Summary: God told His people that they should never let the fire go out on the alter. As priests of God, we can never let the fire go out in our churches.
CHURCH ON FIRE
Intro. There was a church in a small town out in rural America. One night the church building caught fire and burned down. While the building was burning, many of the town folk were standing around and watching it burn. The pastor had been called and as he drove up he noticed that there were many people there who used to attend the church. Seeing one of them he commented that he hadn’t seen this man for quite some time at the church and wondered where he had been. Sarcastically the man responded to the pastor saying “ that’s because I haven’t seen this church on fire in a while.” [sermon central]
. While this may be humorous, its true. It seems that churches just like individuals get in a rut.
. We get into a routine of just going through the motions, patting ourselves on the back telling ourselves how good and faithful we are because we come and gather together every Sunday and do what everybody expects us to do.
. Our scripture this morning talks about keeping the fire going in our churches and in our lives.
. That’s the real problem facing our world today.
. It seems that many Christians have let the fire that they had when they gave their heart and life to Jesus Christ burn down to where its nothing but a smoldering coal of the fire that we should have.
. When we as individual Christians allow this to happen, our churches can’t help but become places where there is no fire for God.
. Folks we, the church, must rekindle the fire for God and never let it go out.
. We must become a church on fire.
. Lets look at our scripture.
. Then the LORD said to Moses,9“Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions regarding the burnt offering. The burnt offering must be left on top of the altar until the next morning, and the fire on the altar must be kept burning all night.10In the morning, after the priest on duty has put on his official linen clothing and linen undergarments, he must clean out the ashes of the burnt offering and put them beside the altar.11Then he must take off these garments, change back into his regular clothes, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean.12Meanwhile, the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out. Each morning the priest will add fresh wood to the fire and arrange the burnt offering on it. He will then burn the fat of the peace offerings on it.13Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.
. If we are to be a Church on Fire, we must first PREPARE for the Fire.
. Here in verse 8 God tells Moses to prepare Aaron and his sons to receive the fire.
. Gods says this is what you are to do in order to offer the burnt offerings.
. We need to realize that what we are reading here are instructions that Moses is receiving from God.
. The system that God is putting into place has not started yet.
. Yes there have been offerings given up to God but God was laying out for His people how he wanted it done in the Tabernacle.
. This was how they were to prepare for the Lord to bless their offerings.
. We actually see the institution and the ordination of the priesthood over in chapter 8.
. God was preparing His people to be who and what He wanted them to be.
. Folks, to be a church on fire, we must prepare for the fire.
. There are things that must be done in order for God to bless what we are doing.
. The fist thing is that we must get ourselves in the proper fellowship with God.
. God is not going to bless our efforts if we are not in fellowship with Him.
. We can’t do that by attending church on Sunday and then not thinking about God until the next Sunday.
. God will prepare us to be a church on fire as we build our relationship with Him.
. We need to get ourselves right with God. Then He can use us and His Church to bring people unto himself.
. We need to set an example for people to see so that they will seek out our God.
. A letter was written by a relatively new Christian to the person whose life had influenced hers so greatly. She actually lists about a dozen qualities she found contagious in the life of this older Christian. Listen to some of what she wrote: You know when we met; I began to discover a new vulnerability, a warmth, and a lack of pretence that impressed me. I saw in you a thriving spirit - no signs of internal stagnation anywhere. I could tell you were a growing person and I liked that. I saw you had strong self-esteem, not based on the fluff of self-help books, but on something a whole lot deeper. I saw that you lived by convictions and priorities and not just by convenience, selfish pleasure, and financial gain. And I had never met anyone like that before. I felt a depth of love and concern as you listened to me and didn’t judge me. You tried to understand me, you sympathized and you celebrated with me, you demonstrated kindness and generosity - and not just to me, but to other people, as well. And you stood for something. You were willing to go against the grain of society and follow what you believed to be true, no matter what people said, and no matter how much it cost you. And for those reasons and a whole host of others, I found myself really wanting what you had. Now that I’ve become a Christian, I wanted to write to tell you I’m grateful beyond words for how you lived out your Christian life in front of me. Basically, she was saying, "Thanks for being a Contagious on fire Christian." [sermon central, ouch that hurts, Strickland]