God, Our Consuming Fire
“God is one massive, continuous, pent up revival waiting to happen!”
Fire is primal and dangerous. It is tantalizing and mesmerizing. It is warm and comfortable but always not very controllable. “He is not a safe lion, but He is good.” Said the Narnians to the children. God uses fire in the Scriptures to talk about Himself.
We will look at some of these passages and see what they say about revival for us and our churches.
Deuteronomy 4:24 (NASB) 24 “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Here God lets us know that He is dangerous indeed. He is a jealous God!! Did you know that it is OK for God to be jealous and not us. Yes, jealousy for us is forbidden. It is an ownership issue you see. God made us and owns us, but we don’t own anyone else. A jealous God is one who will not let things be, He will come and penetrate and consume our hearts with His fire.
He will not let anything stand between us and His consuming love. He is jealous for His lovers who have gone and kissed the Baals (idols) of this world and would have them back in His embrace. Oh God is dangerous, powerful and uncontrollable.
The church prays for revival, but many don’t know what revival really is. Revival starts in each heart where God looks in and sees what is really going on. Not what we show to each other, but what is deep within, those secret rooms we don’t let anybody into. He wants to clean house and He will come and pierce us completely through and make us come out and clean with Him.
It happens all through history, that the first instance of revival is the pierced hearts of men causing them to confess all those sins both visible and secret. Many are made by the Holy Spirit to make restitution and ask forgiveness from others even at great physical and physic cost to the one confessing.
In the great Congo Revival of 1954 many were rooted to the ground with the power and fire of God upon them giving them the option to either confess or walk away to hell. They could not continue life as usual and most confessed, but the stories of those who chose not to were grim.
1 Peter 1:8 (NASB) 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
But to those who confessed all the massive, continuous, pent up revival of the Lord fell and they rejoiced with joy inexpressible and full of glory. Oh the scenes of revival are extraordinary and vivid.
The Welch Revival of 1904 where whole cities were overtaken by the Holy Spirit and people even in pubs and public houses could not resist His power. Churches became continuous revival centers and singing and testimonies went on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Revival has the power to change a culture. Dry, cold, formal churches, became places where waves and waves of Holy Spirit power flowed and men could not resist His power. The Christians merely went out and God moved with them.
In many past revivals the very presence of God moved with and even leaped ahead of the passionate, glowing faced believers. Places became an area were the presence of God became like a God zone and when someone came into that area the presence of the Lord became a fire in their heart and they could not, nor would not resist.
Deuteronomy 9:3 (NASB) 3 “Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you.
The scoffers and the wicked were mowed down by the Holy Spirit. In the 1857 Prayer Revival that started on Fulton Street in New York a story is told that a battleship entered the harbor. Within the ships bowels there were two men praying as was their habit. They prayed in the depths of the ship because if the other men had found them they would mock and persecute them. But as the ship entered the God zone the other men of the ship found them, but not to mock but to cry out to the Living God that has suddenly became so real to them. They came to seek Him in the place where those who were lit up by the fire from another world were. That battleship became a bethel.
In other revivals the wicked would say that they could resist this foolishness of the Christians only to be swept away, powerless before the great sweeping fire of God. Cold, dead, Christians would suddenly be awakened to new life and the God of all power would set them ablaze with His presence.
But today is revival still possible?
Can God and will God still move in power in our modern world?
I know personally the price of revival my brothers and sisters. I was kicked out of the church where I was associate pastor because revival was starting to break out. Revival scares people and especially scares the leadership of the Church. They want to control, but the Holy Spirit will not be controlled. It rocks the boat and makes people uncomfortable. Oh God make us uncomfortable and not only rock our boats, but kick us out of the boat to where You are, out on the waves of the world. Those Churches who resist the movement of God and don’t understand the day of their visitation will loose out in the coming move of God.
Yes you heard right, God has not forgotten the modern world and has a plan to move and to shake our nations to wake up or even resurrect the Church!!!
But for the remnant still in the Church, or even those who are fed up with the Church as it is there is much we need to do to prepare ourselves for the coming revival.
2 Chronicles 7:12 – 16 (NASB) 12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16 “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
What “this place” was God speaking to Solomon about?
The Temple of God. Who and where is the temple today? It is US!!!! We are the place where God says that His eyes will be open and His ears attentive to the prayer. Oh people of God, we are in perilous times, our country is in deep trouble and we need healing in the land, we need renewal in the hearts of the Church and we need revival to sweep the land. Get on your knees, the promise of God has been made. I preached a sermon on this verse and a man ( a visitor) came up to me and said: “A nice treatise on prayer.” Oh Lord of heaven, that wasn’t a treatise, it was a Spirit Cry!! God will answer our prayers, He promised and what He promises He will do. We only have to pray!!
2. Get Intimate
Isaiah 33:13 – 17 (NASB) 13 “You who are far away, hear what I have done; And you who are near, acknowledge My might.” 14 Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless. “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” 15 He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, He who rejects unjust gain And shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil; 16 He will dwell on the heights, His refuge will be the impregnable rock; His bread will be given him, His water will be sure. 17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; They will behold a far-distant land.
Brothers and Sisters, this verse if most powerful and wonderful. Our God is inviting us into the impossible, the wild side, the place of ultimate power and glory!
It is His consuming fire presence that we ardently desire. Oh how I want to live in that burning place where He is!! It is sublime and dangerous to live there. You will never again be the same as He works His glory out on you. Oh how I know that now. You must embrace the flame of God, it will scorch and burn you, but you will be changed from glory to glory there, there is where all delight, love, joy and perfect peace dwells. “Oh Flame of Heaven, make me your fuel!!”
3. Get flowing
John 7:37 – 39 (NASB) 37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow (Burst Forth) rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Jesus Christ was a dangerous radical and He spoke dangerous ideas and He upset the status quo and made the religious people mad, so mad they killed Him to silence Him. He wants us to be just as dangerous. Here He speaks of a flow from within.
This is not a gentle, babbling brook, but a full blown raging river. A river that threatens to break out of its banks and drown the city. It is a dangerous flow of power and glory that will upset all before it, it will kill the sacred cows and upset the apple carts of comfort, it will wash away the excuses and coldness of formal, dead churches.
(The RAGING RIVER) It will blast through walls of excuses and sin. I will rampage over dead preaching and listless hearing. Oh God of the Living Waters, ever pour yourself through us, give drink to a thirsty and dying world!!
Acts 26:12 – 20 (NASB) – Paul’s Damascus Road experience – 12 “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ 19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
Look at Saul, breathing fire and threats against the Church he hated. Traveling on the Damascus road until he had a white hot vision of Jesus. So pure and powerful it blinded him and sent him tumbling pell mell into Damascus all his plans awry.
Oh do we have plans brothers and sisters? Are we on a road all full of ourselves and what we will do?
We need a white hot vision of the Living Lord to knock us off of our feet!!
We need the Holy Fire of God to pierce our hearts that are cold and hard and set them aflame with His love and presence. Not so we can be a holy specimen, but so we can rock the world we live in!! He wants to use us to spread all His dangerous ideas!!
So ask Him today to set you ablaze with His glory, surely He will answer, and give you every thing you need.