"[Is] not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer [that] breaks the rock in pieces? - Jer 23:29
God’s word is a fire, a hammer, and a sword. All of these things can bring destruction, but they can also create as well. We are going to focus on the fire of God of which there are various characteristics; the most relevant are:
the fire of right burns up wickedness
the fire of truth burns up error
the fire of love burns up selfishness
The fire of God brings purity or consumption; it always depends on our needs and God’s desires. Fire can clean something out, or it can burn something up. The Lord's fiery word and love are all consuming and when it is permitted to run its course in our lives, hearts, minds, and wills; it will accomplish all that it sets out to do. Are you ready to allow the fire of Christ Jesus to change you once and for all?
Deliverance and Holiness are in the Fire
17 "But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness; The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. – 18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, but the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain in the house of Esau. Oba 1:17, 18
Mount Zion, is the city of the living God (Heb 12) and Jacob and Joseph the tribes of Judah and Israel spiritually speak of the Church and Esau, the enemies of God. When applying this verse to its spiritual representation of the Bride of Christ, or the Church, we can see that the Church is a house of fire to burn away the enemies of God. These enemies are anything that comes against the Kingdom of God, anything that comes against His people. If we are as one as Christ said we should be and if we are the light of the world then we are His hands and feet. Jesus said we could do what He did and greater and He gave us all authority to do so. We are His Ambassadors on earth and ambassadors represent the origin of which they are sent. We are to represent His kingdom with power, thereby bringing His fire to every situation that confronts us. The fire of God brings deliverance and healing, and causes holiness when it consumes all that is not of Him.
Jesus said, "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! - Luke 12:49
There is a fire in the Church that Jesus brought. This fire is relentless and strong, and though man may set its sin upon the fire, man may bring all kinds of depravity, man may bring theology, religion, social and political cultures that clash with the Kingdom but man may never put the fire of the Bride out. There will always be a remnant of burning ones, the ones who passionately pursue the precious King without a thought of the cost.
These burning ones are firebrands for the kingdom of God, and they are fearless, ferocious fire starters that cannot be deterred because they have given it all for their God!
The fire in the Church is one that is far reaching and advancing even though the world would try to extinguish it; the fire rages forth. This fire is strong, steady, and unquenchable! The Church is a fire that will leave a stubble in its path. Immorality, adultery, idolatry and other transgressions will come to an end one day. The wicked world in its entirety will come to an end when its elements melt with the fire of God and the new heaven and earth are the indwelling of the righteous!
Look what Jesus said about John the Baptist; 11 Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Matt 11:11-12
John the Baptist broke religious rules. He was called to bring forth a violent pressing into repentance in preparation for the true Messiah to come forth. When true repentance comes, it is a foreshadowing of the fire to come. John said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Mat 3:11
Ferociously Fueled by Fire
The bride of Christ is to be one that is ferociously fueled by the fire of repentance that would lead others to the conviction of their sinful heart condition. Thereby, causing genuine conversions to come forth, prepared for the harvest.
The word take is used as “caught up” in 1 Thess 4:17 to describe the church being taken up by Jesus in the end. It means to seize, snatch away, take by force. This word describes the way in which the Holy Spirit transferred Philip from one location to another and how Paul was caught up to Paradise. The word take suggests a sudden force.
Luke makes this statement as “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.” Lk 16:16.
Let’s look at these words violence and pressing into a little deeper. Although the statements made by Jesus and recorded by Luke and Matthew appear to be different in Luke 16 and Matt 11, they are not because the words violence and pressing into mean the same, they are translated from the same Greek word biázō. The terms suffer violence and pressing into mean to crowd oneself into, force, to be seized or press. The violent is the forcer or the energy by which the thing is taken.
Webster’s 1913 Dictionary defines the word violence as a highly excited action either physical or moral. Other words used to describe violence in this context could be fierceness or eagerness.
As Christ followers, we have a burden to change, requiring us to spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, meditation on the word, worship, fellowship, giving, and serving. These things come forth at different levels and various intensity as we daily deny ourselves and walk with Jesus, carrying our cross as we do so.
We Must Fight for the Abundant Life
Without fervent fierceness in the quest of Christ, we will not obtain the kingdom of God as the Lord intended us to as when He stated "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly. - John 10:10
When the devil comes to take, we must fight to keep. When the devil comes to kill, we must fight to live. When the devil comes to destroy, we must fight to avail. This is a violent spiritual warfare fight. We don’t war according to our flesh because our enemies are in the heavenly places and they are wicked warriors, relentless rulers who rebel against God. Our enemies are principalities and powers that passionately pursue our peace, and they have no intention of giving up simply because we are called by His name.
Kingdom taking sounds pretty violent to me. Everyone faces tribulations and trials in this world, and the victory will depend on the tenacity to fight in each individual. The Scriptures encourage us over and over to stay the course, fight the good fight, overcome, be encouraged, be strong and of good courage, and so forth. The reason for these reminders is simple; Jesus was well aware of what our plights would be as we remained faithful to His call.
Heavenly Father, God of fire, I ask for Your all consuming fiery love to invade every part of my life today! I'm ready and willing to welcome Your fire of consumption to the areas of my life that need to be purified and I'm ready to be a firebrand with Your word alight upon my tongue! Make me a warrior of love for Your kingdom purposes. Cause me to pursue You with such ferociousness that the whole world would know You are real and are returning. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.