Summary: What does John mean when he says Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit "and with fire."
Oct 11, 2009
Scripture: Luke 24:13-34 - Emmaeus Rd
1 Cor. 3:10-14; Rev 3:14-22
Exodus 19:16-19; 24:15-18
Read: Rev 3:14-22
Read Text: Matthew 3:11
John was a great preacher. Maybe the greatest preacher of his day and yet he said, “There is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.” He said there is one coming who has power. Now the message that John, and the one whom John said was coming, is not different. John preached the message of repentance, and people believed his message of the necessity of forgiveness of sins and were baptized. But John said there was one coming after him, one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Look at that text again with me please. Matthew 3:11. (Read again.) It’s in the Bible. This message this morning is not denominational theology - it’s biblical theology - God’s Word. When Jesus comes - in other words when you believe and accept him as Savior - when he comes into your life, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
How many of you played with fire when you were younger? (Go on - you can admit it...).
We’re not talking about playing with fire here. We’re talking about the very nature of God. This is the nature of God that is expressed in the ministry of his son and is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Remember Moses and the burning bush? When God wanted to get Moses’ attention he spoke to him out of the fire. The fire was in the bush. But it didn’t consume the bush. The bush burned from within, - it was not consumed.
And when God gave the ten commandments, Mount Sinai was covered with smoke and the smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace and the voice of God spoke to Moses. In Chapter 24 of Exodus it says that to “the Israelites the glory of God appeared as a fire.” These are revelations about the nature of God. The God who is fire.
When the disciples were walking with Jesus along the Emmaeus road, after they realized who he was, they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us.
When we are walking with Jesus, the very nature of God is within us - like the burning bush, like the hearts of the disciples.
So when we are walking with Jesus - when we are in communion with him, God’s FIRE should be evident.
May I be so bold this morning as to suggest that in the church - in the body of Christ - like we’ve been talking about for the past several weeks - in the church - it’s been a long time since the world has seen Fire. That’s not meant to be a critical statement or some kind of harsh judgement. It just seems to me like it is a fact - we really haven’t seen a whole lot of fire.
I remember an illustration I heard once about a little old country church just outside of a town in Indiana. And one night the old wooden church building caught on fire and the church people came running from all around to help get the fire out and hopefully save the church. And from just down the road a ways an old man came running to see if he could also give some help. Well, one of the church people noticed him helping the very best he could - putting all his effort into it, with all the others - and she said to him, “I’ve never seen you at this church before.” And the old man said, “This church has never been ON FIRE before!!”
Folks, the promise of God’s word is that He will baptize with the Holy Spirit, and with fire. It’s a promise. It’s something we can expect, because God is faithful, and it’s something we should be looking for - something that should be evident as an expression of the very nature of God living and moving and having his presence among us and within us.
I don’t think there are two many here this morning who claim to have Christ as their Savior, who would say that the Holy Spirit is NOT guiding them and leading them, but how about the fire? Can we say with the disciples that our hearts are burning within us?
You know, sometimes, we get all caught up with experiences. And some of us build our lives on what is called experiential theology. But we have to measure our experiences by the truth of God’s word and the expression of His nature among us.
Maybe most of us here this morning can point to an exact time in our lives when we gave our hearts to Christ - when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. You know, we can say, "On July 24, 1942, sitting around the campfire at Camp "so-and-so" I gave my heart to Jesus. That’s when I got saved. And some people use that one special moment - that time of salvation in order to validate their Christian witness. But my question for all of us today is not, “What was your Christian experience?” But rather, “What is your Christian expression?” I’m not so interested in when the fire first came upon you. Is the fire in you? Is the very nature of God burning in your heart?