Summary: We must be "on fire" for the gospel of Christ Jesus and faithful to God's leading.
We Need A Fire
Intro: Three people died and were waiting at the pearly gates. The first man said to St. Peter, “I served faithfully as a pastor for over 50 years.” Peter told him to step aside and wait. The second person said, “I served my church faithfully for 40 years.” Peter told her to step aside and wait. The third person stepped up and said, “I wasn’t a pastor, I was a worker for the IRS for 6 months.” Peter told him to step right in. The first pastor objected saying, “Why does he get to go in before 2 pastors?” Peter said, “The truth is, in 6 months that IRS agent scared the devil out of more people than either of you did in a lifetime.”
I The text for today has some of the toughest thoughts in Luke’s gospel starting with Vs. 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!”
A The GK word for FIRE is pur. In the context of Jewish thought at the time of Jesus, the word Luke used here refers to judgment.
B The word PUR can refer to cleansing or purification. Think of using fire or heat to purify any kind of ore by burning off the impurities.
C The fire of which Jesus speaks sets apart those who are “on fire” for him from those who are not.
II Luke clarifies the use of the word fire by Jesus in VS. 51 – “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
A The teachings of Jesus have caused division down through the ages. Catholics vs. Protestants / Civil rights struggles / Beliefs about marriage, abortion, global warming etc.
B There are those who scoff at Christianity. One person wrote in an old Bible, “In case of famine, eat this book; it’s full of baloney! In case of flood, stand on this book; it’s dry!
C Christians have varying opinions about a multitude of things. But, we cannot let our differences of opinion divide us.
III In righteous indignation, Jesus turns on the crowd following him calling them “HYPOCRITES!” Why?
A A Pastor encountered in the post office one of his flock who had not been in attendance for some time. The Pastor asked, “Why have you not been in worship?” The lady answered, “I just don’t want to be among that group of hypocrites!” Without skipping a beat the Pastor said, “Why don’t you come next week and there will be one more.”
B I looked up the word “HYPOCRITE” and it means, “One who feigns virtue or piety.”
C Jesus calls the people hypocrites because they are not observant of the signs of God. They may have discerned the will of God; but, they have not done anything to accomplish it.
Concl: SO, do we need a fire? If so, what kind of fire will it take? I believe it will take the passionate fire to follow where Christ leads. It takes passionate fire to do God’s will. We need the passionate fire of Christ Jesus to make God’s will a reality here in Palestine, Texas.