RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!
Run For Your Life!
a sermon by Carter Conlon
September 16, 2001
"Tonight the Holy Spirit has given me a word for the church of Jesus Christ.
Now by that I mean the body at large. Everyone who calls themselves by the name of Jesus Christ, who would have the testimony of saying I am, by virtue of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary, saved. Everyone who defines their Christianity that way, this message is for them.
Now I Kings chapter 18 was a time of great spiritual conflict. Once again the children of God had strayed from truth. They had fallen far, far, far away from the victorious days of Joshua. When God's heritage first went into the promised land and under Joshua and his leadership had conquered, albeit they hadn't conquered entirely through their own neglect but nevertheless those still were victorious days. But now terrible tragedy had happened to the children of God and it was because of their refusal to separate themselves from the gods of the society around about them. You recall Moses speaking to the people and telling them, the gods that you don't drive out are going to be a snare to you. They are going to be thorns in your sides. They are going to rob you, in a sense, of the true heritage that God desires to give you because you refuse to separate from them. They are going to swallow you up and that's exactly where we are years down the road in I Kings chapter 18.
The people of God were captivated by a false god called Baal. Now Baal was the god of personal increase and prosperity. His worship included the moral practices of sensuality.
In other words, the people were captivated by the desire for personal increase. That means anything they could build themselves, anything that could prop up self, anything that would make them prosper and it included an allowance to be moral and yet still have a sense that they were in the presence of God. It was a licentious religion, a very wicked, very immoral, very sensual. The people walked only by their senses. If it rained and the crops were good then by their natural senses they would say the god Baal is pleased with us. He's pleased to send us increase. He's pleased to send us prosperity. Obviously the sensuality, because that was the very core of their so-called worship, led them into immorality and led them into horrid immoral practices.
In the midst of this immoral religious practice God raised up a voice of truth because beloved in every generation and among every people God almighty is never left without a testimony. Never. He will always have a testimony. There will always be a word. It may not be popular, it may not be the majority but His voice will still be heard. He is God, He did create the Universe. He does govern the world, He does hold everyone of us tonight in the palm of his hand and He will speak to anyone who wants to hear.
In verses 19 and 20 Elisha issued a challenge to a wicked king called Ahab who was ruling in that time
19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. Now these are prophets that have a connection as it is, to power. That was their lust, that's where they ate, that's where they lived. Jezebel as it is was the queen. She had access to all the wealth and the prosperity of the nation. These men lusted for it. That's the table they – they didn't want the table of God - that's the table they wanted to eat at and so that's where they ate.
20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. Now Mount Carmel was really significant because Mount Carmel where Joshua had previously defeated one of the Canaanite kings. So technically Elijah was drawing to draw them back to a place of remembrance.
This is what the Holy Spirit will always do to the people of God. He will always woo. The Holy Spirit doesn't come to condemn the church of Jesus Christ in spite of how apostate she may have become. The Holy Spirit still comes and tries to draw back that which is alienated from the heart of God. That which is in league with immoral leaders, that which is also lusting for power and provision and all these other things that society has to offer.
21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. Now the Holy Spirit is speaking through Elijah. There was indecisiveness in the heart of the people. There was a mysterious inner knowledge that this is really not God. It's fun and our senses are being touched and there's a sense of provision but it's not God. That's why the indecision, that's why they could go but they could not fully yield to Baal because there's a deep inner knowledge.
This is not the altar of God. How long will you halt? He said. The word in Hebrew for halt means to hop, to skip over, to spare or to dance as a lame man. Elijah is saying to the church of his time, how long will you continue to skip over the truth? How long will you continue to spare yourself any deep dealings and deep callings of God? How long will you continue to worship as a lame man when you could behold? How long, Elijah? Why do you halt between two opinions? Why do you stop at this place of halfway to heaven and halfway to hell and you cannot make up your mind where you are going to live, which side you are going to commit yourself to?
Verse 21 "...And the people answered him not a word." Now that's an incredible thing. He is issuing them a challenge. They know this is a man of God. They know. They would have a testimony. If they left that place that particular day the people would walk away. I'm not talking about the prophets of Baal, I'm talking about the people that were gathered. They would walk away and if somebody were to mention the name Elijah, without hesitation they would say, "He is a man of God. Wherever he goes the fire of God goes. Wherever he is there is a sense of awe. There's a sense of God that goes with this man that travels with him. Oh yes, he is a man of God." Yet when this man of God puts the question before them, who is it that you are going to serve? They don't answer. They can't answer.
You know, strangely enough that's the way it is even here sometimes at Times Square Church. A man of God will stand before you, clearly cutting between soul and spirit, joint and marrow and going right to the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Yet people sit and offer no response. And the question is always the same, God says, will you come back to me? Will you come to that place of remembrance? They answer not a word. No response. Hoping, perhaps, that the conviction will just go away. You see the people knew in their hearts that Baal was not God that's why they could neither yield to him nor answer. We ask ourselves the question, well why? Why this mysterious silence?
Firstly, some people genuinely felt that they had been touched there at this altar. And a false religion does offer a comfort folks, I want you to know that. It does. A false religion can make you dance, a false religion can make you happy, a false religion can give you a sense that you are prospering. Oh yes, false religion can make you happy and it can give you a sense of satisfaction, people do it all over the world and in some places they are having a lot of fun doing it. They felt, perhaps, that they had been genuinely touched there and in the heart saying, "I know it's not God but I've been touched there. Should I leave this, Elijah, to go with you? Elijah, all these prophets can't be wrong. 850 of them – they can't be wrong – Elijah, you're only one man, you're only one voice. They can't all be wrong and I've been touched there."
I've heard that so many times. I've tried to counsel people over the years that have been involved in ludicrous foolishness in the name of Jesus Christ. They answer is always the same. You try to open the Bible and you try to show them some things and they push away the word of God and say, "But you don't understand. I've been touched there." But folks, you see they inwardly knew something. The hesitation always says something. I always know when a man is involved with adultery or fornication because when I meet him with the woman he's with and I ask, "Is this your wife?" he hesitates before he answers me. It's true. He wishes that she were his wife, he has found what he thinks his needs are are met there but she's not his wife and he knows it. So when you ask him, he hesitates. Then he says, "Well, yes." His very answer gives away his heart.
Jeremiah, chapter five. A prophet of his day, Jeremiah cried out to God with a deep burden in his heart. Jeremiah was a man who thundered from heaven and brought a word… Oh folks, how many times does history have to repeat itself before the church will begin to cry out and say, God, please don't let history repeat itself in my life. Don't let me be another in the long lineage of apostates that have held to Baal and wouldn't let go.
Jeremiah said, 23 "But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone." Now the word gone in Hebrew means they've already left in their heart. They are standing there listening to Jeremiah but the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah and He's saying to Jeremiah, they're already gone. You may be looking at them, you may be preaching to them but they are gone. Folks, that's a tragedy because it repeats itself throughout history. There are people who call themselves by the name of Christ today but they are gone. Long ago in their heart they have left him, they don't know him, they know little or nothing about him anymore. They do know that what therein is not God but in their heart they have left the one that they do know is real.
24 "Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God…" There's no desire for the fear of the Lord. That's old fashioned. That's old school. That's long ago Pentecost in America. We're of the new generation now. There's a new thing happening in our midst. We have a new god now. They're already gone and "24 Neither say they in our heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God…" We don't want the fear of the Lord. We don't want to talk about the fear of the Lord. We want to be able to come to our altar, we want to be able to have sensual worship, practice immorality, we don't want any fear of God in our lives. "..Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. 25 Your iniquities have turned away these things… There was a deep dividedness in your heart and you wouldn't lay it down. Because you wouldn't lay it down it took away your desire.
I hope tonight if anything you would see how dangerous it is to live with a divided heart. A divided heart, especially if you are aware of it, will take your desire for God away from you. It will take it away. It's like there's a barrel full of oil and there's oil, but somebody drilled a hole in the bottom. It takes awhile but it will go. Your desire will go, your discernment will go. "…and your sins have withholden good things from you. We're starting to get to the key now in vese 26.
26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. I can hear the thundering cry of Jeremiah. Oh that the church of his day would wake up and see that they were warned, they were being warned by the word of God that there are wicked men that lay wait like somebody snaring a rabbit, hiding in the bushes and setting a snare for the unwary. Setting a snare for those who are not yielded to God, still living by unbridled lusts in the very depths of their soul they are not yielded to God, they are halting between two opinions.
Here are these men setting their snares and setting their traps for the unwary. 27 "As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich." That is always a warning sign-those that are focused on money. Always coming up with new gimmicks to get money. This is exactly what Jeremiah is talking about. They are dirty birds in a dirty house and they'll become great only in the sight of men, not in the sight of God. They become rich by deceiving the people.
28 They are waxen fat, they shine…" You can tell them by their shiny, glossy advertisements. They shine. Folks, this is not funny. This is not funny. You read some of today's Christian magazines, especially the Charismatic ones, and it's like reading Jeremiah in this chapter. You look at them and you see exactly what Jeremiah was talking about. Fat, rich, shining false prophets. They are permeating the church of Jesus Christ today. Filling the house of God with their filth.
28…they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. This verse means this. They care nothing about the plea of those who are in genuine spiritual need. They care nothing about anybody but themselves.
Now in verse 29 here's the Lord speaking through Jeremiah. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means…" "By their means" means by their natural strength. They are preaching a gospel of natural strength. They know nothing about the covenant keeping power of God. They know nothing about the surrendered life or the exchanged life as it's been called in the past. They know nothing about the Holy Spirit coming and enabling a man or woman to live for God because that's not the focus of their message. They "bear rule" – in other words they lead the people with a gospel of natural strength and Jeremiah says, "…and my people love to have it so…" And the people love it.
I've been dumbfounded in the last several years to see the absolute ludicrous, foolishness that has permeated the church of Jesus Christ in North America and watching the people and they love it. They are being led to go down a garden path to hell and they love it. "…and what will ye do in the end thereof?" The word "end" in Hebrew means in the last days.
What will you do? In other words, you've been led in the gospel of natural strength, what will you do when all hell breaks out on the face of the earth? What will you do? What will you do in the last days?
Go back to I Kings again. Now listen to me. I'm not mad at anybody here tonight. I don't want anybody thinking that. I have a burning in my heart. There's been a burden that God has placed on me for years now. I'm pleading for the church. I'm not condemning anybody. I plead for every leader. If they can turn, if they can still hear I plead for them. I'm not here to condemn anybody, I'm not here to call down fire on God's house. I'm talking about judgment fire, I'm here to plead.
Now we go back to I Kings chapter 18 and verse 22. 22"Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD…" Now we know that wasn't completely correct. There were 7,000 others that hadn't bowed their knee to success and prosperity. "…but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23Let them therefore give us two bullocks; (two sacrifices) and let them choose one bullock (choose your sacrifice) for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: 24And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God."
Now I want you to mark that in your spirit because we're going to talk about that fire. That fire is not what you might think it is. Fire is not a feeling. Fire is not a presence. Fire is not a tingling. Fire is not some sensory experience. There is something else that Elijah here is talking about. Mark it in your mind because we'll be back to it later.
24"… And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken." Meaning, that's a good idea. Okay we'll lay out our sacrifices and the god that answers by fire is God. 25"And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many;" In other words, you choose your sacrifice and you prepare yours first and call on the name of your gods but put no fire under it. Yours is a quicker work than mine, Elijah was saying. Yours takes no time at all. Yours starts with a survey on the block to determine what people want to come to God's house. Then you purchase a building and then you arrange for some corporate financings because the corporate world is not offended by your gospel. They will buy into it readily. They unsaved will buy into it because they can be very comfortable there and they can still prosper and live immoral lives and never be challenged by the word of God. It's a quick work.
You see folks, that which is not of God always has no durable foundation. Not only in the church but in the individual Christian life. You don't live the Christian life. We don't grow as a Christian by running from one tape to another or one sensory experience to another. There is a building that goes on. There is a cornerstone we must fall on and Jesus said we must be broken on that cornerstone. The brokenness means we must be fashioned and made into the image of that stone. If we are not exactly as the stone is then the wall that goes up will be crooked. It will start off one degree but by the time it gets to the top it will fall over. That's why many of these so-called churches of Jesus Christ rise up so fast and seem to go so high, so far, and you look down the road 15 or 20 years later and they have a trail of disillusioned people and an empty building full of unclean virgins.
Now here the prophets of Baal begin to attempt to call down the presence of God. 25"And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; 26And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made."
That's very significant. They had made an altar and every man took his turn, as it were, and left on the altar. Perhaps as a display for the other prophets of Baal – look how holy I am. God's going to answer me. Look at my dedication to God. I'm on the altar. Look at me. Look at me. You see that's the very heart of men who don't know God. Look at me. They leapt upon the altar which means they rose above the crowd and for a moment they shined. Then they either jumped off or they got knocked off and the next person took his turn leaping on the altar, calling out to a god that doesn't exist.
27"And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 28And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them." Oh they were so sincere. I remember speaking to one couple and trying to caution them about what they were involved them. Trying to caution them about the gospel they were beginning to associate with when they said, "Oh, but pastor, you don't understand. The leaders are so sincere. They're so sincere. They really believe in what they are doing."
Folks, it's not enough to be moved by sincerity, there's got to be truth behind it. There has to be truth behind it. I don't even care if a man looks insincere as long as he's preaching the truth and it's touching my heart and convicting my life. Superficial cutting and crying aloud, little cuts in the flesh. Oh, look at this, look at that, look what God's done here, oh look at that. You see the Bible says the word of God is quick and powerful and it doesn't produce superficial little cuts in our body. The word of God goes right in to soul, spirit, bone, marrow. Right to the heart. Right to the thoughts and intents of the heart. The word of God is not a little superficial cut. The word of God is a two-edged sword and it's very sharp and it cuts very deep. Those who really love God and know God, the word of God comes as a surgeon does. The cancerous nature is taken out of us and is replaced by the nature of God. That doesn't happen because we come to an altar it comes because we agree with what God says and we trust Him for the power to change.
29 "And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." In other words they worked themselves into a position of exhaustion. It's not enough to leap on the altar but now they begin to prophesy. Now the work prophesied is "naba" in the Hebrew and can mean: to speak or sing as a prophet by divine power. Is has a positive application but it can also mean and it does in this case mean: to rave, to play the madman, to act insane through agitated, spasmodic movements which are often applied to false prophets. Now that's right out of a Hebrew/Greek dictionary. In other words, they were acting abnormally and they were shaking through spasmodic bodily movements which are always applied to false prophets. I'm going to prove it to you. Go back in your Bible to I Samuel and you're going to see something here in chapter 18. I'll show you what happens to a man who knew God and walks away from him and is still leading the people.
The Bible tells us clearly that Saul was anointed by God, he was called to lead, tells us that the spirit of God came upon him, he prophesied. There was a time in his life when he really did prophesy. The spirit of God came upon him and he began to lead the people, the Bible says he was turned into another man by the spirit of God. He had every chance that you and I have today. But there was a stubbornness in his heart, he was unwilling to yield his life to the word of God. That's why Samuel wept for him for quite a long time after God rejected him until finally the Lord said to stop weeping for him, I've chosen another man after my own heart.
I Samuel 18, verse 10. I want you to picture this Saul now – called to lead, anointed, touched with the Holy ghost. He's now sitting as king, he's a leader.
10 "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul…" Now I'm not going to get into the theology regarding did God send an evil spirit but I'm going to tell you something, God allowed an evil spirit to come upon his life. "…on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house.." Now here's Saul prophesying, it's an evil spirit that is upon him now. The word prophesied is "naba" – same word. It means to rave, to act insane through agitated spasmodic movements applied to false prophets. "an evil spirit came upon him and he prophesied in the midst of the house and David played with his hand…" Here's Saul prophesying, here's David just worshipping God. "…and there was a javelin in Saul's hand." Folks, this is really significant and I'll tell you why it's significant. David was worshipping God, Saul is prophesying. Now the whole thing looks holy. If you were to walk in you would say, "Oh, here's a man prophesying." It doesn't mean what he's saying is necessarily wrong. Here's one man prophesying now normally it's gibberish, it makes no sense, it doesn't follow the Bible. If you follow it long enough it deviates, it may start in truth but then it takes a strange twist. It eventually leads the people that follow it right outside of the written word of God.
So here's David worshipping. Here's Saul prophesying but there's something in this that the undiscerning eye doesn't see. The man prophesying is full of rebellion. He's full of envy. He's full of self-ambition and hate. He hates the true anointing and worship of God. There's a javelin in his hand and the javelin is there because he could never surrender.
There was a recent movement in Canada and America and throughout the western world where the leaders were reporting it was a revival. It was characterized by much prophesying but with the prophesying came condemning threats against anyone who put it to the scrutiny of scripture. Anybody that resists this would die, God is going to kill you. Does this sound familiar?
There was a javelin in his hand, prophesying, looking so holy but looking to kill the anointed of God. The true that exposes the false. Now let's go back to I Kings 18 again. Verse 30 "And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob…"(vs. 30,31) Now listen, this is significant because at this time Israel was split into two kingdoms. God says, if it's my altar there's no division. There's no division between black and white and brown and red and yellow. There's no division if it's my altar. If it's the altar of God, if it's the place where I'm going to send my fire, my presence, there is no division at this altar. The fact that he took twelve stones was a virtual slap in the face for those who are constantly saying, "We are the righteous side. They are the unrighteous. We wronged them, they wronged us. We have a history that goes back a long way. We are all here but we're divided." "…he took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came saying Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed." (vs. 31,32)
I did some research on that and I found out that trench was about three feet wide. Three feet wide all around the altar. That's 36 inches, that's quite a trench. All the way around – this took a long time. He was in no rush. That's why he told the other prophets, "You go ahead. You do your quick sacrifices, do your quick thing. What I'm going to build is going to take awhile." It would take awhile to dig a three foot trench all around this altar and to rebuild it with the proper number of stones.
"And he put the wood in order…" (vs. 33) You see, beloved, at the center of all Christianity is some wood that has to be dealt with. It's some wood that God himself planted on a mountain called Calvary 2,000 years ago and on that wood he laid a sacrifice. It really depends on how we look at that sacrifice as to whether or not we will ever grow as a Christian. If we comprehend what was done there and begin by faith to lay hold of the complete, absolute victory that was won for us on Calvary and trust the Holy Spirit to begin to make it a reality in our lives. "He put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces." (vs. 33)
The apostle Paul tells us clearly that we are to present our lives as a living sacrifice. Once we get back to the cross again, once we yield our lives to the purposes of God we can say like Paul, I am crucified with Christ. That means my will, my plans, my ambitions but nevertheless I live and yet not I but Christ lives in me. Paul goes on to say I live this life by faith in what Christ did for me. That's the source of my life. I've come to Christ. God has taken Paul and put him on the cross and Paul is dead. But I live because I have faith in what was purchased for me on Calvary and I trust God to give me the life that He has promised me. Hallelujah. Thanks be to God!
"He put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood." (vs. 33) Folks, there's a time we have got to lay our lives down for the purposes of God. This is not a Sunday School picnic, the church of Jesus Christ. This is not an invitation to have continuous good times. This is a war for the souls of men. He said, "fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood." (vs. 33)
The truly yielded life to God, the truly yielded man lays down his life as it is for the purposes of God and says cut me in pieces if you have to. Cut me. Not just little superficial scratches and a little bit of oozing blood to somehow give somebody around me a sense that I'm holy but cut me. God cut me deep, go to the core of who I am without you and get it out of my life. Pour water on it and then when you've done it, do it again and again. That's what Elijah said. Do it again a second time and then he said do it a third time and they did it a third time. That is the continuous cry of a genuine Christian. Do it again, God. Every time you show me something and I get free there's just a new sense of life and intelligence that comes into me. "And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do I the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water." (vs. 34, 35).
In other words, the sacrifice was soaked in the word of God. Hallelujah! I thank God that when I was a young Christian I opened this book. Oh I thank God I love this book. Thank God I read this book even when I didn't understand it. I read it and read it, trusting the Holy Spirit to open it to me. I thank God that He soaked my life in it at a young age in His word. When the false came I knew what was false and I knew what was real because I had been soaked in this book. I knew the difference. "And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near…" (vs.36)
Now he came as near as he could come. You see there was a three foot trench of water round about the altar that was full. He had dug it there on purpose because no man can share the glory of God. The prophets of Baal leapt on the altar for public exposure. Public acclaim. God's man of the hour – anointed servants of the Lord. But Elijah backed away, technically, and came as near as he could to the altar but the nearness was not to the altar, he was not looking for public exposure, the nearness was to God. It was a totally different context. Elijah drew near to God and backed away from the altar. If he had been at the altar when the fire came it would have consumed him. He backed away or walked as close as he could.
Folks, there is a litmus test of a man of God. A genuine man or woman of God will back away, will distance themselves from the glory of God, will not touch the glory of God. Will not allow people to praise them. Will not look for man's praise but look for praise that comes from God alone up in heaven. Will not compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ. Will not preach to tickle the ears of man but will preach to those who want to know the truth and want their lives changed by the glory of God.
"Elijah came near and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at they word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God and that thou hast turned their heart back again." (vs. 37) Now this is the cry of a genuine man of God. I'm only here, Elijah is saying, for these reasons. God hear me. God hear my prayer. Accept my sacrifice. Accept my life. Accept my works. Accept the effort that I've put in to what you have called me to do. Accept it, oh God, that the people may know that you are God and that their hearts can be turned back to you again. There's no other reason that a genuine man of God lives. He lives to turn the people back to God. He lives to bring down the true presence of God into the church and to see that which is false turned out. Not for the sake of proving a point but for the sake of the beloved church that Jesus died for and bought with his own blood and loves with all of His heart.
"Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." (vs. 38) The fire of God fell. The writer of Hebrews says, "Our God is a consuming fire." You see, if you really have been in the presence of God there is a consuming work that is going on inside your life. What is old is being consumed by the presence of God – it is passing away. Behold all things are becoming new. Image to image you are being changed as you behold Him even through a glass. Even if you don't see Him you are still being changed because you are beholding – you are looking in the right direction and you are being changed from image to image and glory to glory even as by the glory of the Lord. By the spirit of the Lord you are being changed. The fire of God came and consumed the burnt sacrifice, consumed the life as it is as it was laid down and said cut me, wash me. And the fire of God came. Hallelujah.
I can stand here today before heaven and say the fire of God (don't anybody clap) and I hope you can say it too. To be able to stand before God and say, I asked God to come. I asked Him to do a work in my life. I asked Him to change me. I asked Him to use me and the fire of God came. He has consumed things out of my life and continues to consume that which offends His nature and the working of His kingdom. "and the wood, and the stones, and the dust" I want to tell you something. Why the dust? The word in Hebrew for dust is "aphar" and this is what it means. It means – dry earth.
In other words, the fire of God came and consumed or will consume our powerlessness or our lack of God's presence. The dry earth. Don't forget what we were created from, folks. We were created from the dust of the ground. When the fire of God comes into your life He consumes – the Holy Ghost consumes your powerlessness. Consumes your sense that God is not in your life and you begin to be aware that you have the power of almighty God now residing in you and He consumes the dryness, the powerlessness of the human vessel without God. It also means fine dust blown by the wind. God, when He comes in true fire, will consume that part of us which has a tendency to be blown about by the wind.
The apostle Paul tells us that God has said in the church, let me read it to you in Ephesians 4, beginning with verse 11. "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
These are God's men and women. Here are the signs of God's men and women: for the perfecting of the saints, In other words, to bring everyone into a position where they are yielded to God and they have found God's will and purpose for their life.
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: This is the ministry that God sets up for the church. The true ministry is not to bring them to yourselves, not to pick your pocket, not to offer some vain hope, but that you be filled with Christ and the fruit of that follows in verse 14. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight Sleight is like a magician. of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." (vs. 11-14)
The fire of God came and consumed the aphar, which means dry earth, it means fine dust, that part of our nature which has a tendency to be blown around by the wind. But I tell you, once you've known the real then you know any phony thing that's coming in the wind. It also means the grave. The fire of God consumes the grave. It consumes the curse of death. It consumes the inability to change or rise above from the dead. The fire of God consumes the grave. It also means the world, isn't that amazing? The fire of God consumes the world in us. It takes our association with the world out of our hearts. When you make the decision to make the break God says I'll send a fire. I will consume what is not of me that's in your heart. And lastly, aphar means "gold dust". And by definition it means "that which appears to be God and is not". Isn't that incredible? We've got entire movements today that are running around saying there's gold dust in the air. You see that's the evidence there's no fire. The fire of God consumes that which appears to be God but is not. Beloved, several years ago – listen to me like you've never listened to me ever in your life.
Several years ago a particular gospel landed on the southern shores of the United States. You might say that the American church was invaded ! Gospel of laughter – of jokes. Gospel of foolishness. I remember seeing this just a few weeks after it began. I looked at it and I said to my wife, "Well at least it takes absolutely no discernment to see what this lunacy is." Then much to my shock it swept almost the whole western world. Great corners of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement. I remember crying out to God, how could it be? How could it be? How could this thing happen to your church?
You see folks, we've forgotten something. Here we are in New York and the twin towers have come down and the Pentagon has been attacked. And rightfully we can say the walls are down and the justice of God is touching a nation that has rejected truth. But we forget the judgment begins in the house of God. The arrival of this gospel was the judgment of God on a slumbering church. A church that wanted prosperity and security. They wanted no cross, no word, no repentance, no cutting of the sore, no living water. They wanted to feel good. So God, you'll see in the Old Testament, poured a spirit of drunkenness on what called itself the church of Jesus Christ. It was the judgment of God. It began in the church and I remember saying to other people, it will not be long and the judgment will be touching the shores of North American because it begun in the house of God. I knew when this started that judgment was at the door. I speak from a heart of passion. I condemn no one. I speak from a heart of compassion like Elijah did. Mighty God, you've got to come again. Your people are captured. They've been taken captive by Baal.
"When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord , he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought then down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there." (vs. 39,40)
Now I want to explain to you the significance of that. We're obviously not called to physically harm anybody in our generation. If anybody ever makes that suggestion that is not the church of Jesus Christ, that's not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with the kingdom of God. But the word escape in the Hebrew means "smooth". That's what it means. In other words, let them not slip… They've been exposed. You now know what they are, you've seen the presence of God. Don't let them slip away. Don't let them keep deceiving you with their smoothness anymore. Get away from their altars. Take them to the brook, as it were, and put an end to their influence over their life.
Beloved church of Jesus Christ, tonight I am speaking not just to Times Square Church but there are churches all over the United States and Canada that are going to hear this message. Beloved, get away from their altars. Run for your life!
II Corinthians 6, beginning with verse 16. "And what agreement hat the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple o the living God; as the God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (vs. 16-18)
Touch not the unclean thing. It's not talking about homosexuality and pornography. These are unclean altars. This is the table of devils. The Holy Ghost says to Paul, touch not the unclean thing, come out from among them, run for your life! This is about your life because this is about your life. It's not just about an imposing theology or conflicting view point on Jesus, this is about your life!
My mind is forever branded with the story that I heard about police officers from the city of New York as people were fleeing from a crumbling building. There were police officers and firemen and others who were running toward the building saying, "Run for your life!" At their own peril and in some cases I believe they knew they were going to die but there was a sense of duty. I was crying out to God, I said, "God, oh Jesus, don't let my sense of duty be less for your kingdom than these beloved firemen and policemen were for those perishing in a falling tower."
We're living in a generation when truth is falling into the streets. I want to be among those that are not running away from the conflict but running into the conflict and saying, "Run for your life!" Run from gospels that focus only on success and prosperity. Run from those that use the name of Jesus Christ only for personal gain. Run from those that are picking your pocket in the name of Jesus. Run! Run from gospels that only focus on self-improvement. Three Steps to a Better Personality. Three Steps to this and that. Run from churches where men and not Christ are glorified. Body of Christ, run! Get out! Don't touch the unclean things. Run from churches in America and Canada where there is no Bible. There is no cross in their theology. There is no searching word. There's no repentance from sin. There's no mention of the blood of Jesus. It's unclean so run! Run from churches where worship leaves you cold. There is no sense of God because they don't know God. Run! Run from churches where you are comfortable in your sin. That's a table of devils if you come in the house of God and you've got sin in your life and you're not convicted of it. You're at a table of devils. Run from pulpits that are filled with political men who are using the pulpit of God for a personal political agenda. Run! Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. Run! Get out! They know nothing of God. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. Beloved in the church, run for your life! Run from preachers that stand and tell stories and jokes. Run like you've never run before. Run from those who are only after your money and they use one gimmick after another. One foolish thing after another to get your money. Run!
Turn with me to Proverbs 7 and I'll be closing in just a moment.
Proverbs 7, beginning with verse 6 "For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street through her corner: and he went the way to her house," (vs. 6-8) Now this has a physical application in these passages of scripture but there's a deeper, spiritual meaning in this. I've always believe the woman spoken about in Proverbs 5 and 7 is false religion. Verse 9 "In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart."
The word for harlot in the Hebrew means adultery or apostasy. There met him a woman who was clothed as an apostate, as it is. And subtil of heart means intelligent. Presenting an intelligent argument to a very simple young man who had little knowledge of God. "She is loud and stubborn;" Now the word stubborn in Hebrew means morally apostate, restless, has a lack of stability is as an untamed cow which will not carry his master's yoke. She is loud, she's morally apostate, she's restless, she lacks stability, she is an untamed cow. She will not be yoked by her master.
"And her feet abide not in her house: Now she is without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner. So she caught him and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings wit me: this day have I payed my vows." (vs. 11-14) I'm a spiritual person. I have peace offerings and I have paid my vows. "Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee." (vs. 15)
The person says, "Oh I have revelation that nobody else has. Oh wait a minute, what's that Lord? Speak to me now, oh God. What are you saying?" Don't laugh – because that's on television right now. It's an altar of devils. "I came to diligently seek your face and I found you. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt." (vs. 15,16) In other words, there are wonderful things here. There's provision here that you won't find anywhere else.
"I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon." (vs. 17) Myrrh was the burial spice of Jesus, incidentally. In other words, I'm as close as I can to being like Christ. It smells good in there. There's a sense of worship. She says, "Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed." (vs. 18-20)
He's not coming back soon, don't worry about it. "With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks: Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life." (vs/ 21-23)
She goes after his life and the word life in Hebrew means "breath, soul, spirit and mind". She's after the breath of God. She's after that which God wants to do in his life.
Proverbs chapter 5 and I'll close with this.
I hope that I have not offended you today by raising my voice. I have no alternative. There is a sense of God's heart in me for his church. I've asked him to animate me today. I was prepared to stand here and just speak as I am now, whatever it takes to keep people's ears open or perhaps to open them in this church-age for the very first time.
Proverbs 5:3 says, "For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil" Now the word for woman is interesting because in Hebrew the word means deviating. That means "crooked, straying from the path" of truth as it is. I've listened to some of these preachers and I tell you, they are exactly this. Smooth as oil, promising sweetness but they are devils. They are absolute devils. They know absolutely nothing about God.
"But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death: her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, (which is God's way) her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. (vs.4-6) Like a serpent. You begin to think you are focusing on something that doesn't sound right then she moves this way and goes over here. You think, that doesn't sound right, then she moves over here. She keeps moving. The word "know" means you can't know it by your natural senses. You can not discern it by your natural mind. It all sounds good and when you think you are getting close to something that bothers you, she moves. Her ways are moveable.
"Hear me now thereofore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. (This is God speaking now.) Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: Lest strangers be filled with they wealth: and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; And thou mourn at the last, (The word "at the last" basically is in the last days) when thy flesh and thy body are consumed." (vs.7-11) Overpowered by lusts, sensuality, false understanding of God. Consumed but not by the power of God.
Then you see verse 12. "And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly." (vs. 12-14) You get to the end, can you imagine? Perhaps for some that's before the throne of God and you say, how I hated instruction. What a fool I've been. How I despised a reproving word from God that was only sent to give me life. Eternally and abundantly. How I've not obeyed, even when I did hear it I didn't want to obey it. Nor inclined my ear – I didn't lean forth as it was instructed to me by those who spoke from God. I thought I was serving God but I was in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
The last four verses, 15 through 18, this is the word for you today. "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well." (vs. 15) God says listen, if you will come to me in truth, if you will believe on me, out of your belly are going to flow rivers of living water. I will teach you how to dig your own well. I will open your eyes, I will show you this book, I will lead you into truth, I will guide you with mine eye he says in the scriptures. Drink waters out of that which I'm going to give you. Running waters out of your own well.
Thanks be to God, the whole church in the world can backslide but those that are genuine will have a well that has been dug. They are not going to be moved by whatever anybody says. I know what God says. I know who God is. He has given me living water and I'm not satisfied with the ranting and ravings of fools. I have living water. There are some people listening to my voice and on this tape in the future, you've got to get out of where you are, you've got to dig a well in your own house, find some friends that are willing to walk with God and start talking to them about the things of Jesus. Get together and begin to pray and God will meet you and give you living water.
In verse 16 he tells us it's not just for you: " Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee." (vs. 16, 17) God says I'm not just going to give you to drink, I'm going to give you so much it's going to overflow and it's going to be dispersed. Everywhere you go you are going to know me, from the least to the greatest you are going to know me. You're going to know who I am, you're going to know me in power. You're going to know the true fire of God. You're going to know it. Your waters will be dispersed in the streets.
I think of my own life. I think of a young man that was so timid I couldn't stand up to speak. I think of a young man who suffered terribly with panic attacks when I was young. I think of God using my life for His glory. I think of God being so faithful and all I did was start by getting in the book and praying and seeking His face for myself. Not that I am anything at all. But I'm not unique, I am only a type of the church of Jesus Christ. Pastor Dave is only a type. I know many great men of God and there's one thing in common with all the men of God that I've known that are wonderful, great leaders of God. They dug their own well. They got their own water and by God's grace they were given water. A spring of water came in. They were not trying to spare the rod in their own lives. They said, God cut me. Cut me deep and then wash me with your word and then they laid their life down on the altar. Use me for your glory. Yes, there's been great personal cost in many of their lives.
To leave the altar of Baal it does cost you. The whole thinking of society in that day was contrary to Elijah. Even the king wanted to kill him. Verse 17 says, "Let them be only thine own, and not strangers with thee." The Lord says, let the water be the water I gave you. Let it not be strangers. Let the people who are outside my heart, let them not be feeding you water. Verse 18 says, "Let thy fountain be blessed; and rejoice with the wife of they youth." Rejoice with your first relationship. Rejoice with me, God says. Let me fill you again. Let me touch you again. Let me build your life again, let me consume your life. Let me touch you and rejoice at that first love. I loved you before you loved me. The Lord says, come back and rejoice with that love.
I pray for you church. Almighty God, deliver your Bride. Oh God, don't let the heathen rule over your house. Deliver your church. Deliver your ministry. Deliver those who have been genuinely called. Oh God, in this last hour of time, help us to get back. I've poured out my heart, there's nothing more to do Lord. Oh God, you have to go after this apostate church, this generation of apostates. You've got to go after them, Lord. You've got to set your people free. All I can do is warn but they've got to run. They've got to run. Your word says draw me and I will run after you. Holy Spirit, I ask you now to draw like you've never done before. Draw people who are listening to this message. Even if they don't agree draw them and let there be a witness of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit you've got to go into homes around America and Canada now. As the sound of my voice travels, draw people. I pray that you will draw and have people turn from the wrong altars of our generation and turn your people back again. Let them say the Lord is God. The Lord is God. I ask that your true, holy, consuming fire will come and touch hearts and lives, beginning in this house, Lord. You said, "Let your fountain be dispersed abroad, let it be in the streets." I ask that that be true of this message today. Pray for the church of Jesus Christ."
About: HEBREWS 11:6-"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." I am a born-again believer and disciple of Jesus Christ with a heart for the lost and a burden for the church today. I obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and preach the absolute truth of God's Word no matter how much discomfort and disturbance it brings to the modern-day Laodicean church...knowing that as it is tempered by the love and grace of Jesus Christ some will hear the message of complete surrender to God's will and discipleship to Christ. I speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost for I was once lost and now I'm found--was blind but now I see. And I know from personal experience just how far down the gutter can seem and just how far gone a heart can feel...but my Heavenly Father sent His Son to rescue the Prodigals. It's what He does!Back to Blog | Add to Buddy List