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Internal Combustion
Jeremiah 20:9



I’ve had more than 20 motorcycles…ok, I’ll admit, only 8 were mine, the rest were dad’s! But I rode them all like they were mine. Dad raised me right in the NM desert on dirt bikes, then enduro, graduating to street bikes. Those were the best days of…well, some of the best days of my life! The best day was marrying the only girl I’ve every TRULY loved, Kimberly…I asked her to marry me and she asked me to sell my Honda Interceptor. [uggghhhhh!]
Just let the fact that I gave up motorcycles [until the kids are grown] tell you how very much that I MUST love her!

Lots of bikes…and they all had 1 thing in common: fire! Internal Combustion! [slide] That’s our title for tonite…internal combustion. It’s how a bike engine operates…and, w/ special pipes, some choose to have external combustion!!

Turn to Jer. 20:9 [read]
A nice bike would be only a trophy, if not for the “fire”…you’re not goin’ anywhere! Dad blew his knee out kick-starting a bike one time, why? He wanted it to fire!

It’s time for us get on fire for God again. [internally] It only takes a spark…a group like this could ignite and then pass it on!

Like Moses, at the burning bush, he met the God of fire! We need the same promise, for Him to make of us a great nation…but we’ll have to catch fire…the fire of God! Like the fire Elijah called down from heaven, that later engulfed his heaven-bound chariot! Like the pillar of fire which led Israel thru the night! The fire Isaiah wrote about in:
Isaiah 6:6-7
Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: [7] And he laid it upon my mouth… [and Isaiah said, Here am I, send me!]
Psalm 104:4
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

And, as promised, in Acts, a flickering flame settled above each of 120 disciple’s heads, making them look like human candles! Talk about being on fire for God!!

It was the Holy Spirit--symbolized by fire! Are you on fire for God? It’s high time we come to that place…the “fire place”! We’ve always wanted a fireplace…we’ve lived in 7 houses in our 18 years of marriage, and never had one…but better than having a fireplace is have been to the “fire place!”

• Fire purifies
Num. 31: 23
Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean:
He’s talking about burning out the impurities, much like a silversmith putting the precious metal on the fire.
• Fire energizes
Would people say you are on fire for God? If not, you need to ask God for that zeal, fanned by the flames of the wind-driven Holy Spirit of God!
• Fire spreads!
It happens out west especially…if the conditions are right!
It should all start w/ the Pastor.
John Wesley said, let the preacher get on fire and people will come to watch him burn!

My desire is that central Illinois will never be able to say that they haven’t seen a church on fire. May GBC be that church! [not literally!]
Most of us have had the sad experience of being in a cold, dead church, with no fire…
…obviously just going thru the motions, heart is not in one really expects anything to happen!
(ever visited a church like that? Ever been a member?)

Some say, what we need is some new converts, that’ll set the church on fire! No, what you need is some fire, and there will be people converted!

(why aren’t most churches seeing people saved? The answer is found in another question: Can God entrust them w/ new converts?)
Spurgeon: “To put new converts into most churches is like putting live chicks under a dead hen.” They need the warmth of “the fire!”

Gen. 22... God told Abraham to take his son, Isaac to the mountains to become a human sacrifice. They arrived at the location, and Isaac still did not realize that HE was going to be the sacrifice.
Isaac knew there had to be 3 things to have a sacrifice: wood, fire, a lamb.
v. 7
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb?
4,000 years later, as we look at most churches around us, we can invert the question and ask, “we have the wood, we have the lamb, but where’s the fire?”
wood—cross of calvary
Lamb—Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God
But, where is the fire?

Let’s talk about Baptists, in general:
According to statistics, it takes 40 Baptists, on average, 1 year, to win 1 person to Christ! Why?
A lack of fire: in the pulpit…in the pew!

If we could freeze the world’s population, so that no one was born, and no one died, and if the Bible based churches kept winning souls at the current rate, it would take 4,000 years to win the world to Christ!

1. A church that’s on fire for God is Endued with power.
The pastor & the people

We need power to fulfill God’s purpose…we need God’s power, alone. We can accept no substitute.
We cannot depend upon man-made excitement to get the job done/programs, promotions, publicity/repetitive, empty, full of fluff worship choruses to stir the people into some kind of emotional high.

None of these things can substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit upon a church.

I Cor. 2:4-5
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Paul says, I’m not depending upon my wisdom, flamboyant sermons, tear-jerking illustrations, incredibly funny jokes!...
(these don’t hurt, unless they’re mistaken for God!)

Acts 4:31 “when they prayed[place was shaken!]
Nothing is born w/out travail – not a baby, not anything worthwhile!
(true for natural and supernatural)

When God is working and decisions are being made, you can mark it down and take it to the bank: somebody paid the price / travailed in prayer!

I’d rather have a handful of folks “on fire”, gathered in the first couple of rows, than a full house you could hang meat in!

What is the result when the pastor and people are not endued w/ power?
The result is always the same: burnout! …when the fire is your own instead of God’s! It is not being on fire for God…if it’s not of God!

Try to “go it alone” and your fire will dwindle to a flickering flame…a small spark, and eventually be snuffed out, unless somebody fans the coals, and, on their knees--searches for some kindling!

Serving God will be a chore, a burden, if you do it in the energy of your flesh, rather than being endued w/ power!
My first little dirt bike was a YZ 60 and had fuel jets that would get clogged…I had to take them out and clean them from time to time. And some of us may need to realize that prayer and the Word are our fuel, and yet we’re choking them out!

Here’s the progression that takes place: (in a Christian worker)
If they don’t spend time in prayer, seeking God’s power on their ministry…and don’t prepare until the night before, here’s what happens:
They develop a sense of boredom, then drudgery (here we go again, samo-samo, then a critical spirit, and finally, a cynical spirit.)

Like our neighbor’s artesian well in NM…looked like a man was standing there, but was actually cut out of plywood and wired to it…the man wasn’t pumping the well, the well was pumping the man! God will be our well that keeps us pumped up if we keep the fuel lines of prayer and Bible reading, church attendance, service, and fellowship unclogged, and clear!

That’s how we must serve God: in the energy of the spirit, rather than the energy of the flesh…it’s not us trying to make something happen, but us allowing something to happen TO us and THRU us, or even DESPITE us!

We can run around trying to pump everything up ourselves, but we’ll burn out. We need to get pumped. Are you pumped? (psyched?) Are you on fire?
It only happens as we’re endued w/ God’s power.

2. A church that’s on fire for God has Equality of position.
In Acts: they were all in one accord.  All pulling in same direction/locked arms together toward a common goal/no preferential treatment (for social status, or church position they hold)/no cliques (ground is level at Calvary)/no looking at each other (because we’re busy looking at Christ)!

Ill. –little girl in African tribe was lost when she wandered off in tall jungle grass/tribe looked in all directions, she said later that many of them walked right by her, but didn’t find her/next day, they had an idea: join hands as we walk…they found her!

Listen: I believe this church is on fire for God! We have a common goal we’re looking for, and we all must join hands in equality and unity…where nobody is anybody but everybody is somebody!

3 dangers members can fall into:
1. Magnifying our importance (feel so indispensible that we deserve special treatment/privilege/consideration/recognition…and “by the way, my opinion matters most!”)
Another danger:
2. Minimizing our importance
Attitude of unfaithfulness which says, it doesn’t matter if I’m there or not/in choir or not/in nursery or not/tithe or not/attend business mtg. or not/if I join the church or not…but truth is: we need you, and you need us!
Hey, the greatest ability is dependability…anyone can be faithful, but some will go to the grave saying, nobody’s gonna tell me what I should do! [sadly, not even God, Who requests and requires faithfulness!]

“A s.s. teacher, I don’t know his name
a wonderful preacher, who never found fame
so faithful, so earnest, when I was a boy
he stuck to his task…though I tried to annoy
He never was missing in cold or in heat
A smile his face lighted the moment we’d meet
He taught by example as well as by word
This splendid old teacher who honored his Lord
He helped my young life more than ever he knew
Later years I remembered, and tried to be true
I suppose he is gone now to join heaven’s ranks
May it be my good fortune some day to say thanks”

Don’t minimize your importance to this body of Christ. There is something for all to do, and little is much when God is in it! Just be faithful!

Another danger…
3. Misplacing our importance
This is trying to be something God never intended you to be. This person wants to sing a special even if God hasn’t gifted them in that way. (how do I know if I have that gift? Simple: other people will have the gift of listening to you!)
(spiritual gifts—everyone has at least 1 to use for God)

A church that’s on fire for God is not only endued w/ power, and equal in position…

3. A Church that’s on fire for God is evangelistic in priority.
Many of you are on board on this one. It’s very evident, as you bring people to church, as you witness on the job, etc. That’s the very best outreach a church can have, is one that is lived by it’s people as they go on their way.
It’s what an “on-fire” church is all about: evangelism!

Vance Havner: “Evangelism is to Christianity what veins are to our bodies. You can cut a true Christian anywhere and they will bleed evangelism”
R.G. Lee, “God never intended for the church to be a refrigerator in which to preserve perishable piety…He intended it to be an incubator in which to hatch our converts.”

GBC is to be a hospital for sinners, not a rest home for saints.
We are to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium!

That’s why He left us here! And when we forget that, we lose our fire!

Are you “on fire”? Come to the fire place…the altar where God sends down fire!


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All Sermons and PowerPoint Slideshow Presentations ©Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries® unless otherwise credited.  These resources are yours to use freely, but only in public worship services or private study groups and devotions.  They may not be sold, republished or retransmitted in any form without written permission.