Should I Stay or Should I Go?

June 20, 2021

David Sorn

Are you in a difficult environment at work or somewhere else? How do you know if you should stay or go?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

June 20, 2021

David Sorn

Are you in a difficult environment at work or somewhere else? How do you know if you should stay or go?

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | 1 Kings 18: 1-15


(Baptism Slide)

Morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Hey, before we get started this morning, I want to let you know that we have another baptism coming up!

It’s going to be on Sunday, July 18th!

Baptism is a visible representation of what Jesus has done for you through your faith.

It’s the symbol that Jesus has buried your old life, and you have risen up anew

It’s the symbol that through your faith in Him, God has washed away all of your sins.

And it’s something that every believer is commanded to do, as an act of obedience to God…

To publicly declare you are a follower of His.

Baptism doesn’t save you, but it’s like the wedding ring of the Christian faith

So, if you’ve never been baptized as a believer (not an infant), a believer, this is for you.

Some of you may have been putting this off for years…

And there are A LOT of you that have just come to Christ very recently…within the past few months, or year or so…

If either one of those is you, this is the time for you to step forward into this amazing moment. Okay?

You can sign-up out in the hallway, through our app, or through our website.

If it’s you, and just need to trust God, and be obedient in this, get out your phone right now even, and let’s do this.



(Life of Elijah Series Slide)

All right, we are continuing our summer series on Elijah the prophet this morning.

If you’re new for the first time today, let me catch you up.

This all takes place in Israel about 850 years or so before Jesus

Israel was led by wicked leaders in King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.

These 2 have led the entire nation away from worshipping the one true God to instead worshipping false idols like Baal.

So Elijah the Prophet announces to them that in light of their wicked actions, God will not have it rain for a few years

God then leads Elijah safely away to a hidden brook

And over the next few years, God protects and trains Elijah for his public ministry.

We’re now going to rejoin Elijah’s story, so everybody grab a Bible.

If you don’t have a Bible, please take one.

(Page 244)

(Renovation App)

(1 Kings 18)

A significant amount of time has gone by, and it STILL hasn’t rained!

But now, it’s time for Elijah to go back…let’s take a look

(1 Kings 18:1-15) – NIV

After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

So we’re now 3 years into the drought.

And the famine is SEVERE.

King Ahab is sending people everywhere to look for Elijah in hopes of ending the drought.

But now Elijah is back in Israel .

And on his way to meet King Ahab, Elijah meets Obadiah, another believer in the One True God.

And Obadiah immediately fears for his life.

He thinks, “If I go and tell Ahab you’re here, but then you just…disappear again…then I’m going to be killed for letting you go”

But Elijah says, “Don’t worry about that, I’m going to go see Ahab…today.”

And you’ll have to come back next week to see how that confrontation between Elijah & Ahab goes!

But seriously, don’t miss next week…it’s the climax of the Elijah narrative where the big confrontation happens

If you’re out of town for the 4th, watch the podcast some how


But let’s talk a bit more about Obadiah

He’s an interesting person.

We’re told in verse 3 that Obadiah is the Palace Administrator.

He’s essentially King Ahab’s Chief of Staff.

He’s perhaps the 2nd most powerful man in the entire country.

Now, this is fascinating.

Here you have Obadiah, who verse 12 tells us, is a worshipper of the LORD since his youth…

…and verse 3 tells us that he’s not just a believer in God, but a DEVOUT believer.

And yet, he’s the palace Administrator in the regime of Ahab & Jezebel.

That must have been quite the difficult place for a believer in the Lord to serve!

And yet, as odd as it may seem to you, it’s actually not an uncommon pattern in Scripture.

Joseph was Pharaoh’s right-hand-man in Genesis

And God used him mightily!

God put the Jew and faithful believer, Esther, right in King Xerxe’s palace as the Queen…in order to save her people.

Daniel was pagan King Nebuchadnezzar’s most trusted advisor

Even in the NT, we still see this.

Phil 4:22 tells us that there were believers in Caesar’s household.

Luke 8 tells us that, very similarly here, there was a woman named Joanna who was the Household Manager for the wicked King Herod

Imagine working in Herod’s house on the day John the Baptist was beheaded!

But you see this often, in part because believers are trustworthy, honest, and reliable people…so they are often put in high places.

But also because God often wants believers in these dark places so they can have a Godly influence.

Now, you may not work in a dark palace like that of King Ahab, but in reality, most Christians DO work in environments that are, well, spiritually and morally, complex.

Many Christians have to navigate around sin in all sorts of interesting ways in their jobs…or even their friendship groups

Let me give you a number of examples:

What if you work in a doctor’s office or hospital, but you know some of the procedures that happen there go against your Christian beliefs?

What if you’re a server at a restaurant that serves alcohol, and a customer asks you for another drink…even though you think they’re already getting drunk?

Or you work at a hotel and it’s your job to check in a couple that isn’t married? Or you’re a realtor and you’re supposed to help a couple that isn’t married move in together?

Many of you work for corporations downtown that are changing their stances on issues faster than an Olympic runner.

Should you still work for that corporation as a Christian even though much of what they stand for now isn’t Biblical?

Others of you deal with this, not at work, but in your friendship groups…or even your family

Should you still engage with them even though they’re walking down a path you feel is wrong?

These are deep, serious, and weighty questions for the Christian believer.


And I think a core question that a lot of believers are asking of their current situation nowadays is: “Should I stay or should I go…now?”

Some of you are thinking, “I’m a public school teacher, and I’m worried that in the coming years they’re going to ask me to do things I don’t feel comfortable with as a Christian”

Should I stay? And be a light in potentially a dark place?

Or should I go, and remove myself from being a part of that system?

Or others of you are thinking, “The small business I work for is more obsessive now than ever about making money, and they’re starting to cross a line when it comes to lying and ethical principles.”

Should I stay? Or should I go?

And what’s really interesting about this passage in 1 Kings 18 is you have two incredible believers whom God has told to do opposite things.

God told Obadiah to STAY

Stay in the palace.

Right next to that wicked King.

Because God has a plan to USE Obadiah by having him STAY!

But God told Elijah to GO

“Get out of town. Flee. It’s not safe for you here”

Same God.

Both solid believers.

And yet God had different instructions for them.

So how do you know if you should stay or go in your current situation?

What I want to do is give you four questions you can ask yourself to help better answer this important question.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

4 Questions to Help You Decide:

1: Does the sin indirectly involve me or directly involve me?

Where you work or hang out, there’s going to be sin.

Welcome to earth.

The question you want to ask is: “Does the sin indirectly involve me or directly involve me?”

So, let’s say you work at an internet company or a cell phone company…

Can people use the internet and cell phones for evil?

Um, yes! ☺

There’s plenty of indirect sin that can be done through the companies many of you work for.

But how direct is it to you?

I heard someone give the example once of working at a restaurant.

There are maybe times where you’re creating a nice environment for a guy who took out a woman to lunch who was not his wife…if you catch my drift.

Should you quit your job because of that?

Well, we’ll answer that more fully in question 4, but many Christians would say no…that’s more indirect.

But this server was once asked by his boss to lie about his wages to the IRS…

And at that, he quit, because now that workplace culture was asking HIM to directly sin.

There are some good examples of this distinction in Scripture:

I’m sure Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego witnessed Nebuchadnezzar do all sorts of awful things through his regime, but yet they didn’t quit.

But when they were personally asked to eat meat sacrificed to an idol…or when they were personally asked to bow down to a statue…

They refused…because it was a direct sin

So ask yourself, how directly involved in the sin am I?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

4 Questions to Help You Decide:

1: Does the sin indirectly involve me or directly involve me?

2: Is my situation pulling me closer to God or away from Him?

This is a key question and different for every person.

You could have the same job in the same company as another Christian, and your answer could be different here.

For Obadiah, his position wasn’t pulling him away from God.

We’re told he was still a devout believer…absolutely devoted to God!

You have to know yourself well if you’re going to answer this question.

I remember when I was in college, some of my Christian friends decided that they were going to go out to the huge parties on the weekends and try and share Jesus with the kids who were partying and getting drunk

Which was, well, almost everyone.

But I didn’t go with.

Not because I didn’t think it was a good idea, but because, at the time, I was a new believer, and was pretty convinced that if I went, there was a better chance I’d end up partying than sharing Jesus.

It was going to pull me away from God, not pull me closer to Him.

Is your job, your friendship group, wherever you are right now, pulling you closer to God or further away from Him?

And you’re in an environment that’s slowly eroding your faith, you may need to leave.

But if it’s not doing that, you should highly consider staying…which leads us to our next question:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

4 Questions to Help You Decide:

1: Does the sin indirectly involve me or directly involve me?

2: Is my situation pulling me closer to God or away from Him?

3: Is God using me here?

This question is even more important than it seems

As we enter into a Post-Christian society here in America, you are going to feel the pull to GO, more than you feel the pull to STAY.

I’m seeing this already.

Christians who want to flee to the margins of society…to withdraw into our own enclaves…safe from any outside influence.

And yet, you don’t have to think too long about this to ask the question, “If every Christian flees the broader culture, then how can we fulfill the great commission to share the Gospel and make disciples?”

As we’ve been saying often lately, we are to be ambassadors for Christ.

If every ambassador flees back to their home country, we won’t have a presence (“a voice” as Ben Pierce said last week), when we need one.

If you stayed where you’re at, “Could God use you?”

To give you a counter-example from when I was in college, I went to a party school that was far from being Christian in Biblical and practical sense.

And while I didn’t GO out to share with the partiers on the weekends, on the flip side, I didn’t feel God calling me to leave the college either… (even though many Christians at our school left to go to a Christian School….and there’s nothing wrong with that for it may be that God called you there!)

But God was using me where I was

My freshmen year, I joined a Bible study of 10 kids, that in 1 year had 100 kids coming, and by the next year, we had 200 students coming every Wednesday night in the PUB on campus.

Sure, it would have been WAY easier…safer even…to leave…

But God was USING me there, so I felt I had to stay.

Think of how God used Obadiah

Jezebel was trying to murder all of the remaining believers, but Obadiah, is able to use his authority, his position to save 100 lives!

If Obadiah is not the Chief of Staff, if he had just fled, he probably never would have known about Jezebel’s plot.

And he certainly wouldn’t have had access to the resources to give food and water to keep 100 people alive!

But Obadiah knew God could really use him for good if he stayed, so he stayed.

There are of course, hundreds of examples like this during difficult times of history.

For example, think of all of the Christians in high positions during Nazi Germany, who used their influence to save hundreds of Jews

They said to God, “I want to flee, but could you use me if I stayed?”

And for so many them, the answer was a clear “yes,” so even though it was SO hard to stay, they stayed.

Don’t just ask, “Will it be easier for me if I leave?”

It probably will.

But sometimes God wants you to stay in the most difficult of places.

I imagine Obadiah’s job in the palace was incredibly stressful, but it’s exactly where God wanted him

Okay, let’s look at the fourth, and perhaps most important question:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

4 Questions to Help You Decide:

1: Does the sin indirectly involve me or directly involve me?

2: Is my situation pulling me closer to God or away from Him?

3: Is God using me here?

4: What is the Holy Spirit saying?

This is the ultimate question.

What is God telling you to do?

Have you prayed about it?

Searched the Scriptures and asked God to speak?

Are you asking for Godly counsel from your small group leader? The elder of your House Group?

Are you letting the Holy Spirit speak through other people?

Have you fasted?

Have you SOUGHT God’s will on it?

This is the task of the Christian.

It’s not to go with your gut, or follow your heart (that’s Disney, not the Bible)

Your task is to listen for God’s will for your life through the Holy Spirit

There are no cut and dry answers here.

God’s will for you may not be the same as another person in a similar situation.

I’ve already given some examples where some of you have gone, “NO! When you gave that example about the restaurant, or that company…that’s wrong! I disagree!”

God wires us differently, and speaks to us differently.

I’m pretty convinced that part of the tension of this passage is that neither Obadiah or Elijah understands why the other one left (or stayed)

They’re different people with different calls on their life

Let me tell you something that’s really important to understanding the New Testament.

The New Testament isn’t a list of 10,000 rules for every situation.

The prevailing moral teaching of the New Testament is this: When God’s Word is clear, we obey it, and when it’s not, we must listen to the Holy Spirit in our individual lives…

Our job isn’t to develop a complex listing of rules to obey in 10,000 different situations.

I want to challenge you to read Romans chapter 14 on this topic this week.

And you’ll see that Christians can feel different convictions in the same setting.

And I’m not saying there isn’t right and wrong OR absolute truth…not at all

But people often feel different convictions because of these 4 questions.

What will pull one person away from God, won’t pull another.

Not to mention, that God just has different plans for different people.

God told Obadiah to stay and Elijah to go.

But then, later, told Elijah to come back again!

And so it’s paramount that as you seek to find if you should stay or go, that you seek God’s will through the Holy Spirit.


And maybe you’re here today and you’re hearing about how God can use people even in dark places, but you’re thinking, “David, I’m in a dark place right now, and I’m not sure I even know God”

I want you to know that God comes into dark places so you can know Him

In fact, the son of God, who was God, Jesus Christ, came to this dark world on a rescue mission for you.

And He died on a cross for your sins.

And the most important message of all of the Bible is that you can have a relationship with Him.

You can be forgiven.

Simply by believing that he died in your place…and turning your life over to Him.

By making Him the Lord, and leader of your life.

And if you’ve never done that before, and you want to do that today, I urge you to do it today.

In fact, if you want to do it today…I’d love to talk to you and get you started in how to do that.

During our last song, I’ll be out in the lobby, and all you need to do is simply sneak out of your chair, and come meet me out there, and I’ll get you started in walking with God.

Sound good?

Let me pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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