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Summary: Are we simply consumers, taking from God what He gives? Or are we consumed by Him so that He can touch others through us?

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Consumer or Consumed?

Hebrews 12:28-29

Hebrews 12:28-29

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

29 for our "God is a consuming fire."

(NIV)

Deuteronomy 4:24

24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

(NIV)

In the summer of 2002 Tulsa Oklahoma had a burglary suspect that did something quite unusual. According to the KOTV television news, Edward McBride kicked in the door of a house, and grabbed a duffle bag full of electronic gear. As he left the house, a man working next door saw him and called 911. The police arrived as McBride was running toward The Arkansas River and he jumped in with the bag of loot. Mike Branson was fishing in the river and saw officers go in after McBride. Mike said, "They were pulling their stuff off yelling at him to come back in but the guy just stayed out there. The officers got in the water he [the suspect] went down once or twice, he didn’t come back up.” The suspect never would release the stolen items. The fire department recovered McBride’s body about thirty minutes later, still clutching his loot.

Richard Foster noted: “Nothing can destroy human beings like the passion to possess.”

All of us grow attachments to incidental things—things that are temporal—things that are familiar and fail to venture forth where God leads.

When we pray, do we pray

like a consumer

or

like we are consumed?

Do we live

in spiritual pretense

or

spiritually intense?

2 Timothy 3:1-5

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--

5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

(NIV)

There are some who have a form of godliness but deny its power! They have let the fire go out!

In the book of Leviticus, the Lord tells Moses that there was to be a continual fire burning among the people of God.

Leviticus 6:8-13

8 The LORD said to Moses:

9 "Give Aaron and his sons this command: ’These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.

10 The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar.

11 Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean.

12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.

13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

(NIV)

Can you imagine how much work it was to keep a fire going 24/7/365? History records for us that the fire burned continuously for 860 years!

The fire went out when the people of God were carried off into captivity by the Babylonians. The reason they were carried into captivity was because they were no longer captivated by the fact that they were the people of God. They turned away from God, chasing after the temporal rather than the treasure of knowing God!

It is not God’s responsibility to keep the fire burning in our hearts; it’s ours!

Are you

a consumer of the things of God

or

are you consumed?

To consume means to “engage fully”.

A consumer simply eats all he can get.

There are a good number of people who don’t mind being touched by the fire of God, as long as it’s containable, or better said, controllable! As long as they determine its heat and intensity, they don’t mind being near the fire!

God loves to see the hearts of his people glowing towards Himself. God will never be satisfied just to touch you, he wants to consume you, (body, mind, soul, and spirit)! He wants everything.

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician and philosopher. In his writings, which were entitled Pensees, he traces the logical progression of his thought on many subjects. But something happened to Pascal which was beyond logic and rational thought. After his death, his servant found a piece of paper sewn into the lining of his coat. Here, in part, is what he wrote: The year of grace 1654. Monday, 23 November, . . . From about half-past ten in the evening until about half past midnight. FIRE. The God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob. Not of the philosophers and intellectuals. Certitude, certitude, feeling, joy, peace . . . joy, joy, joy, tears of joy. . . Renunciation, total and sweet. Complete submission to Jesus Christ. . . The God whom Pascal encountered was not the God of the theologians and scholars, he was the personal God of the Bible. Pascal did not gain a new theology, he gained a new experience. He gained confidence and joy. And when the true Pascal met the true God there was true surrender — sweet renunciation and complete submission — not as a slavish thing, but as one gives oneself to a lover. There was passion in Pascal’s experience that he described as “FIRE.” This is the fire of Pentecost. The fire of Pentecost is the presence of God, whom the Bible tells us sits on a burning throne (Daniel 7:9), lives in everlasting burnings (Isaiah 33:14), is surrounded by seraphim — flaming angels (Isaiah 6:2) and is himself a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24). Pentecost is when the apostles and other followers of Christ came into contact with the fire of God — so much so that it could be seen hovering over them.

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