Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Fire on the Altar
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." - Romans 12:1
That we would breath this in and let it become a part of us... that we would seize the meaning of this Scripture and let it change us forever. Read it again, meditate on it for a moment. This is the urging of Paul, the calling of the Word, the bidding of the Spirit, the footsteps of Jesus. This is the will of God for you and I: a complete sacrifice of ourselves to God, which is acceptable, which is reasonable, which is spiritual, which is true worship!
We know that what was done long ago was done as signs to us of what was to come, that the service of the Old Covenant was but a shadow of the service to come (Hebrews 8:5).
"John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." - Luke 3:16
"And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..." - Acts 2:3-4
Now where was this fire found in days of old? Where was this fire found in the desert tabernacle? How did God foretell this fire through Moses upon Mount Sinai? Can we learn anything from the Scriptures about this fire, as Paul admonished Timothy to do so (2 Timothy 3:16)?
Remember Isaac asked his father: "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7) How did they know to offer a burnt offering before Moses received the Law? Did you notice this?
Even earlier than this, observe what Noah does: "And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." (Genesis 8:20) He too knew to offer a burnt offering! I suspect Abel's offering was also burned in the fire.
So it is here we find the fire: upon the altar.
"And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar..." - Leviticus 1:7
"Fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." - Leviticus 6:13
And it is for this reason why the Church today is so lacking the fire of the Holy Spirit. We don't do Romans 12:1; we don't offer ourselves as sacrifices, let alone holy and pleasing. We may sing "I Surrender All" but the truth is we don't. Thus we are not baptized by the fire of God.
Don't let anybody deceive you. You will never be filled with the Holy Spirit until you offer your body a living and holy sacrifice upon the altar of death. The altar is a place of death, where an offering is slain and cut up into pieces and burnt until it is ashes. Nothing remains. The problem with Christians today is they remain to live another day! Do you think Paul was dead one day and alive the next? "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:2) I believe we are taught this lie in Church because those who teach it have to justify their own existence. What this world desperately needs is men and women who are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, full of resurrection power and have obtained the victory the flesh! Do we claim to have resurrection power even though we have not died? One must die first to be resurrected.
I want to be burnt in the fire of God! I don't want anything of myself to remain. I want to return to the dust of the ground that God may create a new man out of me (Genesis 2:7), in the likeness of His Son and with the power of the Holy Spirit!
"I urge you, brethren..." The altar is still there, waiting... waiting for someone to jump onto it and plunge the knife into their flesh and be done with it once and for all. The fire is still burning... eager to send up to the Lord that sweet smelling savor of a soul abandoned to God.
This is why Christ died; not simply to redeem an obstinate people who remain carnal and get to go to heaven in the end, but to raise up a people for His heavenly Father, holy and pleasing to God, who worship Him in Spirit and in truth, loving not their lives unto death.