Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Standing in a congregation of believers singing a worship song, I was shaken in the Spirit from the Heavenly to reality for a moment. With the lights lowered, the only bright light was in the very front of the church. Our facility is modern not like sanctuaries of old. There is a platform but gone are the steps that once lined the perimeter inviting people to kneel. No longer are their kneeling benches to comfort weak knees. There is no communion table like the one that invited people to come to the altar of my childhood church. The altar was empty. With stark clarity it became evident that God wanted me to be aware of that and suddenly I felt great sadness in my heart. The Altar of the Living God is empty. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for our sin and it seems we have somehow taken in for granted. So we cry out to a God who does not seem to care or be active in our life anymore because He refuses to do what we ask when we call on Him, is there nothing left for the Lord to do? Has the Power left the building? If so, then why am I here inquiring of a God that does not care for His People? Oh, I assure you that God is here. He waits patiently in His Divine Mercy for His Children to find the Altar once again. Jesus paid the price. His Blood satisfied the offering for our sin not so we would leave the altar behind but comfortably enter His Presence on our knees being consumed by His Amazing Love and not His Wrath and Fury. But once again, God’s People miss the point. Now we just wait to get past the discomfort of worship, the boredom of His Word just to receive His Blessing and move on. God does not want your sacrifice and there is no burnt offering needed. But that does not mean He does not want you! You have something worth giving to the Lord which is why Jesus did not think twice about giving His Life for you! It is time that God’s People understand the significance of the altar and find their way back once again.
The sacrifice that the Lord desires is a broken spirit no longer consumed by pride, selfishness and sin. He longs for a heart that is broken and repentant ready to receive the abundance He has promised. The container of our life is too small because we are afraid that God is not real, Jesus is not alive and His Spirit is just a myth. We will not make to the altar until we know and understand that it is essential in this love affair with the Lord and we will not make it into His Presence until we meet Him daily, no hourly at His Altar.
Leviticus 6:12-13 (NLT)
Meanwhile, the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out. Each morning the priest will add fresh wood to the fire and arrange the burnt offering on it. He will then burn the fat of the peace offerings on it. Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.
Jesus Christ did not come to discredit or that we would disregard the Law of God. Jesus came to fulfill it allowing us to worship God even in our inability to consistently and flawlessly do right. But just because Jesus Christ declared His Work to be finished on the Cross on Calvary, this did not eliminate elements of worship set forth in His Word all the back to the Old Testament. We have used the Grace of God as an excuse to sin and remain in willful disobedience when that is not what the Lord was doing at all. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. He is the example of how to worship God with our life by crawling on the Altar of God each day and saying, “Here I am Lord, use me.” The fire on the altar must be kept burning. There used to be a day when people would flock to the altar of churches to worship and would tarry there. There was a day when people prayed. Until we make time to sacrifice our lives at the Altar of God once more keeping the fire alive in our hearts by His Spirit, what is the use of serving the Lord at all? The fire must be kept burning at all times. It must never go out. When was the last time you made it to the altar? Did you stop your feet from moving in fear that others would judge you there? Maybe you are a leader afraid that the Pastor might see you come forward and question one’s faith. I question one’s measure of faith that does not make it to the Altar of the Lord. I pity any Pastor who does not understand that relevance of repentance and obedience in the lives of their servants.
Leviticus 9:22-24 (NLT)
After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the LORD appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the LORD’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.
I believe today that if Pastors, Deacons, Teachers, Servants, Men and Women would find their way back to the Altar in their church buildings and seek the Face of God once more by sacrificing their lives to Jesus that the fire of revival would begin again. God is faithful to consume the sacrifice when one is made. We are leaving nothing on the altar. People can no longer find their way to it. When they do finally manage to find it, it is for their benefit only to receive. They leave nothing there for God making no room for Him in their life and then wonder why His Power has not come. You must leave something there for God to consume. You must leave “You”.
I Kings 18:30-39 (NLT)
Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the LORD. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.” After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench. At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The LORD—he is God! Yes, the LORD is God!”
Elijah and the prophets of Baal set out to prove that their God was real. It was quite simple. Two altars with two sacrifices and the first one hit by fire won. (I Kings 18:22-24) The god who set the altar on fire would be deemed the one true God. So Elijah’s faith in the God would go up against 450 prophets of Baal and their god. All day the prophets of Baal would cry out to a lifeless god and when that was not enough, they added to the sacrifice by cutting their own flesh to bleed for it. Nothing. Then God’s Man gives it a go and God’s Fire consumes the sacrifice. There are some key points to finding the Fire of God once more. First, Elijah had to rebuild the altar. (Verse 32) Our worship is weak and limp. No longer do we think anything will become of it. It probably would not be a bad idea to rebuild the altars in our churches even if it is not fashionable. Elijah had to prepare the sacrifice. (Verse 33) God’s People do not live in the holy obedience that He has required but rather slather grace all over as a disguise. The Blood of Jesus is sufficient in true repentance but will not cover willful sin and disobedience. There will be no fire on the altar if we remain insincere as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-3) and choose to imitate the world and not God. (Ephesians 5:1-2) The water must saturate the offering (us) and the wood (God’s House). If we do not invite the Spirit of God to show us the Way and Will of God, we will never make it into the Presence of God. (Verse 33-35) Maybe your religion does not see the significance of the Holy Spirit, well if your church altar is filled with Christian believers whose hearts are on fire for God and your congregation is in the midst of revival then carry on. But if not, what do you have to lose? Everything. Elijah had to wait on God’s Timing. (Verse 36) How much time are you willing to spend waiting on the Lord? For those willing to do whatever it takes to get to the Lord’s Altar and remain there until He comes – there will be a revival! (Verse 39)
I Chronicles 21:22-27 (NLT)
David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the LORD there, so that he will stop the plague.” “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.” But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment for the threshing floor. David built an altar there to the LORD and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the LORD answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. Then the LORD spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.
Only you can pay the price for your worship! It is the only thing that we have to give the Lord that He did not give to us. (Thank you for this revelation from the Morris family.) Araunah could see the death angel awaiting the king. He did not want anything to happen. So not knowing the King’s intentions, Araunah offered the threshing floor for free. But this was no ordinary king, but one after God’s Own Heart who understood the price that needed to be paid for His Worship. It had to be His Heart, His Life, and His Worship. So King David paid the full price and built the altar himself. God honored His Servant’s Commitment and it saved his life. Your trip to the altar must cost you something to be effective. Performance and show yields nothing to the God who examines the human heart and all of its contents. Every trip must begin with repentance. Dying at the Altar of God is a must to leave the sin behind and let His Glory fill your life. The Children of Israel just could not bring themselves to worship God so close and risk death. (Deuteronomy 5:24-26) But thanks to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11-12), His Blood protects as we come close to God and worship. Our redemption is secure if we will simply claim it at His Altar and remain there until He comes. “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Isaiah 57:14-15 (NLT)
God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
The Lord is instructing the church to open its altars once more. Rebuild them. Invite people to come over and over if necessary until they get there. God is telling His People to rebuild the road. Clear away the rocks, stones, sin and shame that have kept you from the Altar of God. It is time to return from captivity because you have been freed from the bondage that once kept you from Him. Time is running out. (Joel 2:12-13) Repent and turn back to the Lord. (Matthew 3:2) Prove by the way you live and where you remain that you exist to worship the Lord. (Matthew 3:8) There is no excuse for ignorance. The Holy Spirit lives inside of you. (Acts 17:30-31, Hebrews 10:26) So stop making excuses and use His Grace as it was intended to set you free and clear the way to the Altar of God. Only such a journey will lead you from sin to salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:10) God told you what to do. Jesus made the Way for you to do it. His Spirit is here to accompany you. All that is left is for you to do it! (Hebrews 6:1-5) Whom the Son set free is free indeed, or are you? The Altar of God is where you must wait until He comes. Will you do whatever it takes to get there? God’s Mercy keeps Him waiting on you! (2 Peter 3:8-10)
Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT)
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
This is God’s Promise for those who choose to remain faithfully at His Altar in life. Do not be afraid because He ransomed you. Jesus paid the price for you to have the blessing. God has called you by name. He has no intention of harming His Heritage. Those who choose to live in His Presence and remain at God’s Altar will have nothing to fear because God remains at their side forevermore. The Lord watches over them. His Spirit accompanies them to Eternity! Will you be the spark that kindles the Fire on God’s Altar once more? It can change your church! It can ignite your family! It has the potential to set the world on fire with the flame of revival! No more empty altars begins with you!
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.