I am just in the middle of transcribing an awesome sermon by Rob Rufus called "Authorised/Unauthorised Fire" (preached on the 22nd September 2004). There is a very similar vision expressed there to Ern Baxter's closing address entitled "Strange Fire" from the "Priestly Clothing Series" at Anglia Bible Week 1984. During the sermon Rob took time to read a statement that he had spent many many hours learning about the danger of the flesh and legalism. One paragraph in particular he pointed out had taken him 4 years of pain to learn! I have read it time and time again and I am amazed at the wisdom and revelation that God has given him into this most religiously impressive but dangerously manipulative tendancy that all Christians are prone to. If we could learn to throw off this fleshly, legalistic spirit I honestly believe the Church would be transformed overnight! The sermon is available here on the Rob Rufus blog - but I wanted this statement to stand alone in all it's glory.
We've got alpha personalities, organisation and professionalism but you go to some services and you are still lonely for God while you are there. You may have dynamic encounters with human fire and human zeal and human ability but you would NEVER get the naked, holy glorious Presence of the Living God. God wants His fire back in the Church - authorised and not false fire!
To stand in the centre of healing and radiate miracles effortlessly is to stand in the glory of God but flesh cannot stand in the glory of God. Religious flesh may appear innocent at times, even very zealous for God but it's major problem is it's assumption of taking it's initative from the spirit of grace. Flesh is deluded into thinking it is responsible for administrating and orchestrating the plans of God. It is true that God does not operate in a vacuum but through the instrumentality of human partnerships for we are labourers with God - the Bible says. In other words we are co-labourers and co-heirs with Christ. Nevertheless we have no responsibility except to respond to His ability for He is not looking for perfect vessels but yielded vessels.
The flesh knows nothing about yielding to the spirit of grace. The flesh is full of fury and far too energetic to rest. The flesh is honestly convinced that it can save the world when it cannot even save itself. The flesh makes plans - it fasts for days and it goes to great sacrifices to convince God to bless it's plans. God's plans for us are ALREADY blessed and does not need the anxious religious behaviour to cough it up!
Now ... the next 30 seconds here took me 4 years of pain to learn this lesson and to walk through. In the next 30 seconds you will receive a distilled impartation of that pain and learning. Paul says that is what leadership is about. We die that you may live!
"The flesh produces only false burdens, false burdens produce false responsibilitys, false responsibilitys produce false ministries and false ministries produce false expectations that are propped up by false or unauthorised fire".