The Fire of God



Read: 1 Kings 18:20-39


The prophets of Baal had influence with King Ahab, but no fire.


Elijah had almost no human support, no influence with the king, but he had fire.


The altar for Baal was surrounded by people, action, activity, noise. The altar for the Lord seemed pitiful, by comparison.  Pitiful, especially after Elijah had it doused with water three times -- twelve huge jars full of water like the twelve tribes of Israel.


            But when Elijah prays … fire.


This is the issue: Is our assembly, our religious gathering, our "Christian" effort, the work of crafty men and women who know how to manipulate a crowd, or is it the work of God?


If it is the work of God, it will have the mark of God on it – the same mark that was on Elijah’s altar.


It will burn with the fire of God.


If you and I are servants of God, we too can call down fire from heaven. But before we do, we had better understand what we are asking for.


John the Baptist is speaking, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.       Matthew 3:11


Whenever the Holy Spirit baptizes a people, that baptism is accompanied by another baptism which we hear little about these days: the baptism of fire.


We see this fire burning all through Scripture from Genesis through to Revelation.


If you allow it, you will see this fire fall from heaven into your life and into your  assembly.


The fire of God is the fire of which all earthly fires are but a symbol.


It is the fire that guards the doorway to paradise.


It is the fire through which we must pass,

if we are going to enter into the kingdom of God,

                             live under the anointing of God,

                             fulfill the purpose of God in this world.


When this fire burns in us, the kingdom of God has come, the will of God is done on earth as it is done in heaven.


Here are four things about the fire of God which we must know:



1.      Out of this Fire God speaks.


Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within the bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”


When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”


And Moses said, “Here I am.”                                                                     Exodus 3:1


For eighty years Moses had heard about God, read about God, recounted the exploits done under the anointing of God.  But it was not until Moses drew near to that burning bush and stood before the holy fire of God, that he began to hear God speak.


In the days of his flesh, Jesus was the burning bush. He burned, but was not consumed --- until he arrived at Calvary, where suddenly Jesus was consumed by his baptism of fire.


Anybody with integrity could see the fire as they watched him die. 

And as they stood before this burning bush they heard God speak.


Today the authentic Body of Christ on earth is the burning bush.


It burns but is not consumed.


And God himself speaks through its flame.


And yet, every disciple follows the Master to a Calvary where we too are consumed by a fire in a death like his.  It is when we are willing to go to our Calvary, when we are willing to submit to those flames, that we burn all the way to the end of our earthly journey.


And when the fire of God burns in us, not only do we hear God speak, but others hear God speak through us.


Out of the fire God speaks.


2.     Through this fire God refines.


But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present righteous offerings to the Lord.                                          Malachi 3:2


When the fire of God begins to lick at our lives, it is because we are being refined. It burns out the hypocrisy, the mediocrity, the apathy, the self-righteousness that infects us all.


Things begin to happen in our lives that cause pain. We experience persecution. We walk through trial. All this is a sign that God is dealing with us as sons and daughters. He is disciplining us. He is cleansing our hearts. Purifying our spirits. Toughening up our skin, so we can walk through flames.


There has never been a servant of God who has not had to pass through flames on the way to the harvest field.


There has never been a servant of God who has not remained close to those flames throughout the ministry God has given to them.


We are baffled, like Job. “What’s going on?” we cry.  Sometimes our bewilderment lasts for a few minutes.  Sometimes we’re baffled for years. 

But if remain faithful, we will be assured that the Father knows what he’s doing as he refines us.


3.    By the fire, God empowers us.


When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.                                                            Acts 2:1


Those tongues of flame dancing over their heads were the sign that they had now received power from on high. Such power is not given to make them magicians who do "spiritual tricks."  It is given for one purpose: to bear witness to the ultimate truth (to which this planet is blind) --- that Jesus is Lord!


It is for that purpose alone that they receive such power.   With this fire resting upon them they are able to speak with authority, as they match their lives to their message. They break the chains that bind the human mind to this world’s darkness, that blind the human eye to God’s light.


When you get close to the fire, you are getting close to the power of God.


Every person who has ever been under the anointing of God has been to the fire, stays close to the fire.


Moses has been to the fire.


Isaiah has been to the fire. A burning coal is brought by one of the seraphim and touches his mouth.


Ezekiel has been to the fire. He looks up and sees blinding glory sitting on the throne surrounded by dancing flames.


Mary Magdalene has been to the fire.


The apostle Paul has been to the fire.


“He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”


It is only when you have them both that you have the power of God.


Any "power" which is divorced from the fire of God is spurious and dangerous; it may be "spiritual" but far from holy and clean.


4.     The fire of God brings history to a close.


Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightening, and an earthquake.

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets made ready to blow them.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, which fell on the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water.

                                                                                                Revelation 8: 5-10


Fire-signs continue through Revelation until Babylon is destroyed — until history, as we know it, has come to an end.  Then the fire settles down and becomes the Lake of Fire waiting for the devil and his angels.


Be certain that the fire, which will one day purge the earth of all evil, and vindicate the holiness of the Living God, now burns among us.


Out of the fire God speaks,

through the fire God refines,

by the fire God empowers,

with the fire God brings history to a close.


“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and would that is was already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!”                        

 Luke 12:49


Before Jesus could spread fire on the earth, he first had to be baptized by that fire himself.  He knew that the fire was his goal, even when he looked like a roaring success.  He knew that he was on his way to what would look like total failure.


He was on his way to his baptism of fire.


Only after Jesus rose from the dead did he begin spreading fire on earth.


This fire will never stop burning.


And now Jesus, alive from the dead, speaking to in the Holy Spirit, says “You want the baptism of the Holy Spirit? You want more of the Holy Spirit in your life? This I will gladly give you.  But are you willing to receive, with your baptism in the Spirit, a baptism of Fire? Will you follow me into the flames?”


If we want our altar to burn like Elijah’s altar…

If we want our churches to have a living Word for that world out there…

If we want to have an impact for God …

If we want our daily lives to make sense…

If we want them to have eternal meaning …


…we have no choice but to follow Jesus into the flames — to submit our lives to the baptism of fire.


Are we willing to ask God to send his fire into our lives? ...


so that we are the sacrifice prepared, the altar made ready…

so that his fire, coming down into us, may accomplish its purpose…

so that we may be brought into the burning life of God’s kingdom,

                            offering an effective, powerful, living witness,

not only with our mouth,

but with our life.


“Lord, send the Holy Spirit and send the fire!”


Pray that prayer, and watch God work.

Pray that prayer every day, and watch things change — within you and around you.


The fire will fall; it will consume the sacrifice, the altar, the wood, the stones, and even the water.


And as the fire burns, you will hear God speak…you will be refined … and you will be empowered to proclaim with burning authority---that Jesus is Lord.  


  “Lord God, send the Holy Spirit … and send the fire!”