“THROUGH THE FIRE!”
1 Peter 4:12-16
The National Fire Protection Association reports that fire departments respond to a fire every 24 seconds! Think about it! That’s the length of an NBA shot clock! The leading causes of home fires are cooking accidents, electrical and heating wire malfunctions, cigarette smoking, and candles. While some fires can be quickly extinguished, others have destroyed entire cities, like the Great Fire of Chicago in October 1871. This fire alone resulted in more than 300 deaths, left 100,000 people homeless, and destroyed over 17,000 buildings. Former President Calvin Coolidge established National Fire Prevention Week in 1925 to commemorate the horrific losses of life during the Chicago tragedy. Fires are costly too! The United States Fire Administration estimated fires caused more than $23 billion dollars in property losses in 2018. California, Alaska, and Texas are just a few reminders of the havoc wildfires can wreak.
Unfortunately, Christians do not have a National Fire Prevention day, week, month, or year! In fact, fire prevention is nonexistent! But, while fire prevention is an unavoidable and inescapable reality for Christians, God provides us with 24/7/365/52 fire protection! There’s a big difference! God never promised us “fire-free” lives! Instead, we should expect them! The prophet Isaiah says, “When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you!” This is our guarantee! Today’s sermon presentation helps us view fires through spiritual lenses. Many of us are coming out of, heading into, or currently in fires! But, God never intended our fiery trials to consume or destroy us! Rather, they are to test and refine us! Today, we will learn how God fortifies our faith as we go “Through the Fire!”
PRESSURE IS IN THE FIRE!
- Don’t allow today’s pressures to crush you! 2 Corinthians 4:8
- Pressure increases your supernatural strength! Psalm 118:10-13
- Pressure produces patience and perseverance! James 1:2-4
PRUNING IS IN THE FIRE!
- Either produce or be put into the pile! John 15:5-6
- God chastens His beloved! Hebrews 12:6
- Complaining can get you cut off! Numbers 11:1-3
PURIFICATION IS IN THE FIRE!
Fiery trials and darts test our armor! 12; Ephesians 6:16
- There’s no testimony without a TEST! Isaiah 48:10
- You’re just getting a facelift! Zechariah 13:9
PARTNERSHIP IS IN THE FIRE!
- We participate in God’s divine nature! 13
- We experience God’s Shekinah Glory and presence! Exodus 3:2; 13:21
- God has underwritten our fire insurance policy! Daniel 3:22-28
POWER IS IN THE FIRE!
- You will speak new tongues after the fire! Acts 2:3-4
- The Holy Spirit rests on you! 14
- God is our consuming fire! Deuteronomy 4:11-12, 24; Psalm 97:3
When then Texas State Representative and now Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed the 2003 graduates (I was one of them) of Texas Southern University-Thurgood Marshall School of Law, he said, “God gives His toughest tests to His best students!” It is difficult, if not impossible, to have joy in the midst of a trial, much less a fiery one! Yet, this is precisely God’s expectation of us while we are “going through.” God reminds us that we should neither be thrown off nor become disoriented or discombobulated in our trials. The main reason is because it’s a fixed finish! Jesus reminds us to be of good cheer because He has already overcome the world! Furthermore, trials are an inherent aspect of the Christian life. But, the payoff is we are sharing in God’s glory and very divine nature when we stand and face fiery trials and tests. Trust God today to see you “Through the Fire!”
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