Ambassador Training

June 6, 2021

David Sorn

God has called Elijah to be His ambassador to a culture that’s running away from the Lord. But before Elijah fully begins his work, he must first train. Learn the steps of ambassador training!

Ambassador Training

June 6, 2021

David Sorn

God has called Elijah to be His ambassador to a culture that’s running away from the Lord. But before Elijah fully begins his work, he must first train. Learn the steps of ambassador training!

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | 2 Kings 17: 1-6


Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor at Renovation Church.

The culture around us is changing…and fast.

What are we going to do?

This is one of THE most important questions for Christians in America right now.

And to help us think better about this, we’re pressing pause on our Book of Luke series for the summer, and as a “Summer Teaching Series” we’re going to study the Life of Elijah the Prophet in the Old Testament.

Elijah is a guy who spoke into a culture that was not just walking away from God, but almost running away from God…

And yet, Elijah had his own emotional and mental struggles in the midst of his journey too.

Whether you know a lot about Elijah, or you’ve never heard of him before, I think that this teaching series is really helpful to you this summer.

Before we just jump into our passage in the Old Testament part of the Bible here, I need to start this series off by giving you some historical and Biblical background of when this all takes place both in history and in the Bible.

About 1,000 years before Jesus, Israel’s most famous king was on the throne…King David.

At that time, Israel is united as one nation.

David was then succeeded by his son Solomon

But after Solomon, the nation of Israel was divided in two.

(Show Israel/Judah map)

There is a northern Kingdom, which is still called Israel

And a Southern Kingdom (where Jerusalem is) called Judah.

Judah has kind of a mixed bag of good kings and bad kings

But Israel couldn’t get a good king to save their life.

And in 874 BC, Israel’s 7th King comes to power, King Ahab.

We’re going to read about Ahab in just a second here, so everybody grab a Bible

(Page 243)

(Renovation App)

King Ahab is a bad dude.

But to make matters worse, he marries someone even more evil than himself.

A woman named Jezebel.

Before we get to Elijah, who bursts on the scene in chapter 17 of the Book of 1 Kings in the Bible…

Let’s read a little bit more about who this King Ahab, King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel is…as he will play a major role in this summer series

(1 Kings 16:29-33) – NIV

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.

So, in summary, this is bad…really bad.

Long gone are the days of King David when so many in the land were on fire for God and following Him

About 60 years earlier than this, when Israel first split in half, Jeroboam had the northern Kingdom of Israel sinning by worshipping God in the wrong way.

They set up a golden calf as an image of God for example…but they were still, they thought, praying to Yahweh, the one true God.

But sin, is always a slippery slope.

Even if you think you’re doing nothing, you’re sliding deeper into it.

And as the years go by, the people of Israel fall into deeper sin.

And now we see them worshipping other gods.

And pretty soon queen Jezebel starts slaughtering the remaining prophets and priests of the one true god.

And it’s here, at what feels like the bottom of the slippery slope, that God begins to turn the tide.

And He starts to turn things around through the efforts of one man…not through an army or a huge group of people.

And God often works this way

He often turns around entire families through the spiritual revival of 1 person.

Or He turns around a work culture…or a neighborhood…or a school.

By starting with ONE person.

And that “one” may be you my friends.

So watch Elijah closely this summer.

We have much to learn from his story.

All right, let’s take a look at the very first passage about Elijah in the Bible

(1 Kings 17:1-6) – NIV

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

So Elijah the Prophet comes on the scene and confronts the evil King Ahab by announcing there will be no rain the next few YEARS…not even dew!

What’s fascinating here is that King Ahab has been praying to a false god named Baal, the Caananite version (there are lots of Baals)

And much like the ancient Greeks and Romans had specific duties and functions for their gods, Baal’s function was to be the “storm god and bringer of rain.”

Do you see the irony here?

The people of Israel have prostituted themselves to worship another god…

One that will supposedly bring them ample rain to produce lots of crops and make them rich.

And listen, God could have brought any type of judgment through Elijah, but He chooses, “I’m not going to let it rain for the next few…years.”

To which, I’m sure the people would have responded, “Nah, Baal will make it rain! That’s like, WHAT HE DOES!”

Well, we’re going to see what happens this summer

But what I want us to mostly focus on today as we begin to study the “Life of Elijah” is how God takes this first major season of Elijah’s life to prepare him to live out his mission…his calling.

I think there is much we can learn here.

The culture of Elijah’s day is running from God, but Elijah isn’t going to withdraw from it, or run away from it.

As we’ll see this summer, he’s going to engage with it.

We’ve been talking about this lately

Our role as Christians is not to withdraw from society, or overthrow it, or adapt along with it, it’s to be an ambassador for Christ within it.

To speak (and live out) God’s truthinto the culture.

But that’s not an easy thing, and so before Elijah begins this sustained period of his life where He’s speaking into the culture…as an ambassador for God….

…God is going to put him through some training first.


And there are 3 things I want you to see today about how God will train you to be an ambassador for Christ…within a changing culture

3 Ways God Will Train You To Be An Ambassador for Christ Within A Changing Culture

1: Before God can use you, He must first break you

Look at verse 3 of our passage.

We’re told that God sends Elijah to the brook in the Kerith Ravine.

Kerith is a Hebrew word that means to cut off, to cut down, to cut away.

Before God was do an incredible work through Elijah, he had some cutting to do first.

Some humbling…so he’s sent to “The Cutting Ravine”

Because it’s hard to be humbled when everything’s going right and the crowd is cheering you on

But hidden in the ravine, in complete isolation….God can do his work there.

The Lord uses this method a lot in the Bible

For example, God wanted to use Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but God sent Moses to the desert for 40 years first

This type of training happens to many of the great saints of old.

I often think about my hero, the great 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon, whose bobblehead sits on my desk

Spurgeon laid in bed, sick with all kinds of maladies, for much of his life.

I often think, “God, why would you do that to him? The greatest preacher of the last few hundred years? Couldn’t you have had him preach more?”

To which, Spurgeon himself once said:

“I would venture to say that the greatest blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has.” – Charles Spurgeon

Before God can use you, He must first break you

Break you of your pride…

The wilderness (and the wilderness in the Bible is always a time of testing & trial)…the wilderness is not where you pump yourself up

After 6 months in the middle of nowhere, Elijah’s not going, “Man, am I the best or what?!”

No, God is pruning his pride for a purpose

Pastor Ryan Paulson says this about the wilderness, the hard times of life:

The wilderness often feels like wasted time, but it’s really training ground. The wilderness is where we come face to face….our will and God’s will. It’s where God’s will wins out, because our resources are so depleted. Our willpower, our gifting, our ingenuity….there’s no way those things get us through the wilderness. In the wilderness, we must face our weaknesses and surrender our illusions and our pretenses. We surrender our way through the wilderness; we don’t beat our chest through it. – Ryan Paulson

And many of you have experienced this as you faced things like cancer, or infertility, unemployment, loss, and other excruciating trials.

You don’t beat your chest through those things.

In the wilderness, God begins to strip you of your pride.

And in turn, you learn what you could never learn on the mountaintop…dependence on God

Which leads us to the second stage of Ambassador Training.


3 Ways God Will Train You To Be An Ambassador for Christ Within A Changing Culture

1: Before God can use you, He must first break you

2: The Lord will teach you dependence

God sends Elijah to this hidden ravine to protect him and shape him, but also to teach him how to absolutely depend on God

This is amazing: Elijah is hiding away from Jezebel and Ahab in the middle of nowhere, but look at verse 6:

(1 Kings 17:6) – NIV

The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

God is teaching Elijah to depend on him…daily.

And notice, God doesn’t send a 3-month supply of food.

The ravens just come every day, twice a day.

I mean, at first, you’re probably thinking, “Ravens, really? You’re joking right?”

But nope, it’s Raven Door Dash right to the hidden brook.

And I’m sure at first there was the temptation to think, “Okay God, you did this the first day, but will this really keep up?”

And yet, every day, God provides.

God did the same for the Israelites when they were in the desert after leaving Egypt

Daily, he provided them with manna

Not a week supply, just every day.

That’s why, in the Lord’s prayer (or the Our Father), we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread?”

Where my lutheran’s and catholics at?


You guys don’t say Amen.

And for some of you, you’re in this particular stage of ambassador training right now: DEPENDENCE TRAINING

Life had been hard lately, and life has been LEAN lately…and you’re not sure what tomorrow will look like…

But, you’re learning to trust God for TODAY.

And my friend, that’s a good thing.

It should actually be a scary thing when we believe so deeply in ourselves, that we don’t even feel a need to bring our concerns to God

That ought to scare you

If you never feel the need to pray…

That ought to scare you

If that’s where you are right, get ready for God to take some things away in your life.

It’s back to stage 1 of the training… “The Cutting Ravine”

And then to stage 2…dependence training

…where we learn rely on God, and that He is GOOD…and He provides

He is JIREH…the provider…and He does so in any and every situation.


Let’s take a look at another stage of ambassador training

3 Ways God Will Train You To Be An Ambassador for Christ Within A Changing Culture

1: Before God can use you, He must first break you

2: The Lord will teach you dependence

3: The Lord will teach you obedience

I think we sometimes take this piece for granted when we read this passage.

I mean, if it were you, and you were told, “Flee for your life, and run to this hidden brook…and not only will that brook miraculously retain water in a drought…but God will send you meat and bread via ravens who will fly it to you twice a day.”

Would you go?

I want you to think about it seriously.

Would you?

I’m not sure we would.

You’d probably say, “Ravens can’t do that”

And yet Elijah believes in the power of God, and he obeys.

Look at verse 5…it just says:

(1 Kings 17:5a) – NIV - LEAVE UP UNTIL POINT “G”

5 So he did what the Lord had told him.

Could that be said of your life?

Are you doing what the Lord is telling you to do?

You know perhaps the even harder part of obedience for Elijah was to stay at the brook.

You’re going to see this summer that Elijah is tough…he’s brave…bold.

Elijah is more than likely itching to get out of that ravine and go confront Ahab again.

I’m sure he was thinking, “God, NOW is the time for me to get out and preach!”

“Lord, it hasn’t rained in 6 months, in 9 months, the people have to be losing their belief in Baal (the supposed god of rain) by now…”

“Let me out of here…why am I here, hiding, eating with the ravens when I could be out doing your work?”

And yet the Lord was doing His work…right there…at the brook.

Teaching Elijah what it meant to obey…and to trust.

To trust in His timing.

Often the best place to learn how to obey God’s will is in “the waiting”

When you’re ready to do something, and God has pressed pause on something in your life (“the waiting”).

Realize that God may just be training you, preparing you, teaching you to better obey and trust Him so that you can do so in the season that is to come.


Because these 3 things… (look at them again)

3 Ways God Will Train You To Be An Ambassador for Christ Within A Changing Culture

1: Before God can use you, He must first break you

2: The Lord will teach you dependence

3: The Lord will teach you obedience

These 3 things that Elijah learns during his time in the ravine are going to pay massive spiritual dividends when it’s time for God to use him to speak into the culture…to be God’s ambassador.

As we study His life this summer, you’re going to see Elijah’s humility and trust.

You’ll see that his faith in what God can do is absolutely astounding.

And you’re going to see His obedience.

He will walk into situations (where God told Him to walk) that most would instead flee in fear.

But Elijah is fearless in his dependence and obedience to God

And ALL of those things he learned during his ambassador training…out in the wilderness.

And so I want you to think differently about your own time in the wilderness…

God always uses those times…and trust that He is using them now

Because the culture around us needs to hear clearly about Christ.

But they will not hear it from us if we continue to be consumeristic Christians.

They will not hear it from us if we continue to believe that God is only moving when He brings us to the mountain.

But if we look for Him in the wilderness, we will learn to be humble, dependent, and obedient…

Then God will use us to do great things.


We’re talking this morning about God using our time in the wilderness…

And maybe God is using a trial in your life to wake you up to the reality of Him in the first place.

Maybe lately your life has been hard…

It’s not working anymore on your own.

And you’re waking up to the idea that you need God.

I want to tell you this morning that He wants you to know Him.

He’s pursuing you right now.

He’ll do whatever it takes for you to know Him and be saved by Him.

In fact, God loves you so much that He sent His only son Jesus to earth for you.

And Jesus taught humanity, showed us how to love, but most importantly, he died on the cross.

And in dying on the cross and rising again from the dead, Jesus was paying the price for your sins.

He loves you so much that even though you and I deserve death, and separation from God, and hell for our sins…

Jesus died in our place.

And the Bible teaches that if you believe He died in your place, and you become His follower, you will be saved.

If you trust in Him as your Lord…the leader of your life, you will not only be saved from hell, but you can have a life-changing relationship with Him

Here’s the truth straight from the Bible

(Romans 10:9) – NIV

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

In fact, I want to give some of you the opportunity to let God into your life this morning.

Let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes.

If you’ve never done this before, and you want to believe and Jesus and turn your life over to Him

I urge you to respond.

If that’s you, as a way to mark this day, and tell Him that you believe, I want you to stand up where you are right now.

Everyone has their eyes closed, so don’t think about that.

If you need to tell Jesus that you believe, and you need His forgiveness…

If you’re ready to surrender to Him…

Stand up right now.

For those of you standing, we want to pray with you.

Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.


As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.

You won’t walk out there alone.

There are others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you

And I, and our follow-up team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.

If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.

All right, you can all go now.

As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.

Let’s pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

JUNE 6, 2021