The Fire of the Word
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The Fire of the Word
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
The Word of God is designed to be like a sharp double-edged sword. When you read it or when you hear it, if it does not convict you, shame you, enlighten you, or change you then I am not sure that you are really reading or hearing it for what it is. It should burn in your soul and it is meant to. For those who fear the Lord it should burn with compassion towards others and burn with a desire to please the Lord. For those who do not fear the Lord or for those who have one foot in the word and one foot in the world it should burn with conviction. There is a fire about the Word in every which way you look at it.
Jeremiah speaks of false prophets who claim to hear from the Lord and claim to have visions and dreams from the Lord. Often though these so-called dreams were conveniently about what people wanted to hear instead of what they needed to hear. By delivering a favorable message every time their popularity would increase. It didn’t matter if what they said never happened, it was a favorable message and they could just come up with some other excuse to explain why what they said didn’t happen therefore excluding themselves from blame. The Lord was irritated with such false prophets as they had led his people astray towards idols in the past. Unfortunately, the same happens around the world today with false prophets delivering a message that is more likely to come from Satan rather than from the Lord. Such messages rarely convict and rarely cause a turn around. The sad thing is that people believe that they can hide these things from the Lord but as he says through Jeremiah, He fills the whole universe and nothing is hidden from him. His word is like fire and it burns into the soul therefore convicting us of the truth.
Hebrews 11 reveals to us a people who have faced great persecution for their faith but because it was genuine, they did not waiver under the face of persecution. Why were they being persecuted? It is because the truth of the word burns like fire and the natural tendency when there is a wild fire is to try to snuff it out. Therefore, a race of endurance is described by the writer of Hebrews. By running to Jesus instead of just standing there looking at him from afar we are pursuing fire and truth. We must take courage though because the world does not want us to run into the fire and will do whatever it can do to keep us out of the fire. However, our faith will be there to help us endure the flames of the enemy as well.
Our message from Jesus found in Luke 12:49-56, explains that Jesus did not come in to this world to bring peace on earth. He says that he came to bring fire on earth. He is the Word of God which burns like fire. He came to bring division. He explains that families will be divided, 3 against 2 and 2 against 3, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, and so forth. One will choose to continue believing in the message of the world while the other burns with the message from Christ. Jesus then criticizes those who are able to interpret the weather but they cannot interpret the present times. Even those so-called religious leaders are blind to see that they themselves and the people around them are being led to destruction. They are blind to see that the messiah is right before them and now the end of days has begone.
I must confess that there was a time in my life in which I was divided against my family by the Word of God. You see my dad would just not see that the Bible was just a bunch of made-up stories made by man and that the truth was only found in the science that I was taught in school. As a result, I stopped going to church for a time. I stopped being an acolyte, I stopped in the middle of my conformation lessons, I stayed outside of the sanctuary during service and when people would ask me why I would try to justify myself and bring people over to my cause. I would say that I do not believe so I do not want to go in there. Finally, I was aloud to stay home for a time while the rest of my family went to church. I could stay home and do what ever I wanted. I could whatever I wanted and could watch what ever I wanted on TV and I would have just this wonderful time of freedom to do what ever I pleased and it felt good. You see that is exactly what Satan wants people to feel, that it is a great feeling to ignore God and just have the freedom to do what ever you please.
However, a time came in which the truth of the word came like fire into my life and it could not be ignored. There was a time in which my mom, sister, and I were eating at a cracker barrel with Pastor Ann (this was before she was Pastor Ann), and the subject came about God. Pastor Ann was prepared in knowledge to give an account for why she believed what she believed just as we are told in Peter’s epistle. However, I on the other hand learned the hard lesson that I was not prepared in any way to give a reasonable reason for why my so-called freedom was better than her faith in Jesus Christ. I gave every cliché reason that I could think of for why atheists do not believe in God and by the end of it all she had concluded that I really was not an atheist nor could I be and I was so angry about that. You see the Word was burning down the walls of my so-called freedom given to me by Satan and he and I both were fearful that I was going to lose that. It unfortunately took a death of a classmate for me to understand my own mortality and necessity for Jesus. It took the love of a community of believers to show me that my so-called freedom really wasn’t freedom at all but instead it was a prison. There is a moment in the first God’s Not Dead movie in which this wealthy business man is visiting his mother in the middle of the night and just watching her stair into space with her dementia that had taken over and he points out how she believed in the Lord her whole life and look at where it got her. Her quality of life is terrible while his life seems to be perfect. She at that moment says that sin is like an open jail cell. It is nice and comfortable and it looks as if you can come and go as you pleased until one day the door shuts and you have no way in getting out. That is exactly what I was toying with in my so-called freedom until the Word of God burned the cell walls away. I learned a new freedom that can only be found in Christ.
There may be some of you in here that are stepping in the light and yet keeping one foot slightly into the darkness of that jail cell thinking that because of Christ you have the freedom to still participate in many things of the world and not be condemned. However, not being all in and having one foot still out may lead you back into destruction. Look at Ananias and Saphira. They were giving the presentation as if they were all in and yet still kept one foot slightly at the door by lying and keeping some of their wealth left over and hidden for themselves just in case this whole Jesus thing didn’t pan out as they expected. They were using it as a safety net but what they didn’t realize that it was instead a hole in their net in which they fell through.
Jesus came with a fire to bring division and weed out the wheat from the straw. The question is which are you? Are you the wheat or the straw. The straw will be burned up and discarded while the wheat will be used for food or to planted to produce a crop of more wheat. Which then are you. I confessed to day that I at one time was living the life of the straw until the Word of God burned it all up but gracefully allowed me to separate myself out of that to become wheat. You may feel upset or wearisome about the division that the Word brings. However, know that if it did not bring division then no one would ever be saved. The fire of the Word is the chance that you yourself and your loved ones may not suffer death that come from the freedom of sin.