Summary: A sermon addressing the need to rekindle our spiritual fire.
REKINDLE THE FIRE
It is no secret that our numbers have been down for some time. Across the board our attendance is was much lower this past church year than in previous years. Perhaps the most discouraging statistic is that this year was the first time in over a decade that we did not baptize one new convert. Obviously I am very concerned about these facts. I have spent much time in prayer concerning the current state of this church. I would love to tell you that I have received some divine revelation as to where we go from here... but that is not the case.
I have come to the realization that most of our brothers and sisters have not returned to a lifestyle of rebellion and deliberate sin. But, a good many have grown cold and indifferent. Many suffer from complacency and apathy. This is the case for those who have quit church altogether, It is the case for those who only attend sporadically, and it is the case for some who are here every time the doors are open.
According to God's Word, some people under the sound of my voice would be described as "lukewarm". The word "lukewarm" is defined as "showing little enthusiasm".
I must warn you that Jesus does not tolerate lukewarmness. In fact He said unto the church of the Laodiceans ..."I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15)What is the solution for lukewarmness? Well, Jesus told the Laodicean Church to "be zealous, and repent."
Perhaps you are not lukewarm but you would be honest enough to admit that your spiritual fire has begun to burn out. The "flames have become an ember" so to speak. If that is the case, the Bible has an answer for you as well. We find it in our selected text. Paul tells Timothy to “Stir up the gift of God that was in him”. The idea here is to “fan the flames” or to "rekindle the fire”
If your home has a fireplace, it is likely that there is a fire poker near that fireplace. When the fire begins to burn down, you stoke the fire to keep it burning. It is important for us to "stoke our spiritual fire" regularly. If we fail to do this, that fire that once blazed brightly will burn down or even burn out.
There are several indicators that will show you that your spiritual flame has become an ember.
1) Your interest in the Word of God has decreased.
2) Your prayer life is not what it used to be.
3) Your worship attendance is no longer a priority.
4) Your giving to the Lord has slacked off or stopped completely.
5) You rarely (if ever) talk to others about Jesus.
6) You don't feel as close to God as you once did.
If your fire is burning dim, chances are good that you already know about it. You know it because the Holy Spirit has revealed it to you! Some of God's strongest servants dealt with spiritual burnout.
a) Moses reached a point where he requested that the Lord take his life.
b) Elijah wallowed in self pity after being threatened by Jezebel.
c) Jonah ran far away when the Lord called him to go to Nineveh.
Throughout history, some of the greatest men and women of God have dealt with spiritual burnout. When the fire is burning bright in our lives we can't seem to pray enough, we can't get enough of God's Word, we cheerfully give our time, talents and treasures to the Lord, we spend each day communing with the Lord and we look for opportunities to tell others about Jesus. However, when the fire burns down, these things are not as prevalent in our lives. If you do not quickly "rekindle the fire" you will find yourself out of the will of God.
Some of you are already there. Though that fire once burned in your life, now:
1. You avoid spiritual things
2. You are no longer committed to the church
3. You have abandoned your place of service.
4. You no longer hear God speak because your heart has become hard.
5. You haven't lost your salvation, but you have lost your joy!
6. You consistently grieve & quench the Holy Spirit,
7. You are missing out on God's blessings,
8. and you are likely having a negative impact on others.
Today you find yourself in a backslidden condition. Your spiritual flame has become an ember! If that is the case I want you to know that the fire can be stirred up today! I want us to walk through this passage and see how this is possible. In doing so, I would like to encourage you to "Rekindle The Fire".