Fire

10When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
—Matthew 21:10 – 11 (NASB)

When Jesus entered into a town, people talked about Him. Word traveled fast and they knew he was there and they were excited. “Who is this?” they were asking, curious sure but more to the point, they wanted to know. They had a desire to understand who he was. They’d heard the rumors about who He might be, but they wanted to know still, “Who is this?”

When He arrived at Jerusalem, The Jews missed the point—again. So, by their own reasoning they came up with an answer to suit them, “This is the prophet Jesus from Galilee.” Jesus, you know, Mary’s son, the carpenter’s boy all grown up—and a prophet at that. “Hosana!” they cried, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Not the Lord, merely one coming in His name. Jesus…could this be our Messiah? Surely some thought: Could this be the one? But even then their view was bound up by tradition. I am reminded of Jesus earlier question “Who do people say the that the Son of Man is?” Faithfully his disciples reported what they had heard, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” But Jesus didn’t leave them there. He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” and Peter knew the answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus tells us it was “because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17)

And that is the truth to which their own beliefs blinded them: Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. They’re in good company, though, because most of us are in the same boat. Bound by our own cherished beliefs and traditions, we are unable to see the Christ, the Son of the Living God because He is most clearly seen in the Word of God—something we carry around but rarely open. Oh on Sunday we open the Bible. On the odd Wednesday when we make it to church we open up the Word most of the time unless there’s a business meeting.

Because of these things I look at the church and I wonder, what is it going to take? When we come to our own and they see us are they stirred? What I mean by our own is those folks who know us. The ones we work with, the ones we see every day. The place where we live—is our town stirred up because of what we are? By how we live? Is it obvious that there is something great going on in us and around us? Do they see our lives and say, “Who is this?” Do they want to know why we live like we do?

When we reach that point we will be “powered-up” and not before.

But how do we get there from here? How do we reach the stirring point? When you’re cooking a soup, no one cares what’s in the pot unless they can smell it. They will never be able to smell it unless what’s already in the pot gets hot. The problem, then, isn’t more ingredients its more heat. The only way we are ever going to get to the point where the town is stirred because of our presence is if we are the ones who are hot. That’s how it happens. They feel the fire, they know something is going on because when you’re cold nothing feels better than coming up on a good hot fire and warming up.

How do we get from cold water to a rolling boil?

Hebrews 12:28 – 29 says “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”

“Our God,” this passage tells us “is a consuming fire.” Part of the problem, then, in a cold church is that they are not close enough to God to get up to a good boil. If the church is cold, she needs to move closer to the fire. This is wholly a work of God because He convicts of sin and moves people to salvation but also to repentance. Pray then that the church may repent of her sins and “return to [her] first love” the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 23:29 says “Is not my word like a fire?” Another part of the problem in a cold church, is that they are not close enough to God’s Word to get up a good head of steam. The Word of God is like a fire, warming body and soul, igniting our passion for the Word and for the glory of God. Who among us has not tasted this sweet fire and wanted more and more? To be consumed by this fire is a glorious thing.

Psalms 104:1 – 4 (NKJV)
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
4 Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

“…His ministers a flame of fire.” A glorious gift that our Lord has given us: ministers aflame with the Word of God. Glowing hot from the nearness of our God to their hearts. Blazing brightly from the pulpit Sunday by Sunday proclaiming Christ as savior and Lord of all creation. So the third thing a cold church needs in order to get “powered up” is to allow their ministers to be ministers of the Word of God. The ministry of the Word is so neglected these days, its fire blocked by this duty and that administrative task and this other meeting…how then can the man of God glow hot when he is always so far from the forge?

More to the point, how can we as believers be anything but lukewarm if we ourselves are not cozying up to that fire every chance we get? How can we be stirred ourselves unless we are coming to a good boil? Are your clothes wet with sin? Strip them off and put on the new garments that God has for those who know Him and love Him. Are there things preventing you from feeling the fire? Throw them down and run to the light and warmth of the Word of God. Feel how good it is to bask in the heat of God’s Word.

We’ve been a long time in the cold brothers and sisters. It’s time to come in and get warm.

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