attend all services and bring the family – now yes there are times when we are away or working etc, but don’t make excuses not to fellowship – repair the altar of the Lord through attendance.
2 – Stone of paying attention to YHWH’s Word – Proverbs 4:20-23 “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
In other words take the Word seriously and obey it!
3 – Stone of right attitude – Ephesians 4:30-32 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of Elohim, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Messiah Elohim forgave you.”
Get right with God and stay right with YHWH – have the attitude of Messiah Yeshua – humble yourself and serve.
4 – Stone of praying with fervency – James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective pray with passion and fervency, pray with intensity – give it your all!
5 – Stone of praying with frequency – 1 Thess 5:17 tells us to pray always – and always means always that means a frequent pattern of continual prayer life in all things. Yes this is the second stone of prayer, and I have a third or pray is critical in the life of a believer.
6 – Stone of praying with faith – Matthew 21:22 – says that if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer! Without faith we cannot please YHWH – so we cannot pray without faith!!!
7 – Stone of serving - Acts 1:8 says that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power to witness. You have the very resurrection power that raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead living in you – that power equips you to get up and serve. If it can raise Messiah from the dead, it can raise you from your couch and serve effectively witnessing of YHWH’s love and grace to all.
8 – Stone of soul winning – Matthew 28: 18-20 you all know – the Great Commission – make disciples of all, baptising them and teaching them the Word and to obey everything Yeshua commanded. When last did you do some soul winning – or has that stone been left off of the altar of YHWH in your life – it’s not my job!!! Newsflash – it is!
9 – Stone of sacrifice – 2 Samuel 24:24 David says that he will not sacrifice anything to YHWH that costs him nothing. Sacrifice costs you – we are to be living sacrifices – and that is a daily lifestyle – Paul says he dies daily – count the cost and give YHWH your everything – He gave you His all – HUGE SACRIFICE – no go ahead and die to self will you and live for Messiah. Living for YHWH costs you your life!
10 – Stone of the steadfast spirit – Psalm 51:10 “Create a pure heart in me, O, YHWH, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” This is a renewal of the attitude of the heart. Upon salvation, we are reborn with a new heart and we must keep it clean, YHWH alone can clean the heart and so we should always keep our hearts open before Him, not being defiled by any form of idolatry or profane worship.
11 – Stone of the sound speech – We must keep watch over the door of our lips – for out of the overflow of the heart so a man speaks – if our heart is right our speech will be right. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Watch what you speak, put to death that which must be put to death and keep alive that which must be alive in YHWH. Don’t kill that which must be alive through gossip, slander, backbiting etc. Let your speech be seasoned with grace.
12 – Stone of surrender/ submission – When you submit yourselves to YHWH, you can resist the Devil and he will flee. The surrendered life leads to the blessed life. Surrender speaks of giving ones self up to the power of another. Give yourself up to His power its way better! It speaks of handing over your life to YHWH, complete surrender – Have Your way Oh YHWH!
I used the analogy of 12 stones simply for this sermon – the altar of YHWH in our lives carries with it so much more. So let me ask you today how is the altar of YHWH in your life? Does it need repairs? Do you lack the ‘fire’ of YHWH in your life? That all consuming fire of His presence? I am sure we all could repair the altar of worship and sacrificial living unto YHWH. The good news is we can, we can come and receive His all sufficient grace to repair the altar of YHWH. Repairing the altar YHWH’s way – the 12 stones were not fashioned by mans hands, they were uncut – this speaks of living worship YHWH’s way and not our way! Worship and obedience to YHWH is not by your design but by YHWH’s! If you are one of the chilled or thrilled we spoke of earlier then certainly there are repairs needed, but lets not be fooled, even when we think we are filled we may just discover that the altar needs repairs. Dig that trench that draws the line in your life saying no to the things of the world and the flesh and come to the altar of YHWH and say yes to Him completely this morning. As you take this Word today, be encouraged and strengthened to take up the courage and passion Elijah had, where he did not care what others thought – he sought the presence of YHWH at all costs and challenged those of his day. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you this morning – be real and allow Him to show you where repairs are needed and repair. Why don’t you spend the next few moments in prayer before YHWH this morning – before we celebrate the work of Yeshua Messiah by eating of His flesh and drinking His blood with the elements of YHWH's Supper. We do not take this lightly, so take a few moments and then let us remember together the great price our Rabbi Messiah Yeshua paid for us that we may come and worship at the altar of YHWH in each of our lives personally and corporately as a family here today. Before you can take of the bread and of the cup, come and open your heart before YHWH and allow Him to heal you, forgive you, equip you by His grace. If you need to repent and turn away form sin that has destroyed the altar of YHWH in your life – do it now – He is hear and He wants to send His fire down on your life. You may come broken to Him, let me tell you He is the only One who can mend what is broken – receive this mending this morning and as we partake of the elements of YHWH’s supper – celebrate Him and remember what He has done for you. Now it is up to you to repair what needs to be repaired – He will guide you and comfort and strengthen you, but you got to do the repairing of certain stones – be bold and brave and engage in repairing the altar of YHWH in your life with the passion of Elijah! Amen! See by faith those very stones, stones that may have 'rolled off' or 'fallen away'. Pick up these stones by faith and repair the altar of YHWH.
Heavenly Father, in your name YHWH through Messiah Yeshua we bless you our Elohim and I ask that You will stir hearts with this message and that You will cause many to turn to You and draw that line in the sand saying no to the things that break down altar worship and saying yes to a life that is sacrificial every day in worship to You. I pray that all who read these sermon notes will truly catch Your love and call to repair and return to pure altar worship in every area of their lives, and in doing so they may experience Your Shekinah glory, Your very manifest presence in all power and wisdom and understanding and be equipped to declare and witness of You to all they meet, in Yeshua's name, amen. May Your altar in Your Bride today be repaired and restored that the world may see and know You are YHWH, amen!