Summary: Jesus desired to bring a burning, exciting, dynamic presence of God in the lives of people. God’s fire is dazzling and powerful and can work wonders in your life.
Are You Fired Up for Jesus?
by David O. Dykes
Sometimes sermons can be too long. A bishop spoke in Chapel at Yale University. He spoke for 15 minutes on how the Y in Yale stood for “Youth” then for another 15 minutes about how A stood for “Ambition,” the L stood for “Leadership” and the E stood for “Energy.” After an hour, everyone was bored to tears. As the Bishop finished his message, a student came and knelt in prayer at the altar. The Bishop was impressed and asked, “Son, what was it in my message that moved you so?” The student said, “Actually, I was just thanking God that this was not the Massachusetts Institute of Technology!”
Some sermons are like Tabasco sauce: they are fiery and give you heartburn. At the end of this message, I hope you’ll consider this to be a Tabasco message and I hope you DO have heartburn–but the good kind of burning heart. In this message about divine fire, I want to ask you: Are you fired up for Jesus?
Theologians have debated this question for centuries: Why did Jesus come to planet Earth? What was the purpose of the Incarnation? Jesus directly answers this question several times in the New Testament. For instance in John 10:10 Jesus said: “I have come that you might have life–and have it more abundantly.” Again in Luke 19:10 Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In Matthew 20:28 He said, “The Son of Man has come to give his life as a ransom for many.” You probably are aware of those scriptures. But did you know Jesus also said He came to bring fire on the earth? Read it for yourself in Luke 12:49-50. Jesus said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!”
Even though we are only halfway through the book of Luke, Jesus is only a few short weeks away from the time when He will go to Jerusalem and be betrayed, arrested, tortured and crucified. There was a “fire” He brought to earth, and He was wishing this “fire” had already been ignited. But because it wasn’t yet kindled, He would have to endure a “baptism.” This would be a baptism of suffering. We use the word “baptism” in reference to water baptism–but the word means “to be immersed.” Jesus realized that in a few weeks He would be totally immersed in agonizing pain and torture, and the prospect of that suffering caused Him to be distressed.
The word “bring fire” is a word that means to “cast fire” or to “throw fire.” Jesus came to be a holy flamethrower! The fire He is speaking of is not literal fire but a spiritual fire. He is speaking of the burning, exciting, dynamic presence of God in the lives of people. I want to show you from scripture what this fire is and what it can do in your life.
1. GOD’S FIRE ILLUSTRATES HIS DAZZLING PRESENCE
In the scriptures, God sometimes revealed Himself through a physical representation; this is called a theophany. Fire is the most common theophany. There are several definitive statements about God in the Bible: God is Holy; God is Light; God is Love; God is Spirit. But this is a symbol of God. God is not fire–He is like fire–and He uses it to symbolize His awesome presence.