ON FIRE FOR GOD!
1. If there’s anything that catches people’s attention and causes them to sit up and take notice of what you’re saying or doing, it’s ENTHUSIASM! The word enthusiasm is derived from two Greek words: “En”, which means IN, and “theos”, which means GOD. So enthusiasm literally means “in God”, or “God in us”!–Thus the truly enthusiastic person is one who acts and speaks as if he were possessed by God!
2. God’s Word tells us, “WHATEVER your hand finds to do, do it with ALL your MIGHT!”–Ecclesiastes 9:10. The Bible also tells us, “Never be lacking in ZEAL, but keep your spiritual FERVOUR, serving the Lord!”–Romans 12:11. The Lord expects His children to be WHOLE-HEARTED wildly willing workers who are filled with an impassioned desire to please and serve Him!–ENTHUSIASTICALLY!
3. In fact, Jesus said that half-hearted, lukewarm, indifferent Christians make Him literally SICK to His stomach! He says to them, “I know your deeds and works, that you are NEITHER COLD nor HOT. I WISH that you were EITHER one or the other, cold OR hot!–So then, because you are LUKEWARM, and neither hot nor cold, I will SPEW (vomit) you OUT of My mouth!…Be ZEALOUS, therefore, and repent!”–Revelation 3:15,16,19.
4. The Lord wants and needs on-fire, redhot, enthusiastic followers who love Him more than anything or anyone else on this Earth!–Disciples who are DETERMINED to follow Jesus all the way because they know they have found the TRUTH!
5. Such fervent followers of God should all be driven by the same compelling COMPASSION which motivated the Apostles and the martyrs and virtually EVERY great man or woman of God throughout history!–In fact, it’s the same irresistible motivation that should motivate EVERY child of God in EVERYTHING they do, EVERYTHING they say, EVERYWHERE they go, and which the great fanatical Apostle Paul summed up in these few famous and ringing words which have cried out from the heart of every true Christian in every true good deed he has ever done, and for which indeed he is willing to die: “The LOVE of CHRIST COMPELS me!”–2Corinthians 5:14.
6. Regardless of what you may lack in the way of natural talents, abilities, gifts etc., if you truly YIELD your heart to the Lord and let HIM inspire you and take control of your life–obeying God’s Word and letting Him live IN you and THROUGH you, so that your heart BURNS with HIS Love–then He will be able to GREATLY use you and make you a blessing to MANY!
7. This is a crucial decision that EVERY Christian must face: To truly GIVE and YIELD your ALL to the Lord, and be willing to be an on-fire, enthusiastic, “HOT” servant of the LIVING God!–Or to WITHHOLD yourself from the Lord, compromising and fearing to vary from the norm, afraid to be different from the rest of the sceptical World lest others look down on you or think of you as some kind of a “fanatic” or “extremist”! The Bible says, “Every man according as he purposes and decides in his HEART, so let him GIVE!”–2Corinthians 9:7.
8. The great pioneer missionary, David Livingstone, when still a young man, was faced with this decision and wrote in his diary: “I have found that I have no unusual endowments of intellect. But this day I RESOLVE that I will be an UNCOMMON CHRISTIAN!”–He “purposed in his heart” to give his ALL to the LORD and determined to become an ENTHUSIAST for the TRUTH.–And he WAS! He became one of the greatest missionaries the World has ever known!
9. The famous historian, Arnold Toynbee, said, “Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: First, an IDEAL which takes the imagination by storm; and second, a definite intelligible PLAN for carrying that ideal into practice. “What GREATER ideal could ANYONE have than to bring EVERLASTING SALVATION and ETERNAL HEAVENLY LIFE to a lost and dying World which is PERISHING without it?–And what BETTER “intelligible plan” could ANYONE have than that given by JESUS Himself to His followers: “GO into ALL the WORLD and PREACH the GOSPEL to EVERY creature!”?–Mark 16:15. As CHRISTIANS, we should be the MOST ENTHUSIASTIC people in the entire WORLD!
10. The Apostle Paul was one of God’s greatest enthusiasts. Even before his conversion, he showed a great deal of enthusiasm, but with the WRONG ideal and the WRONG plan, as he was fanatically ANTI-Christian.
11. But as soon as Paul was converted, he became an enthusiastic fanatic for the RIGHT side!–And he almost single-handedly was responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire! When others saw his total dedication and enthusiasm for the Lord, THEY got on fire for God TOO!
12. NOTHING could quench Paul’s enthusiasm! In his own words he says, “Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day adrift in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from the Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers! I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”–2Corinthians 11:24-27. Did Paul let these difficulties and obstacles stop him?–NO! He went right on serving God no matter WHAT hardships or difficulties befell him!
13. Nothing can stop the man who is fired with enthusiasm and on fire for God! He will keep going no matter WHAT, because he KNOWS he is doing the RIGHT thing for the RIGHT cause and for the One Who is ALWAYS right!
14. So where do we GET such enthusiasm, this inspiration that fills a life with fire and fervour for the Lord?–From the HOLY SPIRIT of God! The Bible says, “Our God IS a consuming FIRE” (Hebrews 12:29), and repeatedly compares His Spirit to a fire, or flames of fire. (See Acts 2:3,4; Revelation 4:5; Matthew 3:11.)–So if you want to be enthusiastic for the Lord, full of His fiery anointing and inspiration, just PRAY and ask Him to EMPOWER and FILL you with the power of His Holy Spirit!–And He WILL! (See “The Spirit of Love”.)
15. Someone once asked a great man of God what the secret of his success was and he replied, “I just get on fire for God and the World comes out to see me burn!” But if you HAVEN’T got the FIRE, if your Christianity is nothing but cold dead icicles–no warmth, no heat–you’ll never inspire ANYONE to do ANYTHING! He who has no fire in himself cannot warm others.
16. That’s what’s wrong with most of the CHURCHES today: Materialistically, they’ve seemingly got everything. But they’re one colossal failure because they have lost the SPIRIT!–No anointing or power, no real emotion, no dramatic mystical charisma!–Their fire has gone out and they’re dead as a doornail!
17. What good is a furnace when its fire goes out? It’s cold and dark and useless! But it’s still all there–just no fire. In some countries, if the furnace goes dead, cold and dark, the whole house will grow freezing cold.–And, sad to say, that’s what’s happened to most of the churches. Their pastors, preachers, prophets and leaders have lost their fire, they have no emotion, no spirit, no anointing, no power. The fire’s gone out, so the whole house has grown cold and frozen in lifeless, Spiritless formality!–BRRRR!
18. It’s like the story that the famous evangelist, Billy Sunday, once told: The well-known village atheist was seen running vigorously to the site of a burning church building, intent on joining with others in helping to extinguish the flames. A neighbour, observing him, exclaimed in amazement, “This is something new for YOU!–I never saw you going to church before!” The atheist replied, “Well, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a church on FIRE before!”–Ha!
19. If you’re on fire, the World will come out to watch you burn! But if you’re dead, lifeless and cold, you’ll never attract or draw anyone to your message about the Lord and His Love! If you’re not ENTHUSED, if you haven’t got the FIRE, it doesn’t matter how “good” a witness you may be, how many Bible verses you can quote, if you haven’t got the FIRE, it’s just cold dead icicles of facts and figures–no warmth, no heat! You’ll never set anybody else on fire. All you’ll do is get them muddled up and turned off.
20. Let’s face it, as Christians, what are we here FOR?–To WITNESS the Lord’s Love and Truth to OTHERS!–And to really WITNESS you’ve got to turn it on, to “let your LIGHT so SHINE before men!”–Matthew 5:16. You’ve got to be ALIVE, WHOLE-HEARTED and ENTHUSIASTIC to be able to show others that what YOU’VE got with JESUS is BETTER than what THEY’VE got WITHOUT Him! Even if it’s only one person you’re witnessing to, you’ve got an audience and you’ve got to be ALIVE and on fire, and you’d better make it GOOD or you’re not going to make much of an impression!
21. People will judge the LORD by what they see and hear in YOUR witness to them!–Of course, witnessing is not merely “performing”, putting on a show or pretending.–When you’re witnessing, you are enacting and trying to show others the TRUTH!–But if you’re just talking theology and droning on about the Bible, quoting verses like a lot of church people do–blah blah blah like it’s nothing but empty words or nursery rhymes-you’re NEVER going to win ANYONE! But if you’re doing your best to give it DRAMA and MELODRAMA and FORCE and FIRE and CONVICTION in order to really get it ACROSS, then you’ll get some RESULTS!
22. The words the Scribes and the Pharisees spoke were well-educated, but they were dry and dead and only brought death! Why?–Because they only spoke from their HEADS. But JESUS spoke from His HEART, from the SPIRIT, and it brought LIFE and MOVED people, not just tickling their ears, but reaching and touching their HEARTS! He said, “The WORDS that I speak, they are SPIRIT and they are LIFE!”–John 6:63.–THAT’S the DIFFERENCE!
23. You cannot kindle a fire in any OTHER heart until it is burning within your OWN! So for GOD’S sake–and for OTHERS’ sake–ask the Lord to set your heart ON FIRE by the power of His Holy Spirit, to fill you with His Love that will compel you to earnestly, sincerely and fervently share that Love with others!
24. William Booth, the bold witness and soul winner who started the Salvation Army, said, “Unless I go about my business of saving the souls of men with an ENERGY and a ZEAL almost amounting to MADNESS, nobody will take any NOTICE of me, much less BELIEVE what I say and make everlasting profit out of it!” He knew that the World had seen ENOUGH lukewarm, insincere, cold and dead so-called Christians, and that the only way to inspire and draw others to his message about the Lord was to SHOW them the LIFE and LIGHT of God by getting on FIRE and “letting his light so shine”!
25. The American President, Abraham Lincoln, was obviously wearied with lukewarm Christianity when he exclaimed, “I don’t like to hear cut-and-dry sermons. When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees!”–Ha!
26. Of course we should not only be enthusiastic in our preaching and presenting the Gospel to others, but in EVERYTHING we do! “WHATEVER your hands find to do, do it with ALL your MIGHT!”–Ecclesiastes 9:10. WHATEVER task is set before us, the Bible tells us, “Do it HEARTILY as unto the LORD, and NOT unto men!”–Ephesians 6:5,6. In everything you do, even the most menial tasks, you can be happy, inspired and full of enthusiasm! As the old Negro spiritual says, “Oh, you gotta have a GLORY in the thing you do! Oh, you gotta have that somethin’ that thrills you through and through! Cookin’ taters, washin’ clothes, or blowin’ baby’s nose, you need that certain something that will see you through!”–If you’re PRAYING and looking to the LORD and asking HIM to inspire you, and you’re doing it as unto HIM, He will give you that divine spark of His anointing, and it will make every little task wonderful, and give it glory, glamour, life, beauty and joy!
27. So to be enthusiastic, first of all you need to PRAY and ask the Lord to FILL and INSPIRE you with His SPIRIT!–And then you’ve got to put FEET to your prayers and go about your labours and tasks WHOLE-HEARTEDLY, whether you always FEEL inspired or not! The great composers and artists through the ages did not sit down and write music because they always FELT inspired, but they BECAME inspired while they were working. History shows that Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and others each settled down day after day to the job at hand with as much regularity as an accountant or clerk settles down each day to his numbers. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration, but when they sat down to address the task at hand, inspiration came!
28. It’s been said that TRIUMPH is 10% “TRY” and 90% “UMPH”! So YOU’VE got to do YOUR part! A lot of Christians just sit around expecting GOD to do it all FOR them, but the Lord usually expect US to OBEY and DO what we know He wants us to do FIRST, and THEN He anoints and inspires us!–Like the lepers that Jesus healed in the Bible; before they were healed He commanded them to go show themselves to the priest, and the Bible says that, “As they WENT, they were CLEANSED!”-Luke 17:14. They had to go and take the first step, THEN God did the miracle!
29. So even if you’re not always exactly sure what to do or even how to do it, PRAY, acknowledge the Lord, and then do your best to obey what you DO know is His will. Just get out and start doing what you believe He wants you to do, and He will lead you! The boat has to be in MOTION BEFORE the rudder can take EFFECT!
30. Sometimes it’s almost like acting out a part or playing a role.–But when you know God wants you to do something or to be a certain way, and you “play” that role with real FEELING and CONVICTION, then the Lord can inspire you and you actually BECOME that part, that creation of God!–But YOU’VE got to take the FIRST step!
31. Are YOU enthusiastic? Has your work, your witnessing, your singing or whatever you do got the power, the fire of God?–If not, it’s DEAD WORKS!–And will never set anyone else on fire either! God help you to have the FIRE POWER of God’s Spirit in ALL you do!–Amen?
32. Let’s get on fire for God by earnestly praying and faithfully and hungrily reading His Word and letting His Truth and His Spirit inspire us, filling us with the vision of the great things He wants to do with us and through us!–And then let’s do OUR part by putting our WHOLE heart into WHATEVER tasks we can do for JESUS and OTHERS!
33. Come!–Let’s set the WORLD afire for God and lighten the hearts of all men everywhere to repent! “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it SHINE!”–Will YOU? Get on fire for God TODAY!–TOMORROW may be too LATE!