Summary: We want the baptism of the Holy Ghost but do we want the baptism of fire?
A Baptism of Fire
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Luke 12:49-51 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
l. INTRODUCTION – FIRE
In a few short months, summer will be upon us. Although in our area of the United States we do not have to deal with a perplexity that sweeps through the western states and some of the northwestern states. That difficulty they have to deal with is forest fires. We have some the highest technology now to fight fires. Sometimes the blazes are started by careless campers who allow a wayward campfire to destroy thousands of acres. Sometimes it is a still lit cigarette that is the culprit. Or sometimes, as with last summer, the fires are started by absurd arsonists. However, more often than not the forest fires began with a summer thunderstorm and a lightning strike.
Once the fire gains the force of the winds behind it and the dry tinder in front of it, the fire starts to rage entirely out of control. Consuming whatever is in it’s path, dead trees, dry creek beds, even homes become prey to the blaze. As the forest rangers and firefighters began to struggle with the onslaught of the fire, everything possible to contain the fire is placed at their disposal. They start back-fires which burns areas before the main body of the fire can ravage it. The use of airplanes and helicopters that drop tons of chemicals and water on the blaze is used. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment become huge tools to extinguish the fires.
For years, public knowledge has been used with the Smoky the Bear ads to instruct and educate the public about forest fires. Much success has been gained in this particular area, but now researchers are having to reconsider all of the suppression and dousing of these forest fires. For what they are now discovering in the huge redwood forests, the giant conifers, the towering pines is not good.
For hundreds of years prior to our firefighting efforts, there was no control for forest fires. They simply raged out of control and burned everything in their path and was only consumed once they burnt out. These forest fires ravaged and destroyed the landscape until nothing was left to burn. Yet, now researchers are beginning to understand that perhaps there was something that was very productive in these huge forest fires that consumed thousands of acres.
Now that fires are being suppressed and controlled, the problem with beetles and blight on trees has soared. The fire has been put out but the disease on the trees has become magnified. The beetles and other bugs are now having a heyday among the leaves and soft, sweet timber. They are destroying the forest little by little. Forest rangers are having to resort to poisons that are either sprayed, spread, or powdered in the regions of contamination. Much to their chagrin, the poisons are not killing their pests, it appears that the forests are becoming sicker and sicker.
-I believe that both John the Baptist and the Lord were on to something when they promised the work of fire. Sometimes we Pentecostals want to focus in on the power of the Holy Ghost but not the power of the fire. Or even that our understanding of the baptism of fire is totally opposite of what God fully intended.
ll. THE TEXT – LUKE 12
(Moffatt’s) Luke 12:49-51 – “I have come to throw fire on earth. Would it were kindled already!” “I have a baptism to undergo–what tension I suffer, till it is all over!” “You think I am here to make peace on earth? No, I tell you, it is dissension.”
(The Message) Luke 12:49-51 – “I’ve come to start a fire on this earth–how I wish it were blazing right now!” “I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up–how I long for it to be finished!” “Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront!”
(Amplified) Luke 12:49-51 – “I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” “I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and how greatly and sorely I am urged on (impelled, constrained) until it is accomplished!” “Do you suppose that I have come to give peace upon earth? No, I say to you, but rather division;”