June 18, 2023

The Refiner's Fire

Pastor: Jeff Bedwell Series: The Gospel Story Scripture: James 1:2–8

The Gospel Story 
The Refiner’s Fire 
James 1:2-8

God loves you just the way that you are; He loves you way too much to leave you that way.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:5–7, ESV)

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10, ESV)

Principles from the Refiner’s Fire

  1. The refiner always breaks the rock with Intentionality (2-4)

It is often when we are being broken that God is doing the most in us! 

Example of Peter:

  • Matthew 14 – Walking on the water. Peter “saw the wind” and started sinking
  • Peter thought: I have to be Secure
  • Truth: I have to be where God wants me to be
  • Matthew 16 – Peter had a better plan than the death of Jesus
  • Peter thought: I have to be in Control
  • Truth: I have to be Obedient
  • Luke 22 – “Aren’t you one of his?”
  • Peter thought: I have to Survive
  • Truth: I have to be Faithful
  1. The refiner heats the Crucible Thoroughly

The refiner determines:

  • The Target
  • The Temperature
  • The Time

When the heat is on, I am tempted to ask the wrong questions; most of those start with Why? (5-8)

It is more helpful to ask: What? And How?

  • What is it you want me to learn through this?
  • What is it that you want to change in me through this?
  • How can I glorify God and serve His purposes through this?
  1. The refiner removes Impurities Continually

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6–7, ESV)

For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness… Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:10 & 14, ESV)

God will work to remove those things from our lives that inhibit Unhindered Intimacy with Him.

  1. The refiner pours out the molten metal into a mold for Maximum Usability

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20, ESV)

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9, ESV)

He (God) permits what He hates, in order to accomplish what He loves. There's no more liberating or joyful truth for the suffering Christian.” Joni Eareckson Tada

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:28–29, ESV)

When Experiencing the Refiner’s Fire Remember:

  • God’s love Desires the best for us.
  • God’s wisdom Knows the best for us.
  • God’s faithfulness Accomplishes the best for us.

Making It Personal:

  • Sometimes God uses hardships to make us aware of our need for Christ. Have you personally turned from your sin, trusted in Christ’s provision through the cross and surrendered your life to His rule and reign?
  • How have you seen God use trials in your past to refine you for His purposes? What can you learn from this?
  • What are you walking through now that God may be using to refine and shape you? How are you responding to the difficult but skilled work of God in your life?
  • Who can you encourage and strengthen by sharing your story of walking through the refiner’s fire and God’s faithfulness to you in the process?
  • Who can you share these truths with?

Ready to take your Next Step?

  • See one of the pastors after the service today
  • Fill out a Connect Card and drop it in the offering box
  • Text Next to 803-637-8484
  • Go to FBCFM.COM and click “Next Steps”

other sermons in this series

Sep 10

2023

The Return of the King

Pastor: Jeff Bedwell Scripture: Revelation 19:1– 20:15 Series: The Gospel Story

Aug 20

2023

Getting On God's Agenda

Pastor: Jeff Bedwell Scripture: Acts 10:1–48 Series: The Gospel Story

Aug 13

2023

Transformed

Pastor: Jeff Bedwell Scripture: Acts 9:1–43 Series: The Gospel Story