Summary: A sermon delivered during a community worship time honoring local firefighters.

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Good morning and thank you for being here to help us honor our local heroes, our firefighters.

Fire, really is a good thing. We need fire. Fire produces heat. People need heat to survive. One of the first things we want to do when we go camping is to start a fire. Campers need fire for cooking, cleaning and heat if it’s cold outside. No one is concerned about the fire as long as it’s contained.

But fire can get out of control. A fire that is out of control is a serious concern. It’s dangerous. It takes lives and destroys our infrastructure and buildings. No one appreciates a fire that is out of control. This is when we need our firefighters. We call them when we need a fire to be extinguished, or rescue.

Right now in my home state of Colorado many firefighters are battling out of control fires that are approaching the city of Colorado Springs. As of now, almost 350 homes have been destroyed and over 35,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and two people have been killed. The fire is so hot that investigators can’t get anywhere close to discern what caused it.

Now, it’s true that an out of control fire is destructive, it destroys property and takes lives, but I would like for just a moment to talk to you about how an even more dangerous fire than our town has seen or that the city of Colorado Springs is fighting. A fire that is so devastating that you have no hope, without the rescue of the ultimate fireman, to escape it. I would like for just a moment to talk to you about how Jesus is like a fireman who was sent to rescue you and I from certain death.

Death is God`s enemy. God didn`t create us to die. When Adam and Eve sinned they introduced death into the world. Death is the result of disobeying God. But God also made us with a soul, an eternal thing that lives in every human person. This eternal thing belongs to God because He made it, but, we have the choice to give our soul to His enemy if we decide we would rather live with death than with life. God gives us the choice to live with Him if we desire Him, or we can choose to ignore Him. The reward for choosing Him, is eternal life with Him in heaven, but, the punishment for ignoring Him, is hell. The key to our eternal life is and always has been obedience.

This is what the Bible says about this:

Romans 5:12 - When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 - So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.

1 John 2:23 - Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “I came to seek and save the lost.” That sounds just like a firefighter’s job description. Seek and save people who need rescue.

You may be asking why you need rescue. Do you believe you’re a good person? You try to live a good life, obeying the laws, paying your taxes. You don’t cheat, steal, and you probably haven’t killed anyone; though you may have thought about it. So why do you need rescue? God surely wouldn’t let you suffer eternal death? Would He? Why should you fear an eternal fire?

Let me explain this way. If you break the law and you’re caught you will be entered into the court system. At some point you will face a judge who will declare you guilty or not guilty. If the judge believes you’re guilty based on the evidence presented at your trial the judge will then render a sentence according to what the law allows for the crime you committed. James 1:14-15 says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”

Death is the consequence of sin. Death, eternal death, is what we deserve for our sinful actions. God has judged the world and found it guilty, including you. This is why you need rescue. Because you are not perfect as God is, He can’t allow you into His presence. No matter how good you think you are, you will never be as good or perfect as God. Something, or more succinctly, someone had to step in, take your punishment, and declare you perfect before God. Hebrews 2:14-15 confirms, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

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