1 Peter 4:12-19 CSB | Trey VanCamp | November 27, 2022
By the grace of God, you will encounter a fork in the road where you have to make a decision: you can live by faith in Jesus, or you can die by fire without Him (Matthew 25). If you put your faith in Jesus, you can’t help but express your joy through songs like, “I put my faith in Jesus, my anchor to the ground, my hope and firm foundation, He’ll never let me down.”
But what happens when it seems like He does let us down?
We set ourselves up for major disappointment when we confuse our eternal condition with our present one. Because contrary to popular belief, stepping up your faith is stepping into fire… and that’s a good thing. In 1 Peter 4, we are encouraged to look at our trials like a fiery furnace: burning off our impurities & idolatries to further glorify Christ.
In this message, we will learn about the three stages of faith that only come from stepping into the fire.
Open your Bibles to one Peter four. This is what we would call episode eight. This is a eighth message we have in one Peter. We are almost close to landing the plane. But I think this can be such an encouraging word for anybody who’s just going through suffering, going through hard times. This letter was written for people just like you.
So I want us to look at March through versus 12 through 19. I really believe I just have a word today that can just help you, encourage you, help you step up in your faith. And that’s really the goal here. So let’s look at verse 12. We’re already gonna go line by line. We believe in the word of God, not in man’s opinion, and so we’re gonna do that today.
Verse 12, Peter says, dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you. To test you. This word fiery ordeal is literally saying like a burning or painful experience. This issue that you are going through, it’s likely if I just tell you your painful experience, you can identify what that looks like in your life right now.
He said, don’t be surprised about that as if something unusual were happening to you. This actually is encouraging cuz there’s nothing more heartbreaking than surprise. Verse 13, instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings. Of Christ. That word share in is that word coin ania, which is idea of a partnership that leads to a fellowship.
So really you cannot have this great sense of unity with Christ until you partner with him and suffer with him. He’s saying rejoice because when you suffer with him, you’re even closer so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory in other word for power. Is revealed 14. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
This is another word of saying like power anointing is on your life. When you get ridiculed, you have a radiance, a brightness about you. Verse 15, let none of you suffer as a murder. A thief, an evil doer, or a medler. I find this fascinating. We all can agree murderers, thieves, and evil doers are bad. But then he says medler, which literally means to get in people’s business to be gossip, a busy body.
That is equated with those other three, which is pretty fascinating. He said that kind of suffering, you deserve that because if you’re murdering, you should suffer. He’s talking about a Christian suffering Look, verse 16. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God.
And having that name for the time has come for judgment to begin with God. Household. Pretty terrifying verse. We believe in the judgment of God because it’s pretty clear in the biblical text. What’s fascinating is we do know the gospel means we are eternally forgiven. That you and I, if we believe in Jesus Christ are eternal.
Salvation will always be there. You cannot lose it. But at the same time, there is something in the biblical text you see all the time, it’s called the bema seat, where God’s still in some sort of fashion judges. The church. I think sometimes we see God judging the household by exposing the church. Even right now, I think we’re in season the American Church, where very successful big Christian leaders are being exposed for who they really are.
Being exposed for adultery or money embezzling and all those sorts of things. And my perspective, that is actually the hand of God bringing judgment, saying, my church needs to be pure and I’m not going to let those swindler, those mers get away with. That’s a beautiful, actually, great message for us because God is a God of justice.
And here to tell you if the church has hurt you, I am so sorry that the church should be a refuge for you. And it begins with, What will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? If we have judgment, can you imagine those who do not have Christ? And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?
So then let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful creator while doing what is good. This is the word of the Lord. Let’s pray. Father, I just ask you that this message, Would resonate in our hearts. God, I pray for those who are listening online. I know I still got somebody texts this week of people just still feeling sick.
God, I pray that we’d all lean in. I think this is a message I know that I needed to hear, Lord it literally, I think it picked up my counts this week. I was down and out and downcast. But God, this me, this, these verses bless my soul and I just ask you Holy Spirit to do exactly that for our church today.
In Jesus name I pray. Faith or fire Most of my life I simplified. All of life’s decisions into those two binary choices. I can live by faith or I can die by the fire. And in some ways this is absolutely true. The scripture warns us of hell. You know who actually talked about hell more than anybody in all the Bible is Jesus.
He talked about it. Often, and one imagery is the lake of fire. And so sometimes my goal is to come up here and say faith in Jesus, or fire Matthew 25, for example. Jesus shares a parable to show the difference between the sheep and the goats. Talking about judgment, those who are judged in the church, which we see here in one Peter, but those who are judged outside of the church, those who are not believers in Jesus.
And it’s not a good end for the nonbeliever. Look at verse 41. Matthew 25. Jesus says to them, Then he will also say to those on the left, these are the goats depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Or we would also call demons. Are you excited to, you thought you didn’t think you get hail today, you’re getting held today.
Look at the next line verse 46. And they will go away into eternal punish. But the righteous into eternal life. You have to decide faith or fire. And a lot of times this works, this paradigm is helpful in engaging, thinking about life. Jesus came to save us from the grip of sin, satan, and death. And if we don’t believe in Jesus, destruction will be our end faith or fire.
But is this paradigm always helpful? Hear me out. Cue the song. I was just singing it this week. There’s two different songs. One I was singing, I put my faith in Jesus, my anchor to the ground, my Hope and Firm Foundation. He’ll never let me down. We sing that song and we say, faith or fire, and the reasoning goes, if I have faith, then the fire won’t burn me.
If I have faith, I’ll be kept from the fire because God never lets me down. Sounds incredible. I love to. Especially alone, so you guys can’t hear me and make fun of me, but guess what? God’s let me down. Do you feel like God has ever let you down before? Can we get honest, right? We sing these songs, but do we actually think about it?
I’ve even found my greatest pains and embarrassments are on the other side of a decision to follow Jesus when I thought I shouldn’t. A lot of times my pain comes from the other side of obedience, and so we like to simplify this Christian. Because it makes it so much easier. Faith. Everything’s great.
Fire. It’s because of the choices you made. You decide, and that’s true for an eternal perspective, but I don’t think that’s always true in the day to day life. We sing the song, what happens? We walk out, we get disappointed that Jesus disappointed us and were let. I actually think a lot of us, we set ourselves up for failure because we assume God would never let us down.
But the reality is God lets us down because we’re not as smart as we think we are. And what we want is not what God wants, so he’s gonna have to let us down. See, my point on all this is to say we set ourselves up for a major disappointment when we confuse our eternal condition with our present. In other words, ultimately you will be saved from despair and destruction and sadness and grief.
But presently that’s not always the case. Now, this doesn’t mean we throw out the faith because you will engage in the fire. In fact, it’s saying when we know fire comes, it actually strengthens our faith. Write this down. Contrary to popular belief, stepping up your. Is stepping into fire, and that’s a good thing.
How do I know that? Because Peter just said it. Let’s look again, let’s examine this passage kind of line by line. I wanna quickly, this is a very if you don’t know where a Baptist church, this is like the most Baptist sermon I’ve had in a long time. I’m giving three, three different sets of three points.
It’s amazing. So first I wanna quickly tell you the three types of suffering. Okay? Look at first 15 and 16 again. It says, let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in having that name. There are three different types of suffering.
I think it’s really helpful. When I preach a message on suffering I fear that we are confusing cuz some people say, yes, I’m having this suffering and it’s because of Jesus. And I would say, no. It’s just because what you’re doing right now is. Okay. You know what I’m saying? Or vice versa. You think it’s because you’re done, but no, it’s actually because you are a Christian.
So let me summarize this for you quickly. Number one, you have common suffering. Common suffering is we suffer from the sin done around us. To be a human means that you will suffer. To be a human means you will encounter and engage with grief, pain and heartache. Since Adam and Eve, we believe in Genesis three, our sin brought destruction to our world.
Job 14, one memorize this. It’s so encouraging. He says this, anyone born of woman is short of days and full of trouble. That’s your Bible right there. Short of days. And full of trouble because we have the curse. So when we talk about suffering, one category is just, it’s common to all mankind. Just to be a human and not, I don’t believe you’re innocent, but generally speak, even if you didn’t do anything terrible for the last week, it doesn’t mean you are immune from suffering.
Peter is not talking about common. Okay. What’s the second kind of suffering? Peter dresses it in. Verse 15 second kind of suffering. This is very Baptist word is carnal suffering or sinful suffering. We suffer not just by the sin done around us, but also we suffer because of the sin done by us. Sin.
We believe in the gospel message that when you receive in Jesus, you are forever forgiven. You are forgiven for all the sin you’ve ever committed in your past. You are forgiven for every sin you will commit today. And even you are already forgiven for the sins. You will commit in the future forgiven.
But on this side of heaven, there are still consequences. If a DUI somebody kills somebody in a dui, that man or woman who was inebriated and killed somebody on the road can be forgiven by God, but they still should serve the pri, pay the price here on Earth through the justice system. That make sense?
There is carnal suffering agent. A great pastor of yester year said, this line I think is so helpful. He says, the water we drink is from the well we dug and the fruit we eat is from the tree we planted. And so some of our suffering today, folks, is because we’re not doing the Christian life. we’re being formed, not by Jesus as we try to say every week, but we’re being formed unintentionally by the world.
And so now our sin brings about destruction because that’s what sin always does. I love to say all the time, sin isn’t bad because it’s forbidden. Sin is forbidden because it is bad. It’s not good for you. It’s gonna bring eternal consequences. But it’s also gonna be very present, modern day consequences to your life.
Your marriage can suffer, your family can suffer, all sorts of things. Okay? So you have common suffering. Peter’s not addressing that. You have carnal suffering. Peter says this in verse 15. He’s talking about the suffering. I’m not talking about the murderer suffering and the thief and the evil and the me that has its own suffering, but he’s talking about suffering as a Christian.
Look at verse 16 again, but if anyone suffers as a Christian, that’s the third category, Christian. So Christian suffering is not sin done around us. It’s not sin done by us. It is sin done to us. See how this world is so messy? There’s sin just everywhere around by and to Christian suffering is when you are living the good life, fighting the fight of the faith.
And yet you will still. , but he’s saying that will happen. Don’t be ashamed, but glorify God in having that name. What kind of suffering is unique to the Christian life? I think one is suffering, reproach, or another word is to be. If you live the Christian life, here’s what I think today, we will be ridiculed by some of our ethics.
We believe in sexual ethics. By believing in protecting the unborn. There are certain things we will be ridiculed for and it’s more popular today just to not talk about it. But we have to fight for those who are who don’t have a voice. We also can suffer financial loss. I know some of you in this, I literally know some of you in this room who don’t have a job anymore because of your convict.
Right, or you never got the raise that you did deserve because you wouldn’t play their certain game. That would make you go against the word of God. We do have brothers and sisters around the world. I don’t see it a lot here today, but in around the world we do. Some of us suffer physical harm.
They’re a story after story of people getting beaten for their faith for people being murdered. We call them martyrs for the Christian faith. Something that’s more attuned to what we have to go through is suffering social abuse again, like just certain things we we just don’t, we aren’t seen in the most positive light anymore.
And again, some of it is deserved because I think some of us try to stand for the truth in a really hateful and just gross way. And I don’t think that’s the man I wanna be mean to you too when you do that. But when it’s in a loving way sometimes just truth is truth and it does hurt. So there is common suffering the.
There is carnal suffering and there’s Christian suffering, and I think this passage, this whole book in first Peter, doesn’t really make sense if, unless you realize Peter’s trying to encourage a group of Christians who are engaged in Christian suffering. And I submit to you, I want you to get really honest with yourself, is the suffering you’re going through because of your selfless deeds for the kingdom of.
Or is the suffering you’re going through simply from your own selfishness and you’re chalking it up as just being persecuted for Jesus when really Jesus is like, you’re not even following me. Okay, so we just have to know this context, but let’s look again. I’m gonna be a little bit happier now. This is a joyful day that the Lord has made.
Look at verse 12. He says, dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes along among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. This word test you literally means to purifier, to refine you. The readers would assume it’s like putting gold into a furnace. It burns away all of the impurities so that it comes.
In perfect perfection. This is like Genesis. Joseph said what the mini, what the enemy meant for evil. God meant it for good. The Christian life is the process of becoming more like Christ, and I tell you what, I hate it, but this is true. God doesn’t use anything like he uses suffering to make us more like him.
Nothing forms you into the love of Jesus. The leadership of Jesus and the lifestyle of Jesus, quite like suffering cans. Scantrons cannot replace suffering. In other words, you and I wish we had a paper test so we can prove that we are good followers of Jesus, but God puts us through not a paper test.
Come on, somebody. A painful test. It’s a real life hard. You can describe patience all day, but then God gives you a three year old, you see what I’m saying? That’s actual patie. So this is a blessing though. I want us to see we are supposed to, as Christians, step into the fire. In order to step up our faith.
So at Passion Creek we love to talk stage theory. It’s this idea that you can actually map through all the different characters in the Bible, and they have this journey of becoming more and more like Jesus. But stage one looks dramatically different than stage three. I’ve given you six. We’ve did a whole sermon series on this before, so it’s something I’m fascinated with.
It’s helped me in my Christian life. It also, Really overwhelms me as a preacher cuz I know there are people of different emotional, spiritual maturity throughout the room and it’s so hard to make sure you’re preaching to encourage all of them Holy Spirit help. Okay? But I want us to talk about what are, I’m gonna simplify it.
The most I’ve ever simplified it is there’s three stages to the Christian faith. Okay? So these stages are important because it what happened? You can’t get into that stage until you get into the fire. Okay? You can step up your. When you step into fire, and that’s verse 12, this fiery ordeal is used by God.
What is the first stage? Stage one faith is what I would call reap. This is the whole idea of you reap what you sow, and so if you are following Jesus or you’re just starting to follow Jesus, this is how you start and you believe this, and this is true. Okay? If I blank, then God will. Okay, this becomes your Christian life and that’s a great time to be in for a season.
You have this principle, you reap what you sew. If I press this button, then this thing will happen. Let me give you some examples. If I tithe, then God will bless me financially and some of us have stories. Just say yes. Amen. I try. I was so scared I finally stepped up and now I’m blessed financially, and so we have story after story.
It’s pretty incredible. If I pray, then God will give me. I love to hear the stories of you like, man, I’ve had a really hard week, but I practiced what you said. And now everything was better. Like I prayed, God give me peace. And guess what, Trey? I had peace. Yeah, high five. This is awesome. You replay you, so you plug it in.
He gives it out. Let’s go. Oh, if I go to church, which you guys did, good job, then God will give me success. If I go to church, then God will bless my family. If I go to church, then God will make my wife pregnant. Like we think through all these things. And sometimes what’s crazy is it’s true. There is something about showing up every week.
There’s something about praying, there’s something about reading your Bible. And if you do it, God does these amazing things. This is Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is written this way very much. Let me give you a few examples. Proverbs 22 verse. Has this reap concept, start a youth out on his way. Even when he grows old, he will not depart from it.
If I raise my kids they’ll always be good, but sometimes that’s not true. Sometimes it’s not true at all, but it’s in the Bible, so isn’t this true? See, proverbs are not promise. , they’re general wisdom principles to live by. But the Proverbs never said It’s a hundred percent accurate in that if you do this will happen.
But if you’re starting out your faith, try it. Okay? Proverbs is great for a seat. It’s always great . It’s got really her there. It’s really great, especially if you know that it’s not a promise, it’s a proverb. Look at the next one. Proverbs 10, four. I believe idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands.
Bring riches. That’s again, 79% of the time. Totally true, but I know some lazy people that are rich, and I know some really hardworking people that are living paycheck to paycheck, don’t you? So how does this make sense? Oh, it’s a proverb, not a promise, general principle, but not always a promise. What does this mean?
When we have a stage one, Proverbs is helpful to us because we do need to start getting our life in order. We do need to do the, if I, then God will, and sometimes God gives you a honeymoon stage where those things happen. But here’s where it gets tricky, and I think this is where some of you’re stage one Christians and God is inviting you to stage two is because your life, you are being blown away right now because for so long you did the if I, and then God did.
But right now you’re so mad cuz you’re doing the if. and God doesn’t seem to be answering anymore like he used to See. That’s because God is trusting you with more, not less. Hear me. God is growing you. He’s not forgetting you. Look, here’s what’s happening. Stage one faith. Get surprised at suffering. Look at verse 12.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised. Grief is a heavy. But nothing destroys a person like surprise. Think about that. Grief is hard, but the worst kind of grief is when it came outta nowhere. Peter’s saying, I don’t want you to be surprised and get knocked off your feet. God’s gonna allow a five re a fiery ordeal in your life and life’s gonna get hard.
The surprise of cancer, even when everyone prayed in faith for it to go. that hurts. Stage one Christian man. The surprise of infertility. After marrying the love of your life, thinking you had everything great, or the surprise of a way where a child after raising them in the way they should walk, that’s a deep pain.
We wanna be a church that walks alongside of you in that pain. We also wanna be a church that says, Hey, God is inviting you into the next stage of faith. 80% of the. , if you do something, if you reap, it will but that 20% of life is tough and we wanna be a church that says, don’t be surprised when that comes.
We don’t hope for it. But when it comes, we still have an answer. And that answer is to level up your faith. Step two, faith is risk. So you move from, if I to God will, and now it’s when I insert blank, God might. Blank. This is a really hard stage of faith because it requires a whole lot of risk. It’s longer your if, but when.
Let me give you some examples. When I step out of the boat, God might show off his glory when I get on my knees to pray. God might save my neighbor when I give to my church. God might use it to save our. , but you increased your faith where it’s no longer an if. No matter what he does, you’re still gonna do it.
You see that? It’s not if, it’s when I do this, God might, you’re starting to realize in your journey of faith, God is not your assistant, you are his. I’m realizing in my journey of faith as a pastor, I used to pray, God, do this for my church. Do that. Now I’m going, okay, God, what do you want to do with your church?
Cause this ain’t mine. And so you’re in charge. Let’s risk for you for your glory. I love John Wimber. He’s the founder of the Vineyard Movement, and he was known for saying, faith is spelled R I s K. You wanna have faith in Jesus, risk and give risk and serve risk the pain of rejection by following Jesus’ command to practice.
I feel like our church is on a journey. Passion Creek Church. We are now in a season where we need to risk. I have a burden for our community. I am really grateful. I’ll just say it this way. I think when we started versus now, God didn’t bless this city with as many churches as at seven years ago as it has now, and here’s where that’s a good thing.
There’s still like at least 80% of people not going to church. But what I love about that is now that we have enough bigger churches around here, our goal now is not to transfer sheep and to take people who used to, believe and now they just wanna go somewhere else. Like we need to just pray and do whatever it takes to reach our neighbor who would never step foot in a church.
That’s who we are praying for. That’s our goal. And to get those people, it doesn’t just take Facebook ad dollars, it takes. It takes going all out to love them, to serve them, to pray with them, to give. And I want us to help us these next couple years. We’re trying to shape a discipleship journey to empower you to risk.
We believe it’s time for our church to risk. A couple weeks ago, I read a line from Tyler Statons new book on prayer. I really highly suggest that. I believe it’s called live like monks. Pray like fools. And he has this one line that is gonna be the theme for us in 2023. I told myself I would not tell you until next year, but here it is.
You get the you get the sneak peak. We were finally in a position, he’s talking about pastoring his church. They did a 24 7 prayer for two weeks in a row. They found a place, they had somebody from their church pray one hour per for two weeks. It was bathed in prayer. We were finally in a position to be dazzled or disappointed by God, but nothing in between.
That’s the theme for us in 2023. Everything we’re gonna do is to be dazzled or disappointed, but nothing in. stepping up. Your faith is stepping into fire. Stage two, faith. I know that sounds oh, it’s not that far cuz it’s only two. Stage number two, this is a huge step of faith that most of us never get to when I, God might, and just because God might, I’m gonna go all out.
If he doesn’t, I’m gonna trust him. But what if he does? We often wait for God to move and then we move. That’s not how it works. , we move and then God moves. Here’s the thing. You will do things for God that will end in disappointment, but it’s worth the journey. Look at verse 13. He’s saying, instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed.
He’s saying rejoice when it doesn’t work out right. Verse 14, if you’re ridiculed for the name of Christ, you’re blessed. Because the spirit of glory and of God rests on you. And that spirit of glory, that spirit of God, I so want on our church to rest on us. And I believe there are parts of it that are not resting on us because I have not led the way in stepping into that stage of risk.
And I pray that you’ll support us as we journey into that. We’re gonna tell you more and more what? That, I don’t even fully know what it looks like, but we’re gonna do it. All right. What does risk look like for the glory of God? Now you wanna know stage. No. All right, let’s go home. You’re supposed to talk out loud to me sometimes.
All right. Stage three, faith is rest. So it goes reap risk rest. Here’s what I mean by that. Even if insert blank, God is inserted blank, your life, I want us to get to such a stage of faith. Our life is not tied to a preferred result. So even if I die in this fire, God is sovereign. Even if I lose all that I have, God is good.
Even if I am persecuted, God is love. That this is a posture of rest, not of laziness, but of open hands saying, okay, God, the results are up to you. I’m gonna sleep well at night risking it all for the kingdom, but even if nothing ever works out, God, you are good. You are. You are ever present and ever powerful.
My grandpa, he, again, I think I’ve shared this story before, but he left me one of my greatest gifts I’ve ever received just before passing away. He passed away this last January and in November I had a four hour drive just with him coming down from the cabin. And I was so blessed by it because I recognized he had reached stage three faith.
Cuz if I were to describe his life, sorry, if he were to describe his life, it would just be grace and. He told me that. He said, if you look back on my life, he goes, oh, it’s just all been grace. He said, I’m the luckiest guy you’ve ever met. What’s funny to me, I know he was one of the most hard, hardworking men I’ve ever met.
Yet he got to a point in life where he gave credit to God for every step of his journey. He stepped into enough fires to know that if God didn’t preserve him, none of it would’ve happened. He literally took zero credit for anything. I want that. I want that kind of. And I was shocked at how much he finally at 84 years old achieved a sense of peace.
Like he literally lived to live as Christ, to die as gain. Like he had a lot of suffering in life. I know I’m his grandson, but he wasn’t angry or vengeful. He literally, he said, I’ve had the best life I could ever ask for, and I wanted to what about, what about that person and this and that?
He said, no, I, God is so good. Even when I lost that God has been good and that he was truly at rest. And here’s the goal. Here’s what I learned from him, and I just so badly wanna become a person that embodies this, and I wanna become a church that embodies this Suffering is no longer an enemy or a stranger, but a friend.
As my grandpa looked back at his life, no, that suffering was for my. And for God’s glory. See, for some of us, it’s an enemy and we say God will serve you as long as there’s no suffering. But hopefully it becomes your friend as you mature in Christ. Some of us, it’s a stranger. It’s why we’re so surprised we can’t believe the suffering that’s happening in our life.
But Peter, old man, Peter, at this point, he wants to take us alongside and say, Suffering is not your enemy. And please don’t be surprised by it as if it were some stranger in Christ. Your suffering can become your best friend cuz that’s what shapes you into becoming the person of love, joy, and peace that you’ve always wanted to become.
Look at verse 19. It’s how he ends. He wants us to live this, he says. So then let those who suffer according to God’s. Entrust themselves to a faithful creator while doing what is. And trust you. It’s saying, God, I trust you. I’m just gonna keep doing this. Despite the result, despite the outcome, what I wanna do is to live a life that looks like yours and then die.
What happens is so many of us, we no longer do what’s good because we are living in that stage one faith. What you sow, sew. If I do this, God will do that. And some of us are living disobedient lives because we have a stage one paradigm. Where we get tired of faithfully following Jesus, because now you’re doing it, but God doesn’t seem to be showing up, and so you’re, you are permitting yourself to sin, permitting yourself for laziness, all these other things.
But friends, the answer is to step up your faith by stepping into the fire, saying, okay, if I no. When I, God might. But I’m still gonna do it because I trust him and I’m gonna do what’s good and leave the results up to him. See what is the next step for us. I wanna see it practical here, man. I want us to have this kind of faith.
Here’s the next step. It’s just one question I want you to think through. I want you to pray this to God. God, what is my next step of faith that leads me towards the next stage of faith? Okay, first, identify what stage you. Some of you today, you’re not even on stage one yet. I invite you today to come forward and step into faith with Jesus, to trust him for eternal life.
But some of you, maybe you’re in level one right now. All of life is I do this, then God will do that. Maybe the invitation is to step into risk. I’m no longer gonna wait, God, to see you show up. I’m going to step up and step into the fire and I pray you show up. But I’m tired of having that baby faith. I need to do something even if you don’t show up, or maybe you need to be in level three.
Level three, faith is saying, God, I’m completely at rest. I am risking it all, and I’m looking back at my life and I can’t hope, but describe it as one of grace and one of peace. So what is your next step? I think the Holy Spirit can be the only one to reveal that to you. Maybe it’s to confess your sin for the first.
Maybe it’s to rejoice, like the scripture is saying, to rejoice in the hardest season of life you’re in right now, find a way to say, thank you, God, for this tough season. Maybe it’s just to resist comfort, resist security risk for the kingdom. How can risking for the kingdom look like in your life? What is that next step?
She’s stepping up. Your faith is stepping into the fire. The reverse is also true. Stepping into the fire is what steps up your faith. Would you step into the fire with me?