Fireworks - Independence Day Sermon

Bible Book: Malachi  3 : 2
Subject: Independence Day; America; Church, Fire in; Fire in the Church

Every fourth of July, the town of Soddy-Daisy comes to a near standstill as people assemble together to celebrate American's freedom with food, fun, and fellowship. However, what draws the overflowing crowds is the finale of the day. The festivities are always concluded with an exciting fireworks presentation. It is a most interesting site to behold as total strangers huddle side-by-side, and even enemies are at peace to enjoy the spectacle. A couple of years ago, my family and I sat among the huge crowd prepared to see a light show in the sky. Perhaps it was due to the unexpected rain that came late in the day, but the first few rockets that were sent skyward fizzled out before their display. A young child that was sitting near to us made an observation that carried more significance than he realized. He said, "Mom, it looks like the fire has gone out of the works." I thought to myself, "Out of the mouth of babes…."

All across America, both writers and speakers have engaged themselves in theories and speculations as to what is wrong with the church today. There are worship wars, plateaued ministries, cultural preferences, and "come see what we are about" churches. Anyone and everyone can easily offer commentary on the symptoms, but could the cause of our condition be hidden in the words of a child: "the fire has gone out of the work"?

Throughout scripture, fire was an essential means by which God moved and spoke. It was God's fire that condemned Sodom and Gomorrah, yet consumed Pentecost. It was God's fire that directed Israel in the wilderness, yet defeated Nadab and Abihu. Today, there is a growing trend to "make God our buddy," and the result has left us with smoldering embers on the altar of His glory. We cannot even hope to experience genuine revival until we gain the eyes of Moses and Elijah to see He is a God who still answers by fire! Why is God's fire so valuable to His work?

I. God’s Fire is Evidence of His Holiness.

The prophet of old wrote in Malachi 3:2, "For He is like a refiner's fire..."

Wherever the fire of God falls, men are either drawn to it or repelled by it because fire will produce removal. It is this fear that has deceived us into believing the pain of the flames will far outweigh the progress of the flames. When Moses ascended the mountain of God to pursue his curiosity of a bush that burned but was not consumed, he descended with only that which was real and really mattered most: a sense of God's holy presence with him.

God's fire will never damage the essentials of our lives, but it will soften and melt them for perfected molding into His plan. In Leviticus 6:13, it was commanded of the priests, "the fire shall ever be shall never go out." Have we in our zeal to offer the world a painless fire let the real fire go out? Only the fire of holiness will allow us to see God clearly again.

Perhaps the church has lost its voice of authority because there are so few who, like Isaiah, have had their lips touched by a live coal from the altar!

II. God’s fire is Equipped with His Harmony

While God's fire divides and devours, it also brings unification and uniformity. Before the fire fell on Mount Carmel, chaos and confusion reigned among a people who could not make up their mind who to serve. After the fire fell, it was a settled issue!

When the fire fell on the day of Pentecost, everyone was singing the same song in "one accord" and no one got mad! How were thousands of people able to function together in the early church, when you cannot find ten people that can get along today?

Perhaps the answer is either the absence of genuine fire or the creation of wildfire!

In the courtyard of the high priest, Peter sat before a fire as a spineless victim, but days later on the shore of the sea of Galilee, Peter sat again before a fire, but as a submissive victor. What was the difference? Jesus had lit the second fire! Any fire that is not started by Jesus will always bring catastrophic disharmony to your life.

III. God's Fire is Expressive of His Heart

In 2 Kings 2, Elijah was taken up into the presence of God by "...a chariot of fire and horses of fire..."

In Revelation 1, John saw the risen Lord's eyes " a flame of fire."

Whether it be through the fires of problems, the fires of persecution, or the fires of pain, the love of God is revealed in new ways with each stroke of the flame.


When the lodgepole pine is destroyed in a forest fire, it is the heat of the fire that opens the cone to provide new life after the destruction. Whatever fire touches, it penetrates and consumes. Maybe we do not miss God's fire as much as God misses sending His fire to us!

Fire can provide warmth, light, and comfort. However, when the only remnant you have of fire is scattered smoke, the days are cold, dark, and distressing. It is neither more eloquent preachers, nor louder music that we need. We just need God to light up the skies one more time, and put His fire back in the work.