Robert Jeffress - Flame Throwers vs Fire Extinguishers - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress. Welcome again to Pathway to Victory. As Christians, all of us long to experience more of God's power in our everyday lives. Yet many times we fail to recognize the harmful behaviors that actually have the opposite effect. Today we're going to look at four Spirit quenchers that we need to eliminate if we want to keep the power of the Holy Spirit, burning brightly in our lives. My message is titled, "Flame throwers versus fire extinguishers," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
This whole series is built around the premise that you want more in your relationship with God. I know I do. You want more of God's power in your life. With a way to experience more of God's power in your life is to avoid the spirit quenchers. And spirit quencher number one, that is mentioned here is immorality. Immorality will extinguish the power of God's spirit in your life. Have you ever heard people say, "All sin is the same to God"? God, doesn't grade sin. All sin is the same in God's eyes. Have you ever heard that before? Nothing could be further from the truth. Now it's true that any sin is sufficient to separate you and me from God. Okay? All sin separates us from God. But there are some sins that have more serious consequences than other sins.
You know, nobody has ever gone to prison for harboring hateful thoughts for another person. I hate is wrong but you don't go to prison for that. Nobody has ever sat in the electric chair for not paying their income tax. I mean, the fact is there are some transgressions that have more consequences in this life than others. The same is true with God. Yes, all sin can separate us from God but there is some sin that has more consequence to it than others. And number one on the list, at the top of the list of sins that have greater consequences than others, is the sin of immorality.
Look at what Paul says in first Corinthians 6 beginning with verse 18. Paul says flee immorality for every other sin that a man commits is outside the body but the immoral man sins against his own body. Immorality quenches the spirit's presence in our lives. Spirit quencher number two is bitterness. Bitterness quenches the spirit's power to heal our hearts. Jesus said it very clearly in Matthew 6:15. "If you do not forgive mothers, neither will my father in heaven forgive you". Immorality quenches the spirit's presence in our life. Bitterness, refusing to forgive quenches the spirit's power to heal our hearts. There's a third spirit quencher and that is greed. That is greed. Greed quenches the spirits purpose in our life.
Now let me explain what I mean. You know, the Bible says in Romans 8:28 and 29, that God has one purpose for every Christian. His purpose for which, all things are working together for good is to conform us to the image of Christ. For whom God foreknew, he predestined to become conformed to the image of his son. So that's God's plan for every one of us here this morning. That we perfectly resemble Jesus Christ in our actions, attitudes and our affections. But God also has a specific unique plan for your life. A unique path he wants you to travel on. And the way that he communicates his unique purpose to you is through the Holy Spirit of God. And Philippians 2:13, Paul writes, "For it is God who is at work within you, giving you both the will, that is the desire and the power to achieve his purpose".
God is working at you, working in your life right now. He's given you both a desire and the unique path power to fulfill his unique plan for your life. God may be speaking to someone of you right now. God is continually speaking to all of us to do his will. But you know what can quench the spirit's purpose in your life, more quickly than anything? It's greed. It's holding onto money. It's saying, you know what? I would like to do that, but I just don't have the money to be able to do that. Now hear me, clearly. Jesus said, we need to do planning before we begin a project. A wise person is one who counts the cost. But a lot of times we don't follow through on what the spirit is leading us to do because there's an over obsession with money, hanging onto it, rather than letting go to it.
We think, you know what? I really would like to go to the mission field, but I just, I can't give up a good paying job in order to do that. Mayor, I'm sure God spoke to you and spoke to you about serving our city, as the leader of our city. But I imagine if you had looked at the salary that was not a compelling reason to give up what you were doing to serve our city. You could have said, well, it just doesn't pay enough. Therefore, I'm not going to do that.
Some of you who are saying, you know I know I ought to get married but I just don't have the money to do it. Let me give you a news bulletin. You'll never have enough money. So forget it, okay? I mean, you know, if you wait around, do you have enough money to get married? You'll never have a kid. Oh, I don't have enough money. Listen, it's gone once you have children. So just remember that. That is greed and obsession with money can many times quench what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. How do we keep greed from extinguishing God's purpose in our life? First of all, view money, realistically. View money realistically. Its power to protect us and satisfy us, is far less than you can possibly imagine.
Secondly, hold on to money loosely. Hold on to it loosely. After you have tithed, after you've set aside 10 to 15% for your future and for emergencies, you need to learn to hold the rest of it very loosely. You know, if God prompts you to buy a gift for your child, go ahead and buy it. Spend the money. If God prompts you to take your mate on a trip. Go ahead and take the trip. If God is moving you to give a extra gift, go ahead and give that gift. Learn to hold things loosely. You know what? Every time you follow that impulse to let go of money, you have reduced just by a little bit more the stranglehold that greed has on your life. It's a victory when you let go of it, hold your money loosely.
And thirdly, thank God for your money regularly. You know, expressing gratitude to God for what he has already given us, has a way of reminding us, that it really does all belong to him. I was thanking somebody who had made a generous contribution to our church. You know what they said to me? They said, pastor, it's really easy to give, when you realize it's not yours to begin with. When we express gratitude to God, it has a way of reminding us that it all belongs to him. The immorality quenches the spirit's presence in our life. Bitterness quenches the spirit's power to heal our hearts. Greed quenches the spirits purpose in our life.
Spirit quencher number four is worry. Worry quenches the spirits peace in our life. Have you ever had this happen to you? Maybe you've been at a stage in life where things seem to be going quite well. Your career's going well. Things in your family are relatively peaceful. You're following through on your goals. And quite frankly, you've never had a better relationship with God than you're experiencing. When all of a sudden out of nowhere, you are overwhelmed by fear. A particular fear comes into your life, you know. What if I lose my job? What if my child is killed in an automobile accident? What if I develop cancer? What if I lose my job? What if, what if, what if and suddenly it's like you were hit with a 50.000 volts stun gun. You're just paralyzed. You can't move forward. You can't continue doing what God is leading you to do. You become a victim of worry.
The Bible says, worry will stop the spirit's peace in our life. One writer notes that the most common command in the Bible, the most frequent command, you know what it is? It's not hate not or covet not or lie not. The most common command in the Bible is fear not. Fear not. It's found 365 times in the Bible. It's as if God is saying to us at least once a day, don't be afraid. Don't be overwhelmed by fear. And sometimes that's easier said than done. Isn't it? How can you keep fear from extinguishing the spirit's peace in your life? First of all, when you find yourself overwhelmed by fear, first of all, try to determine the source of your fear. Ask God to help reveal to you, the source of your fear.
Now this is key. Sometimes fear can come from God. Now I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking, pastor, you need to go back and listen to your message from several weeks ago. You quoted second Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love power, and a sound mind". Pastor you just contradicted yourself. Is God ever the author of fear? Well, by fear, I'm talking about a prompting that can come from God. Sometimes God will give us a prompting of something in our life that is not right. Something that needs to be taken care of. It may be something like he may prompt us to call a doctor for an appointment. He may prompt us to call and check up on our child. He may prompt us to check our bank deposit and see if our finances are in order. He may prompt us with something much more serious, that all is not right in our relationship with God. God is continually giving us these promptings. A prompting from God only becomes a fear when we obsess about it, rather than acting upon it.
See the difference? God gives us these promptings all the time in our life. If we act on them, then that's fine. But if we obsess on them and don't act, it turns into a fear. Sometimes promptings come from God. Sometimes fear comes from fatigue. We all know the famous vince Lombardi line, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all". But just something about being physically exhausted that makes you more susceptible to fear. Think about the story of Elijah in first kings 18 to 19. Remember Elijah, the one who slew the hundreds of prophets of Baal on mount Carmel. And yet he allowed one disgruntled queen queen Jezebel to send him running. He became overwhelmed with fear. Finally, he was exhausted. He said, "Lord, just go ahead and take my life right now". But then he slept, he ate and he gained a new perspective.
Did you know, sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap. You know that? Not read your Bible, not pray, not listen to Christian music. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just take a nap. And when you wake up, things will seem different. And that's what Elijah did. Fatigue can sometimes be a source of our fear. Thirdly, Satan can be a source of fear. Sometimes he is responsible for much of the fear that comes into our life. You know why I say that? Because much of the fear that we face is based on things that never turn out to be true.
Last night, I had some time by myself and I just started flipping through some of my past spiritual journals from years gone by. I looked at them from 10 years ago, 20 years ago I wrote down the things I'm concerned about, the things I was praying for, the things some of them that I was fearful about. And I just started laughing as I read these things because not one of the things I feared 10 or 20 years ago ever came to pass. None of it ever happened. The other stuff happened that I didn't know about and didn't expect to happen, but nothing I was fearful about, worried about, none of those things ever came to pass. Isn't that just like Satan? He would love to get us overwhelmed by the what-ifs of life. Things that will never occur in your life. That's why Jesus said in John 8:48, "Satan is a liar". He's the father of all lies. He wants you to worry about things that in fact have no basis in reality.
So that's why I say one of the best things you can do is first of all determine the source of your fear. Is it a legitimate prompting that needs to be acted on? Is it a simply a case of fatigue or is it the enemy attacking you? Secondly, decide to confront your fear. If you determine that it is a legitimate concern that needs to be acted upon, go ahead and act upon it instead of stooping over it. I mean if there's a doctor's appointment that needs to be made, pick up the phone and make it. If there's a bank statement that needs to be reconciled, go ahead and reconcile it. If in fact you need to go ahead and do something about that growing distance between you and your mate, go ahead and sit down and talk with him or her about it. Don't put it off. Don't obsess about it. Act upon your fear.
You see again, there is a vast difference between legitimate concerns that God places in our heart and irrational fear. Here's the difference. godly concern always leads to change and ultimately to success, but fear always leads to paralysis and failure. Now Paul made that distinction in second Corinthians 7:10. He said "For the sorrow that is the concern that is according to the will of God produces a repentance that is a change without regret and it leads to salvation. But the worry of the world produces death". Real godly concern will always lead somewhere. It leads to change and salvation but the sorrow, the regret, the obsessing of this life always leads to paralysis and ultimately to death.
Napoleon Hill once said, "Do the things you fear and the death of fear is certain". Go ahead and confront your fears. And thirdly deliver your fear to God. You know, after you confront your fear head on, you still may find that the enemy comes back and comes back and tries to get you paralyzed by fear. In that case, deliver that fear to God. First Peter 5:7 says, "Casting all your care upon him because he cares for you". You know the best word in that verse to me, is the word all, cast all your anxiety upon him. God shoulders are broad enough, not just to handle the little concerns of your life, but the biggest concerns of your life.
Remember Corrie Ten Boom that great saint of God wrote the hiding place. She used to say whenever she was overwhelmed by worry, whenever she was paralyzed by fear, she would stand in front of the mirror and she would say, "This fear, this concern is too big for even Jesus Christ himself to handle". Then she would smile and then she would feel ashamed of herself. What concern in your life? Let me ask you, what concern in your life is too big for God to handle? Can you think of one? Casting all your anxiety upon him, for he cares for you. Immorality quenches the spirit's presence. Bitterness quenches the spirit's power to heal your hearts. Greed extinguishes the spirits purpose in your life and worry extinguishes the spirits peace in your life. What's the antidote to all of these spirit quenchers? In a word, it's obedience. Obedience. Very simply doing what you know, you need to do. Now don't tune out here.
Listen, is there an immoral practice, an immoral relationship you're involved in right now? Go ahead and forsake it, abandon it. Is there somebody you are having trouble forgiving right now in bitterness? Has been in your heart for a long time? Go ahead and forgive that person. Is there something you feel like God is leading you to do, but because of your obsession with money, you just can't do it? Go ahead and flee from that greed. Is there some worry that is overwhelming you, extinguishing God's peace in your life? Go ahead and give it to God, cast it upon God because he cares for you.
Jonathan Edwards, the great puritan preacher. During his lifetime, composed a list of 70 resolutions that guided his life. And resolution number 25 is particularly relevant to our discussion today. This is what he wrote, "Resolved to examine carefully and constantly, what that one thing is, which causes me in the least to doubt the love of God and then to direct all my forces against it". What is the one thing in your life, that is quenching the Holy Spirit's power in your life? I imagine you already know what it is, don't you? You see, God has given you the desire, but he is also giving you the power to change that one thing. Go ahead and change it. Change it today and watch the flame of God's spirit to begin to burn brightly in your life again.