Summary: Perhaps you have strange temptations, you are placed in a position where you are constantly exposed to sin.
Fire! Fire! Fire
"When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."—Isaiah 43:2.
BEFORE I explain the metaphor of the text
• Can we agree that we are not sufficiently grateful.
• Not grateful for the preservation that God provides us in escaping the fire.
I know I address some/morning who have escaped the very midst of the fires in their life.
• If this is you, bless God for the preservation/past
• And celebrate his goodness in plucking you out of the fire.
• Be extremely grateful to God because others are dying in the black heap of ashes.
we are still in the land/dying/but we are unburned and unsigned.
Now let us take the text with real significance.
Of course walking thru the fire is the severest form of trouble.
But/beginning/verse trouble is described/passing through water.
Representing the overwhelming influence of trails in which the soul encumbers, so much so that it is like a man sinking in the waves.
• Ever feel you were continually sinking?
• "but God says, I will be with you."
But going through the fire expresses/actual consuming and destructive power of trouble and temptation.
• The metaphor of fire is more vivid
• not to say more terrifying than the waters of the river
• both represent tribulations, temptations, and afflictions.
These are faced by/church/people of God who are called to pass through them.
But the richness of the promise of the metaphor/fire/water/ comforts the Christian for it says, “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, and the flames will not burn you.”
I will talk of three things, this morning
• as the Holy Ghost may enable me;
• first of all, a terrible pathway,—walking around the fire;
• secondly, an awful danger,—the danger of being burned and utterly consumed;
• Thirdly, a double insurance,—"you will not be burned, and the flames will not set you ablaze."
I. First, then, I’ll speak a little about this TERRIBLE PATHWAY.
The children of God/never had/easy road to journey.
• I look upon the fields of fire, the field is ablaze
• The very heavens are like a furnace.
• But across that field lies the pathway to heaven.
• And beneath the blazing clouds
• The whole Church of God must make its perpetual journey.
It started in the first fire:
• The first Church/God/earth/person/Abel/it was persecuted.
• Cain lifted up his cruel club to slay his brother.
When the children of Seth were the representatives of God's chosen
they were without doubt/subject/mockery/descendants of Cain.
• Then Noah/preacher/righteousness endured 120 years.
• Enduring thru hardness of heart
• and carelessness of an unthinking world:
• He and his family/the remnants of the church/latter parts.
They were constantly exposed to laughter/persecution of men.
• Then God destroyed/earth/water
• and the whole race of man was contained in the ark.
• Now, you would think:
• the Church within the ark would be secure from molestation!
But no, we find him ready to detect the failings of his parents.
No doubt a ringleader of everything that was vile and vicious
• From that day forward
• whether you read the life of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob
• it still stands true.
• "He that is born after the flesh persecute him that is born after the Spirit."
Whether I refer you to the history of Israel through their years in Egypt or to the hosts of God constantly opposed by the marauders of the Amalekites, it will be true;
• Thru much tribulation the people of God must always make their way to Canaan, the promised land.
• Looking forward to history:
• Look at David/Saul
Between the faithful followers of God after the captivity who rebuilt the temple
• How about Sanballat the Horonite
• between the Maccabees and Antiochus Epiphanes
• so you see there must always be preserved a deadly feud
• let it be seen: the world must hate God’s people
• they must harass them and seek to hunt them out
And we must steadily pursue our own march through the billows of fire till we come to our eternal resting place.
• Find a home at a Church
• and you will smell the furnace not far off.
• Find me a follower of God
• and I will show you a host of enemies ready for attack.
Up until the Savior came the kingdom of heaven suffered violence.
• Not only from the Sons of God who would take it
• but from those enemies who would assault it.
• From the blood of Abel
• down to the blood of Zecharias the son of Barachias,
• the pathway of the Church has been a blood-sprinkled time.