Charles R. Grisham
Have you even been guilty of starting a fire? If so, was it done secretly or knowingly? We are told that one who starts fires is an arsonist! With this thought in mind I would like to challenge your thinking in view of the need for SPIRITUAL ARSONISTS! Those who will go around starting fires. Yes . . . real revival fires.
One of the ear-marks of the Apostolic Jesus Name movement has been fiery preaching. The kind of preaching that builds a fire under the sinner or lukewarm Christian and moves him to an altar of repentance.
A spiritual Arsonist who is known for starting fires. FIERY PREACHERS who shrink not from declaring the “whole counsel of God;” and that; “without fear or favor.” This is truly “conversion Preaching.” Anointed Preaching that causes something to happen. Preaching that moves, convicts, and drives people to their knees or sends them screaming, weeping to an altar.
Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet could not say, “here am I, send me,” until “fire had touched his lips.” Grant that the purging cleansing fire from God’s altar will purge us; and “live coals” will prepare us, and make us willing to say “here am I, send me.”
“Fire Brings Curiosity”
In the natural, if we see a fire, it is normal to see the streets roped off and officers directing traffic around the area as “curious onlookers” come to observe the goings on. In the days of yesteryear the Apostolic church, in many cases void of properly organized witnessing programs and helpful tools, drew many a crowd, because of the fire. People came from miles around to watch the fire. Yes and in the process, the fire got on them, and in them, and they went ablaze into the streets. Yes, a burning witness of God’s grace. One well known revivalist of days gone by was asked this question: “Why do so many people come out to hear you preach?” He replied: “THEY COME OUT TO WATCH ME BURN.”
How long has it been since someone came out to watch you burn? Pentecostal fire sets us ablaze and causes us to glow as human torches, lighting the way.
Guard Against Apathy!
One of the greatest tragedies is witnessed when a Pentecostal church becomes JUST ANOTHER CHURCH IN TOWN. A church that has lost its fire. A place where oratory has been substituted for fire-anointed preaching. Where personal eloquence and methodical excellence have quenched the last flicker of fire from the altars of men’s hearts.
The next “flash card” in lifes’ apathetic object lesson is about to be displayed. “ICHABOD.” In other words “The Glory is Departed.” The warning sounded to the church at Ephesus rings clearly through the corridors of time. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candles tick out of his place, except thou repent.” Rev. 2:5.
In other words, there would be no flame, no fire, no anointing. “ICHABOD”. . . My Glory is Departed. I don’t know what this means to you, but to me it’s the story of tragedy. A pulpit, a church, a people that are still going through the motions and nothing happens. Only a dead shell or form of previous years.
The Glory Is His Fire
Whether you care to admit it or not the fire of God is His Glory. He is constantly searching for someone whom He can ignite and send into the world to spread this fire. In ministerial counseling sessions I have been approached by various young evangelists who had been schooled and trained in ministerial excellence; only to be frustrated when they faced the cold-cruel world with no fire in their soul.
This question would reluctantly be presented with much reservation and loss for words. “Do you think you have to be a fiery preacher to be an evangelist?” “I preach, but nothing seems to happen.” Having been an evangelist and also observing some of the best, I can only speak from what I have seen and experienced. It would not be my purpose nor aim to define in words what “fiery” means, as I am sure it is understood in various ways by different people. I am not saying that it is preaching fast, turning red in the face, running the aisles, or any other description of outward manifestation.
It is however my feeling, that while one may or may not possess any or all of the aforementioned, the fact remains that an evangelist, a minister of righteousness, must have FIRE IN HIS SOUL. That unction, anointing, and urgency with each message, that as a dying man, you are preaching to dying men perhaps for the last time. THIS KIND OF PREACHING MOVES PEOPLE. WHY? IT MOVES THE PREACHER! THIS MY BROTHER, IS GOD’S FIRE, God’s anointing! Praise Him for every time I have felt it.
Fire And Tears!
Holy Ghost preaching. . . Fiery preaching . . . is acquainted with, and associated with, tears. Anointed, tearful, preaching will move men to their knees. It’s not sissy to cry! That’s a lie from the pit. Jesus, God in Flesh,”our example” was acquainted with grief and sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). This involves tears. Would anyone question the validity of such a statement? In fact, Hebrews 5:7 tells us He was known to experience “strong crying and tears.”
My brethren and fellow Christians, what we need is a fresh baptism of fire to purge us, to utterly revolutionize our lives, and give us back our tears. Fires of anointing, and tears of a burdened heart that cares about lost souls will move a sinner. In my scrapbook of memories I can well recall the nights when I stepped to the pulpit, not wondering “If something were going to happen,” but rather expecting, ready, and waiting for what I knew had to happen. Tears were already burning my cheeks; my heart was thumping with anxiety; my body was weak from sharing briefly in the compassion that my Lord feels all the time for the lost.
Yes, I can recall on a few occasions when the Power of God fell while the text was yet being read and the altars were filled with conviction laden sinners. What drew them there? Was it eloquence? Was it homiletic excellence? Was it a particular mannerism or professional gesture? No, NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO! It was the FIRE OF GOD! THE POWER OF GOD! Fire kindled in the prayer room away from the crowd and a “live coal” carried into the service of the Lord. Yes. . . TEARS, PRAYER, FIRE and ANOINTING cannot be rehearsed, but will be present when needed, providing the price has been paid.
Does Fire Embarrass Us?
In this “well-schooled,” “well-oiled,” “eel-slick,” sinful society, sinners seem to excel in slipping through our grasp and back into the world before we can get them into the church. Could it be that we try to custom tailor a particular service or sermon to reach a certain person? You see, “fire” might embarrass us, it might scare them away. Statements like, “Oh, I hope no one dances in the spirit tonight!”, “I pray that if I bring my neighbor, no one gives a message in tongues!”, “Oh, I would be so embarrassed if sister runs the aisles tonight!”, Oh I just hope the pastor doesn’t cry while he preaches tonight!”, “That emotion is sure to frighten my neighbor away”
My dear disillusioned friend, you are praying against the very thing that it will take to save your friend, your neighbor, your family. God’s fire! Instead of being a “SPIRITUAL ARSONIST”, you are becoming a “SPIRITUAL FIRE EXTINGUISHER.” “ICHABOD” is your next step! The “Glory of God” is now ready to depart.
How Long Has It Been?
How long has it been since you’ve had a real fire in your soul? A fire that was catching. Would you like to start a fire in the prayer room? Would you like to start fire in your church witnessing program? And, preacher! Would you like to start a fire in your Sunday night service? I believe it can be done and will be done if we pray and kindle the blaze in the prayer room.
Excuses For Lack Of Fire
Once we get on the subject of fiery preaching, fiery service, manifestations of the Spirit and the things that bring results, the “wet blankets” come out of hiding. The “wet blanket” philosopher is often more vocal against the move of God than he is in favor of the move of God. The reason, of course, is obvious. He can’t control it! The results will also be very obvious! Cut and dried services can be planned, programmed, and predicted with amazing accuracy. You can almost tell the waitress at the local restaurant what time to set the table, light the candle, and pour the coffee after the Sunday night service.
The “wet blanket” philosopher proclaims that he is afraid, lest “wild-fire” or “strange fire” become involved. So much lip service is given to various kinds of fire that perhaps the deprived congregation who has never seen “any fire” becomes confused. Our people have the right to “Holy Ghost Fire.” This is the very promise of their baptism and it must be, in order to be, and remain, truly Apostolic. Their denominational pastor had eloquence, methodical excellence, and education. But he didn’t have the fire you claim to have. The fire that is so necessary to purge, cleanse, and anoint us for the gigantic task we face.
In all my life of being raised in Pentecost, I can honestly say that in our churches we deal with very little “wild-fire.” And there are sufficient guidelines in a spirit-led minister to cope with the situation. And there are always plenty of “wet blankets” ready and waiting to extinguish any kind of fire. Holy Ghost fire or otherwise.
But I wish to ask you this question? Why should we deprive our congregations the right and God-given privilege to the “real fire,” simply because we read in a book somewhere or heard about some “wild-fire” that happened. . . Way back when! My brother, I sincerely believe we as Apostolics were commissioned and anointed set “ablaze”to be SPIRITUAL ARSONISTS!
Yes, starting fires at church, at home, everywhere that will send our people “ablaze” into the streets to witness for our Lord. Yes,”burning human torches” on fire for God pouring forth from our prayer rooms, out into a world that needs this Gospel.
How Do We Become a Spiritual Arsonist?
You, as an individual, can pray, fast, witness and believe God for a mighty anointing in your life. A fire that will burn so brightly that “your testimony” could be instrumental in “igniting” a fire in your church. Many times we wonder where the fire comes from, but some one prayed it down “in secret” that God could “reward them openly.”
Pray until you know you are ablaze! Until you feel the burden, the anointing, the unction, the zeal to fulfill the commission. A church that is blessed with a pastor who encourages free worship, prayer and involvement will experience the fire that sets people ablaze with God’s power.
A pastor who believes in the Five-Fold ministry; the GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT; and a Strong, bold biblical holiness standard will see a constant “stream of fire” flowing through his church. Yes, Spiritual Arsonists who are ablaze with the fire that fell at Pentecost.
Would You Dare To Be A Spiritual Arsonist?
Or will you, my Christian friends or fellow Pastor, be guilty of being a “wet blanket”, a “Spiritual FIRE EXTINGUISHER”, and take a chance on snuffing out the last sign of fire and life in your church? Remember, it could be you are snuffing out your very life and you could be left behind when the Rapture takes place. Something to consider, isn’t it?
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14