07, January 2002
Dakota Community Church
The Fire Alarm
5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
Five Quick Self-Exam Questions:
1. Did I gain or lose spiritual ground in 2001?
2. Did I read any books that impacted and changed my life in 2001?
3. Did I contribute to the Body in 2001?
4. Did I stay focused in the pursuit of my calling in 2001?
5. Did I pick up any baggage in 2001? (Unforgiveness, Hurts, Score keeping)
The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.
6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
Deuteronomy 4: 23-24
23 Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Jeremiah 20: 9
9 But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Revelation 3: 15-16
15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Let’s look at four stages of fire that may describe your life as we enter this New Year.
1. YOU MAY BE SMOKING!
This is not a good spiritual condition to be in.
- Smoke gives no heat.
- Smoke gives no light.
- Smoke smells bad.
- People move away from it because it is unpleasant to have in your face.
How do Christians get into Smoking shape?
a. They have wet wood.
Has someone rained on your fire? Peed in your Cornflakes? Thrown a wet blanket on your excitement in Christ?
b. Watchman asleep at the post.
Fire has a soothing effect that tends to lull to sleep. Have you fallen asleep and let your passion burn out?
Matthew 25: 1-13
1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6"At midnight the cry rang out: ’Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ’Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9" ’No,’ they replied, ’there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11"Later the others also came. ’Sir! Sir!’ they said. ’Open the door for us!’
12"But he replied, ’I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Jesus is telling us to keep it going, to live ready!
But wait; if this describes you I have good news:
3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.
2. YOU MAY BE HANGING AROUND THE FIRE.
John 18: 15-18
15Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17"You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, "I am not."
18It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
Peter wants to see what will happen but doesn’t want to commit. Sound familiar?
People who do this:
- Attend church as spectators.
- Live off the heat of others.
- Have one foot in the church and the other out.
- Are living on the fence trying to achieve a balance that cannot be achieved.
1Kings 18: 21
21 Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him."
But the people said nothing.
You may be smoking.
You may be hanging around.
3. YOU MAY BE BATTLING UNDER FIRE.
This is a reality of the faith walk.
Jesus said the storms would come. It is important to remember that:
- Battles are temporary.
- If you draw near to God you’ll win.
- If you lose you gain insight about where you really are in faith.
Ephesians 6: 10-18
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Don’t resent those who are not engaged in battle, get there help in prayer etc.
4. YOU WANT TO BE: IN THE FIRE.
Daniel 3: 16-26
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?"
They replied, "Certainly, O king."
25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
In the fire:
- You walk with God.
- You gain freedom.
- Your enemies die.
Surrendering self is the key to the fire.