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II. THE FIRE OF JUDGMENT THAT WILL TRY THE BELIEVER’S WORKS.

The second fire you will find in 1 Corinthians iii. 13, 15: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” This second fire is the fire of judgment, testing our works at the judgment seat of Christ. Now you notice the judgment here is not the judgment regarding our salvation. These are saved people whose works are burnt up. All the work we do for Christ is to be put to the test, is to be put to the severest kind of test, the fire test; and, friends, there is a great deal the Church of Christ is doing professedly for Christ, and a great deal individual Christians are doing, that will never stand the fire test. Do you think that these church fairs and bazaars and all that sort of tomfoolery by which the Church of Christ is brought down to the level of the dime museum, into which so many professed Christians are putting their best energies, do you think that these will stand the fire test? Never! they will all go up in smoke. You may be saved, but you will lose your reward. You will be saved so as by fire. A great deal of work that is good, but that is done not to God’s glory but for personal ambition—the good sermon, perfectly orthodox, severely logical, beautifully rhetorical, the sermon that even good people applaud, but that is preached not that God may be glorified in the salvation of sinners, but that the preacher may be applauded. Do you think that will stand the fire test? Never! it will go up in smoke. The beautiful solos and the philanthropic work done, the personal soul-saving work done, not for God’s glory but for the exaltation of self—will these stand the fire test? Never! they will all go up in smoke.

On the night of which I have been speaking in my church, the two leading singers went down into that second meeting, and the leading soprano said—a beautiful singer, one of the most beautiful singers I have ever heard, “I never thought of it before. I don’t believe I have sung a solo in my life for God. I sang it for self.” Thank God the fire of God came upon my leading soprano and my leading contralto, and I lost them both, for they became missionaries. I would like to lose the whole choir, if I could lose them in the same way!

Furthermore, let me say, good work, work done for a good purpose, but done in our own strength and not done in the power of the Holy Ghost, will not stand the fire test. The sermon preached to glorify God, but preached with the enticing words of man’s wisdom and not in demonstration of the spirit and power of God, will it stand the fire test? Never! So, men and women, our work is to be tried regarding its character, regarding its motive, regarding its power in which it is done. Will your work stand the fire?

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