God is a Consuming Fire

Our study text is Hebrews 12:22-29

Fire destroys and purifies. The Word tells us that God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24) Jealous, as it describes God, is not the jealousy that we use in referring to a human emotion. The jealousy of God is passion; zeal! God is zealous about you and I passionately pursuing His plan and heart. God is passionately seeking a people who are burning with passion to come into partnership with Him in accomplishing on earth what exists in heaven. When we live in communion with God as a consuming fire, there is no comparison of ourselves with others. There is no competition or human jealousy. We are living in the throne room of God, before the face of God, where those things don’t exist.
Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the throne room of heaven, is alive with myriads of angels, spirits of the righteous made perfect, Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and the congregation of the firstborn – you and I, His church on earth. We have a place of function now before the throne of God. The warning then is, “let us not refuse to hear Him.”  
We will not find the wisdom of God by seeking it anywhere other than His Word. We will not receive the plan and purpose of God for our lives by having our affections, our mind, set anywhere else but above, nor by positioning ourselves in a place other than before His throne. I am not saying that Godly men and women do not have wisdom, but we pattern our lives after the One in whose image and likeness we have been created, not after them. The impartation of spiritual guidance and direction that God has given to them for their lives and ministry may not be for you and who He has called you to become or how He has designed your ministry to reflect His glory. We need to seek God for ourselves. We need God to impart spiritual revelation to us that will empower us to move forward in His plan for our lives. Paul said to imitate him (but only) as He imitates Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) How did Paul imitate Christ? Read Philippians 2:5-11.

This Kingdom we are called to receive is immovable and unshakeable. Please notice that we receive His Kingdom. Entering His Kingdom is a gift that He extends to those who have been made sons and daughters by the blood of Jesus. He doesn’t force anyone to climb Mount Zion and live from His Presence. When we choose to live out of the overflow of being in His presence, He releases grace to us to serve Him. God grants us grace for various tasks that He has called us to. We are saved by grace. The grace to serve God is not saving grace.

Serving God is ministering to Him in full agreement with what He is desiring to accomplish, and we do this in reverence. It is only in this realm of glory that we unite with others from the Church of the Firstborn, and become a powerful force on this earth. This is only done by grace that He releases so that we can pull His kingdom down into the earth realm. Don’t fret over trying to hear God. Don’t become anxious about recognizing His presence. Also, don’t stop seeking Him because He isn’t speaking or showing up as you expect.  All our striving and human effort will not get us there. Instead, we are to be zealously (fiery) diligent about entering His rest. (Hebrews 4:11) We do not strive in the flesh, but burn with desire for Him. Where is His rest? On top of Mount Zion! It will be in His rest that grace comes to us to serve Him as He desires, not as we desire.

It is only there that His consuming fire purifies our heart and destroys within us any unsanctified desire. God has not provided grace for us to do what He has not called us to do. The fulfillment of our own plans and purpose may or may not gain the approval of man; may or may not gain us earthly riches, possessions, title, and position. There is no eternal value to having our reputation be heralded on this earth. We are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. (Luke 12:21) We may be recognized in some of the most renowned places on earth, and yet not be recognized in God’s throne room because we spend little to no time there. It is the works that we accomplish in our own power in order to gain the approval of man that will be considered wood, hay, and stubble when we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is those works that will have no eternal value and instead be burned up before His eyes as a flame of fire because they bring no glory to Him who is worthy of ALL the glory. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) Service to God in His Kingdom is achieved by grace not by human strength; it is achieved by His wisdom, not by human intellect or reasonings.

So, what do we do? How do we walk out our faith here on Earth? Jesus counseled the Laodicean church, who had gained earthly riches and reputation in their own power, to buy for themselves gold refined in the fire, and white garments. Then He tells them to anoint their eyes with eye salve so that they could see. (Revelation 3:14-18) They had thought themselves to be successful, to have arrived, and to have everything that they needed. Jesus said of them, however, that they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Imagine being in such a spiritual state and not even know it. That is why they had to anoint their eyes with eye salve. They needed their eyes opened to see their own spiritual lack. There are people in the world today who think they have no need of God. There are people in the church who have become lukewarm and think they have no need for God, as well as those who are lukewarm because they get their strategies and plans from man and not God. They deceive themselves into thinking they are building something for God. I would remind you of the tower of Babel. We need to become His Burning Ones! A fiery, passionate church receives their orders from heaven. Jesus also tells this lukewarm church to be zealous and repent. Some leaders in the church don’t even teach repentance because they think it is too negative. There is nothing negative about a clean heart. If repentance was good enough for King David, then it is good enough for us. (Psalms 51) Be on fire for God and repent. Live within His consuming fire.

It will cost us something to be transformed into His burning one. We become a living sacrifice by placing ourselves on the altar before His Presence and surrendering to His consuming fire. Yes, it will be painful. Yes, it will destroy some things that we may believe we have to cling to for survival. But remember, Jesus is in the fire with us and He has promised that we will get to the other side in triumph and victory! (2 Corinthians 2:14) We will come out of the fire as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego not smelling of smoke, but carrying the aroma of heaven.
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