In Times of Shaking (Christians Being Tested)

In Times of Shaking
Robert Wurtz II

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:25–29 NKJV)

The book of Hebrews was written at a time when Israel was about to go through the greatest shaking in its history. Everything the Jews had known was about to be shaken; their religion, their way of life, their security, their personal peace, their occupations, etc. In fact, the Romans were about to destroy Jerusalem completely. Not even the Temple, the place where Jews journeyed from around the world to worship God will be spared. Moreover, the Romans carved a menorah into one of their gates as a reminder of how they completely annihilated Herod’s Temple. Once they threw it down, and burned everything that was flammable, the soldiers plowed the Temple Mount like a farmer tills his field. 

The Romans will leave no continuity between the Jews former way of life and their future life. We know this event as the first Jewish revolt of 70 A.D. For most Jews their lives were already in a state of flux. Jesus Christ came on the scene around 30 A.D. challenging the Jews sincerely held religious beliefs. Prior to that time, a new order within Judaism known as the Zealots began terrorizing the Romans and strong-arming the people. They held to the “sold rule of God” doctrine. While trying to throw off Roman rule, they caused so much trouble that Vespasian was ordered to Jerusalem to handle the problem. When the people refused to cooperate, the Romans besieged the city as we have already discussed.

I have often wondered how the believing Jews went forward in their faith. Everything was changing (shaking), to the point that many lost everything (family, friends, possessions, careers, reputation, etc.). When it was all said and done, some Christians fell away. These times tested peoples’ faith and experience in God. Some frauds were discovered. They went out from the assembly because they were not of the assembly. This is what John tells us. They went out that it might be revealed that they were not all of us.

A Modern Shaking 

In the 21st century we are experiencing shaking as well. We have it on a global, national, and local level. Families are being shaken; churches are being shaken; and Christians are being shaken. Moreover, relationships are being shaken. Life events are also shaking us. Why? That the things which cannot be shaken may remain. The shaking reveals what cannot be shaken. It is a test. It seems that God is determined to destroy everything within our lives and within the kingdom of God that is not of Him. Only the things that God establishes cannot be moved. The works of men are to be shaken off as unprofitable and unholy. 

Sometimes we try to hold things together that God is trying to take apart. Nostalgia, sentimentality, tradition, all have a way of causing us to hold on to things that God may be “shaking off.” We prop things up because we like them, but many things have no place in the kingdom. God shakes our lives until we are willing to let them go. A wise man once said, “Sometimes when we won’t move — God will move us.” 

Winds of Change

People generally resist change unless it is something related to popular culture (pop culture). Some change comes, and we have no say in the matter. For example, in 2015 four people passed away that regularly attended our outreach church services. Six people passed who at one time or another attended an advanced Bible class I taught. Those are ten people who I will never get to minister to again — this side of heaven. I lost my mother to cancer; an uncle to diabetes; a former co-worker to a gun shot; and several other family members and friends. All total, seventeen people I know passed away this year. That is a gaping hole in my life. That is radical change. That is significant shaking. 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

The time would fail to tell of everything that was shaken this year. Nevertheless, grace is the one thing that we cannot afford to live without. The writer tells us, let us have grace. When the world is changing, and terrorists seem to be running rampant everywhere; let us have grace. When politics threaten to undermine the foundations of the government and the churches; let us have grace. When we look up and seventeen friends and family have passed away; let us have grace. When our lives are changed to the point that we don’t recognize them anymore; let us have grace. 

 Serving Acceptably During the Shaking

We need grace if we are to ever serve God acceptably under conditions that we never expected to be in. Some Christians have watched their whole lives turn upside down. If we are depending on something or someone that’s now gone, what can we do? Let us have grace. Only God can empower us to continue in His will in a way that is well pleasing to Him — when everything around us seems to have shaken apart. God has a very special grace that is tailor made for our situation. 

What God Wants Remembered (Book of Remembrance)

What God Wants Remembered
Robert Wurtz II

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:16–18 KJV)

Reading the Bible casts a tremendous amount of light upon what many people believe is Christianity. Take Malachi 3:16–18 for example. If I didn’t know better, I would think that some believers esteem it a virtue to be able to exist in this present evil world unvexed by the evil things they see happening. We should just take it quietly and never raise any kind of fuss or complain. Yet here is God ordering a book of remembrance to be made of the people who feared the LORD and spake often one to another concerning the blasphemous ways the people were acting. In the language of Peter, their righteous souls were vexed from day to day by the unlawful deeds of the wicked. God saw it in Lot; He saw it in the people in Malichi’s day; and He notices it now. 

Notice our first statement, Then they that feared the LORD…” This is the key. The fact that these Israelites feared God manifested in their speaking to one another about the craziness that was going on around them. “They strengthened themselves in their faith in Jehovah, as the holy God and just Judge who would in due time repay both the wicked and the righteous according to their deeds, and thus presented a great contrast to the great mass with their blasphemous sayings. This description of the conduct of the godly is an indirect admonition to the people, as to what their attitude towards God ought to be. What was done by those who feared Jehovah ought to be taken as a model by the whole nation which called Jehovah its God. Jehovah not only took notice of these conversations, but had them written in a book of remembrance, to reward them for them in due time.”

(Keil and Delitzsch)

Moreover, God took the whole event a step further. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. The behavior exhibited by these godly Israelites was such that God wanted them thought of as sons. That is to say, they had a zeal for God as a son would have for His own father. This is a powerful truth. The Hebrew word translated as “jewels” is translated otherwise as “treasure.” God treasures those who have a zeal for Him in this darkened, evil world.

Photo Richard Lyons courtesy South Australian Museum

In 2003 a man in Australia unearthed, cleaned up and polished what has come to be known as the Virgin Rainbow. It is the most beautiful Opal in the world. Valued at roughly $1,000,000 it will go on display in a museum for the first time ever. “That opal actually glows in the dark,” museum director Brian Oldman told ABC North and West SA. “The darker the light, the more color comes out of it. It’s unbelievable.” This gem reminds me of Malachi 3:17. Perhaps this is akin to what God sees when He finds a saint(s) with a zeal for him in this dark world. People who have to talk among themselves just to be able to cope with all the madness that goes on. 

What is more sobering is the last verse, Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”  How did they distinguish themselves? What was their character? “It was the reverse of theirs that spoke so much against God; for they feared the Lord—that is the beginning of wisdom and the root of all religion; they reverenced the majesty of God, submitted to his authority, and had a dread of his wrath in all they thought and said; they humbly complied with God, and never spoke any stout words against him. In every age there has been a remnant that feared the Lord, though sometimes but a little remnant.” (Matthew Henry)

Sometimes it is hard to know who is and who is not truly serving the Lord. At the bar of Christ, in the last judgment, it will be easy to discern between the righteous and the wicked; for then every man’s character will be both perfected and perfectly discovered, every man will then appear in his true colours, and his disguises will be taken off. Some men’s sins indeed go beforehand, and you may now tell who is wicked, but others follow after; however, in the great day, we shall see who was righteous and who wicked.” (M.H. ibid)

Someday it will be easy to determine who is who. All of our false notions and misconceptions will be done away with. Moreover, we will see God as He is — from from the mischaracterizations leveled upon Him by this present evil world. In an age when men call good evil and evil good — it can be tough to know who is truly doing right. Are the people who go on living among sin as if it’s business as usual the true saints or is it the people who are vexed bad enough to have to talk to brothers and sisters about it? Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

New Feet On An Old Path

New Feet On An Old Path
Robert Wurtz II

Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before. (Joshua 3:4)

The children of Israel were preparing to cross over, with much anticipation, into the Promised Land. The people have their concepts of what this new life means, but the reality of the matter is that they have not passed this way before. Their forefathers wasted away and died in the wilderness until only Joshua and Caleb were left to lead. Rebellion springing from evil hearts of unbelief had so plagued the people that they did not enter into His promised rest. God having put all the unbelievers out, He was preparing to lead His people into a place that they could not now conceive of – a place where God would be present in such a way that He would carry all of his enemies before Him. 

Sanctify Yourselves

When God comes near our attention must be arrested and all preconceived notions of God must be cast down – to make way for the God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. It was not time to think of God in a way they had thought of Him before or they had seen their rebellious forefathers think of Him: it was time to sanctify themselves and prepare for His arrival. For had God been with them He had driven their enemies out from before them – but rather the devil ran wild among them even as he does in our day. What shall we do Joshua? “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Why Joshua? Because you have not passed this way before. You have been a lot of ways, but you have not passed this way. You have tried a lot of gimmicks, but you have not passed this way before. 

By This Shall You Know

And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites: Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan. (Joshus 3:10, 11)

God was about to drive the enemies out from before the Israelites. All He needed was to come – just to show up – in His manifest presence and the enemy would flee. Perhaps you’re already thinking of the passage: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7, 8) This has always been the pattern of it. When we are finally prepared to submit ourselves to God, we will know the manifest presence of God. But He must be exalted in our eyes. He must be sanctified in our hearts. We cannot think of Him as anything man-made, for He is the only “only one.” There is none like unto Him. Their forefathers perished  having concocted a “god” after their own lusts and imaginations that they might “play” before it. Jehovah (YHWH) was not a demon, whom they were dancing and playing around as if it were the lord. He is the majestic exalted One that holds all power in His hands. When He moves none can ask Him, What doest thou? You will know what the One True God is among you, because He will drive the enemy out from before Him. 

Jesus the True Joshua

When Jesus came into the world and began His ministry he was moving in an authority that was carrying all principality and power before it. Demons would fall at His feet and beg him not to destroy them or torment them before “the time.” Even the Disciples struggled and could not cast a demon out of one dear child that threw him into the fire and the water. Jesus was not happy. He referred to them as a twisted and faithless generation and demanded that the child be brought to Him. Jesus rebuked the demon and the child was healed instantly. (Matthew 17:15-18) Later they asked him why they could not do it – He said because the type of demon vexing the boy came out only by prayer and fasting. It took an extraordinary walk with God to deal with it. We need an extraordinary walk with God in this crisis hour. 

New Feet on an Old Path

The Disciples were often content in those days to allow Jesus to do the fasting and praying. They allowed Him to spend the time in communion with the Father. But as with Joshua so too with the Disciples, they will need to sanctify themselves and prepare for the coming of the Lord (inward and into man). He was not coming this time to take up residence in a building, but in the very Bodies of the people. Sanctify yourself Peter! Sanctify yourself John! For you have not passed this way before. You have walk with the Lord Jesus and you have healed the sick, but you have not passed this way heretofore. When God came in the book of Acts a history broke out upon the human race never before seen in human history. God was among the people carrying all before Him. Sometimes we forget how dreadful these times were. They watched Jesus ascend into Heaven after He had been raised from the dead. There is nothing like unto that in all of the scriptures. The Spirit was poured out and a transformation took place so complete, that it ushered 120 people into the Kingdom of God at once. They were moving in a reality no human being save the Lord Jesus Christ had known to this point. Sanctify yourselves you 120! Prepare the way of the Lord!… for you have not passed this way heretofore. The Lord Jesus had walked in this reality and now the 120 would take it up. Stunning things happened. Fearful things.

When God Comes

 By the time we get to Acts 5 two people had been smitten dead by God for lying to the Holy Spirit. Herod made the dreadful error of exalting himself in the presence of God and was was struck dead where he stood and worms ate him. (Acts 12:23) In the next chapter a pretender named Barjesus decides to act out in the midst of a move of God and the hand of the Lord came upon him – blinding him for a season until he could get some sense. Consider these verses to get a feel for what it must have been like to have lived the “book of Acts experience”:

“And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43 KJV) 

“And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.” (Acts 5:5 KJV)

“And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” (Acts 5:11 KJV)

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” (Acts 19:17 KJV)

Chapter to chapter there are signs and wonders being performed, even demons being cast out. God was near and He was driving out His enemies before Him. The only limitation to this reality is when the people decide it is no longer necessary to sanctify themselves before the Lord. For Joshua and those that came across the Jordon they refused to throw down the gods and altars that littered the landscape. God warned them in Judges 1 and 2 that he would no longer drive their enemies out. Why? because the people were trying to entertain the very thing God wanted thrust out. So He left the enemies in the land to be thorns in their sides. God has often given the people what they demonstrate by their conduct that they want. 

God Came and God Went

The majority of people in Israel did not want God. That is why they died in the Wilderness. Had they wanted God, He would have never allowed them to die there. They wanted their sin and they longed to return to Egypt. They took a look at God on Mount Sinai and wanted no part of “that God.” So they fabricated one themselves to play around. This will be the pattern of the people over the centuries. Finally God is preparing to roll-out again. As bad as He wanted to stay – He cannot live in the filth of sin. The more the prophets called them back to the covenant the angrier and more high-handed the people became. Alas God laid it on the line in Jeremiah 6 when he stated emphatically:

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”>
    who have eyes<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”> but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear:<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”>
22 Should you not fear<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”> in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”>
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> hearts;
    they have turned aside<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BI)”> and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BK)”> in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”>
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
 your sins have deprived you of good. (NIV)

It might as well read as a newspaper headline. people are committing sin in such high-handed ways that our forefathers would turn over in their graves. Nobody is asking “where is the Lord?” They are dancing around the golden calf of the man-made gods of much of modern Christian TV and radio. When was the last time you turned on the TV and trembled because He and not men were being exalted? When was the last time a mainline minister – ministered a sermon that so exalted Christ that it made you tremble before a holy God? They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> the Lord our God. 

Passing this Way

There is a way we need to pass that does not travel through the well trodden paths of the lusts of men; but a path like unto Israel walked when it followed behind the Ark of God or when the Church was born in the book of Acts. We cannot look back to a reference point and say “we will do this” or “we will do that” because you have not passed this way before. You have passed a lot of places and you have heard a lot of things, but you have not passed this way before. The way of separation and holiness. The way of set apart unto God – ness. A place of fasting and prayer. A place where the demons will know who Christians are unlike the bygone years of, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15) There are no reference points outside of the book of Acts or moves of God like unto that – that we can look to. God has moved in book of acts power in times past, but for the overwhelming majority of us you have not passed this way before. May the Lord lead us into that place of absolute separation and faith that we may do his will in this desperate time. May the Lord speak to us words of direction that we might follow him as they did in the book of Acts. Not falling behind and not getting ahead. May the Lord gives us ears to hear once again what the Spirit is saying unto the churches. 


Understanding the Fire of God

Understanding the Fire of God
Robert Wurtz II

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:49-53)

Jesus gives us the strategic reason for why He came to earth to walk among men, live and then die for our sins; it was in order that He might send fire on the earth. This fire is God’s ultimate solution for man’s need at this juncture in His dealings in the earth. If He is going to send fire He has to send it into and through man. Keep that clear. In other words, we are not qualified to be sent until Christ can send us consumed with His holy fire. God wants a people that are fire hazards, that is, people that carry the fire of God and it spreads everywhere they go. But this fire could not be sent into and through man until Jesus was baptized with the baptism He experienced upon the Cross of Calvary- where He not only paid our sin debt, but broke the power of Sin by dying to it- so that all that would eventually be baptized into Him by the Spirit of God would share in that death. This reality is essential to our sanctification unto God as the Holy Temple He has called us to be. The ‘dead to Sin ones’ are readied to receive the fire of God. God will not dwell in a rebellious person. 

The Dangerous Presence 

We learn from the revelation of God in the Old Testament that God cannot dwell in his unique manifest presence where sin is rampant. When God’s presence is near- judgment is swift. If judgment does not come the presence must depart. Why? Sin and God do not dwell together. That is one of the most elementary truths in all the Bible. Some might say, well, “God is everywhere and at all times.” This is true, but it is a theological proposition. God is omnipresent and immanent. He is here at all times, always has been and always will be. David said he could make his bed in hell and lo thou art there. So God is in the sin dins right now and He is God there; but He is not God there and He is not manifest there in the way that He would like to be. Why? Because if He were He would have to utterly consume those sinning in His presence. This is a sobering reality that we must recapture in this adulterous generation. God is Holy and He will not dwell among a people that are stiff-necked, rebellious and always resisting the authority of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 7) This is why God refused to go over with Moses and the people in Exodus 33. Here we read, for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I consume thee in the way. (Exodus 33:3b) God has not changed. He is not less holy than He used to be. If He is going to go up in the midst of a man or a woman, then He is not going to change His own holiness and standards in order to do it, He is going to change the dwelling place so that it is compatible with His fiery presence. They change is always on our end. No need waiting around for God to change. 

The Refiners Fire
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:2-6)

God is showing the people what has to take place before He can ‘come’. The priests had to be purified by God so that they could offer Him an offering in righteousness. If God would have came near, bypassing His own protocol for how He related Himself to sinners, the people would have simply been consumed. God is a consuming fire. As it is written, Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29) Our Greek words here for reverence and godly fear are meta eulabeias kai deous. The word deos is the apprehension of danger as in a forest. “When the voice and tread of a wild beast are distinctly heard close at hand the deos becomes phobos” (Vincent). That is to say, we need to beware that God is a consuming fire and not to be trifled with- lest we act flippantly or rebelliously towards Him. When John the Revelator saw Jesus he fell at His feet as dead (Revelation 1). This is not gentle Jesus meek and mild; it is an awesome reverence for the Judge of all of the earth. If the priests don’t fear God- and they are supposed to be near to His presence, why should the people fear the Lord? This is why Peter tells us plainly, but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear. (1Peter 3:15) If we will sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts then when the tough questions and persecutions come we will fear God and not man. Selah. This is not possible until we have been washed, sanctified and made ready for the fire of God. 

The Laver Experience

So much of Paul’s writings employ the language of priesthood. This is only right because God has called His people to be a kingdom of priests. When the Corinthians were in carnality, Paul had to remind them of what God had done for them at the first. Concerning the sexually immoral he stated, And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11) God has to break that rebellion and cleanse us from all sin before He can dwell in man with His manifest presence. This is why Paul when writing to Titus uses the familiar language of priesthood when he describes regeneration, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5) This is the laver of regeneration, a picture of the brazen laver where the priests would wash themselves before entering the presence of God. It is only after we have truly been washed- inspected and certified as clean by our Great High Priest that God can safely send the fire into you and I. Does the mean we have to perfect? No. The fire will burn out what God wants burned out. What must be dealt with is the rebellious nature of man that has always been the obstacle to God truly being among His people. Since Jesus has already accomplished what He came to do on the cross we are all able to know this great laver experience, this washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit that he has shed on us abundantly.   

Baptized in the Holy Spirit and Fire

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)

It is unfortunate that many today in the churches of God believe that we can lower the standard and get by on some lesser thing than the Fire of God. Jesus said, “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) The context reveals that this Fire was going to cause great division in the earth; between those that want the Fire and those that do not (Luke 12:50-52). This is of the greatest importance. Why? Because when the Fire comes, it will burn up everything in man that is not of God. Some people want to hang on to the world and the sin that dominates their life, so they shun the fire. People understand that burning for God means being consumed for Him. This fire is not a mere feeling that comes and goes, but is the manifest presence of a holy and loving God. Jesus came to send this fire on the earth. This is a fire that produces the fruit of the Spirit in masse. Stephen is a great example. He loved to help out serving the widows, but yet when he was being stoned to death we find him begging God to forgive the people. Why? Because he was walking in Romans 5:5. The love of God had been poured out into him. He was burning for God and no amount of persecution could put it out. He was contagious. He was a fire hazard. The only thing the rebellious leaders could do was stomp him out and put dirt on top of him. Was it just for Jesus and Stephen? No! A holy love will come in to all that will receive Him that enables the person to love like Jesus loves. This is the great standard. When a person is truly burning for God they will carry themselves like Jesus in all situations. The question we have to ask in these things is, “Wilt thou be made whole?” If so, you will need the Fire of God. 

Burning for God

We are told in Hebrews 12:29 that God is a consuming Fire. He created creatures that are burning fires such as the Seraphim. We as human beings are consuming fires; this is why we are at 98.6 degrees. Where does this energy come from? It originates with the Sun. Plants turn light, nutrients and water into carbohydrates. There is a furnace characteristic in man where the carbohydrates are burned in us as a source of energy. The energy you are using to read this text came originated with the Sun. But there is also a spiritual side of man that serves as the driving force behind all that he/she does. Adam Clarke comments on Matthew 3:11;

This was the province of the Spirit of God, and of it alone; therefore he is represented here under the similitude of fire, because he was to illuminate and invigorate (to give strength or energy) to the soul, penetrate every part, and assimilate the whole to the image of the God of glory. 

The language of priesthood

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:5, 6)

The book of Acts believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit and with Fire. This event made them into the Temple of the Living God as an assembly and as individuals (1 Corinthians 3:16). On that day the believers were made priests unto God. This is a staggering truth. It was God’s design from the beginning. He had been working to this end all along. This is the jest of the message of Stephen in Acts 7:1ff. God doesn’t desire to dwell in temples made with hands; He desires to live in man. It is impossible to understand the bible unless you realize this great truth. God wants to live in you. He wants to be who He is; a consuming Fire inside of you and me. 

The burning bush and the burning man

When God got ready to reveal Himself to Moses He revealed Himself as an unconsuming fire; And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2) He then revealed Himself as a consuming fire as in the case of Nadab, Abihu, Korah, Dathan and Abiram. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. (Deut 4:24.) God is a God of Fire. The picture of Fire as a symbol of the flesh-consuming presence of God is replete through the Old Testament. 

Fire on the altar

All of the services that were to be performed in the Wilderness Tabernacle and later the Temple were to be done with the FIRE of God. It was impossible to light the lampstand, burn incense, or offer burnt offerings unto the Lord without the Fire that God kindled and was continually kept. Without the Fire of God the Wilderness Tabernacle was an empty tent.  

The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:13)

Fire was to be kept constantly burning upon the altar without going out, not in order that the heavenly fire, which proceeded from Jehovah when Aaron and his sons first entered upon the service of the altar after their consecration, and consumed the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, might never be extinguished (see at Lev. 9:24); but that the burnt-offering might never go out, because this was the divinely appointed symbol and visible sign of the uninterrupted worship of Jehovah, which the covenant nation could never suspend either day or night, without being unfaithful to its calling. (Keil & D.)

Indeed the priests were not allowed to let the heavenly Fire go out; this was common sense. But this is not specifically in view here. They could do nothing without the Fire of God. Our passage deals with the continual burnt offering of flesh unto God like unto Romans 12:1, 2. We are to be continually on Fire for God burning continually as a sweet smelling savor, as a consequence of our placing ourselves continually on the altar as a living sacrifice. “God will not dwell with people that will not burn upon the altar. He wants to live will the altar is.” (G.W. N) What use to God is a man or a woman that will not burn for Him? 

The God that answers by Fire

When Eli and his sons were derelict in the service of God they lost the Ark to the enemy. They did not burn for God except in a dead outward sense. The sons Hophni and Phinehas burned with lust and gluttony. They didn’t burn for God. Therefore they had no real authority to carry God’s authority. This is utterly essential to understand. The ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the priests, but those priests were expected to BURN for God. What an awesome revelation. Their sin was to try to use God’s authority without burning for Him from the heart. They went though the motions as double minded men. They burned for God in religious exercise, but for sin in their hearts. Again, the Ark represented the throne or authority of God. The Fire obviously went out after they carried it into battle and lost the Ark. Later on David desired to build God a House, but to do so would require the Fire of God to fall from heaven to provide the priesthood with that essential element. No fire- no service. They could not strike a match or rub sticks together. They could not warm up the altar for God. Nadab and Abihu learned the hard way that you don’t presumptuously offer God anything; especially false or common fire. Their death was God’s estimate of the behavior. It is shocking to me how today some move in such a cavalier attitude (dismissive attitude) towards something so serious. Without the Fire of God all that we do stinks and is useless to God.

You are dead without Fire

When our breath goes out, our body immediately starts to go cold. If the Fire of God goes out we become lukewarm and worth but to be vomited out of the mouth of Christ. Why? No burning. No Fire. If there is no Fire there is sin in our lives. God doesn’t answer your sacrifice with Fire. Why? because it is not holy and acceptable to Him. Solomon understood the altar. He brought so much flesh they needed an alternate location to house it all. It was an extreme sacrifice. Solomon knew the altar had to be FULL. It had to be holy and acceptable. When he prayed the Fire of God came down and reinstated the priesthood providing them with the means of doing their service again.

Obviously by the time of Jesus this Fire had gone out and the Ark was gone again. The priests must have tossed the blood on the floor behind the veil in Herod’s Temple and performed the services with common fire. God was not there. God was in Christ. For He said, destroy this Temple (speaking of His own body) and I will raise it again in 3 days. He called the place the Father’s house and His house (Matthew 21:13, John 2:16), but at last He revealed to them that it was ‘their house’ that had been left unto them desolate. (Luke 13:35) Why? No Fire. No Ark. No way to do the service of God and no desire to have it. When the Fire came in Christ; they didn’t want it or Him. They had no desire to burn for God or to be temples of the Living God. (See Isaiah 66:1ff) They wanted to keep God under control in the temples made with hands. This is a constant temptation for anyone that has known the Lord; but God desires to live IN man and not in a building.

Keeping the charge   

And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also [set they in order] upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him. (2 Chronicles 13:11)

It is unfortunate that many today in the churches of God believe that we can lower the standard and get by on some lesser thing than the Fire of God. How can priests unto God do the service of God with no Fire? Yet substitutes are put in place that spread death and wreak of unconsumed flesh. Jesus said, “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) We are responsible to keep the Fire stoked in our lives as surely as were the Levites. We are to keep presenting ourselves to God holy and acceptable. What is acceptable? Simply put- And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (Acts 5:32) Do you have a desire to obey God? Do you want God to rule and reign in you? Have you filled the altar? Those that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and Fire- is the Fire still burning? Are you keeping the charge as did Abijah and his priests? This was the basis on which Abijah knew he would win the battle. “If you keep the charge of God you will be the devil’s master.” (GWN) 

The Curse of Firelessness 

The greatest judgment that ever came to Israel was that the Fire of God went out. God withdrew His presence and they were eventually evicted from the land. When the lamp of the Lord goes out there is no way to keep the flesh in subjection- because the only way to walk upright in this fallen world is to keep on burning. The Seraphim burn, so must we. God is a consuming Fire- so are we. Are we content to allow this world to go on lamenting void of men and women of Fire- having never seen a true believer in the book of Acts sense? If the Fire be burning in us- we have confidence towards God. He must come. We must make ready. We must invite Him in an attitude of desire to obey. We have to present ourselves holy and acceptable. It is our reasonable service. If we sing to God with no Fire; it cannot be rightly said to be worship in Spirit. The incense does not rise to God unless there is Fire. Not the fire of hype and instrumentality. Not something worked up, but a Fire sent down from God. We must make ready. He has come to send Fire on the earth. Will we be the one? Will He be able to send us

The Only Thing That Makes Sense

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  (Romans 12:1)

I hope you don’t mind me saying that when I read the book of Romans there is an imaginary line splitting Romans 11:36 and Romans 12:1. I draw this line because I believe Paul draws this line. For eleven chapters he gives us the closest thing we have to a systematic theology. He probes the mysteries of the Gospel and sets before us soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. He transitions with a simple phrase, I beseech you thereforeTo some bible students it will be cliche, but when you see the word therefore you need to stop and ask what it is there for. It is a term that means ‘consequently’. Therefore (Gk. oun) is an inferential participle that gathers up all the great argument of chapters 1-11 and places it before us. We have to reckon with it. What say you? It staggers the mind to consider the manifold wisdom of God. Now Paul turns to exhortation (parakalō), “I beseech you.”

I Beseech You

Our Greek word for beseech is Παρακαλῶ (parakalō) and it means to call alongside. Para is ‘side’ and kalo is ‘call’. It carries the idea of urging someone earnestly to do something. It could be translated ‘to beg’. To give a sense of the strength of the word we have some examples of its use throughout the New Testament. Urgent appeals (parakalō) to Christ for healing are made in Matthew 8:5; 14:36; Mark 1:40; 5:23; 8:22. Paul “pleads with” (parakalō) God for the removal of his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:8. Demons “beg” (parakalō) Christ to send them into a herd of swine in Matthew 8:31ff. In Acts 2:40 and 2 Corinthians 5:20, people are “urged” (parakalō) to be reconciled to God. 

Therefore by the Mercies of God

Paul has effectively came alongside us to beg, urge, beseech us by the mercies of God. That is to say, all that Paul described from chapter 1-11 was a clinic on God’s great mercy. Consider where we would be without grace. We would have no hope and would of all men be most miserable. Eternity without propitiation would be to face the wrath of God without mixture never-endingly. Consider the smoke of a sinners torment ascending up before God forever and ever. That’s what we deserved. This is not something we should accept and then wipe our mouths as if we have done no evil. The sheer magnitude of our crimes, heightened by the light that we have sinned in, aggravated by a life of resisting the Holy Spirit, would paralyze one with fear if they had any sense at all. Yet God has chosen to cast our sins behind His back- never to be remembered against us again. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…

Language of Priesthood in Romans 12 

Solomon was the great king that built God a house. He built it on the mount of the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite- where the angel had stayed his hand in slaying thousands after David numbered Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1-18) He could have wiped Israel off the face of the earth and been justified in doing it. But, God showed kindness and grace to Israel. David remembered the mercy of God as He could have slew all down to the last man, but stopped at Araunah’s threshing floor. David responded by buying the property with his own money. Araunah tried to give it for free to David. King David said, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. (1 Chrononicles 21:1ff) Here are two initial pictures; one of the mercy of God and the other a right response of a grateful heart; a burnt offering that ‘costs’ the full price. It is also a picture of God’s separation (threshing) of wheat from chaff. What will you do with God’s mercy? How will you respond to grace? Will you answer the call of Paul or sin that grace may abound? The threshing floor is a place of decision. All of these things are here. This is the place where Solomon built the Temple. Keep that in mind. 

A Picture of a ‘Right’ Response to God

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13)

You will notice that their first response to God was to give thanks for His mercy in returning to the people with His authority and presence. They didn’t deserve God. They deserved abandonment. In another place it is stated that they spoke as one as the Ark of the Covenant came in. They sang and shouted with lifted up voices in such a way that God saw fit to fill the house with His glory. This was the initial step. The people utterly recognized God’s mercy and desire for reconciliation and they responded to Him in tremendous excitement and thanksgiving. The LORD, then being well pleased, FILLED the house with His glory. So great was the glory of God that the priests were not able to stand to minister. God believed the people as they praised and offered thanksgiving and He responded by filling the house with His glory.

Holy and Acceptable

…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,

This, again, is the language of priesthood. We are called to be Temples of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament is replete with examples of how not to treat the Temple and the artifacts within it. Were these things written for Israel’s sake or where they not all together a figurative lesson for us, that would have the habitation of God by the Spirit? What about Belshazzar? How did God react to the way he defiled the artifacts of the Temple? The whole story is exemplary. It gives us forever God’s estimation of abusing our bodies in sordid sin.  

Reasonable Sacrifice

Solomon built and dedicated the Temple to God. It had one primary purpose in Israel; to be a place where the people could encounter God and offer up sacrifices to Him (temple cultus). Over 120,000 burnt sacrifices were inspected for purity and acceptability and then offered on the day of dedication. Solomon understood that until the altar was full of a holy and acceptable sacrifice the Fire of God would not fall and the dedication would be incomplete. After all, Moses already told of how empty it would be to exist as God’s people without God being present. To some it may have seemed very reckless to bring a river of blood upon such a beautiful place; but to Solomon it was only reasonable to make such an offering to God in light of the mercy He had shown. When the altar was full and Solomon prayed- the Fire of God fell. This dedication was a ‘picture’ of New Testament life. Jesus came to send Fire on the earth and He would do so by baptizing His people with the Holy Ghost and with Fire. Men and women’s bodies would become temples of the Holy Spirit.

A Living Burnt Offering

Romans 12:1 is the beginning of all evangelistic efforts. Paul having explained the reality of what God has done in bringing salvation and reconciliation to man, says, “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God…” Thinking of all that God has done; ‘therefore’ present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God which is your logical (the consequence of his well-reasoned arguments) worship. This presenting of ourselves to our Great High Priest for inspection and acceptance that He might baptize us in the Fire is our reasonable worship. It’s the only response that makes sense in light of all that God has done. It is what God wants first and foremost. Without this process little else matters. It all begins here with a recognition of what God has done in Christ, and our responding reasonably to what we realize. Our lives are to be a perpetual living burnt offering for Him. It is the only thing that makes sense.

Walking in the Fear of the Lord

Walking in the Fear of the Lord
Robert Wurtz II

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Acts 9:31)

Our passage in context gives revelation of the state of the churches immediately following the conversion of Saul, who had vexed the people of God persecuting them until they had no rest. Four things can be said about the churches at this juncture:

1. They were edified (built up)

2. They were walking in the fear of the Lord
3. They were walking in the comfort of the Holy Spirit
4. They were being multiplied

The reaction to the radical change of Saul to Paul was so great that the people once again were walking in the fear of the Lord. This one reality stands out in the list because it came about as a spontaneous reaction to the awesome wonder of the transformation of this man Saul, but is also dependent upon individuals to fully acknowledge what God had done. This was nothing short of the marvel that captivated the people of the city when they saw Legion clothed and in his right mind after a lifetime of nakedness and self-mutilation. They knew that the Finger of God was in their midst. For only God in all of His regal power and authority could have changed the Chief of Sinners into a Chief Apostle in an instant of time. Selah. 

Unity attained and maintained

In our last three entries (Obstacle to the Outpouring, Obstacle to the Outpouring (Part 2), and The Sin of Uzzah) we explored the teachings of Christ as He prepared the disciples and the people for the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. We emphasized the utter importance of unity and forgiveness from the heart. The disciples were held together by the Prince of Peace whilst upon the earth, but when Christ ascended they would need to hearken to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in order to maintain that same unity. If the disciples would have had a falling out we would have never read a ‘book of Acts’. They were men of different perspectives that were at times at total odds with one another. A great example of this was Matthew the Publican and Simon the Zealot. Simon would have hated publicans and likewise publicans probably hated Zealots. Why? Because their political and religious views made them mortal enemies. It was nothing for a Zealot to desire to kill a publican, but when Jesus was near the men did not strive. They forfeited their mind and agenda and adopted Christ’s. In an environment like this it’s not about who is ‘right’ or who is ‘wrong’ it’s about endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

When God came near the reaction was fear

The fear of the Lord is a most unpopular subject, but a cursory study of the Book of Acts reveals that the people were many times brought to fear the Lord because He was near. Sometimes people think, ‘that was all in the Old Testament and we live in the dispensation of grace, etc.’ That is not what the folks in the book of Acts believed. Beginning in Acts 2:43 we read, And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. The Greek verb for ‘came’ is egineto and it is in the imperfect middle voice, meaning that fear kept on coming upon every soul. Waves of the fear of the Lord kept sweeping over everybody. This kept the people in check. There was no place for flippancy. Nobody built a golden calf after this move of God; but they did have a Nadab and Abihu moment when Ananias and Sapphira were smote dead back to back in Acts 5. The result? And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. (Acts 5:11) The renowned Greek scholar A.T. Robertson added this comment to the verse, “The whole body of believers in Jerusalem and all who heard of the fate of Ananias and Sapphira (beautiful, her name means) were in awe and dread. It was already a dangerous thing to be a follower of Christ unless one was willing to walk straight.” (RWP) Then we have the dreaded event in Acts 12:23 where Herod had set himself against the churches as if he were a god. And although Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula (also known as Gaius), Claudius, and Nero were acting out doing the same things or worse in Rome, presuming themselves to be as gods, the Holy Spirit had not been out-poured in Rome and God’s presence was not near. When God comes near judgment is swift. 

And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
(Acts 12:21-23)

If tradition is to be believed Herod lived 5 days after he was smitten, as his flesh produced worms leading up to his death. (Josephus Antiquities 19.8.2) Why? He gave not God the glory. We have a key statement that helps us understand this event in 1 Cor. 1:29 when we are told that God suffers no flesh to glory in His presence. The key here is ‘in His presence’. Men may covet their own glory and boast of their own achievements, but when God is near He moves swiftly upon those, to whom like Satan, exalt their throne above the stars of God. The very fact that people keep on acting out in our times must surely be evidence that God is not near as He was in the book of Acts. Men do not fear Him as they once did. The focus is on almost everything ‘but’ the fear of the Lord. All evidence of the times we are living.

Fear when near

When God is truly near, that is to say, when a person is filled with His Holy Spirit in the genuine article they will greatly fear the Lord. And fear is not too strong of a word. It doesn’t need to be qualified or balanced. It needs to stand once and for all on its own feet. We try to balance these things with words like love and grace and mercy and end up making the concept of the fear of the Lord of none effect. God doesn’t need us to balance or qualify His concepts. This is an important thing to say because believers often cannot entertain two equal truths such as the love of God and the fear of God at the same time. One is usually preached at the expense of the other. This ought not so to be. 

The people in Acts 2 experienced an ongoing flood of the fear of God upon them. It effected how they thought and how they lived. One problem we do not have today is people paralyzed with the fear of God. No need to straw-man a concept and do service to the Devil. Fear has often been replaced with arrogance and flippancy; the very things that God spent some 1500 years teaching us not to be in his presence. And ‘in His presence’ for a Christian does not mean ‘in the meeting’; it means 24 hours a day and 7 days a week as we are the very temples of the Holy Spirit. This is why it is said of them in Acts 2 they were walking in the fear of the Lord. It was their manor of life. It is the beginning of wisdom.

The Danger of Jesting 

This entry would not be complete unless we made an application to show what is meant by the fear of the Lord. An old time preacher from the 1800’s one stated that “God never uses a jester to search consciences.” A jester is a person that makes jokes about things they should never joke about. Let me quote a passage from Ephesians to demonstrate.

 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:1-7)

The first part of our passage summarizes the first 3 blog entries I linked to in the beginning of this article. We are then given a list of several sins that are not to be named among us either “one time after we have become saints” or “once we have become saints.” In either translation, we need to reverence as we read these words as these things are unbecoming of saints. The list is as follows:

1. fornication (sexual immorality)

2. uncleanness (impurity)
3. covetousness (lusting for _____)
4. filthiness (obscenity)
5. foolish talking (corrupt communication that does not edify. speaking as a fool)
6. jesting (immoderate talk to make a joke)

To show that God is in view in these passages as the offended party Paul adds, but rather giving of thanks. Who deserves our thanks? God. Who is listening to our words? God. We must never joke about God or the things of God or speak of Him in an irreverent way. God is not a man. Solomon the great man who built the Temple and witnessed the Glory and Fire of God stated, Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2) Solomon went on to say in the very end that Fearing God and keeping His word are the whole duty of man. God is the Judge of all the earth. God will not always move in spite of foolishness. He demonstrated this in Israel. He will bring judgment in some way- the worst of which is to depart all together. 

The sin of irreverence

The world has a concept that says the solution for polution is dilution, but in the Kingdom of God one cannot speak of God irreverently and then dilute it with hours of praise. It is a total contradiction. Moses did not sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the people and as a result was disqualified from taking the people into the land. He gave the people the impression that God was as a man that can be trifled with. God said it plainly to him:

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. (Numbers 20:12)

Moses disobeyed God before the eyes of the people. This situation is exemplary. A man was raised up to fulfill a purpose and after 120 years of God working with Moses, had to disqualify him. Why? He defied a direct order from God and it sent the wrong message to the people. Jesus said in one place, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Why? Because Lot’s wife defied God as judgment was falling over her head. Peter told us to sanctify the Lord always in our hearts. (1 Peter 3:15a) This means that God is exalted into His rightful place in our heart- separate and other from anything and anyone else. If we fear the Lord we will be prepared to face men giving an answer for what we believe with meekness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15b). Reverence begins in the deep recesses of our own hearts. 

Irreverence is a terrible sin and one to be feared as one would fear being a fornicator or an idolater. Just because God is among a people does not mean He is approving all that is going on. When The Lord truly comes His people will walk in the fear of the Lord. They will sanctify the Lord in their own hearts FIRST and then sanctify Him before the eyes of the people second. Flippancy and irreverence is like a dead fly in a bottle of priceless ointment. May the Lord once again come upon His people to the place to where they experience a reverential fear like those of Acts 2:43, Acts 9:41 or even an Acts 19:17 that we might rightly exalt Him in this evil and adulterous generation. Amen. 



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