God Can Build A Fire With Wet Wood


Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, Oct. 10, 1999, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.

By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 18:17-40

Text: 1 Kings 18:38

1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

Introduction: This is one of my favorite Bible passages, as it shows a preacher who took a stand for God against an opposing multitude. There are many wonderful things about this great story, but I want us to notice in particular that Elijah had 12 barrels of water poured on the sacrifice and on the WOOD; and more water in the trench. If you will pardon the expression, he was making it HARD for God to burn the sacrifice. When he prayed, however, God sent fire down that not only burned the sacrifice, but consumed every bit of water around it. God can build a fire with WET wood.


We realize that Salvation is of the Lord, but the material He works with is a lost person, dead in trespasses and sins, and dry like the dry bones of Ezekiel’s vision. Man is like wet wood in that he cannot save himself.

A. Man is too WICKED to save Himself
* His heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked
* His mouth is full of curing and bitterness
* His feet are swift to shed blood
* His eyes have no fear of God before them
* His ears are dull of hearing

B. Man is too WEAK to save himself
* He cannot give himself a new nature
* He cannot bring the dead to life
* He cannot live without sin
* He cannot pay for his PAST sins, not to mention his future ones.
* Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

C. Man is too WRONG to save himself
* His ways are so far from God’s ways, and his thoughts are so below God’s thoughts, that he doesn’t have a clue about how to save himself.

The REAL “wet wood” God uses to save sinners is the blood-soaked cross of Calvary! — the fact that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures!


2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

A. God provided pure precepts with wet wood
* The Bible is given by inspiration of God – 2 Tim. 3:16.
* It was written down so we could know the CERTAINTY of the WORDS (not just the thoughts or the message)
* God insured that it was written down pure and perfect – Ps. 12:6; Prov. 30:5-6
* God used sinful, fallible instruments to give His word:
+ David – committed adultery, deception, murder
+ Solomon – 1,0000 wives and concubines, went into idolatry in his old age
+ Jeremiah – wanted to quit preaching
+ Daniel – let a man fall down and worship him
+ Paul – went to Jerusalem contrary to the clear instruction of the Holy Ghost
+ Peter – cursed, denied Christ, was called Satan by the Lord while he was following Christ

B. God has preserved His perfect product with wet wood
* God promised to preserve His words – Ps. 12:6-7; Matt. 24:35
* There are more promises of PRESERVATION than of INSPIRATION in the Bible.
* We need God’s written words today just like people have always needed them.
* God used sinful, fallible instruments to PRESERVE His words, even as he did to PROVIDE His words.
* Today we have a perfect Bible — not because of the writers, not because of the translators, but because of GOD! God is able to build a fire with wet wood! And make no mistake about it; God’s word IS a fire! (Jer. 23:29)


1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

A. God has his preachers to build His church
* Men of God aren’t perfect … far from it.
* Moses confessed that he was wet wood when he claimed he couldn’t speak well.
* David confessed that he was wet wood when he said the he had sinned.
* John the Baptist confessed that he was wet wood when he said that he was only a voice and that he was unworthy to loosen the shoe latchet of the Lord Jesus Christ.
* Paul confessed that he was wet wood when he said that he was chief of sinners.
* Peter fell so far, yet God used him mightily on the day of Pentecost and after that.

B. God has His people to build His church
* God uses saved SINNERS.
* Some of the people God uses to build churches are people who once lived wickedly or are people who will one day backslide and turn their backs on the Lord.

C. God gave His promise to build His church
* God is able! It’s HIS business to build His church. If we place ourselves in His hands, He can do wondrous things.


2 Chronicles 7:13-14 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

A. In spite of the pollution of the land
* The problem is not with an evil environment or political administration.
* Great revivals in the Bible occurred in places like Nineveh, which was about to be destroyed because it was such a wicked city.
* Abortion is not the main problem.
* Drug traffic is not the pain problem.
* 5. Corrupt politicians, liquor, cults, and queers are not the main hindrances to revival.
* WE are the problem in that we won’t turn to our Lord, who is able to build a fire with wet wood!

B. In spite of the people who are lost
* The LOST are not the hindrance to revival; the LABORERS are the problem.
* God’s people are like salt. They are a sanctifying influence on their community, state, and nation.

C. In spite of the period in which we live
* I don’t know if we will see national revival among God’s people in America, but I DO believe it could happen.
* I am also positive that YOU can experience revival, YOUR HOME can experience revival, and THIS CHURCH can experience revival!

Let’s yield to God and let Him do His work!

Let’s believe God and watch Him do His work!

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