The Fire of God
“Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
“For our God is a consuming fire”
The Fire of God is not only a Holy Fire it is a consuming Fire. It consumes the wood, hay and stubble of men’s works and offerings. It consumes anything which is not of Him within the life of His own. Though eternal, like the natural fire in this world it consumes until there is nothing left.
Many in our day minister out of the precious gifts of the Spirit yet few there be who know of the true Baptism of the Holy Spirit which fell upon the early church accompanied by the Fire of God Himself. The selfish ways of men were consumed in the fire which fell, every life touched by the fire became living sacrifices unto God. They lived for His Glory, they sought no following or faction of their own disciples, they were mortified if any attention was diverted from Christ unto themselves. The Fire of God is His answer for the Church in this day. His fire will not only consume the dross of self in our midst it will also be the very flame which welds us into One Body and One Loaf.
His Fire falls on the sacrificial hearts of those who live in the desire and life of the Lamb. There is only one fire accepted by the Father and there is only One sacrifice which pleases Him and it is in the Living Christ where we discover both!
“For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”
Offerings by fire,
from lives aflame,
hearts lifted by holy hands,
To worship His Glorious Name.
“fervent in spirit”
In this day of apathy and lukewarm expressions of faith we need this simple statement of the Holy Spirit to remind us of our calling. We are surrounded and bombarded by the world, the lust of the flesh, the ease of life and the deception of the status quo. We watch in horror how His people treat one another; divided by secular organizations (all in His Name) and fully capable of all manner of evil to one another with no sense of accountability to Him. This dreadful state is the result of a people who are not “beholding the Head” or walking in His Life. Fervency of spirit is the result of His Spirit burning within our lives.
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,
let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire”
There are many who preach grace from the pulpit but it is a grace that ministers a human comfort, a consoling message to our sin, worldliness and cold hearts. This “grace” brings an apathy to people who are no longer aware of the Day which is upon us. It is a false grace, the Lie of the very Devil who would lure God’s people into a deadly slumber of spirit which will result in the judgment of a Holy God.
The true ministration of Grace brings forth lives who are enabled to serve God acceptably with “reverence and godly fear”. The Church of Jesus Christ is in need of burning expressions of His Light and His Glory to re-ignite the flame of God within the sanctuary of our hearts. If our God is a consuming fire what should be the temperature of the hearts of those who claim He is alive in them? We cannot sit Sunday after Sunday hearing sermons (which may be good) without the intensity of something rising up within us to be empowered and inspired as a flaming torch for Him! How can this slumber continue without a sense of life passing us by; without the tasting and seeing of His wonder being expressed from our own hearts?
Jesus commenting on John the Baptist declared:
“He was a burning and a shining light…”
Should not this be the normal testimony of Jesus concerning each of us?
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
Do we believe this? The revelation of our belief is in the outflow of lives held by the fervency of His Spirit. How can we be comfortable with a life which has no resemblance to this? The complacency of spirit, the dead thing men call life in our day, the standards of the life of a Christian are so low that even the world takes note of our impotency.
“For the name of God
is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you…”
Read the context of this scripture and feel the passion and heart of God beating in Paul’s heart. Let us hear the admonition of His voice in our Day. Let us turn from our wicked, self-deceiving, and worldly ways and offer ourselves afresh unto Him who can turn our cold and dead hearts into flaming expressions of living sacrifices.
It is the empty altar which receives no fire.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God”
The evidence of His mercy received is a free-will offering unto Him. The greater the reception of mercy the greater is the depth of our offering.
“Our God is a Consuming Fire”
“Is not my word like as a fire?
saith the Lord;
and like a hammer that breaketh
the rock in pieces?”
God’s Word is not only an expression of Himself it is also an extension of Himself. He is His Word and His Word is Himself (John 1:1). We read in both the Old and New Testaments that our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29). They who bear His Living Word within their hearts know in a corresponding measure to their walk the truth of this. For His Word is the very expression of His Nature, His Thoughts and His Ways. Words without fire are words without unction. Men cannot touch His Presence and remain unaffected, apathetic and unconcerned about His inheritance in the earth. His presence is fire and glory. His zeal for His House (Psalm 119:139, John 2:17) in the earth is a consuming fire within the hearts of those who have His Word.
His Word is a fire which consumes, purifies and impels those who bear it to speak with intensity to all who would hear. This fire cannot be quenched, compromised or contaminated by the tepid atmosphere of religious men who would desire something less than God Himself. This Word is antagonistic to the comfortable, to those who would seek a complacent and more popular approach to God; yet to those who desire to walk and live within the fiery presence of a Holy God it is the necessity of life itself.
It is the work of God to bring His people to such expressions…
“But his word was in mine heart
as a burning fire
shut up in my bones”
Men without fire have not yet touched His Presence. It is ever the work of the Holy Spirit to bring men to such places (Exodus 3:2) where the Fire of God burns like the Holy Lamp did in the days of the Tabernacle/Temple of God in the Old Testament. The Word of God declares “ye are the temple of the living God” and as such there ought to be the fire of His Presence burning within our hearts.
The Priesthood of Eli
Eli was a priest who through neglect became blind in His service to God and as a result the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle! This lamp of fire had been preserved and watched over by the priests of God for over 450 years! His sons had become immoral and loose in their walk before God. This was a day of no accountability. Men did as they pleased and the ministry was silent concerning God’s Righteousness. The outward observance of God’s law continued but the fire went out and men did not lay these things to heart.
There is also in our day a ministry in the earth which has neither fire nor unction; a ministry which has resulted in the fire of God going out in His house. There is a religious environment in which men hold the Word in the form of teachings and doctrines rather than in their hearts by the living fire of His presence. These are they who hold His Word in unrighteousness, who seek to fill their churches and fellowships with kind and comfortable words but have no actual concern for the condition of His people or their walk in righteousness. The Word speaks of the fruit of such a ministry:
“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold”
The reason the fire goes out is because of iniquity and sin. The Love of God beating within a man’s heart will cause him to forsake sin. A Gospel which does not have the very fire of God within it is not God’s Living Word. In contrast to this unholy ministry we read of another.
The Stranger and the Words of Fire
Two disciples walking down the road to Emmaus in deep despair and perplexity were joined by a “stranger”* who spoke sternly to them concerning their plight and their lack of faith. Their eyes where blinded to the One who spoke with them as they journeyed. Would our hearts receive such words from a stranger?
“O fools, and slow of heart to believe
all that the prophets have spoken…”
After realizing the stranger was in fact the risen Lord who had spoken to them these hard words the disciples remarked to one another:
“And they said one to another,
Did not our heart burn within us,
while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Empty words proceed from hearts lacking fire. The words of the religious are different than the Words of Jesus and they who serve at His Altar will speak His Words and seek His Glory and not their own.
“And it came to pass,
when Jesus had ended these sayings,
the people were astonished at his doctrine:
For he taught them as one having authority,
and not as the scribes”
Burning Words flow from burning hearts!
Even so Lord draw us to the fire of your presence and cause that fire to burn, purify and consume all that is unholy and carnal in us. Make us to be “ministers of flaming fire”. Men who will not abide in such words now will perish in the fire of His return.
“If a man abide not in me,
he is cast forth as a branch,
and is withered; and men gather them,
and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned”
* Men reveal by their response the true condition of their hearts. Here a stranger came and spoke hard words, yet these two downtrodden disciples resisted not the admonition for they were men who desired truth and loved it. Men who refuse the fire and the hammer of God’s Word are not abiding in His Spirit. They have not the love of truth burning within their heart. They appear religious and will seek to build and do religious things but in their inner heart truth is not desired nor pursued. It is the day of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and in the revealing of Him men’s works will be made manifest even as by fire.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire;
and the fire shall try every man’s work
of what sort it is”
1 Corinthians 3:13
Fire, like Love, cannot be kept to one’s self. Those who love God cannot contain His Fire; they cannot see apathy and not speak. Love is sacrificial. It must speak and express itself even in the face of opposition and indifference. It will not choose the easy way, it will always contend for truth, and will not compromise for the sake of acceptance.
Men who hold teachings and doctrines dear are content with those things. Men filled with God’s fire must speak, must move and must give way to the inner burning of the heart, for the message is more than the man himself. The desire to reveal God’s heart exceeds the desire for men’s approval. It is better to burn than to fit in. It is better to be alone than to be tempered into the current theology of comfort and acceptance.
Love, like fire, must consume the very object from which it springs. Men who hold God’s love in their hearts are like the flimsy wick that is simply the medium through which His Fire burns. Dead and insignificant in themselves they cast the very heat and light of God as they are consumed in His Glory. Life lived outside of such a grip is not worthy of Him. Acceptance of a life lived on any other level is to fall short of Him.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:
but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:
he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”