Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Mar 20 2011                                 "Playing with Fire!"
Sun Am Worship                                       

Text: Heb 12: 29   (King James Version)

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                            The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"


Is it possible that Jesus will return in our lifetime? It's not just possible...but probable. I'm not a date setter, and I'm not trying to make a prediction. But we need to recognize the signs of the times.

End times events that precede the rapture are being played out before our very eyes. The panorama for the second coming is spread out like a table for Sunday dinner. The stage is set, the key players have taken position, the cameras are rolling and the lights are beginning to dim. A hush is falling across the audience in heaven and all we need is for the Director to cry out, "Action!"

And if I die before the rapture, I want to give advanced instruction to put on my tombstone, "He died surprised".

Some say that every generation has believed Christ would return in their lifetime...that simply isn't true. Every generation has hoped to see His return, but not all have expected it in their lifetime.

Ill.-Sir Isaac Newton was not only a great scientist, but also a theologian, especially late in his life. He concluded that his generation would not see the return of Christ. He did not see the signs of the end times coming just yet. He said, "About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies and insist upon their literal interpretation in the midst of much clamor and opposition."

Ill.-C. H. Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers of the 19th Century, asked, "Will Jesus appear in 1866 or 1867? I am inclined to think that He will not come at any such time. It seems to me that there are a great many prophecies which much be fulfilled before the coming of Christ. We shall go on many a day yet. We may have to wait for another century."

29For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29

Let's pray.
Father, Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.
Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

God chose fire to be the symbol of His presence. It's all throughout the Bible:

Moses met the presence of God as a flame of fire in the midst of a bush (Ex. 3:2). 

The people of Israel confronted the presence of God at Sinai where fire came down from heaven upon the Mountain (Ex. 19:18). 

Solomon dedicated the Temple and fire fell from heaven and the glory of the Lord filled the temple (2 Chron 7:1). 

Daniel's vision of the Ancient of Days had God's throne as a fiery flame and a river of fire came out from it (Dan. 7:9-10).

For Moses this was an ordinary day, He'd been in Midian 40 years faithfully tending the flock of Jethro. I'm sure he was expecting the day to be the same as any other day.

The years of the life of Moses are remarkably divided into three forties:

1. The first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh's court,
2. The second a shepherd in Midian
3. The third as leader of the Israelites. He had now finished his second forty, when he received his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt.
4. Moses was born to be Israel's deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him till he is eighty years of age.

But this day was different.. We do not know what a day may hold but we as Christians know who holds our days.

Hebrews 9:27   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after

this the judgment:

 

James 4:12   There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

James 4:13   Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

James 4:14   Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

James 4:15   For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Moses is a good example to those who feel you've been on the back side of the desert and it has been a long time since you've felt anything or heard anything from the Lord.

If you feel like you've been put in spiritual retirement, I have a word for you. Moses saw more in a desert than he ever saw in Pharaoh's court. So, stay faithful where you are.

Proverbs 6:27   Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

Proverbs 6:28   Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? The Burning Bush (v. 2)

 

James 1:13   Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

James 1:14   But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

James 1:15   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:16   Do not err, my beloved brethren.

 

Isaiah 5:14   Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

 

Isaiah 5:18   Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:

Isaiah 5:19   That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!

Isaiah 5:20   Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet,and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:21   Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Isaiah 5:22   Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

Isaiah 5:23   Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

Isaiah 5:24   Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9   Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

1 Corinthians 6:10   Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:11   And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Last place Moses expected to meet God, this was the middle of the desert

While Moses tending sheep, he looks over and sees a bush that is burning.

God Spoke "When the Lord saw that he had caught Moses' attention, God called to him from the bush, Moses, Moses"
"Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground".

 The putting off the shoe was then what the putting off the hat is now, a token of respect and submission.

The ground is holy ground, made so by this special manifestation of the divine presence of God.

And for Moses everything changes at this point in time because his encounter with God is a revelation of God himself,

The God that he sees and encounters for the first time can only be described as a God of fire.

He wants to set his church on fire;
He wants to burn within us a fresh passion for Jesus
Our God is a God of fire and he wants his people to be set ablaze with his glory..
Moses when speaking of Jehovah after the burning bush later in his life,
Deut 4:24 says "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

John in his vision on the isle of Patmos gives a beautiful description of the beauty of the Christ when he sees him in all his glory and he says beginning in Revelation 1:14, "His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength, His voice as the sound of many waters, his hair was as white as wool and His eyes like a flame of fire."

John the Baptist when spoke about Jesus and his sending of the Holy Spirit said, "One is coming who's mightier than me, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

To the children of Israel,
God lived above then as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night Exodus 13:21-22.

In the tabernacle when the Glory came the fire of God came and consumed the peoples offerings by means of fire which showed Gods favor, Leviticus 9:23-24.

Jeremiah Gods word was like a burning fire shut up in his bones Jeremiah 20:9.

With Elijah his cry to the people of Israel was let the God who answers by fire let him be God 1 Kings 18 v. 24.

1. WE NEED THE REFINER'S FIRE:
"Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the Lord of hosts. "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord An offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:1-3).

STORY: The Black Death
In 1665 the residents of London were dying by the thousands each day. The bubonic plague was spreading from house to house because of the unsanitary conditions. Rats and fleas spread the germs throughout the city. Almost 30,000 people died, almost a third of London's population at the time. This plague was so bad experts say the entire population of London would have died if it had not been checked. But on September 2, 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out and burned uncontrollably for five days. Most of the structures in Medieval London were wooden, and almost the entire city was reduced to ashes.

But when the fire finally died, the people discovered many of the rats and fleas had been killed in the fire and the epidemic of the Black Death was halted. The fire cleaned the city of the impurity that was killing its people.

We need the refiner's fire to come and purify our lives and get rid of the killer sin!

2. WE NEED THE SPIRIT OF ELIJAH:
Malachi said: Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.
"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight." (Matthew 3:1-3).

Illustration: There was a fiery old revival preacher named Peter Cartwright who was famous for telling it like it was. He was preaching one time near Washington D.C. and the people of the church heard that Andrew Jackson was coming to visit. So they pulled Mr. Cartwright aside and said, "Listen Peter, the President is going to be here on Sunday and we know that sometimes you can get kind of offensive, so would you tone it down. We don't want to upset the President." So Peter got up in the pulpit the next Sunday and his first three sentences were these. "I understand that the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson is with us this morning. I have been asked to be guarded in my remarks. Andrew Jackson will go to Hell is he doesn't repent." The church was appalled, but when worship was over Andrew Jackson grabbed Mr. Cartwright's hand, shook it and said, "Sir, if I had an army of men like you I could whip the world."

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11).

The Fire of the old covenant operating through the cross of Christ! No longer one man and one fire.


On the day of Pentecost when the Spirit came it was described as tongues of fire, that rested on each of them Acts 2:3.

3. WE NEED THE FIRE OF PENTECOST:

1. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me." (Acts 1:8).

"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4). (NKJV)

STORY: In a little town unknown to many there was a small church. One night smoke and flames consumed this little church. People from all over town stood in the streets and watched the church as it burned.

The local preacher drove up and noticed several people that he hadn't seen in a while. Walking up to one man he asked "Where you been, I haven't seen you around here in a while". The man responded, "That's because I've never seen this church on fire!"

CHARLES SPURGEON'S ADVICE TO PREACHERS:
"Set yourself (The Church) on fire, and people will come from miles around to watch you burn!"
Are we a church on fire? Not really. We are an extremely warm church, but the warmth of friendship is not the same as the fire of God.

God doesn't light churches, He lights individuals, like He did on Pentecost.
How does it start? 2 Things are necessary

1. It starts with PRAYER
2. IT BEGINS WITH THE LEADERS
3. As God deals with the leaders, it will flow down through the body.
4. Are you as a leader willing to lead our church forward in prayer? Are you an example?
5. If not, why not make that commitment to the LORD TODAY

I am convinced it starts with the LEADERS!!
The disciples were set on fire individually, then there was a church on fire!

It's not wise to play with fire! Maybe that's why God chose fire to be the symbol of His presence. It's all throughout the Bible:

Go with me to the book of 1 Kings 18:21.
Background - nation under wickedness (Ahab & Jezebel)

Verse 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."
Verse 38 38Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!"

Prophetic picture of America - we must pray and sacrifice for the fire - for our nation!

CLOSING CHALLENGE:
"And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning." (Leviticus 6:12).

WHAT IS THE FUEL FOR THE FIRE?
"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chron. 7:14).

WHEN WE DO THIS, WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT?

 GOD WILL SEND REVIVAL THAT WILL IMPACT OUR CHURCH!
 It's not just about US! He will heal our land - and we will see salvations & miracles!

CLOSING PRAYER:
1. Salvation - repentance and forgiveness of sins
2. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
3. The Refiner's Fire.