Take Back the Name of Jesus
by Maria Oliveira
“Elijah approached all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people of Israel did not answer him, so much as a word.” –1 Kings 18:21
A few weeks ago Pastor Sean, in his message, “Salt of the Earth,” said something that really hit me strongly: Take back the name of Jesus!
That statement stuck in my mind and led me to 1 Kings 18:21, where God prompted the prophet Elijah to confront Israel’s double-minded prophets on Mount Carmel, asking them to make a decision. Their decision was not about what to have for breakfast that morning, but whether they wanted to eat, at all, in the future. Like Joshua before him, Elijah spoke of the need to choose whom they would serve; and to choose wisely!
God’s challenge to the New Testament Church is the same. In the times we are living now it’s urgent that we make our decision, not only wisely but quickly: take back the name of Jesus! In the times of Elijah and Joshua they didn’t have ‘the Word that became flesh’ to choose, but we do now, and that is the way to choose wisely; only through Him we can do this. This is the message throughout the Bible.
Today, a narrow window of time remains for the Body of Christ—us—to determine where we stand. If God is God, it is time to stand for righteousness and truth.
After giving the false prophets time to prove their point and summon their false gods, Elijah demonstrates, rather than teaches, how to bring the presence of the Living God who answers by fire. He calls the people to him and begins to build an authentic foundation for the altar of God. He takes 12 stones, one for each of Israel’s tribes, rebuilds the altar “In His Name,” lays out the sacrifice, and begins to pour drops of water on something that he hopes will burn.
This is a strange and unthinkable way to create a fiery “move” of God. No one lights a match and expects soaked wood to burn. But it worked!
Fire, which usually burns upward, instead comes down from heaven and consumes not only the sacrifice, but the wood, the stones, the dust, and even the water in the trench! Truly God has done “exceedingly and abundantly more” than Elijah could have thought or imagined! (Ephesians 3:20) Our God is not interested in “divided devotion.” The Lord has a legitimate claim to the exclusive devotion of His Bride. He will not tolerate a lukewarm faith any more than He will tolerate Jezebel (Revelation 2:4 & 2:20).
I believe that just as Elijah tested the false prophets at Mount Carmel, we, as the Body of Christ are being tested right now. The Lord does not want us to continue building on altars of human desires, emotions, and flesh but rather on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ. Elijah’s test was initiated by the Holy Spirit, not from a personal need for self-justification or self-promotion.
In Pastor Sean’s statement that day—take back the name of Jesus—my spirit was deeply touched by the sense that Jesus desires to see His children return to Him and experience all that He is. His commands are not a burden. His desire is always to bless and grow us as we come to Him. But we must come, fully and completely!
Take back the name of Jesus – He is to be our priority, He is waiting with open arms, and that, dear friends, is everything we need!