Summary: A church that’s on fire for God is not only endued w/ power, but equal in position, and evangelistic in priority!
Church on Fire
Don’t worry—if the church were truly on fire we wouldn’t announce it in the bulletin or by way of a sermon. But I’m proud to announce that this church is officially ‘on fire for God!’
Village atheist was not a bad man, he just didn’t believe. He was not interested in church…and there was only 1 in the area. It was cold and dead—a social club, with no decisions being made.
One day the church building caught on fire, and the whole town ran toward it to help extinguish the flames…including the village atheist!
Someone hollered out: “Hey, this is something new for you, the first time we’ve ever seen you running to church!” He replied, “This is the first time I’ve ever seen the church on fire!”
My desire is that our area will never be able to say that they haven’t seen a church on fire. May GBC be that church!
Most of us have had the sad experience of being in a cold, dead church, with no fire.
Someone stands to sing…and obviously they’re just going thru the motions, and their heart is not in it
[ushers/greeters/s.s. teacher/nursery workers/time to shake hands]
The invitation is given...and no one really expects anything to happen!
(Ever visited a church like that? Ever been a member?)
Jesus threatened the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2 that He would remove their candlestick if they didn’t repent.
Those who focus on what they “used to be,” usually “aren’t,” and “never will be!”
6 years ago when I first came here I heard a lot of what this church used to be…and now I’m hearing from those who believe in what it can be and will be again!
The attitude seems prevalent in the city as I hear about how things used to be. I toured Caterpillar and heard about how many workers they used to have, and heard about the Firestone plant that used to be here…I know, I know, and we used to be the home of the Chicago Bears!
Whether good or bad, focusing on the past ruins the present and destroys the future!
Some say, what we need is some new converts, that’ll set the church on fire! No, what you need is some fire, and there will be people converted!
(“Why don’t we have people saved?” Can God entrust you w/ new converts?)
Spurgeon: “To put new converts into most churches is like putting live chicks under a dead hen.”
Gen. 22: God told Abraham to take his son, Isaac to the mountains to become a human sacrifice. They arrived at the location, and Isaac still did not realize that HE was going to be the sacrifice.
Isaac knew there had to be 3 things to have a sacrifice: wood, fire, and a lamb.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb?
4,000 years later, as we look at most churches around us, we can invert the question and ask, “We have the wood, we have the Lamb, but where’s the fire?”
Wood—cross of Calvary
Lamb—Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God
But, where is the fire?
Let’s talk about Baptists, in general:
According to statistics, it takes 40 Baptists, on average, 1 year, to win 1 person to Christ! Why?
A lack of fire: in the pulpit…in the pew!
If we could freeze the world’s population, so that no one was born, and no one died, and if the Bible based churches kept winning souls at the current rate, it would take 4,000 years to win the world to Christ!
So, what are the characteristics of a church on fire for God?
We have an example of an on-fire church in Acts 4, so let’s take our points from there:
A church on fire is:
I Endued with power
v. 8 The pastor.
v. 31 The people.
We need power to fulfil God’s purpose…we need God’s power, alone. We can accept no substitute.
We cannot depend upon man-made excitement to get the job done / programs, promotions, publicity / repetitive, empty, full of fluff worship choruses to stir the people into some kind of emotional high
Ill.—organ during preaching
None of these things can substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit upon a church.
I Cor. 2:4-5
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Paul says, I’m not depending upon my wisdom, flamboyant sermons, tear-jerking illustrations, funny stories