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Summary: Christians need John the Baptist’s " . . . and fire" to burn out the dross of unrighteousness.

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“And fire”

The most frustrating struggle - superficial Christians.

The most worrisome item - carnal Christians.

The greatest challenge - a generation that knows not God.

The answer to every one of those items is found in a single key statement of John the Baptist preaching - “Holy Ghost and fire.” It is the “and fire” aspect of his message that I particularly wish to focus on.

I. We have become used to a water based Christianity. Water based referring to the manner of cleansing applied to the Christian life.

A. We become used to the tolerant cleansing by washing. Washing of water by the word is a very kind way to be cleansed. The washing of baptism and foot washing are low cost ways of cleaning. But the scripture speaks of another cleansing, this one by fire.

B. Water cleanses the outside, but fire purifies the inside. Ore dug from the earth is washed with water to remove surface earth and dirt, but in order for it to be totally cleansed, it must go through the fire to burn out the dross.

C. The first mention of fire or flame in scripture was the angel with the flaming sword, restricting Adam and Eve’s entrance into Eden. The second mention of fire in scripture is in connection with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord rained on those cities with fire and brimstone. It was an instrument of cleansing the earth.

D. Fire is one of the most drastic cleansing agents known to man. Dr. whose house burned last week, “I couldn’t believe it burned. There was nothing there but concrete and steel. What was there to burn.”

II. Listen to scriptural declarations concerning the truth I am about to share with you:

A. “Behold the axe is laid at the root of the tree, every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.”

1. Fruit - fruit of the spirit,

2. fruit of souls.

B. Our God is a consuming fire

C. Numb 31:23 Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make [it] go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.

D. Zech 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.

E. Mala 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

F. 1Cor 3:13 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. {it shall be: Gr. it is}

G. Let there be no doubt, “. . . and fire!” is still a dynamic part of God’s way or working.

III. Fire cleanses and destroys. It can either clean or destroy. That which allows fire to be a cleansing agent will be cleansed. That which stubbornly refuses to allow fire to cleanse is so cheap and tawdry that the only result of the heat can be destruction.


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