Lesson 9

Holy Fire

‘But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

(Mathew 22:11–14)

This is a hard word that Jesus is saying through the parable, so let us look up what Jesus is saying about garments.

‘Let your garments be always white; let not oil be lacking on your head.’

(Ecclesiastes 9:8)

We see here that this could be speaking of walking in righteousness with the oil of the Holy Spirit upon you.

Let’s now look at the book of Revelation 16:15:

‘Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and be seen exposed!’

What does ‘ be seen exposed’ mean here? It can only mean that the Lord’s cloak of righteousness of white can cover any confessed sin that would be exposed and Revelation 3:2–5 explains this in even more depth:

‘Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. Yet you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

So a soiled garment is him who is soiled by sin and a white garment means righteousness.

‘I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

my justice was like a robe and a turban.

I was eyes to the blind,

and feet to the lame.

I was a father to the poor,

and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.’

(Job 29:14–16)

‘I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.’ We have no righteousness without Jesus who forgives us and clothes us with His presence.

The more we allow the Lord to cleanse us, the more He will free us to be clothed in righteousness. That is, we do not only ask the Lord to free us from sin, but to free us from self as well. The me and the I also have to die, in order to release Him through us. In allowing the Lord to do this within us, we become clothed in righteousness, for His love and compassion has replaced the me and the I within us and we begin to care for others more, becoming eyes for the blind, feet for the lame, a father to the poor.

‘But let justice roll down like waters,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’

(Amos 5:24)

This reminds me of John 7:37–38:

‘If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.”’

We have to come to the Lord and drink of His living waters, His presence, His righteousness. Only then is it possible to be clothed with the right garments for heaven, as verse 39 goes on to say:

‘Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’

John the Baptist said in Mathew 3:11:

‘I baptise you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’

He does not say only with the Holy Spirit, but also with fire. Let’s read Acts 2:1–4:

‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’

Let’s look at two more scriptures about fire:

‘And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.’

(Exodus 3:2)

‘Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.’

(Hebrews 12:28–29)

The bush was burning but not consumed, and our God is a consuming fire. What does this mean? This is answered very well in 1 Corinthians 3:10–16:

‘According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?’

This means that His holy fire will only burn up the chaff of sin in our lives and will refine the good within us but will not consume us. Like the burning bush it will burn within us without consuming us. Only the negative things within us shall be burned up, if we yield ourselves to Him to do this.

When we are touched by His holy fire, the fire will not burn us up. The fire will instead burn up the straw and stubble within us and refine us to be like gold. This will continue until our characters are transformed into the image of Jesus.

The more time we spend in the presence of God, the more His holy flame is able to do His wondrous work within us, penetrating into every area of our heart and life, bringing to the surface things that need dealing with, healing the inner hurts of the past and bringing His life in abundance to every area of our life and ministry. Spending much time in the presence of God is therefore the most worthwhile time that you can spend on this earth.

His indwelling presence is heavenly for He is sent from heaven to dwell in our earthly bodies. Therefore to constantly dwell in His presence keeps you in eternal contact with heaven, making it possible to bring heaven down on earth, as you do His will on earth as it is done in heaven. As in the Lord’s prayer, thy kingdom come, ‘thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.’ This means God can do His will on earth, through us.

‘Many are called, but few are chosen.’ Is this because the refiner’s fire of the Holy Spirit must first refine us, before He can choose us, before we can become His chosen? This is again answered by Scripture in Isaiah 6:4–9:

‘And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go and say to this people … ”’

We see here that, yes, the refiner’s fire must first refine us. We can then become one of God’s chosen.

There is one more point to add to the results of coming through the refiner’s fire. Jesus went into the wilderness baptised in the Holy Spirit; He came out of the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, ready for His miraculous ministry ahead.

The refiner’s fire causes a brokenness within us as we open our hearts to want more and more of God’s presence and love. It is realising that we no longer want to live outside His presence. We want to come to Him more and more. The Lord becomes first in every area of our lives. We hunger and seek for His presence daily. We become clothed in His garments of righteousness and the oil of the Holy Spirit will not be lacking in our lives.

‘Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.”

My heart says to thee,

“Thy face, Lord, do I seek.”’

(Psalm 27:8)

....> Lesson 10

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