In 1 Kings 18 we see the prophet Elijah going to deliver a sermon. In v20 the people have been gathered together and in v21 Elijah gives the introduction to his sermon, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, then follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” Elijah was looking for a response from the people. A sermon should be given with the idea of getting a response. Now maybe by the time the sermon is over nobody comes to the altar but we should keep in mind that people may be praying in their seats. That the sermon will continue to resonate with someone long after the last amen has been said. Cold hearts however don’t like to respond and here that was the case because no one gave any sort of answer.
The body of his sermon consisted of his challenge to the false prophets, what was to be provided, the expected production, his mocking of the paralysis of Baal, their pleadings ignored, and the path of true worship.
His conclussion came when the fire fell and consumed the sacrifice, the soaked wood, the stones, and the stored water in the trench. He called upon the people once again to make up their minds. What he didn’t do was just say, the fire has fallen and that’s all I got! No, he wanted them to respond so he provoked them to respond. The people had already declared twice that the LORD is God but that wasn’t enough. Actions speak louder than words. That is why an altar call is given, to allow people to step out and make the decision real. Elijah didn’t stop with them confessing the LORD is God he wanted them to prove it by removing the sin literally from their lives. The only way to do that was to follow God’s judgment and kill the false prophets and they did just that.
Are we preaching for a response or just to hear ourselves talk?