People on Fire

People on Fire

May 20, 2018 | Lisa Degrenia

Passage: Acts 2:1-4

Happy Pentecost!

Matthew 3:11, NRSV   In preparing the people for the coming of Jesus, John the Baptist promised, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Acts 1:5-8 NRSV, selected verses   On the day in which he ascended to heaven, Jesus promised, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 2:1-4, NRSV   Ten days later, Jesus fulfilled his promises. “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”

2 Timothy 1:5-7 NIV   Paul later counseled Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Prayer by Gene Barlett   Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire. Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire.

Excerpt from Tongues by Steve Garnaas Holmes

  • What if God is still doing Pentecost?
  • What if God wants to say something through you? Is it getting spoken? Is it getting sent?
  • What if you are the Word God is trying to get out?
  • What if you are the language in which God expresses love?
  • What if there are ways, even beyond your own knowing, that others hear God's good news through your life?
  • What if God gives you everything you need to do this?

The Power of the Holy Spirit isn’t just for long ago, it is a gift that comes again, again, again. It is God’s divine, empowering presence generation after generation. 

  • Moses and the Burning Bush                     
  • The Pillar of Flame leading the people from slavery through the wilderness to the promised land                   
  • The Dancing Tongues of Fire on the heads of the faithful at Pentecost
  • Francis/Clare of Assisi                                   
  • Susanna/John Wesley 
  • Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Dr. King                               
  • It’s in you, a gift for all who believe                                 

Draw close to the fire

Being "on fire" = focused, all in, achieving, in the zone, unstoppable     

This is what it means to be followers of Jesus, to be the church, we are a people on fire

Brennan Manning Quote   The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love.

This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian. 

Between Acts 1:5-8 and Acts 2:1-4, the 120 followers of Jesus gathered together and prayed for 9 days together. They drew close to the fire. They were "men and women who surrendered to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within... who entered into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ."

Illustration of the coal and the fire

Draw close to the fire

The Fire of God

  • Consumes falsehood, sin, self-centeredness, apathy, fear
  • Purifies our motives               
  • Lights us up. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world."
  • Empowers us to live and to act in faith              

Draw close to the fire

Prayer by Gene Barlett   Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire. Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire.

Series Information

Jesus calls us and gathers us in beautiful and unique ways. Come along as we explore Biblical images of what it means to be God’s people.

Other sermons in the series

April 29, 2018

The Bride of Christ

Jesus first loved us that he may be our first love. Our relationship...

May 06, 2018

Body of Christ

The image of the Body of Christ reminds us of the blessings of our...

May 13, 2018

Family of God

In Christ's death and resurrection, we find a place in God's family- a...

May 27, 2018

Persecuted People

There is a cost to fully following Jesus. When you battle evil, it’s...