Fullness in a Time of Famine

I don’t often post sermon notes here because they are available on .pdf at “Sue’s and Jeff’s Sermons” on my Blogroll. But I believe the Lord wants me to share the 3/4/12 sermon notes here, too:

The Source of Fullness

Jesus Christ’s gracious words (Luke 4:18-19) — Fullness! Provision! Freedom! Healing!

The response of those with whom He grew up — No rejoicing, but unbelief AND they tried to kill Him.

They were in a spiritual famine. They had a form of religion but denied its power. It was outward religion, no heart change. They needed what He had.

But they rejected Him and thus did not receive His fullness, His provision, His freedom, His healing.
Who receives His fullness in a time of famine? It is plain in the account of Elijah and the widow, in 1 Kings 17. But this message will also be a word to those who have received His fullness.

1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Elijah announces from the Lord that there will be a famine in the land. He tells the king of Israel, “there shall be neither dew nor rain these years,” except by Elijah’s word, because he stands before the living Lord.

I stand today before the Lord, on your behalf.

— No food (famine) because of no rain because of the sin of Israel (worshiping the golden calves of Jeroboam’s reign)

— So they went after Baal, false god, fertility god, sensuality, man-made religion

— They thought Baal would make them prosperous like their neighbors, but the Lord would have prospered them if they had only turned, repented, and cried out to the LIVING Lord, the God of Israel.

They added sin to sin:

Isaiah 30:1   “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
“Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;

— No food because of no rain because of the sin of Israel.

Jesus says it is the same in the church.

— Using worldly business techniques to try to gather in people to their buildings. Business is our Baal. It is a form of unbelief. Again, look at Isaiah 30:1.

— The church has married the world, just as Ahab married Jezebel and legitimized Baal worship in Israel.

No rain in the church

Not even dew! The Holy Spirit is absent, as unwelcome in many churches as Jesus was in His hometown.

Jesus stands at the door, knocking from the outside (Revelation 3:20).

The Holy Spirit is resisted, opposed (Acts 7:51).

No food in the church

What is the nature of the famine?
Amos 8:11   “Behold, days are coming,”declares the Lord GOD,
“When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
THIS IS THAT DAY!

— There is no spiritual food in much of the church. Not a famine for natural bread or natural water, but the bread of the Word, the washing of the water, its cleansing power., and the oil of the Holy Spirit.

— The Word is available but unheeded and disobeyed (not “heard”).

— The Word is not being proclaimed in many churches.

— Messages are based on “topics” but no scriptures except perhaps at the beginning, and often out of context (i.e., no need to repent from sin to receive the promises of God) . . . . OR

— Messages are based on the Word but without insight and light

— Sin “winked at”

— So sin in the church, no spiritual rain, no cleansing by the washing of the water of the Word, no spiritual food, no bread in the house, no Holy Spirit, and the church runs after business techniques to bring people in. Sin is added to sin.

2 The word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith (SEErith}, which is east of the Jordan. 4 “It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. 7 It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

The Lord commanded Elijah not to stay with Ahab in Israel.

He was to hide himself at a brook by the Jordan (east), a place where the Lord would supply His spiritual needs.

The Lord provided fullness in a time of famine. At no time did Elijah lack. The Holy Spirit was upon him.

The Lord provides fullness in a time of famine to those who abide in Him, who eat His Word and obey Him out of the very love of God that has filled their hearts to overflowing, who are filled with His Holy Spirit.

Many true believers, those born from above and Spirit-filled, full in a time of famine, have left their famine-stricken churches at God’s command. I speak to them now.

You are set apart, waiting for a word from Him on what you are to do next. Meanwhile, you receive spiritual provision from Him as you abide in Him and pray and listen like Elijah.

But I believe the Lord will command you to move, so that you may bring word of His fullness in a time of famine to others, and so that you may intercede in prayer for the church as a whole.

1 Kings 17:8   Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

The Lord said to Elijah, “Arise!” I believe He is saying that to you today!

Go to the place that He commands. It will be a place that is in famine, that looks like it has little life left, an unlikely place.

[Zarephath was on the coast, in Sidon, where Jezebel, the wife of Ahab king of Israel, came from. It was through that marriage that Baal worship was legitimized in Israel in Elijah’s day. What an unlikely place to send him!]

But the Lord has commanded a widow to provide for you. That’s even more unlikely than going to a place where Baal is worshiped, since widows were generally poor.

But you know He is faithful, and it will be done, even though it seems the most unlikely place for provision.

10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.”

You obey and go.

You will come to the place He has called you to, and even before you enter, you find a humble one bent low to gather.

You know this unlikely one is the one. You will humble yourself before her and ask her for provision, even though she appears to be quite spiritually destitute.

12 But she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

The first words from her mouth show that she sees that the LORD is your God. She senses His presence in you. She is able to see you have been with Jesus, Son of the living God, not the dead false gods of her land.

Fullness in a time of famine comes to those who recognize bearers of Jesus’ good news as having His character and presence.

But she has only a small measure of spiritual provision to sustain her and her son for a very brief time, and then she is sure they will die of spiritual famine.

She doesn’t know God’s plan for her yet. But the Lord will speak through you to her!!

13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 “For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.’”

You will tell her to go and prepare a spiritual meal for herself and her son, but FIRST to prepare and share with you the last of her provision.

Now you announce God’s plan, in the midst of spiritual famine: If she will believe and obey the word of the Lord given through you, the Lord will provide her with an inexhaustible source of bread and oil. She will have fullness in a time of famine!

He will fill her with His Word and His Holy Spirit so that she will never be hungry again!

Matthew 5:6   “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied [filled].

John 7:37   Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink . . .”

15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah.

She steps out in faith, obeys and prepares and shares her spiritual provision for you.

Those who receive fullness in a time of famine do the same.

In return, the Lord fills her with the Holy Spirit (the oil) and an unlimited supply of the Word of God (the flour).

There will be no lack, no exhaustion of spiritual resource, for it is the word of the LORD and He has done it.

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

And because you have obeyed also, He will faithfully provide for you just according to His Word to you. You have fullness in a time of famine. Yours will be fullness of BLESSING, since you are already filled with the Holy Spirit (see Romans 15:29)! He will bless your obedience, you will have showers (downpours) of blessing (See Ezekiel 34:26)!

As He has promised in Verse 9, you will receive your provision through her, the unlikely one who was so destitute. She has fullness in a time of famine.

You will have fellowship in the Spirit and will eat of His Word and share His life with each other.

You will remain with her and her son until the Lord calls you back to where you began, back to that which you came out of, to reveal that God is the only true God, and reveal the falseness of the god of business, just as Elijah did at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18).

You will go back to the church the Lord commanded you to leave and tell them that the rain is coming (18:41).

And in obedience to the Lord, you will go and crouch down as a woman giving birth, put your face between your knees and remain in intercession until the rain of God’s Spirit comes to the whole church (18:42)!

I tell you, if you will intercede for the whole church with Jeff and me continually, there will come a cloud that is the size of a man’s hand (18:44), and life-giving rain, a great outpouring of the Spirit, will revive the church.

There will be water to cleanse and give life, the Bread of life, the Word of God and the oil of the Holy Spirit in the church once again!

REALITY CHECK

1 Kings 17:1   Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Luke 4:25 “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.

We are now in a time when God is not giving spiritual provision to those in the church who sin against Him. Remember, Jesus is on the outside, knocking.

Again, the sin of Israel in the days when Jesus walked the earth:
— Unbelief, simply not believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
— Reliance on a form of religion while denying its heart-transforming power (the Holy Spirit’s miracle-working dunamis)
— Outward obedience only, resulting in hearts so hardened they were not able to recognize God in the flesh.

Where are you?

Are you sinning as Israel did when Jesus walked the earth? When Elijah prophesied?

Then repent! It is the year of the Lord’s favor! He will give you His fullness if you turn to Him and ask Him to forgive you and change your heart.

Are you humble toward the Lord?

Do you abide in Him?

Do you eat His Word?

Do you recognize bearers of Jesus’ good news? Do you see His character and presence in them?

Do you step out in faith, obey and share what little you have with the Lord?

Do you obey Him?

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?

Then God will give you fullness in this present time of famine.

Are you a Spirit-filled Christian who has gone out of a famine-stricken church? I believe God is calling you to arise and be the announcer of God’s fullness to those in famine.

I also believe He is calling you to crouch and pray, to intercede for the church as a whole, until you see that cloud as small as a man’s hand, until life-giving rain comes!

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Author: Susan Wynn, servant of Jesus Christ

Healed by Jesus Christ of MS in 2001, in the middle of the night! Proclaiming His gospel, His healing, His heart. Author of From Death To Life--A True Story of Healing, Hope and Being Set Free. Our ministry: My Father's Place, a ministry without walls, proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world.

1 thought on “Fullness in a Time of Famine”

  1. Timely and VERY needed. There are too many ‘elder brothers’ in the “Church” today; wanting what the Father has, but not wanting the Father, not loving the Father or the Son — keeping very quiet about His gift of the Holy Spirit. I’m praying with you and Jeff, that seed planted by many in the past will begin to flower, sending off the aroma of Christ. Shalom.

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