The world is desperately in need of Christians who will meet God at the altar, repent of their sins and return to their divine assignment to win others for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. That there are few Christians who are willing or able to do that speaks to the timidity of today's preachers.
We can't experience the goodness of God without a clear understanding of how lost we are without Him. That understanding is found when we come to God at the altar and humbly ask Him to refine us and make us holy.
Thus says the Lord of Hosts:
They will thoroughly glean
the remnant of Israel as a vine.
Turn back your hand
as a grape gatherer into the baskets.
To whom shall I speak and give warning
that they may hear?
See, their ears are closed,
and they cannot listen.
Indeed, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them;
they have no delight in it.
Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord;
I am weary with holding in.
I will pour it out upon the children in the street
and upon the assembly of young men together;
for even the husband with the wife shall be taken,
the aged with him who is full of days.
Their houses shall be turned to others,
with their fields and wives together;
for I will stretch out My hand
upon the inhabitants of the land,
says the Lord.
For from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
everyone is given to covetousness.
And from the prophet even to the priest,
everyone deals falsely.
They have healed also the brokenness
of the daughter of My people superficially,
saying, “Peace, peace,”
when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?
They were not at all ashamed,
nor could they blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them they shall be cast down,
says the Lord” (MEV).
1 Kings 18:22-40
"Then Elijah said to the people, 'I alone remain a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets number four hundred and fifty men. Therefore, let them give us two bulls, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on some wood, but do not light a fire under it, and I will prepare the other bull, lay it on some wood, and not light a fire underneath it. And you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God that answers by fire, let Him be God.'
"And all the people answered and said, 'It is well spoken.'
"Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for there are many of you, and call on the name of your god, but do not light a fire underneath.'
"They took the bull which was given to them, and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, 'O Baal, hear us.' But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
"By noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, 'Cry out loud, for he is a god. Either he is talking or is gone away or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.' They cried out loud and cut themselves with knives and spears according to their custom until the blood gushed out on them. And as midday passed, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.
"Elijah said to all the people, 'Come near to me.' And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came saying, 'Israel shall be your name,' and he built an altar in the name of the Lord with stones, and he made a trench around the altar, so deep that it could contain two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood and cut the bull in pieces and laid him on the wood and said, 'Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.'
"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 the third time. The water ran all around the altar and also filled the trench with water.
"At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, 'The Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, so that this people may know that You are the Lord God and that You have turned their hearts back again.'
"Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench.
"When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, 'The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!'
"Elijah said to them, 'Arrest the prophets of Baal, and do not let one of them escape.' And they arrested them, and Elijah brought them down to the Kishon brook and executed them there" (MEV).
The Church and individual believers need to come to the altar and leave our sin there, so we can return to the mission field equipped to serve our fellow man and win the lost.
To leave our sin at the altar, we must first have an altar to go to, and then we must go there. When we do those things, the Holy Spirit can speak to you about your sin. That leads to conviction, which is necessary to our spiritual lives as pain is for our physical lives.
The altar is a place of sacrifice. He's going to ask you for something that you don't want to leave there. You will have to use the word, prayer and the Holy Spirit to leave your sacrifice at the altar.
Do not allow the living Christ to be God in name only, at your convenience. He’s not some abstract idea that you use in an attempt to become a better person.
He never called you to do that or try harder – but to become a new creature in Jesus Christ. Come to the altar and crucify your flesh daily.