On Fire for Jesus (7-11-15)
Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Revelation 3:
We can learn much from the words of exhortation given to the church in Laodicea.
Revelation 3:14-19 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
- No Such Thing as a Lukewarm Christian
In verses 15-16, strong words are given for the person who claims Christ but is not truly sold out for Him.
The reality is, the saved will be sanctified in the Refining Fire of God. The saved will surrender their will for the will of their Master. The saved will give up their comforts for the joy to follow Jesus’ example of daily crucifixion.
For the true Christian, dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process.
Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
When Christ died on the cross for sinners, He not only stood in my place, doing what I never could do (forgiving my sin), but He also showed me what I must do as a follower of Him, namely, take up my own cross and join Him on the Calvary road of death to self.
Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Jesus spoke repeatedly to His disciples about taking up their cross (an instrument of death) and following Him. He made it clear that if any would follow Him, they must deny themselves, which means giving up their lives- spiritually, symbolically, and even physically- if necessary.
We are called to not be cold… Not even be warm… but to be on Fire. To walk daily in His Refining FIRE!
A proclaiming Christian who wants to avoid the Refining Fire of God is greatly compromising the very essence of his/her testimony of what it means to be saved and sanctified in Jesus Christ.
This is the person who loves the fire of salvation in order to avoid the fire of eternity but is not a fan of the fire of sanctification that is the call of Christ on our lives. The Bible says, one is the result of the other. You cannot have one without the other.
Chew on this with me: Christ died to save us from hell but not to save us from the cross.
He died so that we could be glorified, but not to keep us from being crucified.
When you look at a Cross as a believer, it should bring two very important things to mind:
- Jesus died in your place, a gift that you did not earn and for which you will forever praise Him.
- Jesus died in your place to give you the power to die to yourself every day and glorify Him.
The Christian life is one of crucifixion.
The cross of Christ is not merely a past place of substitution. It is also a present place of daily execution.
We must never let the cross lose its crucifying power in our lives!
When we do, we start to become LUKEWARM; saying with our mouths that we love Jesus but the evidence of a life sold out for Him is not real. Is the Fire of God evident in your marriage, in your parenting, in your working, in your handling of money, in your diet, in your interaction with your enemies?
The great tragedy of much modern Christianity is that the cross is something that happened “back then.”
I think it was Piper who once said, “We shame the cross of Christ when we think the cross means Jesus was soaked in blood so that I can now soak in a Jacuzzi.”
This is the demise of the Life Changing Gospel into a commonly acceptable form of the prosperity gospel.
The cross is not merely a past place of substitution; it is also a present place of daily execution: the execution of pride, of boasting in men, of self-reliance, of the love of money and status, and the praise of men.
Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
The Scriptures teach if you are reborn, your life is a life of surrender.
This is the life of crucifixion. You are on Fire for God and as a result, every part of your life is His.
This is a huge reality check for the redeemed: to give up your grip on the temporary for the sake of the eternal. To have a rightly placed priority on our stuff, our comfort and our loved ones so that in everything we do, we show that Christ is our greatest treasure. This leads us to the next verses of Revelation 3.
- Refined by Holy Fire
In Revelation 3:17-18, we see a call to embrace the refining Fire of God for the sake of replacing the old things we once treasured for real and lasting satisfaction in God.
It says, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.”
To better understand this look at:
Malachi 3:2-3 For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.
The Hebrew word here for refiner expresses the melting, testing, and refining of something, mostly metals, and especially precious metals such as gold and silver.
In the ancient world, crude metal was re-melted to remove impurities and to make metal castings (tools, weapons, images, etc.). The metal was heated in pottery crucibles (Pr. 17:3; 27:21), ovens or hearths, and bellows were often used to provide a draft to create intense heat.
The Scriptures speak of God as the master-refiner seeking the pure metal by trying and testing the heart of man.
God’s intention is not only to save His people but to purify His people from sin as the removal of dross and alloy.
Isaiah 1:25 I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy.
In 1 Peter 1:7, the refining of gold is used as a metaphor for the stronger faith that emerges after persecution.
So, a refiner’s fire’s purpose is to “PURIFY” something of value. It purifies by removing the impurities so that its value is greater to the owner as it becomes a more righteous treasure.
God’s purpose is to purify His people by His refining fire so that we are vessels of worship made more and more into Christ likeness that is pleasing to God. 2 Cor 2:15 says, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God…”
- The Loving Discipline of Our Father
Lastly, Revelation 3:19 says, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”
This is similar to what we read in Hebrews 12:5-6 which says, “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’”
In verse 5, it says we are a part of God’s Fatherly care; we are sons and daughters.
Our Father disciplines us because He loves us!
Now, our English understanding of discipline is punishment, which is not the right picture here.
The key is to look deeper at the word Discipline. The Greek word is Paideia.
It is where we get our word Pediatrics!
What is a Pediatrician’s primary concern? He is concerned with the overall health of the child.
This is what God is to us! God is the perfect parent, who brings non–destructive designed pain into a child’s life to grow him/her and propel him/her forward for his/her overall good.
We need to understand God disciplines us for our good and so we can grow in holiness.
What this is telling us is to EDURE OUR HARDSHIPS as Paideia!
Paideia = God’s perfect loving discipline that grows us to His holiness and by which others taste His love by witnessing our Christ-filled response to our hardship.
In this, He is growing us from selfishness into the Fruit of the Spirit.
Hebrews 12:11 says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Here, the Greek word for trained is gymnazo. It is where we get our word Gymnasium.
We must understand that God puts hardships and opposition in our lives to refine us, to shape us, to mold us, to discipline us, to train us, so we wouldn’t just be Luke Warm.
So we can be on fire and dedicated to Him.
Your doctor will tell you that you need to work your muscles and exercise.
Do you realize what exercise is? Why do many of you HATE IT?
Exercise is taking a muscle and exerting it, stretching it, tearing it, hurting it, and by this you strengthen it. Exercise is opposition. It is stress on your body.
When you work out, your muscles do not feel like they are getting strong; you feel like you are getting weaker at first. Your muscles feel like mush, like spaghetti, RIGHT?
But this is how we grow. God’s loving discipline in our lives is a vital component to our being on fire and healthy spiritually for His purposes for us.
– I pray that we would not be Luke Warm, that we would pick up our cross daily and embrace a daily crucifixion of our flesh unto the sanctifying growth God wants to do in us.
-I pray we embrace God’s perfect refining fire, by which He molds us and purifies us.
-I pray we embrace the discipline of the Lord unto stronger spiritual muscles and a radical life for Christ.
– I pray that you would “be zealous and repent” – Revelation 3:19.
Let’s not settle for LUKEWARM LIVING, or LUKEWARM MINSITRY- Let’s be on Fire for Jesus.
Let’s be Soldiers who get bloody for our King, our bloodied Champion, Jesus Christ.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC