Monday, 10 October 2016

Baptism of Fire

Scriptures: Luke 3 v 16 - 17: "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."
Jeremiah 1 v 10: "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant."

When we think of someone going through a baptism of fire in a worldly way we see them facing huge challenges that must be overcome. In the spiritual sense John the Baptist said that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was coming to baptize people in the Holy Ghost and  with fire.

This fire is a purging fire that the Holy Spirit begins to burn up all the worldliness  within you that you have accumulated over the years before you were born again. Your sins have been forgiven but the residue of consequences needs to be purged. 

We see the pattern of it in Jeremiah 1 v 10: "See I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant." It is useless to build a foundation on top of rubble. It must be removed completely or everything will be unstable. So the fire of the Holy Spirit gets into every nook and cranny in the kingdoms of our hearts and destroys all that we burdened ourselves with in the world in which we are now strangers passing through.

As Christians we are no longer part of the world system, we are citizens of Heaven and ambassadors of God. We have crossed the floor and all our loyalties must be to our Father and Jesus. So the fire will devour our bondage to this world and then the real building and planting will begin.

In Peter we are called peculiar people! This is because through being born again, baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit and now His fire going deep into our souls we are changed and become "different". We are a new creation in Christ, no longer "just human". We have the divinity of Jesus within us and we are spiritually seated in Him in heaven at the right hand of the Father.  We are literally part of His Body.

We have unlimited access to the power of God for any situation. We really don't need lawyers, doctors, consultants or advisers. Jesus is our Advocate, our Healer, our Teacher.  We just need faith to believe "out of the box" experiences, i.e. miracles, do happen today!

So the worldly people hate us because we are not like them. They will mock, persecute, stone, kill and threaten us. We must stand firm and use every opportunity to show or tell them about Jesus. As good ambassadors should do.

Elijah and the 200 prophets of Baal had a baptism of fire in 1 Kings 18 v 21 - 40. In the end the fire of the Lord fell upon the prophets of Baal and their rejection of the true and living God, and they were devoured by the flames. So the Lord will bring judgment by fire too. 

Over 40 years ago, when Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife Sabrina escaped from Communist Russia where he had been imprisoned and tortured for preaching the gospel, they visited India. They saw Hindus in a fire walking ceremony running over hot coals. The Hiindus taunted him that his God was not so powerful. Richard removed his shoes and socks and stood on those red hot coals for 45 minutes and preached the gospel to them. They all got saved.

There is another side to this story concerning those involved in Catch the Fire meetings or Toronto Blessing. This is a false spiritual experience which has a serious consequence. The spirit involved is called the Kundalini and it is a deadly evil. They believe its the true revival but it is not. It has been sent by Satan to undermine the church before the true world revival can begin.  It is a strange fire that is burning and deceiving the unwary, bringing hurt and division to the Body of Christ.

The Baptism of Fire never ceases. The Holy Spirit empowers you with a passion for Jesus in which He becomes your all in all. You may say it often but there comes a day when you truly know it.  There comes a day when all your dross has been consumed and you have no life outside of Jesus Christ.  You can no longer compete with His will for you, it becomes sheer delight to be obedient.

The promises of God are true and nothing is too difficult for Him. The baptism of fire is sometimes painful and intense but it does a powerful inner work that no human hand or mind can achieve. When the vessel goes through the refining fire and is glazed it becomes fit for the Master's use.

Prayer: Father God nothing escapes Your eye in the forming of a soul to become like Jesus. You make it perfect in Your time. Father there is much in me still needing Your refining touch. I yield to Your holy way to change me into the likeness of Your Son. In Jesus' name. Amen