Keep the Fire Burning

Keep the Fire Burning

4th Jul 2021     |     Malayalam

Keep the Fire Burning

Sunday sermon by Pastor Rajesh Mathew, 4 July 2021

Acts 28:1-2- Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2Andthe natives[a] showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.

Leviticus 6:12-13- 12 And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. 13 A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.

The fire is not supposed to be put out. Acts 28:2 shows us that they kindled a fire. Even this morning, the Holy Spirit has given a very simple scripture something that we all know---Keep the Fire burning!

The Holy Spirit is given to us for our advantage. The Lord Holy Spirit acts as a catalyst or a booster.

He boosts things. Just like the ad that says Boost is the secret of my energy, you should wake up every morning and believe and declare that the Holy Spirit is the secret of my energy.

The Holy Spirit acts like a catalyst. What is a catalyst? Let me help you understand- Water or H2O has two atoms of hydrogen and 1 atom of Oxygen. Just putting the two together won’t make water. You need a booster or a catalyst along with the two elements. In this case, you need platinum. Platinum acts like a catalyst.

The Holy spirit is the most needed catalyst in your life. You can have faith, belief, prayer life, disciplined reading of Word and fasting but if you do not have the Holy Spirit among and working and showing up over your life, nothing happens.

We need the Holy Spirit to act as a catalyst. Ask Him, “Holy Spirit work in me, You are my booster”. You are my catalyst! Give the Holy Spirit complete freedom to move in your life.

He is a celestial element that provokes response in your life. It is His presence that brings life and peace into your life. It is mandatory that you have an intimacy with the Holy Spirit of God. Usually people say that if you have the Presence of the Holy Spirit, there is power. The Holy Spirit cannot eb equated with power. Power is only a part of His nature. He is the third person of the Trinity.

When the Holy Spirit’s power is initiated, natural laws are suspended.

1 Kings 6: An axe fell into the water. The anointed of the Lord said, cut a piece of tree and throw it into the water. And what happened was, it brought the iron axe afloat with it. How? It went against the natural law. This morning, the Cross of Jesus Christ is bringing some of you higher, He is bringing you up! Wherever you are pulled down and low, let every natural law be suspended when the ministry of the Holy Spirit is revealed.

➢ In the time when the battle was going to end, Joshua prays and the Bible says that the sun stood still.

➢ In the New testament, Jesus turned the water into wine. How could that be possible? It would take years for that to happen naturally! All this is against natural laws.

When the Word of the Lord began to act, natural laws were suspended.

➢ Jonah, sitting down and was watching Nineveh and in a matter of a single day a tree grew up over him like a vine.

People are looking for scientific reasons to believe or not. If you are thinking like that don’t even listen to this word. God’s word doesn’t bend down to the low degree of science. When the doctors tell you that you have stage four cancer. You take the Word and declare the healing the Lord.

We honor doctors, we love them but there is someone greater- Jesus Christ. Let than bondage of reasoning be broken. Many people measure the Word of God by logic. People research and figure out what is the right thing to do with respect to diet and sleep. Some people are looking at recent studies like rice has to be boiled at 90 degree etc. (in order for it to be most beneficial to the body). How in the world will some of you go for missions if you are going to look at eating only that rice that is boiled at 90 degrees?

Your life is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Not logic or reason. When the Presence of the Holy Spirit descends upon you, even natural and scientific truths are reversed.

➢ How can a valley of dry bones become a great army?

➢ How can fire come down from heaven with one prayer by Elijah? How would that be possible?

➢ The Lord is saying to Jehoshaphat---"Just stand up and worship and declare God’s goodness and you will see victory”, when he was being ambushed by the enemies. Where is logic in that? Did God tell you something, just believe it.

This morning there is a God who loves you and the Fire of His Holy Spirit will help you and strengthen you.

Why am I saying all this?

The point I am trying to make is this: When you go through a shipwreck wen something you held dear is destroyed or shattered, kindle the fire first before you do anything else!

A ship that carried Paul and others, while going through a storm was destroyed. Paul held on to just one plank and landed on the island of Malta. He was on his way to Rome to stand before the law makers. The first thing he thought of when he was shipwrecked was not that he needs to build another ship (so he could somehow get to Rome), but on that island, they actually kindled a fire.

In your life, when you go through a ship wreck (could be anything that you build or held on to and believed in), could be your finance, business, family, ministry, relationships, what do you do? The priority is not to do something to replace that or rebuild that, the priority should be to first kindle a fire! May be someone broke your heart and abandoned you, the priority is not to find new love soon

after but to kindle fire!

The main thing is that you need to kindly the fire! The fire of the Holy Spirit. Paul did not try to build a ship, he kindled the fire. When your life and career is pulled down, remember to kindle the fire.

We often hear people advise- “build your career, build your future, build your finances etc.” and we are so focused on that! That is the culture we are living in. But as a Christian and believer the first thing you do is to kindle the fire of the Holy Spirit. Build an altar.

In Genesis 12 and 13 chapters, we read that Abraham, wherever he went, pitched a tent. And the second thing he did was he built and altar. A tent is temporary. What you build is permanent and what you pitch is temporary. If it were us, we would have first built a house and then the altar. Abraham was the father of faith, he was the richest man and most well connected in those times but his priority was the Lord.

We build our brand or our name. we are focused on building our name. But this morning an altar. Let the fire descend upon the altar. God is faithful.

A short pencil is better than a long-term memory! Even I remember reading what I write. 1. You will only live in the fire of God till you are willing to overcome the excuses of the flesh.

You will only build an altar when you overcome the of the flesh. Most of the people have a yo-yo life. Some people say, I don’t think I have the gift of the prayer. I don’t think I can wake up in the night and pray, I don’t think I can lead a holy life. You are only making excuses. David, Benny Hinn and any pastor have the same flesh that you have.

Three things we see in the passage of scripture we read:

  1. They went through a storm
  2. It was raining
  3. The ship was destroyed.

The storm represents the things you ask God to deliver you and He doesn’t. He might not have delivered you from the storm but he will deliver you through the storm.

The Holy Spirit is saying to the church- God will deliver you and watch over you through the midst of the storm.

Some thoughts that people go through: “Why did I get this disease even after praying for protection? Why did I get this cancer? I believed that He would part the sea for me, but He didn’t. Pastor, I left the church, I got baptized, I stood for God, but why did this still happen? Why did that sister die? If God really loves me, why did this happen in my life?”

The storm is this—the question “WHY DIDN’T GOD?” or “Where is God in all this?” or “why did this happen?”

o These questions represent the storm. Often, when you go through this storm, you end up getting offended. You get upset with God. You don’t say it out loud out but it is burning inside of you. That offense is what causes you to make excuses. “I prayed and still had to face this difficulty, why should I pray? Pastor prayed by applying oil over me, still look wat happened?”

There are any things in my life that I still don’t understand but in the midst of that declare that God is good. “Lord, I will still trust you and I will still build an altar for You.”

o God doesn’t owe you an explanation for anything. Many of you think that you are entitled to an explanation from God. It is when you go through that storm and you are offended, that the devil comes with questions and throws seeds of doubt- “why do you need to pray? What is the point”.

o The devil wants you to lead a normal average Christian life. Praying just about enough, giving you tithe and smiling at pastor once in a way! The devil is happy with that. But kindling the fire?! Many say, “all that is not for me.” Don’t say that, It IS for you!

o God will do a miracle for you. He will deliver you through the storm. If you are willing to overcome your offense, God will light you up again and He will show Himself faithful to you! o You have had bad experiences, you lost your job, maybe you lost a dear one and you feel that you are afraid of trusting in the Lord. Don’t be afraid of the ship or the fire.

Job says, “Lord though you slay me, yet I will trust in You”.

o The ship that carried you might have shipwrecked. All that is left is the anchor and now throw that anchor into the Presence of God.

o The stock market that you trusted let you down, the one you loved abandoned you and all the drama and trauma that followed in your life has broken you.

o Don’t blame the captain for the shipwreck. We find excuses so you can blame someone. But this morning, build your altar, build your fire, give up the excuses. If you do so, the Lord is faithful to build you/.

o The ship is not your life. The ship may be destroyed but you are still intact. Your family and finances may be destroyed but you are still alive. You are not that marriage, you are not that title. You are precious God.

Your soul is the most important thing.

The Holy Spirit is saying to someone who has lost everything- rekindle and build your fire.

Understanding this from Michal’s life: David had a wife, the daughter of a king, Michal. She was the daughter of the king; the wife of a king and she was destined to be a mother of a king. But something happened. A storm came. Father committed suicide, brothers died in battle and even her marriage had issues. So, she was looking through the window.

She was a window watcher. There are many people who go through storms and when they do, they just observe others and they just look through the window. Don’t be an observer.

When you go through a storm, you always want to see people and you forget to see the Presence of God. She forgot to see the Presence of God in that place and she only saw David dancing. We tend to become critical in such storms. Micah went through stuff, it wasn’t easy but all that she went through should not have been an excuse to not like the fire. Because she removed herself from the future of the king. She had no children.

You lost your past because of a shipwreck, don’t lose your future by not lighting the fire.

o Yes, what she went through was tough, but don’t allow that wound and pain to remove you from your future. All you need is the Fire of the Holy Spirit.

o You may be sitting there waiting for those who went against you to come and seek forgiveness. No! you get up, go and reconcile and then build a fire!

o We have excuses for not praying, not worshipping- you say things like, this is my personality, I can’t clad and sing (I don’t believe that, your personality changes when you watch football.) o If you are watching cooking class, you can stay up late at night, dance class, gym, all of these excite you. What about prayer? Now, you are tired to pray at night. You are that same person who went around watching second shows late at night in theatres!

o Say this, “No more excuses. I need your fire!”



When there is rain. That means even when there are challenges all around you. COVID may not have ended, the storm may not have ended, but in the midst of that kindle the fire

Galatians 5:16- 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

o Where in the Bible does it say, fight the flesh? The Word only says, walk in the spirit. Build the fire! Some say, let this weakness in my flesh end and then I will kindle the fire. It’s the other way round--- kindle the fire first and as a result of that, you can rule over your flesh.

o The Word says, flee youthful lusts. Some of you just need to run! No need to battle, just run. Run from that computer!

Some people feel guilty that you are struggling in your flesh. Everybody has got flesh to deal with. But consistently have an altar

Your job is to light the fire and it is God’s job to stop the rain.

When you scratch, you feel like you need to keep on scratching. It only gives you temporary feel good feeling, just like how you feel when people massage your feet or head but it doesn’t solve the problem. Kindling the fire will give you the power not to scratch. When the Spirit of God leads you, you will not fulfil the flesh.


Acts 28:2-2 And the natives[a] showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.

o Fire will always be kindled by someone but it cannot continue to burn by that someone. You need to ignite your own fire. Pastor cannot always keep kindling your fire for you. Someone else ay have set the fire but you have to b

o Impartation cannot sustain the fire. You need to bring your bundle of stick. Get ready to pray in the Holy Spirit. Then the fire will burn deeply. This morning it is not just imparting but to keep allowing that fire to burn.

o Some people only want to experience the kindling. They jump from one conference to another, one YouTube channel to another and keep on sensing a fire kindling but that fire never sustains because they are not building that fire.

When God kindles a fire, you need to take it and keep on igniting it by throwing in sticks. Please don’t go for another kindling service!

In 1 Samuel 10, we see that Saul became a different person when the anointing came upon him, but when you read the Bible you see something.

1 Samuel 15:30- Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”

o He says, Lord your God. Still he had never experienced God as HIS Lord. He never had a personal relationship with God.

o Jesus needs to become MY God. The Holy Spirit is MY comforter, MY helper, MY counselor. I have a relationship with HIM. I have an intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

The mantle never maintain itself. You have to put the bundle of sticks, no matter who places their hands on you and prays, you need to sustain that fire.

1 Corinthians 15:30- And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?

The Saul of the New Testament says, I fasted regularly, I die daily, I pray continuously. He is throwing in his fire wood regularly and sustaining the fire. Ananias brother was an ordinary security guard, a gatekeeper. But he just placed his hands over Saul and he received the anointing. Saul became Paul (he too was changed like the Sau of the Old Testament) but he kept kindling that fire by praying, fasting.

One Saul became an Apostate in the Old Testament and another Saul became an Apostle in the New Testament. The difference was that one kindled the fire continuously


  1. STICK OF PRAYER: When Jesus prayed, the disciples slept. James, Peter and John were sleeping. They were the sleeping saints. When you don’t pray:
  2. We tend to sleep
  3. We allow for gaps between the Lord and us. In Luke 22:54 Peter followed Jesus at a distance. He kept some gap.
  4. We get attracted to the wrong fire. Peter put his hand into another fire. If you don’t kindle the fire of the Holy Spirit, you will put your hands into Netflix

Make your stick of prayer your priority

Leviticus 6:12-13- 12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

➢ Early in the morning, add the firewood. Not after everything is in motion. Early, pray! ➢ Shut the door: Close the door of distraction. Don’t allow anything to distract you. Put that phone away. The door is the phone. Shut it and leave it in another room and then you pray. Only when you shut the door, there can be intimacy. Just like how it is between a husband and wife.

One pastor told me, God loves your presence more than you love His presence! Psalm 149:4: For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. o He finds pleasure in you.

Zephaniah 3:17- The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish. He is not just tolerating you! He loves you. He says, “I love you so much that I want you all through eternity!”

There are times I am irritable, unable to pray, tired and lazy and then the Lord said to me, “Son, I love your presence”. Then, I just told the Lord, “You delight in me, You love me, You quieten me with Your love. Here I am Lord. Love me. Here I am Lord”. Nothing happened for the first 20 minutes and then I began to cry. An overwhelming presence of His love came upon me!

Don’t go to pray because you need to go. But go there because if you don’t go, HE misses you too much.

o Your perspective of prayer must change.

o God called Moses on the mountain. He just waited on God, the Word says. He was just there. We don’t know whether He praised God or sang few songs but he was there waiting on God. o Many of us have forgotten the lyrics of songs, nowadays! Some say, “I am a sinner and I can’t sit in God’s presence”. That’s an excuse. God has seen you seen. God saw you sin in HD and in slow motion and on a big screen. You think God is surprised at your sin and gets to know only when you confess it! (Oh, really you did that when I was in the US in a meeting to bless people). Adam sinned, God knew. God came back to him still because HE Loved Adam.

o It is God’s presence that gives you victory over sin. Sitting in His presence will help you overcome and not the other way around.

He won’t cancel his appointment with you because you sinned. He came to Adam and said ‘where are you?’ He did not ask, ‘what did you do? Or Why did you do that?’

o Where are you Adam? You matter to me. I know you sinned, I also know why you sinned, God said.

Don’t be disappointed by your humanity. Give Him you!

  1. THE STICK OF FASTING: Fasting is important for lasting.

o In the Old Testament people fasted to destroy enemies, to overcome diseases and in the early church people fasted and prayed while ministering.

Fasting is not to make God do something but God breaks something inside of you.

o If you see YouTube, gym trainers talk more about fasting than people of God! Intermittent fasting and other types of fasting etc.

o Fasting will create an appetite for God. Jacob and Esau. Esau chose food over the blessing. Jacob chose blessing over food.

o Tell God, “Lord I am hungry for you. I want to trade this with you”

  1. SACRIFICE: Where your treasure is, there your heart is also. Sacrifice is giving up your treasure for God. Tithe is not a sacrifice anymore. It is like paying taxes. It is a part of the kingdom. Sacrificing treasure will cause you pain. But that is where the fire is kindled and sustained. It is between you and God. Check your treasure.