Like A Fire

How many of you have ever taken your temperature? We usually do this because we’re sick with a fever, however, it’s also important that our bodies don’t get too cold. My sister is a nurse and recently told me a story about a woman who was sent to her after surgery. When she checked the woman’s temperature, it was below 95 degrees and they had to act quickly to get her warmed up. Now, you may never have thought about this, but just as it’s important to take our temperature in the natural, we should also be doing spiritual temperature checks!

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a detailed teaching on what His people should expect in the last days and in the first few verses, He gives several warnings. In verse 4 He says, “See to it that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ.’” In verse 9, He says, ‘you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake and then many will fall away.” In verse 12, He says, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Now, even if you don’t believe we’re in the last days, we know from Scripture that this is where the world is heading, so it’s important for us to realize that we have to be on guard. You can’t be “led astray” if you weren’t once walking on the right path. You can’t fall away if you weren’t once in the kingdom. You can’t grow cold if you weren’t once hot. As Christians, we can never grow lazy and complacent in our spiritual walk! Jesus said in Mark 13:32-33,

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”

We take communion at my church almost every time we come together, and my Pastor teaches about having a “personal revival” every time he takes communion. Living that way will keep you from growing cold! 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to “examine ourselves,” to see whether we are in the faith or not. We have a responsibility to keep watch on our own hearts and staying in the fire of God will keep us from growing lukewarm or falling asleep! In Luke 3:16, John the Baptist said,

“I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jesus is the one who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire. In Revelation 1, John the disciple, gives an account of seeing the resurrected Christ:

“The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.”

Jesus’ eyes burn like a flame of fire and He’s the one that lives on the inside of us. Throughout Scripture we see that Holy fire accompanies the presence of God. Think about Mount Sinai, the burning bush, and the fire that rested on the heads of the disciples in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came! Where He is, there is fire. We are supposed to burn with the same fire that burns in the eyes of Jesus! He said in Luke 12:49 “I came to cast fire on the earth and would that it were already kindled!”

As we looked at last week, the Word of God itself is a fire. God said in Jeremiah 23:29, “Is not my word like fire… and a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah himself said it this way,

“If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jer. 20:9)

We are made to burn and sometimes we need to do a temperature check to make sure we’re still on fire! Jesus said that His people are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-15). Remember that in Jesus’ day, there was no electricity, so the light that Jesus was talking about was fire. Jesus told a parable along these lines in Matthew 25:1-13:

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

We have to make sure the oil of the Holy Spirit is flowing in our life and that we’re still awake and burning, just like the five wise virgins in the parable.

Now, it’s important to understand that Jesus gave all of these warnings so that we would be on guard, but never afraid of the cold or the darkness. Cold doesn’t exist in and of itself. It is simply the absence of heat, just as darkness is simply the absence of light. What this means is that cold can’t spread like fire can. When you have the light and fire of God on the inside of you, you are the one that will affect those around you, not the other way around. God’s love and His Word will keep you burning. If you put something in a fire, it doesn’t struggle to burn. The only way that we can grow cold is if we grow distant from the source of our heat and He will never distance Himself from us. If we stay in the Word of God and in His presence and around other burning believers, we will be sure to remain on fire for God and see Him do incredible things in these last days! I’ll end this with my favorite quote, written by the missionary Amy Carmichael:

“O for a passionate passion or souls
O for a pity that yearns
O for a love that loves unto death
O for a fire that burns
O for a pure prayer power that prevails
That pours itself out for the lost
Victorious prayer in the Conqueror’s name
O for a Pentecost.”

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