Samuel Rodriguez - Fire Precedes Favor
Look at your neighbor and tell 'em: Fire precedes favor. And tell the other neighbor the on that is reluctantly not wanting to look at you. Look at that neighbor the one with the awkward glance like please don't look okay you're looking so. Look at that neighbor and say: Fire precedes favor. We're gonna expedite the process but we're gonna make three declarations that are biblically substantiated, empowered by God's Holy Spirit today. You're gonna put them down write 'em down if you want to. But place them in your spirit. The first declaration from 1 Kings chapter 18. This is the moment where Elijah the prophet confronts the prophets of Baal, we're gonna do it right now. It's just a moment where this iconic prophet, this man of God living in a crazy time confronts the prophets of Baal, this is the moment.
So, before we get there, we're gonna begin with one declaration. Repeat after me: the fire on my alter will never go out. You have no idea what you just said. That's a crazy declaration you're gonna get it in a second. 1 Kings chapter 18. This is a story it's a Netflix series here it is, 1 Kings 18:23: "Now bring two bulls the prophets of Baal may chose whichever one they wish cut it in pieces, lay it on the alter without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other one and lay it on the wood, but I will not set fire to it". Verse 24 1 Kings 18:24 we're reading from the Old Testament with New Testament undergirding. Here we go verse 24 1 Kings 18:24: "Then call on the name of your God and I will call upon the name of the Lord, the God who answers by setting fire to the wood that's the real God the true God, and all the people agreed".
1 Kings 18:38: God sends the fire. In 1 Kings 18:45: God sends the rain. Fire always comes before the rain. I will repeat that for the hearing-impaired fire comes before the rain. According to scripture the rain represents the favor of God. The same God that sends the fire is the same God that will pour out the rain. But the fire must take place before the favor. Let me make it legal. Our God is a God of favor. How many have been favored by God? Well let me ask you, how many have experience? You've seen in your life God's favor upon your life. Psalm 5:12 says, "Our God is the God of favor surely Lord you bless the righteous, you surround them with your favor as with a shield".
Our God favors, but our God is not just a God of favor he is the God of fire. Hebrews 12:29: "Our God is a consuming fire. God is a consuming fire". Let me repeat that, God is a consuming fire. God consumes and we produce. We cannot produce until God first consumes. So, we have to understand the order from Genesis to revelation the fire of God goes before the favor of God for everyone here who has the audacity to pray for God's favor. What you're actually saying that's why you have to be mindful of what you're asking for. When you say God give me your favor you are giving God permission to first take you through the fire, in order for you to end up with his favor.
I'm here to tell you today there is no favor about the fire of God, the fire of God must go first, and you must go through the fire to get to the favor. Even in the world of grace, oh man, the fire of God precedes the favor of God. The fire of God goes before the favor of God. You must go through the fire before you experience the favor. You must be consumed by the fire of God before you are filled with the favor of God. The fire on the alter must precede the favor upon your life there must be a heart on fire before you see a life filled with favor. And the reason that makes, there's a reason that just makes people uncomfortable and the reason certain preachers do not wanna touch the subject is because they have a skewed understanding of the fire of God. Growing up in church unfortunately I've heard so many preachers take the fire of God out of context and when I heard the fire of God preached it was judgmental fire.
Oh, the fire of God, the fire of God is gon' just, "Arghh". It's just, it was like if God were in a temper tantrum and God wants to punish you with his fire that it's not biblically substantiated. The fire of God does not kill you. The fire of God saves you. The fire of God does not bring you down the fire of God lifts you up. I don't know if anyone has ever experienced the fire of God, the fire of God sanctifies you, the fire of God purifies you, the fire of God removes the toxins from your life. The fire of God creates a firewall against every devil, every demon, every legion, every lie of the enemy, every principality and power of darkness. The fire of God, John the Baptist said, "I baptize you with water for repentance but he who comes after me whose sandals I am not worthy of tying. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and with fire".
Matthew 3:11 right now I'm telling you the fire of God is beautiful oh, it is uncomfortable I know it, but it is beautiful. I am here to encourage you to say yes. Somebody say: YES. I want you to welcome the fire of God, be open to the fire of God, I dare you to pray for the fire of God, prophecy the fire of God. Matter a fact, what California needs. You know what we have? We need a church, we already have the led screens, we have the Facebook account, we have Instagram, we have Twitter, we're on YouTube, we're on television, we have musicians, we have a stage, we have lighting, we have seats, we have multiple campuses, we have the merch but what we really need is the fire of the Holy Spirit. Show me a church on fire and I will show you a state transformed by the power of God. I said show me a church on fire and I will show you a state filled with the righteousness of God. What America desperately needs it's a church that'll blaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Oh man, oh calm down Samuel don't calm down Samuel. Leviticus 6:12 says, the following, "The fire on the alter must be kept burning". It must never, it must never? I'mmo repeat this verse again Leviticus 6:12: "The fire on the alter must be kept burning". It must never? It must never? I feel the Lord as I tell you to get ready. I declare that the alter, and by the way you're saying but we're living in the new covenant, right? Yeah, but there's still alters. What do you mean where are they? Right here.
Somebody touch your heart and say this is my alter right here. This is my alter matter a fact there are three alters you need to know about. The alter of your heart, the alter in your family. We need to go back to having family alters. You know what a family alter is? When you pray in your home. When you turn off Netflix and Amazon prime and Disney and turn off Facebook and Instagram and YouTube. Get the stuff off your hands, put it down. Gather your family together and say we are about to pray in the name of Jesus because this family has an alter and we believe that God still shows up.
It's the alter of your heart, the alter in your family, and I know this is a little bit different for some a y'all. I still believe this place right here is not an auditorium, this is a lot more than a stage man. I've seen too many people saved right here. I've seen too many people delivered right here. No joke, no hype I have seen people come up here with cancer, diabetes, with diseases of every single magnitude, every single stage, and the power of God showing up and healing them right here. Because when God's people gather in his name, in his presence all things are possible.
I don't know if you got this right now. This is why this COVID pandemic has been so interesting there is a spiritual undertone, there is an undergirding behind it. Yes, it's a virus, it's real, it's actually a thing but there are some spiritual ramifications to COVID. The enemy wanted to take advantage of this pandemic and shut the church down in perpetuity. The devil's objective was if I can silence the church especially in states like California if I can silence the church, I'm gonna secure my win. What the devil still doesn't understand is that we are not a coffee shop, we are not a department store, we are not Disney, we are not six flags. We are the church of Jesus Christ and the gates of hell shall not, will not, may not, cannot prevail against us. Anybody here know what I'm talking about a church on.
Ooh, so let me do somethin' by faith in the name of Jesus I prayerfully declare that in 2022 the fire of your alter will never go out. How many come in agreement with me? I dare you to say: the fire on my alter will never go out. Ooh, hoho, I know we're streaming so I wanna tell our streaming audience around the world we're about to see a bunch of Christ-centered, Bible-based, spirit-empowered, light-shining, devil-rebuking, demon-binding, sickness-healing, atmosphere-shifting. Holy, healed, healthy, happy, humble, hungry, honoring, truth telling, compassionate, grace-driven, troublemakers with their hearts on fire for God. If that's you pray like, praise like it, worship like it is you. Give like it is you, love like it is you.
Number two declaration second declaration repeat after me: it's my turn now. Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "You go first" I love that. So, four hundred and fifty cuckoo for coco puffs prophets an additional 400 prophets of Asherah their praise and worship teams. So close to a thousand people in their ensemble plus all the spectators and all of Israel. And the prophet says, "It's just me against you all. I'mma let y'all go first". He says, "You go first, you go first, I'mmo go last". John 2:9 should encourage all the people who did not go first. Somebody else went first in your family, somebody else went first in your name, somebody else went first and you were the last one to go and you're thinking I lost my chance, no you haven't.
You're thinking you missed your chance. You haven't missed. You think you missed you exit no you haven't. Pastor Sam but the first chapter in my life was miserable, I was battered, I was abused, I was broken that was your first chapter but it's not your last. But you're saying but what about the first who cares about the first. What about I wanna be the last one let me tell you what the Bible says about the last. John 2:9 says, get ready, "God saves the best," oh, you don't understand what that means. Your next chapter will be better than the first chapter, I'm preaching to somebody. You're tomorrow will be greater than your yesterday. Your miracles will be greater than your memories. God saves the best for last.
So, the enemy had the first shot in your life but now you're about to stand up and go are you done? It's my turn now! Not I'm here to declare, not only has God had the last word he is the last word. You missed it not only does God have the last word in your life. He is the last word. He is the alpha, I said he's the alpha. He is the author. How many here are glad? How many here are grateful? That the last, God saves the best for last, and it's your turn now, it's your turn now, it's your turn, it's your turn. And I want you to know, that in 2022 it's actually your turn and that God has seen everything you've been through, and he's seen it all and he's gon' make the enemy pay for everything he's done against your life.
Oh no you missed it, from Genesis to revelation the oldest book in the Bible is not Genesis by the way the oldest book in the Bible is The Book of Job. And if you're from stockton job, but job. So, it's job and let me tell you something about job in that book there is this restorative process where God even says, "Everything you've lost, everything that was taken I'm on multiply it in such a way, that you're gonna have so much more over here on this side". Because God is a restoring God, and God is a renewing God. I'mmo say it one more time till you get it. God will make the enemy pay for everything the enemies done against your life. How many believe that with me?
And the final declaration for today, I told you it's a wham bam thank you Sam. You're third declaration is this repeat after me: I'm getting my shout and dance back and no more religious mutilation. You'll understand that in a second here it is. "So, they prepared one a the bulls and placed it on the alter," these are the false prophets. "They called on the name of Baal from morning until noon time and they were shouting. Baal! Answer us"! They were shouters. "But there was no reply of any kind," the Bible says. So, then when they shouted and nothing happened, they began to dance. Yeah, and they hobbled I'm just using the words.
"They were hobbling" hobble wobble "Around the alter they made. About noon time Elijah began mocking them and said to them, 'y'all have to shout louder. Because he is a God maybe he's daydreaming or,'" can you put that scripture up? Because it's the biggest trash talking scripture. In the Old Testament verse 27 can you find that this is crazy, "Maybe he's daydreaming, or he is relieving himself". This is the Bible. This is trash talking the prophet looks at them dancing screaming and he goes, "Maybe your God is dreaming or maybe he went to the toilet". Wow. Maybe he's on the way on a trip he's asleep and he needs to wake up for the Bible says, "They shouted," what? "And following their normal custom they cut themselves with knives and sorts".
When we dance, 2 Samuel 6:14: we dance again, or shout is biblically substantiated it's not hype it's not emotionalism. It isn't. Joshua 6:20, judges 7:20, Mark 10:52 our dance is biblically substantiated. We dance because the glory of God is coming. The glory of God already came in a man named Jesus and the glory of God is outpoured constantly and David danced before the Lord because the glory was on the way. 2 Samuel 6:14-15 "We dance because we know the glory of God is coming". Psalm 30:11: "You have turned my mourning into dancing". It's time for the church to get her shout back, it's time for the church to get her dance back. Man, I wish you would get this. When we gather and we praise our praise expression especially look around you. The fact that we look like the kingdom of heaven, this is dangerous. What you're looking right here this is the vaccine against the devil's strategy of division, discord and bigotry.
You wanna defeat racism forevermore it's not gonna work through politicians. We need churches that look like heaven and that's how you defeat racism. All racism. But do you know the prophetic power when we come together, and we worship, and we pray. Do you know what happens? Everything is possible. Transformation will take place. I wanna conclude with a final point which is a little bit on the edgy side as you stand with me. They shouted nothing happened, they danced nothing happened. So, they went to the final arrow in their quiver. They did this. Well, that's not working, the shout didn't work, the dancing didn't work. Ricky's dance would never work. Respectfully, you know, and I respect that 'cause we love you.
Pastor Nathan said you dance before the Lord, and he looked away. But I wouldn't go that far. No, that's just not graceful. This is what they did. And when we tried everything all the hype, the yelling, the screaming, the dancing try to be like God's people. Nothing happened so they we aha, they cut themselves. Some of them used knives the Bible says, that others were desperate for their God to respond, that some of them used swords. That's a big boo boo. Religious mutilation. I hear the Holy Spirit say, "Tell even my children to stop cutting themselves". Even in the church there are people that are still trying to get themselves saved.
You're trying to pay the price that Jesus already paid for you. There are a bunch of churches I'mmo get in trouble now but there are a bunch a churches that still teach religious mutilation. You have to go through 50 steps you got to go through a 100 steps, you gotta do this, this, this, this, this my God! Christianity is not about what I can't do! Christianity is about, "I can do all things through Christ who give me strength". Are you with me right now?
Stop cutting yourself! You don't need to bleed for your God! Your God already bled for you! You don't have to pour out your blood for him. On two thousand years ago, on the cross, he bled for you. He shed his blood for you, so, you wouldn't have to cut yourself. Pastor Sam I don't like cuttin' myself tell me how every single time you focus on your past the things you did. You're cutting yourself. Every single time you harbor on the thing that affect. Every time you get stuck in that offense, you cut yourself. Every time that you set up tent in the land of unforgiveness and bitterness. You cut yourself and then the crazy stuff. The stuff you say well I, I wish I could go back and fix what I did and what was done to me. I wish, I'm never gonna get over this. You're cutting yourself.
You need to live in the finished work of Christ. I'm prophesying to you. You're about to live in the finished work of Christ. You are saved. He paid the price for your salvation. He already delivered you. You're gonna live in his healing. You're gonna live in his deliverance. You're gonna live in his grace. Are you with me right now? Let me read it for you and I'm done. Hebrews 9:14 "Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our conscience from sinful deeds so we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins".
Stop cutting yourself! Stop trying to do what only God can do. Stop trying to save yourself. Spiritual and emotional mutilation. He shed his blood because only his blood is perfect. And you will live in the finished work of Christ. Stop judging yourself. Stop condemning yourself. If you receive this raise your hand. We don't need to cut ourselves. He already paid the price. But our dance and our shout, and our worship and when we call upon his name, will provoke heaven to invade your earth. Just like it did for Elijah that same formula works today. If you got this just raise both hands. It all begins with full understanding that the fire of God precedes the favor of God. The Spirit of God is shouting through you. Where people approach you out of the blue and go like.
Man, this is gonna be weird but you got sumthin', you got sumthin and that's the opening sign for you to say, I do, can I correct you? It's not a thing, it's a person, I got someone. I got the spirit of the living God inside of me and that's what you're sensing and feeling and even seeing. That's what I'm talkin' about. The favor of God is coming your way. Pastor Sam went through the fire in 2020. He went through the fire in 2021. Even in my life your pastor went through the fire. We've been through the fire pastor eve and I, and I love the Pastor Sam that came outta the fire. I do.
I look in the mirror and go like I like you. I like, it was uncomfortable, it was like oh man but why? Oh, but I'm a pastor are you kidding me? What? Me? Huh? And God says, "Do you trust me"? Do you know? I'm sorry we're taking a little bit a time here. Do you know when the chains fell off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? The Bible says, "They walked in with chains bound". You know where they melted? Sometimes God permits us to go through the fire. In order for the things that hold us back to melt in his presence. Are you with me? Fire equals favor.
Heavenly Father, we have a beautiful church here, people that have been through the fire. These are fire survivors. I don't know if anyone in this auditorium or anyone streaming right now who hasn't been through fire in the past two years. Our faith has been tested, our families tested, our health tested, our finances. So many things tested and yet here we are. Because sometimes he'll save us from the fire but on many occasions, you save us in the fire. But I am grateful for your righteous fire that consumes everything that is not of you.
Lord, this church is kinda crazy. You already know that I'm asking you to do sumthin' crazy here. Send your fire. Sanctify each and every one of us. Purify us. Remove the toxins, remove the toxins in us and from around us. Send the fire church. Purify your families and people, so we may shine brightly with the fire of God forever burning upon our alters. That's my prayer today. Do it and of course after the fire comes your favor. And I declare favor is coming our way in Jesus name.
If you come in agreement with what your pastor just prayed now give him the last praise offering of the evening. High five your neighbor tell 'em: fire and favor. Tell your other neighbor the one that doesn't want you to touch 'em tell them: fire and favor.