8 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
9 Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law for the burnt offering: the burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it.
10 The priest is to put on his linen robe, and he shall put on undergarments next to his flesh; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire reduces the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar.
11 Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.
12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it, and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it.
13 Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.’
Remove the Ashes, Rekindle the Fire!
God instructed 3 times in this passage to keep the fire burning on the altar. The repetition emphasizes the importance of the instruction.
How was the fire started? Lev 9 tells us that when the Tabernacle was dedicated, the fire of the Lord came and consumed the sacrifice on the altar. After that the priests faithfully kept the fire going in accordance with God’s instruction.
Jewish scholar tells us that they kept the fire going for 860 years, until the temple was destroyed in 586 BC. The temple was destroyed because the people had turned away from God and worshiped idols.
The Lord is more concerned about the altar of our heart. Is the fire of God burning in your heart? Is the fire burning brightly or is it dying of? Are you on fire for God?
Be careful that your heart doesn’t turn away from the Lord your God, or the fire of God will cease and the presence of God will depart from your life.
We want to be a church that is on fire for God. For the church to be on fire, it has to be made up of Christians who are on fire.
On this first day of the New Year, hear and heed the call of God, keep the fire burning!
WHAT FIRE ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
1. Presence of God
Over and over in the Bible, fire is used as the symbol of God’s presence.
When God revealed Himself to Moses in the desert, He appeared as a fire burning but not consuming the bush.
Later on when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, God manifested Himself as a a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
Then we see on top of Mount Sinai the mountain was burning with fire because of the presence of God. God’s voice came and called for Moses. And Moses went up and received the Ten Commandments that were written by the finger of God.
On top of Mount Carmel, Elijah confronted the wicked King Ahab, the backslidden Israelites, and the 450 false prophets of Baal. Elijah cried out, “The God who answers by fire, He is God.” That day the fire of God came and consumed the sacrifice. The people prostrated in awe and said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God!”
Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire.
God wants to fire up your life and He wants you to keep the fire burning.
2. Power of God
John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Jesus promised in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
At Pentecost in Acts 2, we see the Holy Spirit coming down with tongues as of fire.
With the fire of the Holy Spirit burning brightly in their lives, the early Christians went out preaching the gospel in the power of God.
Signs and wonders attested their testimony and they turned the world upside down.
Without the fire of God, the church loses its power and authority.
Revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill put it this way, “I believe that tonight the world is going to hell fire because the church has lost Holy Ghost fire, it’s as simple as that.”
3. Passion of God
God is love, and He loves you passionately, like an all-consuming fire. Therefore, you must have passion FOR God!
The fire of God doesn’t come uninvited. He doesn’t force His way into you. He stays because you want Him to. It’s based on a passionate, loving relationship.
Is your heart burning with the presence of God? Power of God? Passion of God and passion for God?
Numbers 3:4 But Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered strange fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children.
What is strange fire? Fire that originated from man and not from God.
What they did was correct, but how they did it was totally wrong!
We can do good and serve sacrificially, but if we did it with the wrong kind of fire, we will die spiritually and even physically.
God’s fire burn but doesn’t consume, man’s fire consume and burn people out.
Man’s fire is based on SELF: What I want, what I like, what I think. My way, my method, my decision.
Sadly, in many churches today, pastors with strong self-will may have built a big church, but burnt so many people out in the process.
God is concerned with how we treat one another, not just what we accomplished.
Therefore, come back to the true source of fire, come back to the Lord our God.
HOW TO KEEP THE FIRE GOING?
I. Remove the Ashes
Leviticus 6:10-11 The priest shall take up the ashes to which the fire reduces the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. 11 Then he shall carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.
The fire will die out if the ashes are not removed.
Ashes are the result of burning.
You get ashes when you offer up burnt offering to the Lord.
It is normal, just learn to remove it. Don’t allow it to accumulate.
You get emotional ashes too in your service and ministry.
In life you are bound to face disappointment and discouragement. When working with people there will be conflicts and misunderstanding.
The question is, what are you going to do with the ashes?
Keep the ashes? You fire will be suffocated.
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.
Hurting people hurt others.
You will dump your ashes on others.
How often have you snapped at others because of unresolved issues in your own heart?
Time to let go. Get rid of the ashes. Come to the Lord for cleansing and restoration.
II. Supply the Fuel
Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
1. The Fuel of Prayer
2. The Fuel of the Word
3. The Fuel of Ministry
III. Stay Close to One Another
If the woods or coals are spread too thin, the fire goes out.
Put them together, close to each other, and they will burn brightly.
We need one another. Don’t fight the battle of life alone.
Keep the fire going. If you lose it, you lose you soul!
Keep the fire going. Others need the light and warmth from your fire!
Keep the fire going. We owe it to the next generation. What are we showing them? A life that is cold and bitter with ashes? Or a life that is truly on fire with God and for God?
Remove the ashes, rekindle the fire!