Eze. 22:18-22 THE JOY OF LIVING IN GODíS FURNACE
Intro: Israel is pictured as impure silver. They have allowed themselves to become
mingled with the world, and, as a result, they are no longer pure, but have become
worthless and weak. God is pictured as a refiner of metals. (Ill. The process.) God
is determined to rid them of their impurities and to mold them into His image. Israel
is facing the fierce judgment of Almighty God.
You and I also become alloyed, or mingled, with the impurities of the world.
When we do, we also lose our value and are weakened. However, unlike Israel, our
sins have already been judged at Calvary and were forever forgiven at the very
moment of salvation. If thatís the case, then why does it seem that so many of Godís
children are in the furnace? With Israel, it was a matter of Divine judgment. With
us, God is merely trying to see His image.
Now, it is no fun at all being down in the furnace of trouble and trial, but
Godís furnace can prove to be a wellspring of joy. Tonight, I want to preach for a
while about ďThe Joy Of Living In Godís Furnace.Ē
I. THE PLACE OF THE FURNACE
A. Ill. The metal - impure and worthless until exposed to the heat of the furnace
and the breath of the refiner.
B. Godís furnace is a place where our impurities are burned away.
1. The impurity of sin can get you in the furnace - Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:8
2. The weak alloy of casual service can also put you there - (Ill. Zealous - Tit.
3. The great love of the Father can place you there - 1 John 4:7-8 (Ill. His
desire for each of us is that we bear His image. His furnace is calculated to
burning off all the layers of dross and revealing the glory hidden within -
Ill. Jesus and the transfiguration - Matt. 17; Ill. Our own transfiguration -
II. THE PAIN OF THE FURNACE
A. The furnace is a place of fire.
B. When God places us in the furnace, He is turning up the heat in our lives.
When this takes place, it is never pleasant. There is always something that is
lost! (Ill. The pain of loss and of God burning out the junk in our lives - Ill.
Joab 2 Sam. 14:28-32.) (Ill. God knows our heartstrings.)
C. The furnace is always a place of pain - Just ask Job - Chp. 1-2. (Ill. Lost
finances, family, fitness, and friends)
D. It hurts, but God always has as His purpose renewal and restoration. (Ill. Isa.
1:22-26) (Ill. He is always seeking you best interests - Rom. 8:28)
III. THE PRIVILEGE OF THE FURNACE
A. As hard as it may be to believe, the furnace is a place of privilege.
B. There are several reasons why this is true.
1. Only metals that can be used go into the furnace - Jer. 6:29-20
(Ill. The refiner wonít waste His time on metal that will never be profitable.
You see, when God has you in the furnace, He is seeing something in you
that He wants to bring out.) (Ill. The image of Jesus!)
2. The furnace reveals a side of the refiner that could not otherwise be
known. (Ill. The patience of the refiner.) (Ill. The 3 Hebrews in the fiery
furnace; Daniel in the loinís den; Noah in the flood; Israel in the
wilderness; disciples in the storm; thief on the cross!)
3. In the ministry of the furnace, the refinerís personal touch can be felt.
(Ill. Breath!) (Ill. Paul - 2 Cor. 12:7-9)
4. The furnace reveals the impurities in our lives - Ill. When things are
level and cool, often there are things that go unnoticed. The fire reveals
5. The furnace is temporary, the benefits are eternal - 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom.
6. The furnace reveals our salvation - The lost are never tried in Godís
furnace! It is a privilege for the saints alone!
IV. THE PRIZE OF THE FURNACE
A. After the dross is removed, the refiner is able to His image reflected in the
metal. At this point, He can mold it into a valuable vessel of His own
B. When you and I are passing through the furnace, we must be aware that when
we endure it, we will:
1. Reveal Him more clearly to a watching world - Matt. 5:13-16; John 14:9)
(Our will be a clear testimony.)
2. Be more valuable to His work - 2 Tim. 2:22; Pro. 25:4
3. Be moldable - (Ill. Jesus set the example for us in the Garden - Luke 22:42.
C. The furnace is painful and hard, but for the dedicated believer, the prize is
worth the price.
Conc: Are you in the furnace tonight? If so, just yield to the Fatherís hand, allow
Him to finish His work. Then, be a vessel of honor for His glory. When these things
take place, you will know the joy of life in Godís furnace.