ZEAL – LOVE ABLAZE!
By Leonard Ravenhill
Enoch had prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many
thousands of His holy ones.” If Jesus had entered history like
that, or had come on a dark night over Jerusalem in a blazing
chariot of fire (like Elijah went up to heaven), then the
clamoring crowds would have accepted and adored Him. But as the
poet once said, “They were looking for a king, to bring salvation
nigh, He came a little infant thing, that made a woman cry.”
CLEANSING THE TEMPLE
The local folk knew Jesus well. He was the best carpenter in
the nation. But now He had stepped out of bounds. He accepted the
nomination of that wild preacher John the Baptist as the Lamb of
God. He had agreed to let the people mount Him on an ass and
enter the city amid cries of “Hosanna.” Now He had stirred the
city by routing the moneychangers and cattle dealers from the
temple. For almost thirty years He had watched men desecrate the
place. He was outraged at their insolence and greed. He was
disgusted that they had carpeted the temple courts with animal
excrement and polluted the place with the stench of urine.
Each of the Gospels tells of the whipping Christ. But Luke
makes a very valuable difference as he records the events in the
life of Jesus. He says that before Jesus had entered the temple,
while He was still entering Jerusalem, He had stopped to weep
over the great city. So we have the *weeping* Christ before we
had the *whipping* Christ. Since He was about His Father’s
business at twelve years of age, Jesus had trod the temple courts
and had always been grieved and outraged that they were defiled
not just with animal dung, but with red-eyed extortioners,
cheating moneychangers, and cattle dealers. For thirty years He
had been growing in grace and in the knowledge of His Father —
now He knew His mission! And His explanation for this one-man
attack on the sacrilege and defilement of the house of God is
summed up in these words: “Zeal for thy house will consume me.”
Zeal! What a baptism of this same zeal the weak and wilting
Church of this day needs. Zeal in this context is *love ablaze*.
Zeal without reason becomes fanaticism. *Jesus was not a
fanatic.* Yes, His love was blind to all the possible dangers of
His mission. This love ignores personal safety, disregards the
odds against it, drops “sacrifice” from its vocabulary, requires
no crutches, ignores all danger, is intolerant of sin, but not
His was no sudden burst of anger; He had contemplated it all
His life, but now the hour had come and men fled before His whip
and holy anger.
“Pollution! Pollution!” cry the ecologists about our food, air,
waters, and our auto emissions. But where, O where are the
preachers crying out against the pollution in the churches? The
heart of Jesus was broken over a nation that had the elect
prophets of the Lord as its advisors. But who had heeded these
prophets? They had not dined at kings’ tables; they, like their
Master, were despised and rejected of men. Some were men with
scorching tongues; but they were also men with weeping eyes. Ah!
but tell me if you can, where are the weeping preachers today?
The cattle dealers in the temple were more interested in
selling sacrifices than in offering them. And so today there are
Christians at this very hour fighting feverishly for some
political cause, and yet they are never heated over the wretched
filth in their own church.
Will we crusade against uncleanness in the “Church”? If not,
better tell the sleepy saints again to eat, drink, and be merry,
for tomorrow we shall be raptured. *But Jesus will not rapture a
THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD
There are some frightful tragedies in the world at this moment.
When “wise” men swept aside the Bible, they told us that we would
move into a new freedom for men. These wise men have proved that
they are otherwise. Other smart men put their brains together to
make a bomb so that we can turn a living city crisp in seconds.
Then think of the implication of Afghanistan and Iran, the daily
bleeding of millions in Kampuchea, and the masses waiting to
leave Cuba. These are horrible things to contemplate, and yet I
think there is one thing infinitely worse. It is a *sick Church
in a dying world*.
Never has the great U.S. ever been more broken than today.
Broken marriages, leaving millions of broken homes. Thousands
and thousands of teenagers whose minds are broken with drugs. The
people’s confidence and trust in the government is broken. The
economy is broken — the once-mighty dollar is broken. All is
broken except the hearts of the believers.
We need broken hearts to face this colossal mess. Weeping is
not only in order in the pulpit; it is commanded! “Let the
priests weep between the porch and the altar…let them howl”
(Joel 2:17; 1:13). Jeremiah wept over the sin of Israel. David
wept. Paul wept. John wept. Shall we remain dry-eyed in the most
crucial chapter in world history and in our own?
The present lethargy in the Church is almost unpardonable. The
Jehovah’s Witnesses have zeal. The Mormons claim they are gaining
more people from the evangelicals than we are gaining from them.
The cultists zealously persist in getting a hearing in the
Saul of Tarsus had fanatical zeal. He threw men and women in
prison and broke up their families, persecuting them from city to
city. Miraculously God cleansed him, baptized him with fire, and
made him a model zealot for His Kingdom.
It is not enough in these days of such vast worldliness in the
Church to say that we are fundamental or uncompromising in
“doctrine.” We must be ablaze with Holy Spirit-born anger. (“Be
angry, and yet do not sin” (Eph. 4:26). We must feel the hurt of
God over the devil’s domination of this age. We must apologize to
the Almighty that we have turned to our own way, and have been
more loyal to a man-made theology than to the exceedingly sober
words of our Master. Like Paul, we must be able to say in His
holy presence, “This *one* thing I do….” I bear a broken heart
over the coldness in the Church (including my own!). True, the
zealous man of God lives for one thing only: to please God. He is
impervious to the opinions of others about his zeal. He cares not
what it costs him to burn out for God. In sickness or in health,
in poverty or in wealth, whether he is esteemed or despised,
flattered or flattened, considered a fool or a philosopher,
through evil report or good report, kisses or curses, *he is set
to do the will of God!*
This man sees the Church today fouled with showmanship, bingo
and bake sales, dances, tinsel and trivia, “holding to a form of
godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Tim. 3:5). He
sees the ministers condoning divorce in high places. Maybe his
minister is divorced and remarried himself.
Jesus today sees His Church unclean with disobedience *by a
watered-down gospel*. We do not obey His commandments to “love
one another,” or rejoice to act out Matthew 23:11 – “But the
greatest among you shall be your servant.” If there comes a man
into the assembly with a gold ring, we do give him honor (James
2:2). If he has great wealth but little spirituality, he is still
welcomed as a member of the board. We do not insist that our
young preacher boys tarry (until they get a seminary diploma?
No!) until they are endued with power from on high!
THE PHARISEE’S PRAYER
The Pharisee who prayed in the temple said, “God, I thank Thee
that I am not like other people: *swindlers, unjust, adulterers.*
*There are many so-called Spirit-filled men today, who cannot
even pray that prayer!* *Unjust* they are for sure; they pay low
wages and tell their workers that they are “doing this sacrifice
for Jesus.” *Adulterers* – there are famous preachers in this
awful category. They, of course, have an explanation for their
infidelity, yet many are accepted at conferences as keynote
speakers. *Extortioners* – the radio preachers almost have this
as a monopoly. A $25 Bible (God’s Holy Word) is offered for a
$100 gift! Other books are offered at five times their cost. “You
are judging!” someone will say. Correct, I am *told* to judge
(John 7:24). Jesus says, “Judge with righteous judgment.” Also I,
along with other true preachers of the Gospel, am a watchman and
so have to warn others. Also, judgment must begin at the house of
the Lord.” This *bait* to get money is an abomination. Preachers
whine for money over the radio and television. “For this
ministry” they say, and yet much of it is to sustain their
extravagant lifestyle, costly airplanes, and fixing up luxury
Bible conference grounds. And now they have joined the Pharisees
who “rob widows’ houses.” After emptying your pockets while you
live, they ask for your house and estate after you die. *What
STEALING THE GLORY
This is a day of the personality cult. Men on T V. gospel shows
are presented as having given up so much for the Lord. All they
gave up with their retirement from stardom was hell and eternal
punishment. Let it be shouted from the housetops that no man does
God a favor. Elegant living, etc. for the rich evangelists proves
nothing except that they have not left all to follow Him. The
Spirit-filled need no status symbols.
The flattering introduction for gospel preachers is another
great piece of blockage to revival. John 5:41 and 44 need
soul-searching consideration. My heart is burdened and burning.
God’s house is polluted. The sinners scoff and say of the rich
preachers, “Their creed is greed and their god is gold.” We need
a baptism of holy zeal to get us back to holy indignation that
the money grabbers are back in the temple, and that God’s heart
The Church began in the Spirit; now She is operating in the
flesh. There is no pillar of fire over the sanctuary. There are
no preachers who can hold the hell-bound spell-bound. I am not
sure that it can be proved that Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
*It can be proved that the Church is fiddling while the world is
burning!* The one reason that we do not have revival today is
that we are content to live without it.
*O for a generation of believers who can honestly say, “Zeal
for Thy house will consume Me.”*
This data file is the sole property of Leonard Ravenhill. It may
not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only
in its entirety for circulation as “freeware,” without charge.
All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright
notice (i.e., “Copyright (C)1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale,
Texas”). This data file may not be used without the permission
of Leonard Ravenhill for resale or the enhancement of any other
product sold. This includes all of its content with the
exception of a few brief quotations. Please give the following
source credit: Copyright (C)1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale,
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file: /pub/resources/text/ravenhill: zeal.txt