Sunday, 17 December 2017

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:  
17  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.

Numbers 3 v 4: "And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father."

Strange fire is when an unholy ritual, a mingling of false with true, pagan experience, is brought into true spiritual worship.  It is an abomination to the Lord.  This is what He says about it.

2 Corinthians 6 v 14 - 18: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
 15  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
 16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
 17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
 18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

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