When Solomon had ended his prayer,  fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house.  When all the children of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the earth on the pavement, and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord.

                                                                                                             2 Chronicles 7:1-3


Never have we been as conscious of the need for unity in the Body of Christ as now. It's all very well for someone to come along and say,


"But there is unity in the Body.

Scripture already says, 'We are all one body.'"


And we can sit around and spin little theories and tell ourselves what wonderful things are happening. But truthfully, the saints of God throughout the earth, in any town, in almost any church, are in disarray.


That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  John 17:21


We may be together - but are we one?

We may be in step - but are we really one?

We may have superficial agreement on many things - but unity?


The saints who are not one with each other in the Father and the Son are going to wake up one day, very soon, and find themselves outside the Kingdom with the door shut.


This is not the 16th century. This is the beginning of the End. We are standing at the threshold of a time of judgment this planet hasn't seen since its beginning.


Matthew 24 is unfolding before our eyes.


Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.

There will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all

this is but the beginning of the sufferings. We will be delivered

to tribulation ... put to death, hated... There will be false

prophets...Because wickedness is multiplied, the love of many

will grow cold. And the gospel of the kingdom will be preached

 throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations. Then

 the end will come.


What kind of church is going to walk through this tribulation?

      (And don’t bet on escaping through the Rapture.)


What kind of church is going to preach the gospel of the Kingdom throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations? Surely not this torn,

pride infested,
name lusting,

 scattered, divided body. 


It will be a body of saints who are one.


Now granted only the Spirit of God can bring unity about. We don't sit around and take a vote and decide that from now on we're going to be one, and then have unity.


- God has to do it.


And notice the way God brings his people into unity:


- God brings his people into unity simply by causing his glory to come upon them.


When the glory of God is upon his church, his church is one. When the glory departs from his church, its people are scattered.


The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them,

that they may be one even as we are one.


At the moment, we're only seeing flashes of this glory…


- Perhaps it comes to a handful of saints at prayer. You walk into the room and know there's a difference in the atmosphere.


- There's a knock on the door just at the moment when you're at your wits end. The
  visitor steps inside and the glory of God fills the place.


But soon it won't be just odd flashes. There will be fellowships which will be absolutely drenched in God's glory. Glory will follow these people wherever they go.


     - It will fill the rooms of their homes.

     - It will hover over their dinner tables.

     - It will be with them on their jobs.

     - It will breathe upon them as they sleep.

     - Welcome them to the new day.


And wherever you find this atmosphere of glory you will find unity among the disciples.


The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.


But notice when Jesus prayed this prayer. He prayed it as he was about to be offered up.


"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."


The glory God has given his Son becomes visible only as the Son is sacrificed. And the glory Jesus gives his disciples becomes actual in their lives only when their lives become one with his sacrifice on the cross.


            When Solomon had ended his prayer, fire came down from

            heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices,

            and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.


First, those offerings and sacrifices were slain, cut and laid open on the altar.


            - Then the fire falls and consumes them.

            - Then the glory of God fills the temple.


Glory always follows the fire on the sacrifice.


I have a baptism to be baptized with,

 and how I am constrained until it is accomplished.    Luke 12:50


The most important thing, the thing on which everything else hinges, is this baptism of fire. Without the baptism of fire there will be no baptism of glory on God's people.


And this baptism of fire which came to the Son of God is either going to touch you,

                         burn you,

                         consume you, change you, or you are still dead in your sins.


I don't care who tells you that you can accept the cross of Jesus on faith and then go on living your delicate,




                         pious little life and consider yourself saved. That's a lie.


If you really take hold of the cross of Jesus by faith,


- you're never going to be the same,


- you're never going to walk without a limp again.


You're going to be like Jacob after the angel wounded his thigh. You're going to limp. You're going to be spoiled for the world. You're going to be broken, and broken, and broken for the rest of your life. Your healing is in that brokenness. God's strength is made perfect in your weakness.


While there is only one sacrifice for sin — the death of the Lamb — a sacrifice never to be repeated, yet, we cannot come into unity with the Son of God, much less into unity with each other, until we enter into that sacrifice.


The disunity among the people who say they love Jesus is simply evidence that there are a lot of professing Christians who are refusing to put their lives on the altar and let the fire fall.


- They want power.

- They want gifts of the Spirit.
- They want victory.


But they don't want to feel the fire.


- They don't want to share in the sufferings of their Lord.


  - They don't want to be reproached for the name of Christ.


"Isn't it enough that I reckon myself dead with you, Lord?

Isn't it enough that I reckon myself crucified?

Why do I have to feel those flames?

Why do I have to actually have people dislike me,

               hurt me,
              slander me,
              reject me?"


"Look, Lord, I'm willing to present my body as a living sacrifice to you by faith, but does this mean I have to go through hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue?"


If we're going to be touched by real glory then we're also going to be touched by a real cross. We're going to offer ourselves, in deed and in truth, to the fire of God to come down and lick up the sacrifice in order that God's glory may fill the temple.


1. The fire of God means broken pride.


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken

 and a contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise.


Some of us give the appearance of great humility, but our pride is unbroken. We haven't shed one tear before God for what we are. We go right on holding to our own way, looking down on those around us, and never bending an inch. No wonder we're so dead.


Would we be willing, today, to put our pride on the altar and let it be broken open to the fire of God so that we can begin to do those things that only broken men and women can do?


Like ask for forgiveness?

Like change our course when we know it's wrong?


2. The fire of God means spent bodies.


I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God that

you present your bodies as a living sacrifice.


That's not a religious act. That's a way of life, a daily spending of the body. Amazing how many people are trying to be Christians with their spirits and pagans with their bodies. Floating around on cloud nine with their spirits while they endlessly gratify their bodies. 


Our Lord offered his body to the Father every day.

- That's why he was tired as he sat by the well.
- That's why he slept in the boat.

- That's why he was hungry in the wilderness.

- That's why he was thirsty as he hung on the cross.


Think of all the things you avoid because it might involve a little fatigue.  Put your body on the altar and let the Spirit show you how to spend it.


  - You'll no longer be living for your table or your bed.

       - You'll be joyfully eating and resting so you can go

          out and spend your body some more.


Your meat and drink will be to do the will of him who sent you and accomplish his work.


3. The fire of God means a forgotten name.


When the officials came to John the Baptist in the wilderness and asked, "Who are you?", he didn't answer, "You mean you never heard of me?   I'm John the Baptist!"


He simply said, "I am not the Christ."


"Are you Elijah?"  — "No."

"Are you that prophet?"  — "No."

"Well then, who are you?"


  "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'make
   straight the way of the Lord.'"


"I have no name.

I am a voice."

The price of being a voice,

  of being able to point men to Jesus, is that we lose our name.


Our name becomes a forgotten thing to all but God. Ask yourself honestly if you are willing to pay that price? If you're not, don't say you are, because God might just take you at your word.


4. The fire of God means a transformed mind.


Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  When the fire of God gets through with your mind, it's abnormal as far as the world is concerned because it no longer conforms to the mind of Channel 2, or the Daily News, or your favorite news anchor.


It conforms to the mind of him who emptied himself and became a servant. And so your days are spent living in a world that thinks along other lines, causing you to be wrenched and torn by people you work with and live with who want you to come along with them while you follow a Master they can't see. And you go on thinking with a mind which has no choice but to see everything from God's point of view.


And, by the way, when you see things from God's point of view you don't run off and isolate yourself from the world by surrounding yourself with nothing but Christians. You stay in the world and sweat it out. Are you willing?


It's the saints who are willing to feel the fire — who, as the fire falls, will also taste glory. And in that glory will have unity with each other. Are we willing to be joined to the sacrifice on the altar in order that, as the fire of God falls on the sacrifice, the glory of God may fill the temple? Then let's do it.


Let's put our pride, our bodies,

          our names,

          our minds on the altar with the Lamb

and let the fire fall.