|The Cloud, the Fire and the Smoke! Or "What Do You Want Me to Do?"|
This is the sermon I preached at Open Door Church on Sunday evening, so it is a bit longer than my usual short posts. There is only some minor editing.
I come to you today, sharing some truths about the Real God who desires to know you better.
Understand that God is not confined to one local place and that he is everywhere at once? By His Holy Spirit he desires to dwell in your heart.
For this teaching, I would like to have you consider God showing up in a Cloud, in Smoke, and in Fire.
First I was reminded of how God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. The most amazing thing was that the bush was on fire, but it wasn't burned up!
"That's strange," Moses thought. "Why isn't the bush burning up? I'll go closer and see.” As Moses came closer to view this strange sight, the voice of God spoke to him out of the bush. “Moses, Moses.”
Moses answered, “Here I am, Tell me what do you want me to do!” (At that moment, Moses became a volunteer.)
Even Now the Holy Spirit will be speaking to your heart and these are the words you must say, “Here am I, Lord, Tell me what you want me to do.”
God told Moses, “Take off your shoes for you are standing on Holy Ground.” The Presence of God must be respected and treated as Holy. That means definitely to reverence God at church, but also when He walks with us.
Moses was chosen to rescue the Children of Israel from
and God gave him specific instructions for this deliverance. For many days, they witnessed a variety of miracles
prior to Pharaoh finally allowing them to leave. Egypt
The last miracle was the slaying of the first born child of every family in
God gave Moses directions how to protect the children of
and that was to kill a perfect lamb and apply its blood to the door posts and
lentil of each residence. When the death
angel came to slay the first born, and saw the blood, the angel of death would
pass over that home and they were saved. Israel
I am reminded that God gave His ONLY begotten son to die for our sins so that we might be saved and inherit eternal life.
God appeared to the Children of Israel as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They were in the dry desert and during the day, the cloud as an umbrella protected them from the heat of the sun. By night even in the desert it gets cold, and the fire by night was warmth as well as protection to scare off the wild beasts.
This large group had not traveled very far when God desired to teach the people how to worship Him. Understand they had been in the “WORLD” of
many other gods were revered and worshipped.
They knew little about the True God, Jehovah and His love for them. Egypt
When Moses went up on the mountain to receive the 10 commandments and other laws; the congregation saw a cloud covering the mountain.
So God gave Moses instructions NOT to allow the people to come near the mountain, lest they die; only Moses could enter into God’s presence.
WOW, aren’t you glad that was in their day and today is a new day. When Jesus died on the cross, God took his sword and split the temple veil in two allowing anyone to come boldly into the
Holy Place and receive from God what they
Exodus 14 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on
Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain,
and on the seventh day the Lord
called to Moses from within the cloud.
Mount Sinai was
all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended
like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
Notice in verse 17, the glory of God now appeared as fire. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain, and they all trembled and were frightened.
After 40 days Moses returned off the mountain, he had been given plans to design and build a portable tabernacle to provide for worship of God and a place to make sacrifices for the sins of the people.
There was constructed the outer court where the common Israelites could enter and the inner court where ONLY the priests could enter.
Inside the inner court was the most
where the Ark of the Covenant remained and the 10 commandments were placed
inside. The Holy Presence of God rested
and no one was allowed to touch it lest they be stricken dead. Ark
Moses was given direction to anoint Aaron and his four sons as Priests. They were outfitted with specific garments, breastplates, head coverings and the correct method to worship and perform the sacrifices lest they be struck dead. Aaron and his sons slew a perfect sacrifice; washed and cut it laying it on the alter.
Astonishing everyone, FIRE fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice.
Then a sad thing happened, two of Aaron’s sons with pride in their hearts moved to light incense and sacrifice not according to God’s directions. God was angered and again fire fell from heaven, but this time it consumed the two self willed priests.
You can imagine the mood of the congregation and how quickly it changed from joy to fear.
It pays to mean business with God and to always follow His instructions. We can’t play around with God, for serving God is serious business.
The Old Testament records several other times when fire came down from heaven and consumed a sacrifice. One was the Prophet Elijah who prayed and fire fell from heaven and burnt up the sacrifice.
Today, God is asking for volunteers to allow the fire of the Holy Ghost to fall on you!
When Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to over 400 followers for 40 days showing them that He was truly alive.
During one of these appearances Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was when they were born again and the Holy Spirit came to reside in them, but there was MORE.
Before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He gave a specific commandment to go to
to an upper room and pray and wait for the Holy Spirit who would baptize them
and fill them with power to live and accomplish all they were required to do in
this life. Jerusalem
John the Baptist has spoken about this FIRE when He baptized Jesus in Water, “There comes one after me, who will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and Fire.”
On the day of Pentecost, Suddenly God appeared with the sound of a strong WIND, and tongues of fire and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues.
Visitors to the city noted these men - - how these 120 persons staggered and had difficult standing up, and were speaking gibberish and the onlookers scoffed that these men were drunk.
Peter explained that this was prophesied by Prophets in the Old Testament, and that your sons and daughters shall dream dreams, see visions and prophesy.
Conviction fell on the crowd and 3000 persons gave their lives to Jesus on that day, and many were baptized.
It did not take long for the Religious leaders to find fault and try to stop these new Spirit Filled Believers. Many so called righteous were quick to criticize and called them a new cult!
Saul, a man diligent to do God’s will, was on his way to
to kill Christians. He wrongly thought
he was pleasing God. Damascus
Suddenly a bright light appeared and he fell to the ground. A voice from heaven spoke and said, “Saul - Saul why are you persecuting me?” Saul was frightened and trembled as he answered, “Who are you Lord?”
The response was shocking as the voice said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”
Saul answered, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
When you find yourself down on your face, it is time for you to also say those words, “Lord Jesus, Tell me what do you want me to do?”
The men with Saul were speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. When Saul was able to get up, lo and behold, he was blind and his men had to lead him into the city to lodge there with a man they knew.
For three days he fasted and prayed and God gave him a vision of a Christian disciple coming to pray for him.
God was also giving a vision to this man named Ananias, telling him where to find Saul and to put his hands on Saul so that he might receive his sight.
Ananias had heard about Saul and he argued with God, because this could be dangerous.”
God said, “Go because he is a chosen vessel and I have great plans for him.
Do you know that God has great plans for you?
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
When Ananias arrived at the house, he found Saul and said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you has instructed me to lay hands on you so you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
As hands were laid on Saul, scales fell from his eyes and he could see.
Immediately Saul went to the synagogues and preached that Jesus is the Son of God proving that this was The Messiah from the Holy Scriptures.
We sing a chorus,
“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord Open the eyes of my heart -
I want to see You - - I want to see You- -
To see You high and lifted up - Shining in the light of Your glory-
To see You high and lifted up - Shining in the light of Your glory-
Pour out Your power and love - As we sing holy, holy, holy !
May we pray, “Heavenly Father, Let me understand all that you have prepared for me and activate in my heart a spirit of wisdom and revelation. I ask The Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me into your truth. Let your will be done in me.
Remove the scales of worldliness from my eyes, and let me see Jesus the one who desires to set me free.
Protect and keep my by covering me with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Lord open my spiritual eyes and anoint me to see.
Lord I want your Holy Presence to change me - - send the FIRE to burn and purge out all that is NOT pleasing in your sight.
Lord Send the Fire of the Holy Spirit to change me into the person You desire.