Summary: In this sermon I talk about the fiery presence of the Holy Spirit and what fire of the Holy Spirit does in our lives, how it burns away our impurities, toughens our faith, directs us, delivers us, protects and empower us to be what God desires.
Getting Set Ablaze
This past Monday as I was pondering what to speak about this week Michaela told me about something the Lord had laid on her life heart about fire. As I thought about what she said the concept of the church being set on fire emerged.
And while we say we would like to be set on fire by the Lord, the truth is that we fear it. And so let me just get this out of the way first. And that is, let’s not fear God’s holy fire.
In the natural world when we smell the smoke, when we see the flames, when we feel the heat, something inside tells us to run, to get away as fast as we can, and in the natural world this is definitely the case, and the right thing to do.
But not so in the Spirit, but it’s what we end up doing anyway.
In truth we’re afraid of the Holy Spirit, because He doesn’t do things our way. We’re afraid that He’ll lead us where we don’t want to go, that He’ll put us in harm’s way, and that He’ll make us do things we’re afraid of or that will make us look silly.
But that’s not what happens. If He sends us anywhere He’ll confirm it in our spirit and to us it will be the most natural thing to do.
This has been my testimony, or better yet, my series of testimonies since I became a Christian and what eventually saw me not only becoming a pastor, but also what saw me coming to Mesquite.
I was on a sabbatical and beginning to plan out the next move for our church in Las Vegas. Now I had most of my plans drawn out as to what I saw the Lord leading us into, but then the Holy Spirit opened up His word and my plans went up in smoke.
The Holy Spirit told me that while I could go back to my church and continue to pastor it, His presence wasn’t going to be there for me any longer.
And God may put us in harms way, but He’ll never leave us nor forsake us and He’ll give us the strength and courage to endure the hardship and hell’s fiery flames.
And as far as us doing things we don’t want to do or that will make us look silly, I’d rather be foolish for Christ, than be worldly wise and spiritually dead.
Here’s my point, instead of running away from the Holy Spirit, instead of running away from God’s plan and purpose for our lives, we need to start running to the flames, we need to start fanning to flame the Holy Spirit and get set ablaze, and there are definitely good reasons to do so.
But first we need to understand exactly what fire does. The same fire that melts wax can also harden steel. And the fire of God does both in our lives.
God sends His fire to burn away the impurities of our lives, as well as toughens up our faith. And this is accomplished through many things, but mostly through the trials of life.
A. Burning Away Impurities
“He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3 NKJV)
The Lord will refine us, and He does so as a refiner of gold and silver. A refiner takes the gold and silver in its natural form and puts it over hot coals and begins to melt it down. As it melts the impurities in the metal comes to the surface, and the refiner scoops it out and tosses it away.
In the same way the Lord refines us. The Lord turns up the heat in our lives and starts to reveal our true nature, our sin nature. And as we confess our sins, He tosses them away.
He sits like a refiner, and a refiner doesn’t sit in his office waiting for results, rather he sits directly over the pot and when the impurities arise he immediately scoops them out. He also knows when the refining process is over when he can see Him image shining back at him through the molten metal.
For us this refining process continues until the day we die as we are being made and formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
B. Toughens Our Faith
Consider the making of steel. The steel that’s the strongest is the steel that has been through the fire many times over and has found itself time and again on the anvil of a metal smith who pounds on and places it back into the fire again. Soon it’s made and fashioned into something of great worth.