“GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE”
READ IN THE BIBLE (HEBREWS -29)
In this physical world
fire can be our friend or our foe. Fire
can bring us comfort or tragedy. It is
the same in the spiritual realm. This
startling description of God as a “consuming fire” is found in both the old and
new testaments of the Bible, the Word of God.
When Moses exhorted the children of
In this message we want to consider some of “The Fires of Scripture”, and notice what the Bible has to say about this subject. By way of outline we will consider the following:
Let’s consider first of all;
1. THE FIRE IN YOUR BOSOM --- (Sin) (Proverbs )
The fire in your bosom is a devastating fire. We read in, (Proverbs -29, 32) “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul”. For a person to engage in fornication or adultery is likened to carrying fire in ones bosom. You cannot engage in such activity without being burned. It is also likened to walking on hot coals; you can’t do it without burning your feet. Sometimes it will be the fires of human vengeance from an injured party. It will most certainly result in the fire of God’s judgment. It is not only the sin of fornication and adultery but any sin and every sin is like a fire in your bosom. Unless your sins are forgiven you will certainly meet God as a “consuming fire” at your judgment. God says in His Word, (Romans , 23) “There is NONE righteous, no NOT ONE”. “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. He says furthermore, in, (Ecclesiastes ) “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not”. Dear reader, please notice that sin is universal. There are no exceptions. ALL have sinned. We are told in, (Galatians ) “The scripture (the Word of God) hath concluded all under sin”. A holy God must and will judge every sin in the life of the unbeliever. Because God does not exact immediate judgment, men imagine He never will. But, divine patience, persistently abused, leads to certain judgment. We read in, (Romans 2:5) “After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”. The expression “treasurest up unto thyself wrath” is striking, for it pictures the sinner storing away day by day a fresh deposit of wickedness for judgment in a coming day. The judgment of God, when it finally comes will be a righteous judgment. God will weigh your every sinful thought and deed. In light of this let me ask you dear reader, have YOU repented of your sins? This means to change your mind with regard to sins. In true repentance, there is an element of remorse for sins that leads to a definite change of attitude and action. The Lord Jesus Christ said, (Luke 13:3) “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish”. SIN IS A FIRE IN YOUR BOSOM which will have devastating effects at the judgment seat of Christ”. This leads us to another fire in scripture that we should notice;
2. THE FIRE IN THE
The fire in the lake is an eternal fire. We read in, (Revelation ) “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”. Here is the final destiny and doom of the wicked dead. Here is the eternal dwelling place of all the unsaved, of all who have not believed the gospel of the grace of God. All the lost of all the ages will be there. All who have preferred their sins to God’s salvation will be there. All who have procrastinated until for them the door of mercy was closed will be there. All who have spurned God’s grace and in their self-will chose to ignore God’s offer of a free salvation will be there. The dead small and great will stand before God at the Great White Throne (Revelation ). No one will be great enough to escape. No one will be too insignificant to be overlooked. Regarding the unsaved we read in, (John 5:28) “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth …they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (judgment)”. Bodies that have been buried for centuries, in the earth and in the sea, shall come forth at the Lord’s bidding. Hades, the world unseen, will surrender the undying spirits and souls of the lost. Body, soul and spirit re-united, the person will stand trembling before the judgment Bar there to be “judged every man according to their works” (Revelation ). The Greek text of verse (14) reads, “This is the second death, the lake of fire”. The first death is the separation of body and spirit. We read in, (James ) “The body without the spirit is dead”. The second death is the final separation of the lost from the God who created him. This place of separation is the lake of fire. It is the place of sorrow immeasurable and of torment eternal. The Word of God affirms that the unsaved go away to an endless term of conscious punishing. In (Revelation 21:8) we have a partial list of those whose destiny will be the lake of fire. Included on the list are those described as “unbelievers”. They are those who have heard the gospel and refused to believe it. They will be eternally punished in the lake of fire. Dear reader, is YOUR NAME in the book of life? Have YOU believed the gospel message? Are YOU saved? Do YOU know for certain that YOU will have no part in the doom pronounced at the great white throne? The Lord Jesus said, (John 5:24RV) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my Word and believeth Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and cometh not into judgment, but is passed out of death into life”. Your only hope of escaping God’s judgment and the lake of fire is to believe the gospel and by a definite act of faith receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. (John )”As many as received Him, to them gave He power (the right or authority) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”. Because God is a loving God, it is not His will that man perish in his sins. We read in, (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) “God our Savior who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”. The same truth is stated in another way in, (2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. Because these things are true we read about another fire in scripture, a very important fire which we will consider next;
3. THE FIRE IN HIS BONES / THE FIRE AT CALVARY---(God’s Judgment of the Savior on the Cross) (Lamentations , 13)
We read in the book of, (Lamentations , 13) “Is it nothing to you, all ye
that pass by? Behold and see if there be
any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath
afflicted me in the days of His fierce anger.
From above hath He sent FIRE INTO
MY BONES”. Primarily this passage of scripture speaks of the
Oh the love that drew salvations plan
Oh the grace that brought it down to man
Oh the mighty gulf that God did span
This is God’s good news,
the gospel of the grace of God. (John 3:16, 17) “For God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life. For God sent not His
Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might
be saved”. God’s beloved Son left
the glory of heaven and came down into this world of sin, shame and suffering, (1 Timothy ) “Christ Jesus came into the world to
save sinners”. It was a great mystery, when the Son of God
became the Son of man. (1 Timothy 3:16) “Great is the
mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh”. He was born of a virgin according to (Isaiah ). He grew
up as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground as we read in (Isaiah
53:2). The beauty of Christ was seen by
God in the days of the Lord’s childhood and growth into manhood. When He was about 30 years of age He began
His public ministry. We are told in, (Matthew ) “Jesus went about all the cities and
villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the
kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved
with compassion on them …because they were as sheep having no shepherd”. This is the description of man in his sins
without a Savior. We read in, (Isaiah 53:6) “All we
like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and
the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. But, He said of Himself, (John ) I am the good shepherd: the good
shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”.
He knew that man, in his
sins, is like a straying sheep that has gone astray from God. In order for man to have the opportunity to
be saved, He as the good shepherd would have to give His life for the
sheep. We are told in, (Philippians 2:8) ”He humbled himself and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross”.
Both before the Jews and Gentiles mock trials were held. Though they could find no fault or reason He
was condemned to be guilty of death. He
was blindfolded, buffeted and beaten. He
was reviled, reproached and rejected.
They spit in His face. We read
in, (Isaiah 53:7) “He was oppressed, and he was
afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His
mouth”. His back was laid open as
a plowed field because He said, (Isaiah 50:6) “I gave
my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid
not my face from shame and spitting”. They
platted a crown of thorns and put it upon His head and clothed Him with a
purple robe to mock His kingship. After
they had done all these things to Him they led Him out to the place called
O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Bear’’st all my ill for me.
A victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.
A crucified Man on a cross with head bowed in death was the last sight the world had of Him. The death and burial of Christ however, is not the end of the story. We read in, (1 Corinthians ) “But now is Christ risen from the dead”. We read in (Ephesians ) of the mighty power of God, “Which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places”. (Ephesians 2:20). The resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrated God’s satisfaction with the work of His beloved Son. The resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrated His deity, that He is indeed the Son of God. We read in, (Romans 1:4) that Jesus Christ is “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”. There can be no true gospel without the resurrection of Christ. We read in, (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”. Do YOU believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? You cannot be saved unless you do. We read in, (Romans 10:9, 10) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (Jesus as Lord), and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.
Dear reader, “IS IT NOTHING TO YOU AS YOU PASS BY”, as you read or hear this message? Is YOUR heart so hard that you can remain untouched and unmoved at all God has done to provide salvation for you? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, went into the fire of God’s judgment so that you would not have to face God as a consuming fire. He took “fire in His bones” so that YOU might not spend eternity in the “fire in the lake”. This leads us to another “fire” that we want to notice;
4. THE FIRE IN THE BUSH---(A Meeting with God) (Exodus 3:2)
We read of an experience
that Moses had while he was in “the backside of the desert”. (Exodus 3:2-6) “The
angel of the Lord appeared unto him IN A
FLAME OF FIRE OUT OF THE MIDST OF A BUSH:
and he looked, and, behold, THE
BUSH BURNED WITH FIRE. And the bush was not consumed. And when the Lord saw that he (Moses) turned
aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said,
Moses, Moses, and he said, here am I.
And He (God) said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy
feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”. Moses
had a meeting with God. His meeting
with God was a life changing experience.
From then on, the course of Moses life went in a different
direction. He could now serve God
acceptably. Dear reader, did you know
that God wants to meet with YOU? He says in His Word, (John
6:37) “Him that cometh to me I will
in no wise cast out”. He says
also, (Matthew ) “COME
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest”. Here is God’s gracious invitation to every person, Jew and Gentile
alike. A person must be burdened with
the weight of their sin before there will ever be a desire to come to the
Savior. Only those who acknowledge they
are lost can be saved. Faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ must be preceded by repentance toward God. Dear reader, have YOU had your meeting with God?
Have YOU ever had a conversion experience? Was there ever a time when, a place where,
and a manner how YOU were saved from your sins? You come by “believing”. (Acts ) ”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and thou shalt be saved”. You come by “receiving” Christ as your own
personal Savior. (John 1:12) “As many as received Him, to them gave He power (the right or
authority) to become the sons of God”. You
come by “accepting” God’s free gift of salvation. (Romans 6:23) “The
GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Because God’s Son, the Lord Jesus
Christ, finished the work of salvation by offering Himself as a sacrifice for
our sins on the cross of
Those who have never had a salvation experience through a personal meeting with God must face the prospect of another fire. This leads us to the last point we want to consider;
5. THE FIRE THAT IS COMING ---(The Second Coming of Jesus Christ) (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
We read in these verses, (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, IN FLAMING FIRE taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the lord, and from the glory of His power”. This sin laden, Christ rejecting world is hasting on to God’s judgment. This future judgment will take place, no matter how great the unbelief in society. Let society today, and each Christ rejecting sinner that has turned away from God and the gospel, take heed. Someone has well said, “The avalanche of unbelief that has rolled remorselessly on will not stay the hand of God.” Notice who it is that is coming. It is “The Lord Jesus”. Jesus is coming back as Lord. Notice from where He is coming. He is coming from “heaven”. Notice that He shall be “revealed”. It will be the unveiling, the uncovering, the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory. We read in, (Revelation 1:7) “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindred’s of the earth shall wail because of Him”. Notice, He will come “with His mighty angels or “with the angels of His might”. It will be the Lord’s power and His angels will be the instruments of it. There is a FIRE THAT IS COMING UPON THE WORLD. Jesus Christ is coming back in flaming fire. This fire may be the awesome glory of His appearing, as mentioned in (verse 7) or it may be the fire of His judgment referring to the terrible punishment to be inflicted upon the unsaved, mentioned in (verse 8). It says in, (Psalm 50:3) “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him”. The One who came the first time in humbleness and humility, and the One whom sinners rejected and hung in agony and shame upon a wooden cross, this is the same One who is coming back in power and great glory. He is coming back as the dispenser of the righteous judgment of God. He will be taking, giving, or awarding vengeance or revenge upon the unsaved. It will be the fiery indignation of a holy God against evil. God’s longsuffering of mercy and grace (for 2000 years since the cross) will come to an end. God will “balance the scales” by His righteous judgment. Men will reap what they have sown. Notice the two-fold description of the unsaved who are subject to the judgment of God in (verse 8);
1. “They know not God”. Judgment will fall upon those who through willful neglect and willful ignorance know not God as God. Ignorance of God has its origin in disobedience to God. They may not believe in God and/or they know not God by the absence of any personal relationship with God. They have never had a personal meeting with God as we described above. They have gone through life without regard for God and have lived in rebellion against God their Creator.
2. “They obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Judgment will fall upon all whom, having heard the gospel, refused to submit to the claims of God therein. The gospel message not only has to be received it has to be obeyed. The “old, old story of Jesus and His love” found no place in the hearts of rebel sinners. They have heard and rejected the truth. Many people in our land have heard the story of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross at Calvary but have rejected His love and grace. We read in (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) the unsaved will be deceived by the “man of sin” who is to be revealed (verse 3), and they will, “perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned (judged) who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. The gospel message is the truth of God. These must face the judgment of God who “received not the love of the truth” and “who believed not the truth”.
In closing, I urge YOU to take advantage of this present time while you can and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as YOUR personal Savior. YOU are traveling the “highway of life”, passing through time on the way to eternity. There are only two destinations. It is either heaven or hell. Now that you have read this message you have come to the “crossroads”. Which way will you go? You can remain on the “broad way” to eternal destruction and hell by doing absolutely nothing. Heaven can be your eternal destiny by believing the gospel message and by a definite act of faith, receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior. Please give this matter your most serious attention. Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.