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Summary: The Church and the World need to be on fire, but use the right fuel and match!

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Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,

52 And sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.

53 And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

55 But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

How do you handle rejection? There was a time during my childhood that it would not have been good for me to have "if looks could kill" be a reality in my life because they would have had to dedicate an entire state to bury those to whom I gave the look. I suffered a great deal of rejection as a child. It stunk, but it prepared me for ministry even though at the time I had little interest in God or ministry. There is a lot of rejection in ministry from unbelievers and believers alike so be prepared, but serve.

The Samaritan village didn't want to receive or welcome Jesus because they knew He was on His way to Jerusalem and they hated the Jews as much as the Jews hated Samaritans. They missed out on great spiritual blessings and maybe some healings because they could not get past their prejudice. I am sure that they had heard of Him and what He was preaching and doing. Yet, because they would be a rest stop on the way to the hated people they wanted nothing to do with Him. If they had not known and thought He was going to stay in Samaria they might have received Him gladly even though He was a Jew for His reputation's sake.

James and John did not take the rejection lightly. Indeed, they felt they had righteous indignation and even holy precedence to just toast the entire village. What happened though is that they took that passage out of context. Elias brought down fire on soldiers who came to capture him and had no respect for him or God. These villagers had the right to be hospitable or not even if their reasons were framed by prejudice. That is quite a bit different from Elias' circumstance. Much error in the Church today is because of passages being taken out of context. This leads to wrong interpretations and applications

I wish I could have heard Jesus' tone and volume of voice when He rebuked those lads. The Greek indicates a very straightforward rebuke. Was it loud and stern or more of a disappointed and lower tone yet intense? We often think of Jesus as being soft spoken and mellow, but He may have really got in their faces over this since they have missed the whole point of His mission and were acting like most humans with power ready to abuse it according to their own passions.

Notice He spoke to their spirit rather than the poor interpretation and application. Sometimes sincere people will mess up a verse but not because it is in their spirit to do so. False prophets continually mess up verses because it is in their spirit to do so and are helped by the evil spirits that guide and possess them. James and John were thinking in their fallen spirit and not in the spirit of their Teacher whom they called Lord. Too many times we think and do as men thinking we are thinking and doing in the mind of Christ because we found that one or two verses that seems to match what we think even if we have to stretch it enough to make Silly Putty(c) jealous.

We live in a evil world that is difficult to describe and we know that it will get extremely worse before the Millennium. We truly "ain't seen nothin' yet!" That is beyond our comprehension when we have seen so much in the last 50 years and yet times what we have seen by 1000 and maybe we have a small peek of what it is going to be like at the Second Coming. If you are saved, you will miss much of the horror at the Rapture, but we will see plenty before that happens.

While I believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available, I am glad calling down fire is not one mentioned in the epistles. I know too many men and women that would be like James and John and few places or people would be safe. The Lord might come back and find one person left, the one who called down fire on all the other ones who had the gift because they had some disagreement. I get it. There are plenty of places that would be on my list if I thought with my carnal mind and not His thoughts.

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