Fire - Useful And Damaging (Part 3)
By sis Leong Mei Ji
Christians are the light of the World
After Christ has spoken about those who are blessed and belong in His kingdom, He proceeds to describe who His people are. Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
In Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus gives us another picture of our identity. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Are we the light of the world?
Imagine a fire raging through a building with several people trapped in it. They tried everything to escape the fire. Some of the trapped people could make their way out while others could not. While the firefighters were still on their way, several people leaped into action to save those who were trapped. People brought out ladders for them to climb down and some climbed onto the roof where they smashed out a window for some to escape. Those who had jumped into action are truly heroes. They had snatched those trapped by the fire.
Every day many people are travelling towards the eternal flames. There are far too many in this life who are being caught up by the fire of hell. They are leading their lives down a miserable path of spiritual destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14).
Are we the light of the world? A massive YES! We have everything we need to snatch people out of the fire of hell. We have been commanded to snatch them from the spiritual destruction (Matthew 28:18-20). We have been given everything needed to live a life destined for heaven (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). We have been given the saving instructions to follow (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). All that we need now are the “light of the world” who are always willing to be heroes. Jude 22-23 says it this way, “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire…” Will we as the “light of the world” help to snatch them out of the fire? You and I are commanded to “save” the lost by “snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). There is an eternal fire, into which those who do not obey will “go away” to (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
How do the Christians shine with their light?
Some firefighters won’t put out the fire. Imagine that our house caught fire and the fire is roaring. Smoke is billowing into the air. If they are anywhere close to the house, they would feel the heat of the blaze. This house needs to be saved! So where are the firefighters?
Again, imagine the firefighters are there too but standing off to the side and refusing to do anything about the house on fire. They have the means to stop it but just refuse to do anything.
How often are we like these firefighters when it comes to proclaiming the gospel? Today, many people are tripping and losing balance in spiritual darkness. The majority of people are happy to be in darkness (John 3:19-20). We are here on earth where there are many to help (John 4:35). We have the means on hand to help them. We have been given the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We have the best tool, and the only tool, to put out the deadly flames of sin. We have the means to help stop many from going into eternal punishment. How can we stand by and do nothing? But really, we do not have a good excuse not to at least try to bring someone to the Lord.
In Jeremiah 20:9, Jeremiah was trying to keep God’s Word to himself to ease his misery but found that the misery within him only increased. Jeremiah could not help but proclaim God’s Word because of the fire burning within him. God’s Word in Jeremiah was like a fire burning in a container – it just wouldn’t stay in. Jeremiah had a fire burning within because he cared for the lost souls of men – he cared about their eternal destiny.
Do we have the fire burning within? If you and I have the fire burning within like Jeremiah had, it is because we know of the seriousness of making known the saving message of God in its purity to the lost. Proclaiming God’s Word is a serious business “for all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin comes as a result of disobeying God’s Word (1 John 3:4). Thus, when a man stays in ignorance of God’s Word he is without hope.
How concerned are we about the lost souls of men? How much do we care for the lost? James wrote, “that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
Keeping up with our Spiritual Fire
Perhaps we should take a quick look at what happened to Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet, to remind ourselves that we need to keep our spiritual health and love for the Lord in check.
Jeremiah looked around him and he had been preaching for 23 years. He was really tired. In the first chapter, Jeremiah spoke of how when he was a youth, the Lord came and said to him, a young man, that he was going to be His prophet. During the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, the righteous boy King, Jeremiah’s voice began to echo throughout all of Jerusalem and even beyond that area, but especially in the city. He stood and proclaimed the Word of God, and the Lord told him that it was not going to be easy. In fact, the Lord warned him that the people would not listen, but Jeremiah stood there and just kept on preaching. He kept right on preaching. There was that time when, while he was preaching, the religious leaders came and said to the mob that this man is worthy of death. "Let us put him to death. We don’t like his preaching." Would it surprise you that in Jeremiah 20:7, Jeremiah said that the Lord had deceived him? He told the Lord that He was stronger than he was, and he felt weak at that time. He told the Lord that he would quit preaching. Jeremiah was ready to stop preaching.
Perhaps there have been times in our lives when we try to live right and simply become exhausted. Have we lost that joy that we once had as children of God? The message that the Lord gave Jeremiah is the same message we heard when we received the message of the gospel. Do we remember the love we had for the Lord when we were baptized? Do we remember the joy we had when we came out of the watery grave? We remember how we resolved to serve God. We remember studying our Bible. We remember reading the Bible. We remember trying to talk to other people. We remember reaching out and inviting other people.
Do we recall our attitude towards Jesus and how we truly loved Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength? But, as time passes, that tender relationship, that tenderness in our hearts that drove us to express ourselves in our lives and the great love that we have for Jesus, faded away. We need to rekindle the fire we once had for God.
We haven't been able to see each other very often during this pandemic, but thanks be to God, we have been able to worship Him. However, some or many of us have missed the opportunity to come together to be edified by the Word of God. Perhaps because of that, we have let some things go unchecked in our spiritual lives that need to be maintained. We must and need to take the time to maintain our spirituality, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we do, we will save ourselves from ruining an eternity with God.
Jeremiah said he would shut down, but he did not because God’s Word was in his heart was like burning coal, like a piece of fire in his bosom, and he just could not stop. God’s Word was in his heart and that was why Jeremiah was able to sustain all that he did for all of that time in that period of his life.