William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, wrote the song we just sang. Onbe person said, “Before the mid 1880s, Booth tended to see social services as a diversion from revivalism.” Blood and Fire' is the motto of The Salvation Army. This describes the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to save all people, and the fire of the Holy Spirit, which purifies believers. Having said this, it might be time for the Salvation Army to return to zealously calling out for revival and to the full meaning of the power of the Holy Spirit. This song is powerful. We do need another Pentecost and we are asking God to send the fire again today.” “Even though last week we saw false fire and false teaching about fire. Earlier we read about Elijah calling out for fire. He said the God who answers by fire He is God. That is still true. God is still the God of fire. Last week we heard from a man who does not believe this yet millions follow His dark ways. ― Leonard Ravenhill, in the book “Why Revival Tarries” said “The Gospel is not an old, old story, freshly told. It is a fire in the Spirit, fed by the flame of Immortal Love; and woe unto us, if, through our negligence to stir up the Gift of God which is within us, that fire burns low.” As we read about Elijah we saw a response from the people much like today. 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.” They did not know. These are the days we live in once again. There are too few true prophets of God while the land is filled with false prophets. Remember just because some intellectual guru says there are no prophets, does not mean it so. There must be true prophets of God who may be hidden away because just like those days people were deceived by false prophets. There were usually only a few standouts for truth among the false. Another example of this was with Micaiah. 1 Kings 22:10 “Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” The Micaiah was told12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” 13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” So yes some will be very convincing like Zedekiah but in the end like Zedekiah after he slapped 25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”
Theses false prophets and there are many, have deceived the people and the church lies in desolation because of it. The true power of the blood and the fire have been set aside for a rigorous following of rules and regulations laid down by man. Colossians 2:20 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” As we read it was not until the fire from heaven came down that the people said, “39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” The right answer is for us not to wait but say the Lord He is God right now. Do what we are told, seek and find and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Last week we saw two extremes. One was false fire and the other was false teaching about fire. After the service, Laurie mentioned that many people who are falling for the likes of the one extreme like Benny Hinn desperately want more of God. People are hungry for more than what they are seeing in the deadness of most churches. Drama and music and fog machines don’t cover that deadness up by the way. When they think they see the move of God, they go after them blindly. But here in lies the deception. From the deadness they look for something more. They end up seeking signs and wonders and not truth and they are easily deceived by what they think is the power of God. They do not have discernment and as Paul said, 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” Galatians 5:7 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” They did not check to see if what they were seeing was of God and if it was the truth. Most who get caught up in this do not want to know the truth just as long as they see some sort of manifestation. People then began seeking just the signs and did not want to hear the truth. They do not care that it did not look like scripture. The teachers like the extremes we saw last week will teach their own doctrines to justify their own beliefs. Just like the Jews they demanded signs. Jesus said, John 4:48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” Sadly people are also very content not to see them also. We have already been warned about false teachers but no one wants to think it is them. Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Oddly the very people teaching the doctrine of election are deceiving those receiving it. Combine that with the doctrine of eternal security and that makes the verse I just read obsolete. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” If you seek just miracles and not the truth, you will be deceived. Remember the Holy Spirit guides you into truth and since God has turned his face from shining on us every does as they see fit and truth is not to be found. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” But if you seek truth and wait as we have been told, God empowers you with his Holy Spirit power and what follows is healing casting out demons signs and wonders. Acts 2:43 “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
The signs and wonders are not bad when they follow truth. People get deceived because they do not seek the truth but end up seeking signs, miracles and wonders instead. I heard a charismatic preacher one time say lets get the preaching out of the way and get to the good stuff, meaning the chaos that would ensue. When the masses flocked to events like the likes of Toronto Blessing or Brownsville, they were seeking signs and wonders because they thought God was there. This is not a revival of God but a deception of the elect. If they had tested the spirits they would have seen these were of the devil. Being slain on your back is a sexual response by the way, holy laughter, drunkenness, barking like dogs, roaring like a lion etc. These do not line up with scripture. As long as there was manifestations people ignored God’s word. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” People seem to think that these people will always be coming in the future sometime, not now. Sadly because of this most churches have a reactionary theology and have gone the other direction and avoid it. They say let’s not talk about it or we don’t believe what they do. How about just believing what God’s word states. Their beliefs are not biblically based but in reaction to what they don't want. Instead of saying this is what the bible says, this is what I believe. What a novel idea. Leonard Ravenhill said, “One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed. We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed).”
What the church has done is to reject the Holy Spirit as we heard last week because they think that signs and wonders are only from the devil. Jesus responded, Luke 11:14 “Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” The kingdom of God is here and we are not waiting for Jesus to set up his millennial kingdom in the future sometime. The church has all but demonized all signs and wonders. The other side is that most Christians do not seem to upset about the lack of them. Why are not more asking where have all the wonders gone. They stand silently by. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.” 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” This goes for both videos I showed last week. How many false prophets do you think are out there now, 2000 years later. There has been a complete failure to do this in the church today. Anything goes it seems as those who proclaim falseness as truth continue to do so with great fervor.
Now if people had worshipped in Spirit and in Truth, true signs and wonders would have followed out of the truth. They would have also rejected what they were seeing. We are supposed to be seeing this in Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Yes people say that passage should not really be there, not true by the way so just read it somewhere else like Luke 9,10 and Matthew 10 but yet the church continues to deny the power of God and my people love it this way. Ravenhill also said, “The tragedy of this late hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving out too many dead sermons to too many dead people.”
One thing most can agree on is that the available power is not available, but not all for the same reasons. Some say there is now no power as it has ceased, while others say there is but they do not seek so we all loose out and end up with just a form of godliness. Satan wins because you end up believing in a powerless gospel. All you have to do is read the bible and the only answer is to ask where have all the wonders gone. But man is leading you astray. A normal reading says that is how it supposed to be but as many people do they read their study bibles and below a passage like 1 Corinthians 12 they will say these power gifts have ceased. Mark 7:13 “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” How brazen is that?
So over the years there has been a fear of the power of God. There is a good fear but there is also a bad fear that leads to stifling the Holy Spirit. We don’t want to look Pentecostal so they stay away from teaching the truth about the Holy Spirit. What has happened is people have humanized the gospel. They have deleted anything that is not controllable. The power part is taken out and they admit it. Run from these people. They simply want to control everything in their own power. If the Spirit led them, they would be children of God. But they do not want to be led by the Spirit. For example Joshua told the people Joshua 6:18 “keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” So they attack Jericho and are victorious, then on to Ai. They scout it out and say only a few men are needed yet they get routed in the Promised Land the land where God said they would be victorious. Here is the reason for the route. Joshua 7:1 “But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” God then tells Joshua, “11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” The problem was they took the things of God and put them with their own possessions when told not to. We have done the same by humanizing the gospel into a form of godliness and deny the power. The people who do this blatantly deny the power, so much so they write in the word of God that the word of God is not true. They blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and blackest darkness is reserved for them. These men in the video mocked the Holy Spirit and denied his power in their efforts to shut down the charismatics.
You can’t defeat satan without the power. What exactly is happening at church if you take away the power gifts? Just because you go to church does not mean you are the church. 1 John 3:8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” We cannot win without power. That is why we are given all of the gifts. The passage in Romans 7 talks about Paul not being able to handle sin. I read a couple of brutal sermons on the topic by guess who, yes Mr. MacArthur. This empty way of life handed down from our fathers has no power to conquer sin. That’s just how it is until Jesus returns to defeat satan. But did we not just read “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” You see they have to teach this powerless gospel because they actually do not believe the gospel as written in scripture. If they did they would be promoting not denouncing the fire of the Holy Spirit. What he failed to do was see that this is our life as Paul described it without the Spirit and His power. That is what he is teaching and what you end up with. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! This is not something in the future. We need the fire to take this away. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we stay wretched. What they do is separate chapter 7 from 8. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
If we want to change we must believe that God still answers by fire. If we are to pure and have our hearts changes we must believe there is fire available to make those changes. The power gifts are part of that process. If we would just read God’s word and believe it and ignore all the man made teaching about what it is or isn’t, then God in his mercy may just turn his face to shine on us once again. We know that God will keep his promise to David so we have great hope. We already know that John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. God wants to dwell among us. We need to understand that this dwelling comes with all the power available as described in scripture. Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Paul also prayed Ephesians 3:16 “that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Any love that is of another gospel is adultery. The love described in 1 Corinthians 13 also includes 12 and 14. If you do not believe the whole truth you do not have love. 1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” So there are many cymbal bangers because they do not understand that His love endures forever is a powerful love that defeat our enemies. To understand this we must accept the word of God. Colossians 3:16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” God wants to live among us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” Ephesians 2:22 “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
1 Kings 17:1 ”Now Elijah, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” Jesus said Luke 4:24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.” While this drought was happening, 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!” 15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.” There is still fury today against the true prophets of the Lord. But then time came and Elijah challenged Ahab. 1 Kings 18:19 “Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” Paul said in Romans 11:2 “Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” We are facing the same situation as many of the teachers, evangelists preachers prophets and apostles have eaten at the table of Jezebel and bowed the knew to Baal. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” Remember Jezebel still hates prophets and the fury is great against them so much so that even Elijah ran from her 1 Kings 19:1 “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them. 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” But hen God said “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Go back. He did not need to be afraid. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Before this happened Elijah called for the fire from heaven. When a true prophet stands before God fire will fall. We read “Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. But this is our prayer. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Then 1 Kings 18:41 “Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” 44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.” James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
Right now we are in a drought and there is famine because we have disobeyed the word of God and not followed wholeheartedly. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Everyone does as they please and satan masquerades and the church remains desolate but we believe that if we hold fast and carefully observe all of God’s commands and walk in obedience to him Deuteronomy 11:23 “then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” We believe God will keep his promise to David. We believe that the word of god is truth and we will live by it. Yes as Gideon said where are all the wonders but as we believe as God said to Gideon, Judges 6:4 “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Yes we have mixed our metaphors of fire and rain but we believe God will pour out his spirit. Isaiah 44:3 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Ezekiel 39:29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.” Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Joel 2:29 “Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.