Summary: Being in contact with the cleansing fire from Jesus Christ is supposed to set us ablaze with love for Him, for the things of heaven, and for the salvation that He has bought for us. It is supposed to consume our thoughts and our emotions. It is supposed t
I want to start today with a little object lesson if I may.
In this dish I have a crumpled piece of newspaper. I am going to set fire to it. See how quickly the flame consumes the paper? I have to drop it back into the dish if I’m going to keep from getting burned, don’t I? Okay, now what has happened? The fire has gone out, hasn’t it? Why? Because it ran out of paper to burn.
Now, in this dish I have another crumpled piece of newspaper. I am going to set fire to this piece of paper, also. This time, however, when the flame gets to the place where it is close to where it will burn me, instead of dropping it back into the dish I am going to drop it on this pile of crumpled newspaper in this cardboard box like this. When I do, what will happen? Let’s see, shall we?
No? Why not? Thank you…you have all looked ahead and have been able to determine together what that one little act of mine would bring about. Because the fire from the first piece of paper will quickly ignite the others and the flame will get very big very fast, it will set the box the papers are in on fire, too. The box will burn and the fire will spread and will get even bigger faster and might get away from me and spread to the carpet and the furniture and the drapes and soon the whole place will be a raging fire, won’t it?
The first fire went out because it didn’t spread. The second would have continued to burn for as long as it continued to spread and set other things on fire. Unstopped, the entire building would soon be engulfed in flames. Under the right conditions we could have the entire city on fire, couldn’t we?
Now you have a little picture of what evangelism is supposed to be like. Remember what John the Baptist said when he was preaching in the wilderness: "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).”
Being in contact with the cleansing fire from Jesus Christ is supposed to set us ablaze with love for Him, for the things of heaven, and for the salvation that He has bought for us. It is supposed to consume our thoughts and our emotions. It is supposed to engulf us to the point where we cannot help but share it with everyone we meet.
Like we said last time, we are to be as confident, as excited, and as fervent about sharing our Good News with people as we are about the things in life that excite us most: as excited as we are about our favorite team winning the championship, as we are about talking about how awesome our children are, as we are about the great sale we discovered at our favorite store, or as we are about the promises our future holds because we got that new job or that long-awaited raise or because we have fallen in love.
In our text today we come to the conclusion of the commissioning service Jesus conducted for His disciples. We have seen in studies past that He gave them power and authority the like of which they had seen manifested only in Him. They have been paired up and told what to take with them, what not to take, how to figure out where they were to stay as they went around spreading the Gospel, what to do while they stayed in each village and town they visited, and what to do if they were accepted and what to so if there were rejected. Last time we saw just how vital this mission was for them and is for all of us who have come after them and call ourselves Christians – disciples of Jesus Christ.
"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).”
So what does “confess” mean in this context? You will recall when we were studying about confession of sin that it meant to acknowledge the truth about our actions or our attitudes and to be in complete agreement with God on the exact nature and character of our sin. In this context it means almost the same thing, except it applies to acknowledging the truth about Jesus Christ and to be in complete agreement with God on the exact nature and character of Jesus Christ and all that He has done, especially as it applies in our own lives, then to verbally acknowledge that truth to the world around us.