Refiner's Fire

June 7, 2002 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Job chapter twenty-three. The book of Job chapter twenty-three. When you reach the book of Job chapter twenty-three, please signify by saying amen.

Would you please stand for the reading of the Word tonight? Job chapter twenty-three. We will read verse eight through verse ten.

8. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

9. On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

10. But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for angels on assignment tonight. Father, hide Your son behind the cross tonight, that Your people would see You and not me. Dear Lord, as I decrease, I ask that You would increase. Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

I thank You that every devil from hell is bound tonight, and sent back to the dry places, forbidden to operate. We cancel every assignment of the enemy this night. In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name.

And the people of God said amen. You may be seated in the house of God tonight.

In verse ten Job said,

10. But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Why did Job use the metaphor, “I shall come forth as gold”? And what is gold?

We look at our Bibles in the book of Genesis chapter two and verse twelve. It tells us that gold is good.

And when we define gold by Webster’s standards, he said that gold is a chemical. It is a soft metallic chemical element, used especially in the making of coins and jewelry.

Gold is beautiful. Gold is enduring, for it never rusts or dissolves away. It is the only metal (glory to God) that there is that when it dips into the fire, it’s unharmed by the fire. Each time it goes through the fire, it gets more and more refined. It gets better than it was before.

You see, we as saints have been going through the fire. But let me tell you something about the fire you’re going through tonight. You’re tired of the fire. But the fire’s making you better and better and better and better and better and better and better than you ever were before.

The Bible says that His Word is a refiner. You see, He’s refining us. You see, when you look at a refined saint, he’s at a valuable cost to the Kingdom of God.

When you look at gold when it’s refined, until that point (glory to God) where all the dross is taken out of it, it’s very, very valuable.

You see, as I allow (glory to God) the suffering, the fellowship of His suffering to come forth in me, to take hold of my life (glory to God), it’s going to cause me (glory to God) to be more valuable for the Kingdom of God.

You see, it’s going to burn everything out of me. You see, we don’t like to suffer, but we need to suffer. You see, if I am going to go higher in Him, I need to learn how to suffer. I need to learn how to suffer with Jesus, not just my own suffering, but suffering for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We’ve been going through. But let me tell you something tonight. It’s not in vain. You see, your suffering is not vain. You see, He’s pulling out those impurities that will cause us to miss God. You don’t want to miss God. You see, there are things on the inside of us. And there are things that go on with us that’ll cause us to miss God sometimes.

You see, a lot of times we’re wondering why we can’t hear a word from the Lord. It’s that we haven’t got all the... Oh, you don’t want to hear me. We haven’t gotten all the impurities out.

But once I allow Him to allow me to go through the fire, He’s going... Oh, my God. He’s going to refine my hearing, so that I can hear. He’s going to refine my eyes, so that I can see. He’s going to refine my praise, that it would glorify His Name. He’s going to refine my worship that’ll cause His very Presence to be ushered into the room.

We’ve been suffering. But let me tell you, your suffering and my suffering has not been in vain. He’s getting us to the point where He can really use us. I ain’t talking about no pitty pat, patty cake. I’m talking about laying hands and casting out devils. I’m talking about prophesying.

I’m talking about going up to the third heaven. Is that alright, Minister John Michael? I’m talking about being in the third dimension of heaven, where the angels and the elders and the beasts lie at His feet and cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole world is full of His glory.”

You see, when I allow myself to go through, it’s going to refine me. Look at your neighbor and say, “I’m being refined.” I become valuable.

You see, when you get saved you’re already valuable. But the more you let God do what He want to do with you, you become invaluable.

You see, there’s a difference in being valuable and invaluable. You see, a refined saint, you can’t place a value over them. Because wherever they’re needed, they’ll step in. Who am I preaching tonight? Wherever there needs to be done, they’ll say, “Here am I, Lord. Send me. I’m ready, willing. And I’m able, God, to do whatever You want me to do.” Oh, my God. “However you want me to do it.”

Job said, “I shall come forth.” In other words he said, “I won’t be in the fire always.”

You see, you got to go through the fire. But let me tell you something. You can’t be in the fire all the time. There’s got to be a point where you come out of that fire. You don’t want to hear me preach tonight. There’s got to be a point where you have peace in your life, and not just a struggle.

You see, too many of us go through a struggle. It’s a struggle to get up. It’s a struggle to get out the house. It’s a struggle on the job. It’s a struggle on the way there. It’s a struggle on the way home. It’s a struggle in the marriage. It’s a struggle with the children. It’s a struggle with the finances. Every day I’m going through a battle.

But after while, I’ve got to allow God to take over the battle and sit back and rest, and bask in His Presence. Christians go through the fire. But it only makes us better.

See, the devil is so stupid. See, he wants you and I to think that we stupid. But he’s so stupid. See, he think because we going through the fire that we going to give up. But Job said, “Yea, though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” He said, “I’m coming out. When I come out, you better look out.” My God, who am I preaching to in this house?

We go through the fire, so that He can refine us. Job said when he’s tried he’s going to come forth as gold.

We look at gold. Gold can be melted. And when they melt gold, it’s for the purpose of shaping it into that shape that they are trying to make it in. It becomes adaptable. It becomes pliable.

You see, many of us have to continue to go through. Because if we don’t go through, we are not pliable. Oh, you don’t want to hear this. You see, it takes suffering to cause us to be pliable. You see, because when things are going good, we get high minded. You don’t hear me tonight. My God, my God.

So He got to bring us down every now and then. He got to let us know that we can’t think ourselves more than who and what we are.

But see, when we’re getting melted, it’s so that He can shape us. The Bible said in Romans eight and twenty-nine that He wants to cause us to be conformed to the image of His Son, His Son being Christ.

You see, when I begin to go through, I’m easy to work with. Oh, my God. I feel Jesus up in this house. You see, I might have been a hell raiser before. You don’t want to hear me. But let me start going through something. I become like Moses, the meekest man on the earth. You can say what you want to say. You can do what you want to do. It won’t matter.

But see, if I allow myself, every time I go through, for it to cause me to get into a place of maturity, I have to grow in grace. But if I don’t learn nothing the first time, let me tell you something. There’s going to be a second time, a third time, a fourth time, a fifth time, a sixth time. You still going through? I’m still going through. A seventh time, an eighth time. My God. He’s asking a question. Have you learned anything yet?

The Bible says in the book of James if any lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth liberally and upbraideth not. But the Bible says let him ask in faith.

You see, when I’m going through something, I’ve got to get to the place where I begin to ask God for wisdom. I need to not just be in that place and begin to murmur and complain, and to spit and sometimes even curse. You don’t want to hear me tonight. Oh, my God. Take a little sip... No, I ain’t going to say that.

But, my God. If I would allow Him to refine me, and while He’s refining me, get Godly wisdom... Like I told you before, if I got to go that way again, if I already recognize that place, and I can keep the devil up under my feet... But it’s when I don’t recognize a place that I’m constantly tussling and struggling and fighting with the devil. But that’s the time when I need to get on my face.

You remember when Job started first going through. He didn’t start jumping up in the air and shaking his fists at God and saying, “God, why?” The Bible said that he got down and worshiped. Do you hear what I’m saying?

See, when you start to go through something, it’s time to worship. It’s not time to murmur and complain. It’s not time to kick the dog. It’s time to worship.

And in the midst of my worship, I may not get an answer immediately. But after while... We don’t want to know about after while. But after while my God going to answer me. But even in His answer, I can’t put Him in a box. I got to allow God to be God and speak any way He wants to speak, through whomever He wants to speak through. However He wants to come, let God come.

But I’ve been in worship for so long that I’ve seen His face. And I recognize God when He’s coming at me.

Refined in my suffering. I’m getting better and better and better. Sister Shirley, I’m getting better. Do you hear what I’m saying? I’m not getting worse.

See, a lot of times we think these conditions are causing us to get worse. But these conditions and situations are causing us to get better. Better.

To conform means to be like. It means to agree. It means to be on accord. It means to comply with. That’s what He’s trying to do with us. He’s trying to get us to the place that no matter what He says, we say, “Yes, Lord. I hear and I obey. I comply with Your Word when I think I’m right, when I think they’re wrong. I comply with the Word when I’m wrong, they’re right. Whatever the Word says, that’s what we are going to do.”

That suffering is bringing us closer to the image of Christ. Your suffering’s not in vain tonight, contrary to what folks around you might try to tell you. “Girl, you need to just go on and...” “Man, you need to... Man, I wouldn’t.” Don’t listen to folk.

The Bible said in the multitude of counsel there’s safety. But you got to know the counsel that you’re receiving. If the counsel is leading you away from the Word of God, you just say, “Okay, thank you. See you later.” That’s what we got to learn to do.

We’re getting better and better. While we’re suffering, it will cause us to discover our true selves.

You see, when Adam and Eve were made, they were made to worship God on His level. Let me tell you why. He talked with God. He walked with God in the cool of the day. He had God right there with him.

But see, through sin we know operate through the sin nature, until we have changed, until we receive Jesus and allow... Not only just receive Him, but allow His Word to make a difference in us. It’s one thing to say I’m saved, and it’s another thing to live saved.

You know that everybody gets caught up in this doctrine, once saved, always saved. You know, I try not to get caught up in that. Because every man’s going to have to stand before the Lord for themselves, and give an account.

I don’t know about you, but I want Him to say, “Well done. Come on in. Been waiting for you. Here’s your crown.” That’s what I want to hear Him say.

In Exodus chapter thirty-two there was a problem. Moses had went up into the mountain to hear from God. And while Moses was gone, Aaron was in charge, his brother. And the people came to Aaron. They were like, “This Moses must be dead. Make us a god, small G.”

And instead of Aaron saying, “You’ve got to be kidding,” Aaron said, “Go get me your earrings, gold.” Do you hear what I’m saying? And he said, “Melt it down. Because gold can be formed into an image.”

You see, when they were back in Egypt, they were used to serving gods that were physical. But see, they didn’t realize that the invisible God was the one that was really going to work it all out for their good.

You see, when I get to the place (glory to God) where I can realize that I don’t have to see Him, feel Him, smell Him... I know that the Word says in Romans eight twenty-eight that all things are still going to work together for my good. Do you hear me?

They didn’t realize that that suffering that they were going through was supposed to be making them a better people.

You see, churches are always going to go through things. Hello, somebody. But see, when the family, Sister Von, when it draw together, you see, can’t nothing get in that ain’t supposed to be in. And then anything that’s pretending to be family, it’s going to be found out and figured out. Do you hear what I’m saying? When you got real brothers and sisters in the house together.

You see, every now and then brothers and sisters are going to fuss, aren’t they? But let somebody else talk about that sister. Let somebody else talk about that brother. You got hell on your hands, buddy.

You remember Peter. When that soldier came up to Jesus, he was like, “How dare you?” Jesus had to fix Peter’s character over him.

You see, you should love your brothers and sisters to the point where you don’t want to hear no gossip about them. You don’t want to hear no mess. Did you hear so and so? No, and I don’t want to hear it. That’s real family.

See, when a family is suffering something, you see, they’re supposed to gather together. See, that husband gathers together with that wife. And that wife is always going to gather them children together. Aren’t they? They going to stand together in prayer. And they going to stand together in the midst of the suffering. That’s real family.

The Bible says that if you see your brother down, then you need to lift him up. We’re getting a little better in the body of Christ. But for so long once our brother get down, we put our foot on they neck. Say, “I ain’t like you no way. Get down there.” Oh, you don’t want to hear me.

When these televangelists fell, you didn’t see them on Christian TV no more. You don’t hear me. But now you know they done fell. And now they still back on there. You don’t hear me tonight. We getting a little better. And we that are spiritual are restoring such ones in the spirit of what? Meekness. That’s what it says in the Bible.

Someone may be suffering next to you. If you don’t know them, it’s one thing. But if you know them, you should know by the look on their face. See, because the face will tell it all, won’t it? Folks can try to hide what they want to hide. But at least for a split moment that facial expression is going to change. And then you’ll see when that mask comes back on.

But in the midst of their battle, we need to let them know that everything’s going to be alright. “I’m praying for you, brother. I’m praying for you, sister. And I’m going to stand with you.”

They got to the point where they wanted to erect their own god. You see, when you...

The Bible says that you shall come out as gold. See, God is supposed to be shaping us. But see, just like the children of Israel wanted to shape their god, a lot of times we want to shape God too. We want to shape God into the image that we want God to be.

And we want to let it be convenient to obey God when it’s convenient to obey Him. But if it’s inconvenient to obey Him, then we ain’t listening. This god must be broken. Let me break him. And let me erect another one that’s going to comply with what I want. Hello, somebody.

He said, “I’m going to come forth.” He said, “Not only am I going to come forth. I’m going to come forth as gold.”

In the book of Matthew chapter two and verse eleven, the wise men, as they were called, the magi, they brought gifts to Jesus. Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each gift was a symbol.

And the gold was a symbol of royalty being given to Jesus. And when we look at that symbol, it also meant His Kingship. It meant His power. It meant His worth. Because gold was very valuable.

In Exodus chapter thirty, verse one and verse three, God gave instruction for the construction of the incense altar. There were two materials that were used in the making of that altar. Wood and gold.

You see, when we look at Jesus, He was the perfect human form. And not only was He the perfect human form. He was the only person able to be man and God at the same time.

You see, that wood represented His humanity. And that gold represented His deity as being God. Do you hear what I’m saying tonight? John chapter one, verse one and verse fourteen tells me that not only was He man, but He was God.

And when we look at that gold, it symbolizes Jesus today, and also that wood. You see, if we could roll the sky back, and see the Intercessor Jesus, you would still see the image of a man. But see, that gold is His Glory. Do you hear what I’m saying? You see, He’s covered by Glory. He’s covered by Glory.

And so tonight this gold service that we’re having is representing the Glory tonight. Do you hear what I’m saying? Oh, my God. Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

It’s representing His Glory. It’s only going to be a point of contact, like I said before. Even oil, when we anoint with oil, it’s a point of contact for the Anointing of God to move. It’s no magical thing. It’s nothing to be sold to you. It ain’t got no witchcraft. All it is is a point of contact.

The Bible talked about the men of God in the book of Acts, how they gave out handkerchiefs. And people were healed of their diseases. Do you hear what I’m saying? They were healed. It’s a point of contact.

This gold symbol tonight is a point of contact for the Glory, the Anointing of God.

Tonight is your night. See, you didn’t just come here looking for a man that they say could prophesy. My God. But you came to see the Glory of Almighty God. Hallelujah. We came to lift up the Name of Jesus in this place. We are going higher in Him.

Job said, “As I am tried by that fire, I’m going to come out as gold.” In the Amplified, it says that I’m going to come out as pure gold. That meant that everything that’s not like Him, dealing with my character, is going to be straightened out.

See, I can be anointed and still have bad character. Do you hear me? I can have a good word, but my attitude is raunchy. And my character nullifies the good that I’m trying to do. I’m allowing my good to be evil spoken of.

I don’t care if you got the Anointing without measure, if your attitude is not right, then folks don’t want to be around it. Don’t just ask God for the Anointing. Everybody wants the Anointing. Don’t just ask Him for the Anointing. Ask Him to work on our character.

Say, “Lord, give me the Anointing, but work on my character. Work on me, Jesus. I got things in me. Presumptuous sins, things that I don’t even know about.”

And you know we like to say things that we don’t know about. You got some things that you know about. Oh, who am I preaching to tonight? Who am I kidding? We just don’t want nobody else to know about it.

The Bible said, when Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” We can’t live in these glass houses, can we? The Bible says if a man says he don’t have sin, he’s a liar. Truth ain’t in him. Uh, uh. Can’t find it. In a place of error.

You’re suffering is not in vain. Now rest your mind. Rest your mind. Rest your mind tonight.

See, you thought it was over, but it’s just begun. Your breakthrough has just begun. This is your night for a miracle. See, you got to say it. This is my night. Look at your neighbor and say, “This is my night.” It’s my night. It’s my night. I don’t care what the devil told you before you came, it’s your night. It’s your night.

You got to believe it. Don’t try to go by my faith. But let our faith hook up together. Let it hook up together. Don’t sit back and say, “I’m going to wait and see what Pastor Abernathy got to say.” Uh, uh. Devil is a liar. You ain’t going to work me.

It’s our night together. We haven’t been suffering in vain. If you’ve been suffering, I’ve been suffering. If you’ve been rejoicing, I’ve been rejoicing.

When you come out of that fire, you will be as pure gold.

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