Go To The Mountain
Go To the Mountain.
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 19th August, 2018
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but thanks to Julie Simmons’ inspiration and example, Venese and I have been regularly trekking across the coastline between Boulder Beach and Lennox Head. It’s an incredible walk along some of the most beautiful terrain in Australia – and it’s right on our doorstep.
But there’s something exhilarating about conquering the track that takes you from the beach at Boulders right up to the top of Lennox Head headland. I know it’s not like conquering Mt Everest… but I’m not Edmund Hillary either.
On the beach of course you can hear the loud crashing of waves on the rocks. But as you get about half way up the hill, it takes you into a strange kind of quietness. And then you come out at the top overlooking the ocean, and you can see forever, including all the whales doing their thing.
I’m not just wanting to give you a tourism plug this morning for Lennox Head. I want to say that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about mountains. Meeting God on the mountain, conquering mountains in our life, and even casting mountains into the sea.
And I want you to strap yourself in this morning because I believe God is taking us to the mountain because he wants us to do some serious business there.
These last couple of weeks I’ve focussed on the Holy Spirit and then on Jesus. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it’s been preparation for leading us to today. Because it’s on the mountain that the fire of God comes and totally obliterates every false, deceiving, lying thing that wants to exalt itself above the truth and above Jesus Christ Himself.
There’s something powerful about going up to the mountain and seeing everything from a Heavenly perspective. But we’ll get back to that in a moment.
Let’s start with Jesus again…
It’s been said that you can tell the story of Jesus by looking at the mountains He travelled in His life.
When Jesus was baptised, straight away He went into the wilderness where the devil tempted Him and part of that 40 day period in the wilderness was spent on a mountain near Jericho.
When Jesus had to make important decisions, for example when He chose His disciples, He went to the mountain to pray.
He often went to the mountain to pray. It was His special place of being with the Father.
Miracles happened on the mountains. He fed the 5,000 men plus women and children on the mountain.
One of the most incredible, supernatural experiences that Jesus had while He lived as a man on earth was on Mount Transfiguration.
Mark 9:2-7 (NKJV), “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. (You can depend on Peter that when he doesn’t know what to say, he still says something). And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Good old Peter wanted to make a camp and stay on the mountain in that place of glory. You can’t blame Him. It must have been an overwhelming experience. And it’s interesting that Jesus met with Elijah and Moses, because these were two of the men of old who also spent a lot of time up in the mountains.
But as we’ll see, going up to the mountain is not about living there, as Peter would have liked. Being on the mountain is where you get filled and empowered and equipped for living every day life.
In Matt 5, Jesus goes up the the mountain to share those extraordinary principles of life that we know as the Sermon on the Mount.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem He came in from the Mount of Olives. When He was crucified, it was the hill of Calvary.
Going back into the old Testament, you see Abraham taking his son up to Mount Moriah. And although God tested Abraham to sacrifice the most important thing in his life, it was a test… and in the end God provided a ram in the thicket as the sacrifice. It says in Genesis 22:14 (NKJV), “And Abraham called the name of the place, The- Lord -Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
And I feel as though this a word for some of you this morning… to this day, when you go to the mountain in total trust and faith in God, you will find that He will provide the very thing that your heart is crying out for.
Some of you may carry up to the mountain something very very precious in your heart, not knowing how it’s all going to pan out… but if you trust Him completely, He will provide exactly what is needed.
It was on Mount Sinai that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
It was also when God took Moses up into the mountain that He revealed the Promised land to him.
Numbers 27:12, (NKJV), “Now the Lord said to Moses: “Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel.”
Moses Himself never got to set foot in the new land… but he saw it with his eyes and he carried the vision of it for the people.
And again, I feel God is speaking to us about going up into the mountain and getting His vision and His perspective on the spiritual land that awaits us. And to see the promises being fulfilled of all that the Word of God tells us about the latter days.
So all of this gives us a glimpse into the importance of mountains in life. And I just want to clarify… I’m not sure we need to physically take ourselves up into a mountain to experience God’s presence and refreshment; His power and glory… the mountain is a spiritual place, but whatever that place looks like, you go there with purpose to meet with God.
But there’s one particular mountain that I believe God is taking us to this morning. We need to go there. All of us!
We can’t be complacent and ignorant of the fact that the devil hates us… he hates the church… he hates the fact that we are building something here to glorify God. Even many in the world have turned against the Church because the true church no longer aligns itself with the culture of the world… the true church never really did, but these days, it’s becoming more and more distinct.
He hates the fact that many of you are stepping into new things spiritually, that you are growing, that the church is having greater influence. Venese and I are taking steps in equipping ourselves to take the Church forward. We have to extend and expand our own lives if we are expecting to see the church also expand and arise to its full potential.
And so I want us to apply a few principles to our lives this morning that come from the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel.
This may be a story from thousands of years ago, but the same spiritual forces are still at work. And whether you realise it or not, they attempt to be outplayed in your life every day.
So I want you to come up to Mount Carmel with me to see things from a spiritual viewpoint. Just like Elijah invited all the people of Israel to come up and see what God was about to do.
It starts here with King Ahab, Jezebel’s husband. He’s weak. She’s strong and controlling. The spirit of Ahab and the spirit of Jezebel are as real today as the original characters in their story were.
1 Kings 18:17-19 (NKJV), “Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “ Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
Jezebel and her prophets represent just about everything that opposes righteousness and godliness. When you talk about Jezebel, you are talking about a spirit of control and manipulation, religiosity – which is all the trappings of religion without the love, intimacy and genuine relationship with God or with Jesus. It includes idolatry – anything that is exalted above God and worshipped… and we see a lot of idolatry of self in these last days we are in. I’ve seen a multitude of selfies on Facebook. Man alive, if ever there was idolatry it’s right there. And the Jezebel spirit includes all forms of sexual immorality, seduction, perversion, and uncleanness.
And there’s a sting in its tail. Revenge and paybacks are big in its weapons of attack.
Notice I say “it”… because we are talking about a spirit. Many people associate Jezebel with women. But it can operate just as easily in men.
If you are sitting here this morning and this is all new to you, well I hope your eyes are opened to the truth. I acknowledge that it’s a heavy topic for a Sunday morning, but we all need to understand the devil’s tactics. All he wants to do is to rob, kill and destroy.
But I don’t want any of us to approach this with fear, because in Jesus Christ we have the victory over every plan of the enemy. Even so, awareness is crucial because ignorance can make us vulnerable. The bible says, do not be ignorant of the devil’s schemes.
As much as I’d like to read the whole story, it’s quite long.
But what happened on Mt Carmel is that Elijah challenged Jezebel’s prophets to call down fire to consume their sacrifice, which was a bull cut in pieces and laid on wood. They prayed, they danced, they cried out, they cut themselves until blood gushed out, but nothing happened. Elijah mocked them saying, well your god must be having a sleep, or maybe he’s gone on a journey, or he could simply be too busy… a touch of sarcasm…
So then Elijah prepared his sacrifice.
1 Kings 18:33-35 (NKJV), “And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.”
Elijah prayed to the God of Israel:
1 Kings 18:38-40 (NKJV), “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord , He is God!” And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.”
Then Elijah prayed for the drought to be broken that was destroying the land, and there came the sound of an abundance of rain.
It’s a dramatic story. But it’s more than a story. There’s a spiritual battle that continues even now between good and evil. And although we don’t look for Jezebel under every rock, you can be sure that it’s lurking and looking for any opportunity to do damage.
And that’s why the church needs to rise up and call down the fire of God to purge our own lives and the lives of others and reveal the truth and reveal the true God of this world.
Don’t be just quick to judge others for coming under Jezebel’s influence. Every one of us need to be checking ourselves to make sure we are not operating in control, manipulation, religiosity, idolatry, any form of sexual impurity, or seeking retribution on anyone who has harmed us.
Jezebel loves backbiting, negativity. It loves attacking the leaders. One thing about Jezebel is that it hates to cohabitate. In other words, it won’t submit or share with anyone. It hates the prophetic. Elijah was a prophet, and it hated him.
And there’s an interesting twist to this story after Elijah had such a powerful victory over evil that day on Mount Carmel.
When Jezebel heard from Ahab what had happened to all her prophets of Baal, literally, all hell broke loose. She went after Elijah with a murderous vengeance.
But Elijah came under her threat and ran for his life.
1 Kings 19:4 (NKJV), “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
How could such a bold and courageous prophet of God go to being frightened and timid overnight? One word – Jezebel.
Here’s the thing… if you are feeling intimidated, fearful, and you just want to run away and hide, then I’d be looking to see if you’ve got Jezebel on your tail.
That spirit will want to squash you, take you to the point of just wanting to die, to give up, to fall into a pity party, to make you discouraged, disappointed, destabilised… what’s the point? Who cares?
These are typical reactions to being hunted by the Jezebel spirit. And it will especially chase you down if you are the slightest bit prophetic.
I love this next bit. God doesn’t enter into Elijah’s pity party. He’s not having any of it.
1 Kings 19:9 (NKJV), “And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
And this is a word for some of us today… what are you doing there in that place of hiding? What are you doing bowing down to that spirit of evil?
So God took Elijah to another mountain, and God Himself passed by Elijah and restored his vision, his strength, his life, his revelation of Who God is…
The only way to deal with Jezebel is to confront it! And for some of you that might mean confronting it in your own life.
Confront that feeling of intimidation. Confront that feeling of withdrawal and hiding. Confront idolatry and sexual impurity. Confront that religious spirit from your past experience and nail it to the cross. Confront your need to control.
Come out of your cave and allow God to bring a fresh revelation of Who He is! He is greater! He is stronger! He is your confidence and strength when you are feeling low!
Come up to the mountain of revelation! Come to the mountain and cry out for the fire of God to consume everything that is not of Him. Let the fire burn away all the lies of the enemy, all the false things, all the self exalting mindsets.
On the mountain you can see things a lot clearer. You can see a lot further. You can remove yourself from the distractions and the pressures of life.
It’s quiet on the mountain and you can hear the voice of the Lord much better. I’m always surprised as I walk up the southern side of Lennox Point, when all of a sudden everything becomes quiet. It’s peaceful.
On the mountain you get a glimpse into the future. You get a better perspective of the glory of God.
And of course, the spiritual battle becomes even more clearer and heightened, as I’ve spoken about already.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV), “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
It’s on the mountain that you get set on fire for God – that your life becomes lit up with His presence. But we’re not meant to stay there. We’re meant to carry the fire down into our every day lives and circumstances.
I recall the story of Moses when he came back from the mountain with the Ten Commandments. His face was so shining with the glory of God that he had to cover himself with a veil.
It’s our responsibility to take ourselves up to the mountain to allow His glory to fall on us as well… and remember, this is a spiritual place more than anything else. Your mountain might be your prayer closet, it might be walking on the beach, it might be some quiet place you love to go to…
For Jesus, the mountains were His refuge and sanctuary away from the pressures and demands of people. But He wasn’t hiding or running away from them. He was purposefully going to spend time with the Father to be strengthened and renewed.
I just want to finish with a scripture from Isaiah. It’s a really special verse that speaks of the Church.
Isaiah 2:2-3 (NKJV), “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on top of the mountains. What an awesome prophetic word for the church. There are mountains to be conquered. Mountains to be climbed. Mountains to meet with God on. And there are some mountains that just need to be cast into the sea. We’ll have to leave that one for another day.
But can I encourage you to go to the mountain, get a fresh vision, get some fire, purifying fire… hear the Father’s voice, experience the glory… confront some things in your own life… and get a fresh glimpse of the revelation of God’s presence.
And when you’ve got it – come back empowered and equipped for the next part of the journey.
Confronting Jezebel means repenting to God for coming under its influence. Repenting for being seduced by its control and manipulation. Repenting for allowing it to rob you of your joy, your faith, your hope, your freedom in Christ.
I’ll finish where I started. Jezebel hates us. It hates the church. It will find any way in though worship, through the leadership, through the finances… And I’m not suggesting for a minute that it’s happening at Seacoast. Praise God for the humility and competence of our leaders. But let’s be aware. Let’s not be ignorant of the spiritual battle we are in. We are breaking through into places we’ve never been before and I can sense the confrontation and battle going on in the spirit.
Venese and I met with four church pastors on Friday, we’re seeing a whole heap in SE Qld this week – representing INC – encouraging them, supporting them, connecting them in a stronger way to our movement. Do you think the devil thinks that’s a good idea?
Whenever Venese and I bind the spirit of Jezebel, which is often, we always make sure we apply that to our own lives first.
These are actually very exciting times – but some mountains have to be conquered. I just love it that the mountain of the Lord’s House is over all other mountains. And many are going to come up the the mountain of the Lord to worship Him there.