1 Kings 18:24
And call you on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answers by fire, let him be God…
The great need of the Church in the present day is "the fire of the Lord," the power of the Holy Ghost. We shall do more good in an hour of Pentecostal baptism than in ten years of Church. reform, theological strife, doctrinal" discussion." God has promised the fire: "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh." "Ye shall receive power." Promises never cancelled; Spirit given and never recalled. We need the fire, for the same reason as Elijah, combating error and sin. If we have physical or mental work to do we require physical or mental strength and vigour; spiritual work requires spiritual power.
I. WE MUST "ERECT OUR ALTAR" and make the sacrifice before we can have the fire. The sacrifice must be
(2) perpetual. All on the altar; all kept there.
II. THE SACRIFICE WILL BE ACCEPTED; God will "answer by fire." Consecration is giving ourselves to God to be sanctified, cleansed, and filled with the Spirit. "The altar sanctifies the gift."
III. THE EFFECTS OF FIRE ARE THESE.
1. It refines. The Holy Spirit will remove unholiness (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
2. It illuminates. Light is the source of(1) joy and safety. The Holy Ghost, shining in the heart, scatters darkness and gives security. The light of reason is insufficient; it is like the light of the moon, fair, beautiful, but deceptive, unreliable.
(2) Activity. When the sun shines upon us we wake to energy and usefulness; baptized with the Holy Ghost we are "zealous of good works."
3. It warms. Light and heat do not necessarily go together, but fire and heat do. If the sun gave light but no heat, the world would be a vast, icy, lifeless mass, nothing but brilliantly-illuminated death. Warmth is necessary to vitality: spiritual life depends upon spiritual heat, which dispels spiritual coldness.
4. It assimilates, transforms, spreads, Fire means power. Fire spreads: when filled with the Spirit our influence will spread, for fire cannot be confined in a narrow little circle when surrounded with inflammable material. Shall we erect our altar to receive the fire?
Parallel VersesKJV: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.