Note: This is a continuation of posts from my Advanced Preaching students at Kentucky Christian University. I (and they) would appreciate some feedback.
Guest author: Trevor Stone (@_Tstone_)
"Catch a fire of enthusiasm and people will come from miles to watch you burn." - John Wesly
Fire is a funny thing, take a match for instance, If you've got a match you've got a fire. All the match needs is for it to be struck. Once a match is struck, you essentially have three things.
1. The wood. (Piece the flame burns upon)
2. The fire. (The part that’s struck, the flame)
3. The smoke. (The result of the flame)
And as I began to think about this, I began to visualize this event, and the more this simple match became much more. The match became a symbol, something that illustrated a much larger concept then itself. In the Old Testament the most common form of worship for the early Israelite people was sacrifices. A ritual in which had three key elements much like that of a match.
1. An Altar (Piece the flame burns upon)
2. A Sacrifice (the part that’s ignited the flame)
3. Smoke (The result of the flame)
Each piece of a sacrifice resembles a piece of the match.
1. Altar=wood stem
2. Sacrifice=the flame
3. The smoke=the result of the flame
As you read through the Old Testament, this form of worship is continued on until Jesus enters into mankind, sacrificing himself for the sins of the world. It is because of this act the great apostle Paul goes on to write in his letter Romans. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." Paul is telling us that in response to this great love, the sacrifice is now one of our own lives. This sacrifice is our true form of worship. Paul illustrates that, true worship, is the sacrifice of how we live our lives. Worship is not singing songs; worship is not a stage, or lights or music. These things are great and even effective in ministry, but they not the whole entirety of true worship. True worship begins when you walk out the church doors. True worship is how we treat others. How we talk to others, how we think about others. True worship is about showing the characteristics of Christ, showing his love, his grace, his mercy, and peace to those around us. True worship is showing people Jesus. It's like the match, our lives are the altar, and our bodies the living sacrifice, and our praise the smoke. When we are truly worshiping, when we are truly being a living sacrifice, the praise is just the result of the flames. So may you have a fire set down into your very soul, that burns so bright and shines so radiantly, and produces so much smoke, That people come from miles to watch you burn.