Summary: Once there was a village atheist, a man who never believed in God. He was not interested in church and he was the only one known atheist in the area. There was only one church in that village.
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Once there was a village atheist, a man who never believed in God. He was not interested in church and he was the only one known atheist in the area. There was only one church in that village. It was a cold and dead church, just a social club, with no decisions being made, no growth, just a church for the name sake. One day the church building caught on fire, and the whole town ran toward church to help extinguish the flames…including the village atheist!
Someone saw the atheist running toward the church and shouted 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 church will be a church on fire for Jesus Christ, not the literal fire but the fire of the Holy Spirit. Over the last week of fasting and prayer we could see people come and pray and the presence of God move in our church. My desire is that Bangalore city will see City Harvest burning and will come here for a revival.
This morning we are going to see the characteristics of people and church that is on fire of the Holy Spirit.
It is very easy for people to lose the fire of God. Our fire is usually lost when we start concentrating on us, our problems, our needs rather than looking onto God. Then going to church becomes a thing of convenience. People come late, are not bothered about church other than Sunday, no attendance for fasting, not going to cell, it all becomes the thing of the past. Believers lose their enthusiasm for God.
In the Bible such people are called lukewarm believers; they are neither hot nor cold. When this happens the worship leader and the choir just go through the songs, people sing for the sake of singing. The Sunday school teachers, ushers, leaders lose the fire and just go through the motion on a Sunday morning. Have you gone to some churches like that? Unfortunately they push God outside but everything so called ‘godly’ is happening inside.
If any one of us has got into such a habit where our zeal is gone and faith in Jesus Christ is just coming on a Sunday morning I have a warning from God for you. Let’s turn to Revelation 3:15-17 15 I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.
Jesus is calling the believers who have lost their enthusiasm as lukewarm. Dictionary says lukewarm is lack of feeling or enthusiasm. Some Christians have become like this – they have lost their enthusiasm for God. They come to worship and go back; the presence of God does not matter to them.
This attitude is very dangerous. See what Jesus says to this church, ‘I am about to spit you out of my mouth.’ How does lukewarm water taste to you? If you mix freezing ice water and boiling hot water and drink you feel nauseous and spit them out. This is the same feeling for God towards believers who have lost their enthusiasm. Jesus is telling if we are not enthusiastic about Him, it makes him nauseas and He will spit us out of His mouth.
Lukewarm believers were once zealous for God. Now they have good salaries, they have got new spouses, good businesses; all which God gave. Now they have forgotten God, no time for God, and are running after their own affairs and they feel they are rich. Revelation 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.
If you have lost your zeal for God, you are poor in the sight of God and the fire of God is out of your life. Where is your fire? Where is your zeal? Where is your first love?
In Genesis 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.
Genesis 22:7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and the wood are here.” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” In Abraham’s life there was the fire and the wood but there was no lamb, and God provided the lamb.