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Holy Smoke! The Preacher's On Fire!
 
By Pastor Bill Hathaway

Northside Baptist Temple, Mt. Vernon, MO

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Introduction:  This past week was the annual BBC Fellowship Meeting and graduation services.  As Dixie and I sat in that large cold field house and as the Holy Spirit stirred my heart as I heard men of God preach His Word, I had a change to reflect on the ministry of Northside Baptist Temple.  I thought of the words of a previous pastor, Bro. James Carroll.  He told me not too long ago, "There was a time when we were averaging about 100 in attendance at Northside, but something happened and we didn't stay there."  He said, "I don't know why we couldn't keep going up."  Well, in that cold field house I prayed, "Lord, let us continue going up."  Then I got to thinking about how we can keep the momentum going.  Among other things, the Lord impressed upon my mind that fact that the pastor was the key person in any church and as the pastor goes, so goes the church.  With that in mind, the Lord has given me a message that is aimed primarily at me . . . . . . but I will bring it to you today because this message can be applied to every Christian here today.  I call this message, "HOLY SMOKE!  THE PREACHER'S ON FIRE!"  Our text is John 5:35 - "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light."
 

I.  JOHN THE BAPTISTS WAS A MAN SENT FROM GOD -
(John 1:6)  "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."

A.  God, who cannot make a mistake, has a specific purpose for
        specific person.


        1.  John, the Baptist, was not an educated man.  He didn't have a
            Ph.D. or a DD behind his name.

        2.  His credentials were much higher than that.  He had the
            specific call of God.

        3.  A man with the call of God doesn't have to be timid or soft in
            proclaiming the Word of God.

        4.  Why do preachers lift up their voice at times and yell out the
            message of God.  Well here's the answer - (Isa 58:1)  "Cry
            aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my
            people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."  

    B.  John the Baptist had a message from God and he preached
        it with such power that Jesus called him "a burning and a
        shinning light."
   

As Zechariah put it, (Zec 3:2)  "?..is not this a brand plucked out of the fire."    John the Baptist was burning for the Lord.  If you have the call of God on you, then even if you are "plucked out of the fire" and seemingly alone, you will burn for Jesus.


        1.  Sometimes it may seem that the fire all around you has gone
            out, but you must keep burning!  Don't let the lack of fire blow
            you out!

        2.  Sometimes you must go out soulwinning all alone; but the
            Lord is with you to keep you burning.
        3.  There is a 77 year old man in Indiana who goes out putting
            tracts in the doors of homes every single day? when it's hot,
            when it's cold, when it's raining, when it's snowing.  How's he
            do it?  He's got a fire burning in his soul!

        4.  What we need today is men and women with a bond-fire
            burning in their souls.  Men and women who won't quit!

II. JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS A WITNESS
    BEARING WITNESS OF THE LIGHT - JN.
    1:7; 5:32-33.


    A.  John the Baptist was a burning and a shinning light because
        he pointed people to the Light of the World.


        1.  John the Baptist was a burning light because he got close to
            the Light.  The closer you are to the fire, the hotter you
            become.  



    B.  We need a lot of people today who are on fire for the Lord!

    C.  How can we get on fire for the Lord?

        1.  Draw close to God.  Moses got close to God and his face
            shown with the glory of God.

        2.  Draw close to the Word of God.  Love it, read it, memorize it,
            quote it and live it!  When you get close to the Word of God,
            your heart will burn within yourself. (Luke 24:32)  "And they
            said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he
            talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the
            scriptures?"  When you get close to the Lord and hear His
            Word, your hearts should burn and your should be lights
            pointing people to Him.

        3.  Draw close to the work of the Lord.  I can think of nothing I
            would rather be doing than what I am now doing?..preaching
            the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I pray my preaching fire will never
            go out.  I want to lift up my voice like a trumpet.  I want to
            burn for Jesus.  You've heard the saying, "burn the candle at
            both ends"?  Well, if that's possible, I want to burn the candle
            at both ends.

        4.  You've also heard about being "burned out"?  Well, may this
            preacher never burn out.  NO ONE HAS TO BE BURNED
            OUT AND SITTING ON THE SIDE LINES."  Let's ask God
            to stir the coals within us.

 

III.    JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS A VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS - JN. 1:23

    A.  He had a voice that was set on fire by God.  His tongue was
            anointed by God. 
 

Notice:  (Isa 6:5-8)  "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. {6} 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 said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. {8} Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."


    B.  Every preacher ought to have a live coal from God's altar to
            touch his lips and set him on fire for God.


        1.  Not only every preacher, but every S.S. teacher, every Youth
            worker, every deacon, every trustee, every church
            worker?..ought to have their lips touched by the fire of God.

        2.  When I get up here to preach, I ask God to touch my lips so
            that I will only be the voice of God.

        3.  When God spoke on Mt. Sinai, the thunder roared and the
            lightning crashed.  The power of God was there.  What we
            need in America today are preachers who are on fire for God!

            S.S. teachers on fire for God!  Etc.
 

IV. JOHN THE BAPTIST PREACHED THE
        TRUTH WITH FIRE - JN. 5:33 - "He bare
         witness unto the truth."


    A.  When you have the fire of God upon you, you will preach
            the whole truth!  What is that truth?


         1.  That Jesus is the Lamb of God!  (John 1:29)  "The next day
              John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the
            Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."  This
            is the message and it must be clear!  There is no other Savior!

        2.  That the world was created by God - Gen. 1:1.  They teach
            the bang theory in our schools today?that is, that at some
            distant remote place in ancient time there was a big "BANG"
            and the world came into existence.  Well, I too believe in the
            bang theory (no, fact; not theory).  How's that Bro. Bill? 
            Well, I believe God said, "Let there by an earth" and 
            BANG!!!!!! The earth appeared!  I believe that whenever a
            person comes in humble obedience to the Lord and says,
            "Lord, save me" that there is a BANG and that person is 
            saved.

        3.  A BANG gets people's attention!  I don't want to be just an
            ordinary monotone, dull, dry, dusty preacher.  I want to be a
            burning brand plucked from the fire of God!  I want to preach
            with the POWER OF GOD and I want it to be THE WORD
            OF THE LORD, not the word of some weak-kneed preacher.
             I want people to say of me, "HOLY SMOKE!  THE
            PREACHER'S ON FIRE!"

        4.  That Jesus is coming soon!  I don't set dates.  The Bible says
            (Mat 24:36)  "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no,
            not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."  Jesus is
            coming in the clouds according to  (Acts 1:9-11)  "And when
            he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken
            up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. {10} And while
            they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold,
            two men stood by them in white apparel; {11} Which also
            said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
            this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall
            so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."  
            He went up in a cloud and He will return in a cloud!  If you
            hear that Jesus showed up in some church around here, don't
            go check it out!  He won't be there!  He is coming in a cloud! 
            If someone tells you that Jesus is coming on a certain date,
            don't believe it!  He is coming alright, but no one can set the 
            date.  A thief doesn't call up ahead of time to tell you when he
            is coming!

 

V.  IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY 
        CHILD OF GOD TO GET ON  FIRE FOR
        GOD!


    A.  Ask God what you can do for Him!

    B.  Be ready always to answer His calling!

    C.  For some things you don't need a call!  Souls are dying; 
            men are crying?..we just need to have the fire of God on
            our lives so we can respond to their call.


    D.  Why do you need a CALL when you have a COMMAND?


(Luke 14:23)  "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."
 

CONCLUSION:  How many here want the fire of God upon you?
 

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