Summary: We must be willing to be set "on fire" with the gospel of Christ Jesus to accomplish all Christ calls us to do.
Luke 12: 49 – 56 Fire To The Earth
Intro: Anytime you get a group of people together, there is going to be a difference of opinion. That is not always bad! For example: raise your hand if you think it is more important to clean the house than to mow the lawn? / Raise your hand if you think it is more important to save an item you may never use than it is to keep if just in case you might need it. / Raise your hand if you would charge something on a credit card rather than wait until you could pay cash for it.
I. These eight verses are some of the toughest in Luke’s gospel. VS. 49 – I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
A. If Jesus were walking the streets of Los Angeles, Lexington or any other large city in the USA or even abroad using this kind of language, he would definitely be on the FBI or CIA watch list
B. The GK word for FIRE is pur / for the Jew fire = judgment (Is 5: 1 – 7) cleansing, purification. But here Luke uses fire = conflict that causes people to choose.
C. In Luke 3, John says Jesus will come to baptize with Holy Spirit and fire. – includes the power needed to do God’s will. In this passage fire is used to show that the announcement of God’s kingdom will cause divisions. People “on fire” will be pitted against those who are not.
II. The fire that Jesus brings to earth is not the ever consuming and overwhelming fire. It is not destructive. Rather it is a fire of love that is kindled in the hearts of believers that causes them to act.
A. VS. 52 – 53 Jesus knew his message would divide people. Examples from history: fist fights at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 over the humanity and divinity of Jesus / Germany lost 30% of its population during the Thirty Years of war between Protestants and Catholics. Christians struggled with civil rights and the conflict over abortion. / Conflict still revolves around gay rights and global warming.
B. There are those who scoff at religion and the church. In an old Bible someone once wrote, “In case of famine, eat this book; it’s full of baloney! In case o flood, stand on this book; it’s dry.
C. ”As Christians, we are challenged to love each other even when we disagree. We are still brothers and sisters in Christ. We are still saved by the same blood of Christ. We still have a relationship with the same God.
III. In the closing verses of chapter 12 Luke records the words of Jesus to the crowds.
A. Jesus calls the people hypocrites because they are not observant of the signs of God. Once you have discerned the will of God, what does it take to accomplish it? --- FIRE!
B. Recently as I spoke with someone in the community about the possibility of our church building new facilities they said to me, “The only way that congregation is going to build new facilities is if there is a fire!”
C. I agree with them! --- But what kind of fire will it take? --- I don’t think it will take one of physical flames. I think it will take a much different kind of fire. It will take the passionate fire to follow where Christ leads. It will take the passionate fire to do God’s will. It will take the passionate fire of the gospel of Christ Jesus to make it happen.
Conclu: So I ask you, has Christ Jesus brought fire to the earth in this place?