************ Campout Talk on Fire ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This talk was given on July 29,2005
I took a peek at the various campsites. I saw tents, Coleman stoves, sleeping bags, pudgee pie makers, lawn-chairs, dishpans, lanterns, food. I also saw air-conditioners, DirecTV, wireless internet, and an entire living room (I'm not sure if that can be called camping anymore).
But you know, there is something missing. Without it the camping experience is incomplete. Without it the camping experience is somehow lacking.
Boys and girls, what do we still need? What have we not done yet? [Hint # 1 - we usually sit in a circle around this; Hint # 2 - it is hot; Hint # 3 - Ed Boersma & Mark Henken usually look after this.] GET ONE OF THE CHILDREN TO RESPOND THAT WE HAVE NOT MADE A CAMPFIRE. GET BOERSMA TO MAKE A CAMPFIRE WITH THE KIDS.
Fire is very important in the Bible. The Israelites used it every single day.
• In Old Testament and New Testament times how did the Israelites use fire in their day-to-day lives. GET CHILDREN TO RESPOND THAT FIRE WAS USED FOR BAKING, COOKING, WARMTH, HEAT WATER, LIGHT, SAFETY, ETC.
• Did you know, the Israelites were not allowed to make a fire on the Sabbath (Ex 35:3; Num 15:32-36; it was expected that manna was gathered and cooked the day before)?
We know fire was also used to punish evil doers.
• Certain kinds of sexual sins resulted in death by fire (Lev 20:14; 21:9).
• One time, when Israel complained against the Lord, the Lord's fire came down and burned among them (READ NUM 11:1-3). Consider what happened to Sodom & Gomorrah (Gen 19).
• Sometimes, in Bible times, captives in war were burned; we know the Babylonians did this (Jer 29:22).
• Does anyone remember what happened to Achan (and his family) after he was caught stealing from the Lord at Jericho? HE AND HIS FAMILY WERE STONED AND THEN THEY WERE BURNED (Josh 7:25).
• Fire was used by King Josiah to destroy idols, high places, and the bones of false priests and prophets (2 Ki 23:15-16; cf 2 Ki 10:26).
• Does anyone remember what happened to the three groups of soldiers that were sent by King Ahaziah to arrest Elijah? READ THE STORY OF 2 KINGS 1.
• Fire is also a symbol for eternal punishment. Descriptions of hell in the Bible always include fire (Mt 5:22; Rev 21:8). The only way to escape this fire is to believe in Jesus.
Fire was also used in war.
• Jericho was burned with fire after it was conquered (Josh 6:24; cf Ai in 8:19; cf Hazor in 11:11; cf Laish in Judg 18:27).
• The war-chariots of the Canaanites were burned (Josh 11:6,9,13).
• Remember what Gideon and his band of 300 men carried into battle against the 100,000 Midianites? They carried trumpets and torches (Judg 7:16).
Fire was used in worship.
• How was fire used in Israel's worship? GET SOMEONE TO RESPOND THAT FIRE WAS USED TO CONSUME SACRIFICES.
• The sacrificial fire of the Tabernacle and Temple was first lit by the Lord – something like the fire that came down upon Elijah's offering (cf 1 Ki 18:38; Lev 9:24; 2 Chr 7:1,3).
• The altar fire was not allowed to go out (cf Lev 6:9,13).
• Does anyone know what the phrase "strange fire" or "unauthorized fire" means? READ THE STORY OF LEVITICUS 10:1-2. This story teaches us to always worship the Lord the way He wants to be worshiped and not the way we think He should be worshiped.
GOD'S PRESENCE AND POWER
Fire is a symbol for God's presence and power.
• How was God with Israel when they left Egypt and traveled through the wilderness? READ EXODUS 13:21-22 (cf Ex 14:24; Num 14:14; Neh 9:12,19).
• How did God carry Elijah into heaven? In a chariot of fire (2 Ki 2:11).
• What happens to our works on the Day of Judgment? Paul tells us that each man's work will be revealed and tested by fire – whether we have built well upon the foundation of Christ (1 Cor 3:10-15; cf Zech 13:9).
• What happens to this world and everything in it on the Day of Judgment? Peter tells us the earth will be refined and made pure and new (2 Peter 3). CLEAN A SKEWER WITH FIRE.
Fire is a symbol for the Holy Spirit.
• Can someone remind me what the people saw on Pentecost? The Spirit's appearance was like tongues of fire (Acts 2:3).
• Jn Bap said the Spirit's work is like fire (Mt 3:11).
• Everyone who believes in Jesus is baptized with the Spirit's fire and is made new (SOMETHING LIKE THE SKEWER).
Lastly, fire represents the church as light.
• READ MATTHEW 5:14-16.
• I need to ask if you are light, if you are on fire, for the Lord?
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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