Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

The refining fires of our lives

Song of Solomon 3:6 “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?”

This is a picture of the Spirit-filled walk.(Joel 2:28-30).

Smoke, which is weak and easily blown around is strong….a pillar….holding truth and moving with the Lord…out of the wilderness of wandering experience…and into usefulness and witness.

Smoke is a by-product of fire. To have a fire….and smoke,…..something must burn.

Fire in scripture is pictured many ways….. but the ones we will deal with are the refining fires…..which produce spiritual change within us.

There is the fire of the Holy Spirit within us….giving us zeal and reverence for the Lord….as the Lord was said to be clad with zeal as a cloak.

Isaiah 59:17 “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.”

This is an interesting description of “zeal”…which is to be “burning hot” for God.

He is “clad” with it….surrounded like a cloak. It covered and protected Him.

It kept Him focused on the Father’s plan for now….and purpose for all. With that kind of focus….He could see clearly anything that was out of order….and “cleanse” it….speak to it…..and set it right or purify it.

(Matthew 21:12-14 Mark 11:11, 15-17 Luke 19:45-46 John 2:13-17

These are the verses for cleansing the temple. It is interesting to note that all four gospels give an account of Jesus doing this.

John gives the account of Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry….a relative unknown….making a scourge of small cords, and driving out the animals and money changers.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke give the account of Jesus cleansing it at the end of His ministry.

And it is interesting to see….that Jesus declares His Father’s house….a house of prayer…..He did not mention sacrifice (for the Great Sacrifice was standing there…..

….and it is not to be a place of merchandise.)

With the fire of the Holy Spirit within us, too…..we become boiling hot for Christ and His kingdom. He enflames us with love for the Lord. (Jude 20-21)

We begin to see all that is out of order, with us….and set it right…

….and help what is out of order around us…..by giving His Word, to draw them to Christ….and give comfort.

“The word comfort is from two Latin words meaning “with” and “strong” – He is with us to make us strong. Comfort is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.” – Amy Carmichael

Then there is the fire of affliction….sent by the Lord’s hand,…whether through troubles,….or enemies…..so we will leave off the world and it’s influences….and turn again to seek the Lord….(Isaiah 55:6-7)

….burning up all the dross….making us pure….

Psalm 66:10, 12 “For Thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

……we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed is the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Revelation 3:18 “…gold tried in the fire…”. With all the impurities burnt out….so it is pure gold.

(In scripture, silver is a type of salvation…..gold is a type of God in our lives)

Dross is the impurities which are in the metal…..making it less valuable to the owner.

If you have ten pounds of what you think is silver or gold…..and you put it through refining….and only nine pounds come out…..one pound was dross….worthless….and burnt up.

We think of purity as a picky thing….not letting the hem of our garment even touch the ground….

….but God sees purity as the faithful seeking….and diligent staying after ourselves to keep ourselves unspotted in the world (James 1:27)……because of devotion and love to the Lord.

It is the gentle force of the Holy Spirit within us….keeping us, and cleansing us from the defilement of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27)…..even as we walk in it.

Purity comes from love…..not the law. It comes as we yield to the fire of the Holy Spirit within.

It is the refining fires of our everyday lives….through our obedience and devotedness to Christ…..that we will attain the pure silver and gold, as all the dross is burnt out of our lives.

In this Laodicean age, we will either be burnt out for Jesus…

…or spued out by Jesus! (Revelation 3:16)

For He calls us to “Be zealous therefore and repent” (Rev. 3:19)

And in this age…as when Jesus cleansed the temple….we need to be zealous….to repent.

To be clothed with zeal as a cloak.

What will you have of Him?

Will we yield to the purifying fires the Lord will send upon us?

Will we yield to the purifying fires of the Holy Spirit within….and become pillars of smoke….filled with the Spirit….a manifestation of the grace of God…..in us and through us?

Give me the Love that leads the way

The Faith that nothing can dismay

The Hope no disappointments tire

The Passion that’ll burn like fire

Let me not sink to be a clod

Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

– Amy Carmichael

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