071 Some through the Fire


It is not surprising that the apostle Peter speaks several times in his First Epistle about what he calls “Fiery Trials” for he himself knew well, just what such experiences were. You too may have experienced times of great testing in your life and it seemed at such times that you were most certainly going through the Fire.

Today in the moments left to me I want to examine just

why it is that Christians are regularly tested, and some so

severely that they often feel “at breaking point”

in today’s sermon which I have entitled …

“Some Through The Fire”

In the Gospel portion which we read earlier from Luke Chapter 22, Jesus said to Peter, … “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:” v31-32

In these two verses we have a very important principle regarding Faith, which we overlook or ignore at our peril!

Simon Peter had been boasting privately and personally about his great love for, and loyalty to, the Lord Jesus. He was as we might say “putting his Faith on the line”.   In other words he was making claims on which he had not yet been tested. It is rather like me making a public claim here “on-air” that

I could sing like a “nightingale” and most people would accept such a claim coming from me? Yet if that claim was tested, and you booked me a spot on “A Song for Europe” or some similar outlet for talent, you would quickly discover that far from sounding like a “nightingale” I sound much more like a

“gale in the night!”


It can be like that also in the Christians walk of Faith, in that

much of what we say, and the things we declare, … we need to be tested on those things, so that both God (and the Devil) will know we mean business. Notice that Jesus said to Peter “Satan has desired to have you”.   The words “desired to have” here in the Greek text is the word “Exaiteo”(Pr:Exatayo) and means to “ask, beg that one give it up”   Satan cannot just place us in a testing fire, he must first of all obtain permission from Almighty God. Satan’s purpose was to “sift” Peter as one “sifts” Wheat … and before he could do that God had to give up Peter to that test.   The sifting process removes the husk, and one is left with the pure grain, the kernel, ready for grinding into flour.   So it is with the testing process which God allows, it helps remove the self life, and purify the Holy life, or life in the Holy Spirit.

Yet it is important that we know in every test God is still in ultimate control, and He will not allow us to be tested beyond that which we are able to bear. (1Cor 10:13) Also I believe that when the test or trouble has produced the desired result, then God will end the test, and give us rest.

This great truth is underscored dramatically in the portion of Scripture which we read earlier from the Book of Daniel in the 3rd Chapter. Let us refresh the memory, and read from…

Daniel 3, verse20


“And Nebuchadnezzar commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell

down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.”


In this wonderful story we have a picture of the believer holding fast to his beliefs, and being tested, even severely tested for them.   Having said: “that they would not bow down or worship the Image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up“, they found their words and their position tested, in a fiery test! They were literally thrown into a FIRE and I have no doubt that even in this Satan had to ask permission, to beg for them to be given up for such a test.   How wonderful to see here that even in the most severe test, the most burning trial, the most frightening of circumstances, Jesus himself came and stood with them. Even the King recognised that the fourth person in the fiery furnace was the “Son of God”

{I should note here that the title “Sons of God” is sometimes in the Bible, given to the Angels: (Gen 6:6, Job 2:1, Job 38:7 ) and there are some Biblical Scholars who believe that this was an Angel, and not Jesus who came to stand with these three brave and Godly men in their hour of testing.   I take issue with that, because the Aramaic word for “son” used here is the word “bar” (singular) used poetically in the Hebrew as pertaining to the

“Kings Son” (Prov. 31:2 Ps. 2:7, Ps. 2:12, and Isa.9:5) and I have no doubt whatever that such an excellent testimony from

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego drew the attention of Jesus and all of heaven.} Praise God! Make no mistake, that if God asks you and I to pass through any “fiery trial” he will not abandon us in it or to it. Remember the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:” Isaiah 43:1-3

The Fiery test may be severe but God will take care of you!


Let us return to the apostle Peter, and the words of Jesus to him in Luke 22. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:…

and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” v31-32

Here Jesus indicated that the testing process would lead to Peters conversion, and the strengthening of Faith. Peter was a follower of Jesus and was keen that others knew that.   Yet Peter had another love in his life, and I dare to think that at this time he still had a measure of loyalty towards it.   Peter loved Fishing, but from day one, Jesus wanted to make him a “Fisher of Men”.   You will remember that directly after the Lord’s Crucifixion, when the disciples felt abandoned and forsaken, and very much that their dream was over, their lives ended and their hopes

dashed, ….and although Jesus had appeared to some of them following his Resurrection, there was still clearly doubt in the mind of Thomas, and Peter announced “I am going Fishing”

( John 21:3) There is a sense in which one might say of Peter that he was going “back” instead of “forward”. Back to the old ways rather than pursuing the new ways in which Jesus had led them.   You see Peter was going to need a few more tests, and maybe God knows that in order to keep you and me in the “Ways of His choosing”, a few tests are sometimes necessary, and maybe a few “fiery” tests at that?

Yet Peter came through for Jesus, passed the tests and was later able to write for our benefit in …..

1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” and again in …..

1 Peter 4:12-14 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of Glory

and of God resteth upon you:”

Peter had discovered that the trials and test of life, though sometimes fiery, are those that produce “Christ-like-ness” in every one of Gods children.   We can never hope to reflect the beauty of Jesus in our lives if we have not been

“partakers of Christ’s sufferings”!


Consider with me for a moment those who endured “hardship” in order to achieve good, and become a blessing to others. I think of those who have laid down their lives in “war” and “conflict”

so that we might enjoy a more “peaceful” and a more “caring” world. Look back with me at your own life and ask yourself the question …

“Has there ever been any trial or testing time, in which you have not been forced to draw nearer to God?”   Have not your tears had a cleansing effect on your character. If God has allowed heartache and heartbreak into your life, are you not honestly a better person because of it? There has been a Blessing in every Crisis, whether or not you have noticed it.   I admit that at the time few tests trials or troubles can be identified as “friendly” … but when you look back in retrospect you can often see that what you once considered an enemy, really turned out to be a friend!

I have been a long time young!!!   and have come to the conclusion that anything and everything that is worth while MUST cost something.   Moses spent 40 years in the desert “running away” before He could be used by God! Joseph spent time in a Pit and in a Prison, before God made him second in command over Egypt!   John the Baptist lost his Head to a “foolish drunken woman’s whim” but Jesus said that in the Kingdom of God, there would be none equal to Him!   Jesus himself lost his life so that we might keep ours! Many have lost their family and friends because they “followed after Jesus” and still more have left behind houses, lands and wealth for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, but Jesus said that all such would receive a “hundred-fold” both in this world and in the world to come!   “No Pain- No Gain”   Praise God!


Years ago, as a child I regularly sat and watched my Mother baking Bread. (sometime she would let me help her) The dough, was thoroughly kneaded, battered and bruised on the baking board, salted and seasoned, rolled and flattened, shaped and

severed to fit the baking tin, and then after all that “knocking about” the worst was yet to come, it was placed (in the fire), well in the oven for baking! (and I have to say that no bread ever tasted quite like my Mothers home made)

I’ve been thinking about that process today as I have been writing this sermon. Baking Bread is a lot like life,

especially the life of the Christian.


There are a variety of ingredients in any loaf, and a variety of experiences in any life.   But together, they make up the whole. Apart, or alone they are of little value, but blended together they can form a beautiful memory, a beautiful meal.   The Kneading of the loaf into shape is like the working of the life into service. Pushed and pulled, formed and transformed, soon the dough is ready for the tin, and soon the child is ready for manhood, soon the young has matured, and ready for the fire.   Without the fire, without the oven, without the heat, the whole is pointless, the dough is useless, the food is wasted, and the purpose lost.   But when the bread is put in the oven, it usually comes out at least “twice” the size it was when it went in! The hot and fiery tests of life can often make a man or woman twice the person they once were!   Then with the baking, the cooking completed, the process done, the bread is broken, the taste is memorable, the meal nourishing.   Hunger has been satisfied, a need has been met, a desire is achieved.


Do you see the similarities? Do you appreciate the process in which the “fire” and the “oven” is a necessary part?

God wants us to “feed the hungry” also, to bring nourishment and sustenance to those who hunger and thirst spiritually.


In Isaiah 58 verse 10, we read that

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday”

We can never be poured out for the hungry, either the physically hungry or the spiritually hungry, unless and until we have first of all been emptied of self and filled with the Saviour. I have nothing in and of myself to offer any needy soul, but Jesus in me can offer them help and hope, health and heaven.

The Hymn writer could say:

“No longer let it be my being, my wisdom love or power,

but the life of JESUS ONLY flowing thru me hour by hour”


Now this Final Word


There is another “Fire” through which the believer will often have to tread, that is the fiery trial of “Temptation” as once again Satan tests our will-power to withstand those things that appeal to our senses, and our old nature.

A while ago I found an amusing story about a Frog and a Toad which illustrates the point well: Here it is ….


Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad, as he ate one. “and they taste even better,” he said.

Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad,

“taste these cookies that I have made.”

Frog ate one of the cookies, “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog.

Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full,

“I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.”

“You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie.

There were many cookies left in the box.

“Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie.

“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another.

“Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need willpower.”

“What is willpower?” asked Toad.

“Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really

want to do,” said Frog.

“You mean like trying hard not to eat all these cookies?”

asked Toad.     “Right,” said Frog.

Frog put the cookies in the box and closed the lid. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”

“But we can open the box,” said Toad.

“That is true,” said Frog.

Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”

“But we can cut the string and open the box.” said Toad.

“That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder.

He put the box up on a high shelf.

“There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”

“But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad.

“That is true,” said Frog.

Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf. He cut the string and opened the box. Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a loud voice. “Hey, birds, here are cookies!” Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away.

“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly.

“Not even one.”

“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of willpower.”

“You may keep it all, Frog, you’ll need it” said Toad.

“I am going home now to bake a cake!”


Sometimes when we think we have beaten one sin, we find ourselves facing another just as tempting, or maybe like Toad & Frog, we have simply hidden away temptation in a box when we should have thrown it away.   Many suppose that they have all the willpower they need, that is until they come face to face with a real temptation. You see both in the fires of testing and the fires of tempting we all need JESUS.

Give him a chance in your life today.

Invite Him now to be your Saviour and Friend

and may God Bless you as you do. AMEN