Acts 8: 3,4  “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.  Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”

     Have you ever tried to put out a grass fire by stomping on the burning grass only to have sparks fly out from under your boots to ignite other areas?   No matter how hard Saul tried to put out the fire of the early church he couldn’t.  Rather, the ordinary persecuted people spread the Word!  Barnes’ Notes points out; “It is not said that they set themselves up for public teachers, or that they administered baptism, or that they founded churches, but they proclaimed everywhere the news that a Saviour had come. Their hearts were full of it. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; and they made the truth known to ‘all.’ whom they met.”

     It is important to keep in mind that persecution of the church only spreads the fire of the Holy Spirit, if its people are on fire.  Unkindled dry or wet dead sticks are of no danger to the enemies of Jesus.  Today Satan’s ‘fire fighters’ use the fire prevention triangle in order to try to quench the spread of the Holy Spirit’s fire.  Every attempt is made to starve the church of heat, fuel and oxygen!

     A desire by some church leaders to accommodate and become friends with the world has taken away much of the heat or passion needed to sustain a Godly fire in the congregation;  “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  (Matthew 24:11,12)  The result of this is a declining confused church: “And it will be: Like people, like priests.  I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds. ‘They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not flourish, because they have deserted the Lord to give themselves to prostitution; old wine and new wine take away their understanding.” (Hosea 4:9,10)  A church that produces no fruit and withers away is a sad and usual sight in our time.

     There are those false clerics within the church who seek to belittle and denigrate parts of God’s Word in order to challenge its authenticity  for our world today.  The Holy Bible is the fuel by which Christians nourish their bodies and have spiritual life; “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)   The world itself seeks to ban the Bible from schools and all public places.  The madness of this desire to destroy the Word is the madness of wholesale destruction; “The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and  he sustains all things by his powerful word, . . . ” (Hebrews 1:3)  Only the true Word of God can burn brightly and purify a person’s heart (John 15:3). Only God’s Word is a strong tower and refuge (Psalm 18:2).

     The oxygen of God’s Holy fire is faith.  Without faith all is dead. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)  The world and its servants do everything possible to block and hinder faith – to suffocate our spirits with disbelief and lies.  For without faith we have no testimony and cannot overcome Satan: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony . . . ” (Revelation 12:11)  Faith flairs up the fire in our spirit so we can keep in step with His Holy Spirit in the face of any and all opposition. 

     The Sauls of this world, whether they come to see the light or not, will no matter what, spread the Gospel by the very means they use to stop it.  The real danger is found in those that would quench the Spirit by robbing the church of its passion for the Gospel.  The real danger is found in those that would block access to God’s Word and denigrate the Holy Bible.  The real danger is found in those that would suffocate our faith with lies and disbelief.

     The Good News of the Gospel is that even with such insidious tactics the fire of the Holy Spirit can’t be put out once ignited.  Why? Because God said so; “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30) God started the fire in us; “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)  Satan has no power over this Holy fire in us and Satan has no power over us.

     Satan’s fire fighting tactics work on almost Christians and the self-righteous religious to create a worldly church – dead and cold.  Persecution will only shake up and break open  the moldering rotting planks of empty ritual and aimless liturgy that has been stifling true believers.  The upheaval will fan the flames of God’s Holy fire!
      Scripture proclaims; “And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Hebrews 12:27,28)

     “For our God is a consuming fire.”  (Hebrews 12:29)

     Praise the Lord!