Summary: We’ve lost the fire in our churches. Let’s look at the basic principles of starting a fire and apply them to our Spiritual lives.
Quench not the Spirit. – 1 Thessalonians 5:19
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrews 12:28-29
The great Chicago fire of October 8-10, 1871, reportedly began when a cow kicked over a lantern in Mrs. O’Leary’s barn. Indeed, there was a cow in the barn belonging to Patrick and Catherine O’Leary of De Koven Street, Chicago, and fire did start in that barn.
Why did the fire spread into one of the most terrible disasters in the history of United States? One reason was the wind. The blaze started on a warm, dry Sunday evening, and at first the O’Leary’s and their neighbors tried to put it out themselves.
But after about ten minutes had gone by, one of the neighbors finally ran for the nearest alarm box, about three blocks away, and called the fire department. It took several more minutes for the horse-drawn fire equipment to arrive, and by then a swift wind had begun to blow, causing the fire to spread.
The damage was unbelievable. More than 300 people lost their lives and 18,000 buildings (worth about $200 million) were destoyed. One whole section of the city, four miles long and a mile wide, was completely flattened.
The Chicago fire led to better fire alarm systems, better firefighting equipment, new laws for fireproof buildings, and a new high pressure water system. It also led to Fire Prevention Week, which is observed each year during the week that contains October 9—an annual reminder of the terrible Chicago fire of 1871.
Paul Lee Tan, “3862. Great Chicago Fire Of 1871,” in Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times, (Dallas, TX: Bible Communications, 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 874-875.
Intro: Christians often relate their spiritual condition to fire.
A. Camp – Everyone came back “on fire.”
B. Steven Curtis Chapman sings a song with the lyrics “Don’t let the fire die.”
C. So, what does fire have to do with Christianity?
I. Starting a Fire
a. You first start with Tender
i. It catches on Fire quickly and burns fast
ii. Doesn’t put out a significant amount of heat or light
b. Then you must fuel it with small twigs and sticks
i. You must build a fire slowly
ii. You can’t just hold a match to a log and expect it to catch fire
c. Finally, you can put on larger logs
i. When the fire is really going, you can then put on the logs that will sustain the fire.
ii. They only last so long, eventually, you will have to add more logs in order for the fire to continue.
II. Characteristics about fire
a. It provides light
i. Christians are the light to the world. - Matthew 5:14
ii. “This little light of mine”
b. It gives heat
i. Heat provides comfort to those who are cold.
1. Children with security blankets
2. Don’t we like to wrap ourselves up in a blanket on a cold winter day?
ii. We are to comfort one another by bearing each other’s burdens. We need to support one another. - Galatians 6:2
c. It consumes everything it touches
i. We must spread the fire that Jesus has given to each of us.
ii. The Great Commission - Matthew 28:19-20
III. How to build a fire in our church
a. We must start with tender
i. Children and teenagers are great sources for this
ii. We also must focus on our new Christians
iii. Remember, the beginning of a fire isn’t very strong and it doesn’t last very long. We must be prepared to add the sticks and branches
b. We need to continue with discipleship
i. This is the sticks and branches
ii. Our “experienced” Christians need to mentor our younger and newer Christians.
c. Finally, we must continue to fuel the fire.
i. Let’s make sure we are supporting each other and other ministries in our church.
1. If you are not currently serving in ministry
2. Support financially
3. Support with prayer
4. If there is a ministry you think we’ve overlooked, bring it up
ii. Consider being a mentor to a young person
iii. Don’t neglect your personal relationship with Christ
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Corinthians 4:6