Summary: How Satan tries to discourage us and put out the fire of God in our heart.
THE FLAME HAS FLICKERED BUT IT HAS NEVER GONE OUT
Intro: In this passage of scripture we find the Weeping Prophet Jeremiah in sort of place of disarray. Jeremiah has faithfully proclaimed the Word of God to Judah and has gotten nothing in return but sorrow and persecution Fact of the matter Jeremiah was thrown in to prison (c. 37), into a well (c. 38), was taken to Egypt against his will (c. 43), he was rejected by his neighbors (c.11: 19:31), his family (12:6), the false priests and prophets (20:1-2), friends (20:2), his audience (c.26:8), and the kings (36:23). No one it seemed was listening to Jeremiah. To say that Jeremiah was fed up with the actions of the country of Judah would be an understatement. Jeremiah was so fed that he was ready to quit and give up. In verse 9 you can read his resignation, (Jeremiah 20:9) “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” God had instilled a fire down in Jeremiah that was unquenchable. And like Jeremiah we find ourselves at times ready to quit and give up, but that same fire Jeremiah had shut up in his bones is shut up in mine bones this evening. I want to preach on the message, “THE FLAME HAS FLICKERED BUT IT HAS NEVER GONE OUT.” The devil has done many things to put out the fire in my soul:
I. DAMPEN IT WITH DISCOURAGEMENT
A. I have often said if the devil was a salesman and couldn’t get you to buy anything the last thing he would show you is discouragement
B. There has been times I have been so discouraged that it actually showed on my physical appearance
C. There I have been times I just wanted to quit, but when it seemed the flame was about to die down the breath of God would come and blow the flame and it burned within me strong again. Like Jeremiah I was weary with forbearing and could not stay.
D. The Psalmist David said, (Psalms 27:14) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
E. (Psalms 31:24 ) Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
II. SMOTHER IT WITH SORROW
A. If you are saved you will have sorrow. Maybe you don’t understand it. But God does. The devil would like nothing better than for you to quit during this time of sorrow. But it could be through the sorrow you are dealing with God is getting some glory. I am not saying God likes to see people suffer but it is the glory that people give him when they are in a state of sadness or sorrow that God will always bless
B. (2 Corinthians 7:10) …The sorrow of the world worketh death
C. But something happened one day and began to be sorry for the way I was acting. I was sorrowful I was a sinner and knew I needed to change
D. In the same verse in Corinthians says, “That Godly sorrow worketh repentance”
E. I’m glad I became sorry that I was a sinner and I am even happier that now as a Christian when that sorrow comes and the storms rage that God banks the fire down and it burns all the way through the storm
F. ( John 16:33) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
III. CHOKE IT OUT WITH CONTROVERSY
A. I have preached messages at times that have caused controversy
B. The devil would say you have done it now, you can’t preach like that around that crowd anyway
C. The someone will call or see me in town and literally threaten me about the way I preached
D. In the text Jeremiah had preached and tried to win the country of Judah but his preaching was to controversial for most so they would not listen
E. It’s times like these when I have thought it would be easier to quit than to go on that is when God fans the flames of my heart and causes the fire to burn hotter than it ever has before
IV. PUT IT OUT WITH PERSONAL INCONSISTENCIES
A. Just because I may think something is right doesn’t mean that its right
B. If we are not careful we will twist the scripture to justify our personal inconsistencies