“THE CHURCH IS ON FIRE!” Rev. 3:14-22
INTRO – What an awesome day we had last Sunday w/ Pastor Kevin Hamm! Great challenges to us to long for presence of God & to live lives that are filled w/ the Holy Spirit’s power. How we need that in our day! Kevin’s passion for the Lord & for His Church was so evident in the powerful messages that the Holy Spirit led him to bring to us. You can hear his heart for the Lord & the Body of Christ in this quote on his church’s website: “God blesses a church that will worship Him in spirit and truth. Celebratory, passionate worship combined with Biblical, anointed preaching is a match made in Heaven!”
Then on Wednesday night in REFRESH, we talked about how to know if the flame in your life is cooling. 2 Tim. 1:6 – “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…” I’ve given you the notes from that brief Bible study that we did Wednesday night in case you weren’t there, or aren’t on Facebook where they’re posted on the church page.
As we come to the end of this “I Know” sermon series & look at the church at Laodicea, let me clearly & plainly say: WE NEED THE FIRE OF GOD IN OUR LIVES & IN OUR CHURCHES TODAY! The church at Laodicea is very similar to the church in America today in these ways:
- They were self-reliant instead of Spirit-reliant. – v. 17 – “You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth & do not need a thing…”
- They were passionate for the things of the world instead of passionate for the things of God.
- Their faith was apathetic & lukewarm instead of authentic & lively.
- They were worldly instead of godly; careless instead of committed; indifferent instead of intentional.
- “If our religion does not set us on fire, it is b/c we have frozen hearts. God dwells in a fire.” (E. M. Bounds)
The seeds of revival have been planted in the heart of CWBC (Kevin Hamm’s prayer for CWBC), & we have the awesome opportunity to begin to water & cultivate those seeds w/ the passion of our fiery commitment to the Lord Jesus & His Church. WE CAN HAVE THE FIRE OF GOD IN OUR LIVES & IN OUR CHURCHES TODAY! GOD WANTS TO GIVE US THAT FIRE! “The fire of man has no power over those burning w/ the fire of God.” (Bounds) He is standing at the door right now, knocking. And He WILL come in IF we will open the door. We can choose to open that door right now, to fan the flame of the Holy Spirit in our lives, & let it burst forth into a raging fire for the Lord that will touch the lives of all those around us. What will happen WHEN that fire begins to grow & burn brighter & hotter & stronger in our lives?
- The heat of that fire will touch our families’ lives – men will begin being the godly leaders of the homes & families; women will begin being the godly wives & mothers they are called to be; marriages will be strengthened & restored as husbands & wives begin praying together & teaching their children the things of God from the Word of God.
- On-fire students in elementary school, middle school, high school, & college will begin impacting their school campuses w/ the fire of the Gospel, standing up for their Savior & for the Gospel no matter what kind of opposition they face.
- Jordan Wooley – 7th grader in TX – assignment from teacher – “Say God is a myth or get a failing grade.”
- Folks that have never even considered serving the Lord due to their lukewarm walk w/ Christ will begin signing up to go on mission trips, & start serving at Mission Byram, teaching Life Groups, serving in the preschool, children’s ministry, youth ministry, singing in the choir, going to Country Oaks, helping w/ our new Lunch 4 Christ ministry, starting a new mission at an apt complex, hosting a Bible study in your home.
- Christians that have never tithed before b/c their faith was too small & too lukewarm will begin to tithe; Christians who are tithers will begin giving above the tithe as their hearts are set on fire for the Lord. The church’s ongoing, long-term, year after year financial problems will disappear!
- Church membership will take on a much deeper meaning & significance in our lives as we heat up our commitment to the FAMILY of God here at CWBC. We won’t just COME to Church – we will BE the Church as we continue to Develop Devoted Disciples. Love what Spurgeon said in a sermon he preached on this passage: “Five thousand members of a church all lukewarm will be five thousand impediments, but a dozen earnest, passionate spirits, determined that Christ shall be glorified & souls won, must be more than conquerors…”
- Christians will come to worship with a fired up sense of anticipation that GOD IS GOING TO SHOW UP & SHOW OUT! They’ll have their Bibles in hand, ready to dig into the Word of God & find out what plans God has for them. They’ll respond to the conviction, guidance, & leadership of the Holy Spirit as they make application of the truths of God’s Word & adjust their lives accordingly. They’ll come with their voices ready to sing the praises of God w/ passion & energy, singing hymns of the Church that have informed our faith for years, & singing new songs of the Church that are teaching us these same foundational truths in new ways. This worship center will get more & more crowded as the fire of the Spirit’s work in our lives grows hotter & hotter! Zec. 2:5 will be truer & truer when we meet: “’And I myself will be a fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘& I will be its glory within.’”
- Our evangelism efforts will go far beyond FAITH on Monday nights as Christians begin to live out their sizzling faith every day in their homes, businesses, workplaces, schools, & everywhere else they go.
- The prayer life of the Church will grow hotter & hotter as we increasingly recognize our desperate dependence upon God & cry out to Him. We will pray BIG, believe BIG, & see BIG things happen.
- The faith of the Church will begin to blaze stronger as we trust in the Lord with ALL our hearts & lean no on our own understanding. We will truly believe that if we seek first the K’dom of God & His righteousness, all the things we need will be given to us. We will truly believe that our God will supply all our need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. We will truly believe that we can have the faith of Peter & we will be willing to step out of the boat onto the water. We will truly believe that we can face any Goliath that comes our way & defeat those giants b/c we will have the faith that David had when he said to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand” (1 Sam. 17:45-47). We will have the faith of Moses when he was backed up against the Red Sea. 14:13-14 – But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” We will have the faith of Joshua when he circled Jericho 7 times – not 6 times, but 7 times. We will have the faith of Elijah when he stood on Mt Carmel facing the 450 prophets of Baal & called down the fire of heaven, KNOWING that God would be victorious! 1 Kings 18:21 – Elijah approached the people and said, ““How long will you not decide between two choices? If the Lord is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!” But the people said nothing.” [B/C THEY HAD A LUKEWARM FAITH!] We will have the faith of Stephen who courageously proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus, even though it cost him his life.
- Christian brothers & sisters who’ve been out of fellowship w/ one another due to unresolved conflicts & bitterness that are symptoms of a lukewarm walk w/ Christ will forgive one another, reconcile will one another, & begin fellowshipping w/ one another again, showing to the world that we will stop at nothing to restore & protect the unity of the Body of Christ. 133:1 – “Behold, how good & pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!”
- Sinful addictions, secret sins, besetting sins will all be broken as Christians get serious about walking holiness & purity. As the fire of the Holy Spirit grows in our lives, sin cannot & will not remain! It will be confessed, repentance will happen, forgiveness is received, grace is extended, restoration begins, & the Church is strengthened as we walk together through the muck & mire of our lives, living out Gal. 6:1-3 – “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” (NLT)