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Summary: 3rd in the REVIVAL SERIES INSPIRED BY ELONARD RAVENHILL

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John the Baptist and The Fire Of God … Luke 3:1-16

INTRODUCTION...

This is our 3RD message in our REVIVAL SERIES...our first message was “Spirit...Breath on Me” and our text was MATTHEW 28:1-7, our second message was “Revival” and our text for that one was HOSEA 10:12-13.

Today...we are going to look at the Gospel according to Luke...specifically the 3RD chapter of that book.

I guess most of us can quote JOHN 3:16 but how many of us can quote LUKE 3:16?

LUKE 3:16 is the other side of the coin...and it should be just as well known.

It says... “John (the Baptist) 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:"

Because the Bible says that God is a consuming fire...it naturally follows that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of fire.

Jesus said in LUKE 12:49... "I’ve come to bring fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" ...see...in the Bible there is no escaping that fire...the fire of our Almighty God.

THIS MAY BE A CLICHE, BUT I STILL GET A LIFT OUT OF SAYING IT... “I BELIEVE THAT TODAY THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL FIRE BECAUSE THE CHURCH HAS LOST THE HOLY GHOST FIRE, IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.”

Between the book of Malachi and Mathew you’ve got 400 black...non prophetic years unaccounted for.

Why? Because there was 400 years of prophetic stillness...no prophetic voice in the world...BUT...then suddenly this strange man named John the Baptist came streaking across a sky that was totally black and barren.

Our Lord...the Word of God...says in JOHN 5:35 about this John the Baptist... "He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.”

And through this verse Jesus, the greatest man in history is saying... “There was no other man comparable to Him...not Isaiah...not Jeremiah or the other towering saints...he was a one time remarkable character.”

He was teaching a doctrine contrary to anything ever before heard...his message which was not the gospel ...not the “Good News”...but a message of judgment contrary to the Jewish beliefs of that day had 3 parts...

FIRST...it began by demanding that men should share with one another...he said in LUKE 3:11... “...He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”

SECOND...it ordered a man not to leave his job but to work out his Salvation by doing that job as it should be done...he said in LUKE 3:13... “...Exact no more than that which is appointed you...” and in LUKE 3:14 he says... “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

THIRD...John understood that he was only the forerunner to the Messiah...he says in LUKE 3:16... “But one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose...”

FIRST...JOHN THE BAPTIST...THIS WILD MAN...JUST APPEARS OUT IN THE WILDERNESS.

MATTHEW 3:3-4 says... “3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying... 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' 3 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.”

SO...this man was in the wilderness preaching and baptizing...yet it was not only a wilderness geographically...it was a wilderness morally...It was a wilderness politically...It was a wilderness religiously.

To set the stage...in the Old Testament we see how the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah with guidance from God set up a governorship over Israel for God's Chosen People made up of a hundred and twenty priests and rulers.

But in 170 BC there was a man with the strange name of Antiochus Epiphanes...you need to look up his name and take a look at his relatives and the things he did to the people...most especially one thing he did.

He took over Jerusalem...polluted the temple...made the Jews sacrifice to idols...branded their foreheads with a fig leaf...built a statue of Jupiter where the the altar of the burnt offering should have been.

In our history there have been antichrist like figures...him, Adolph Hitler...and they put a mark on people.

He also burned the Scriptures...prohibited the worship of Jehovah...and all this evil went on and on.

Then in 37 BC came Herod the Great who betrayed the nation to the Romans, fostered immorality, massacred these noble people, and desecrated the magnificent temple that was standing in Jerusalem.

Now with this horrendous background of murder and rape and debauchery and suffering and agony, John the Baptist steps forth…onto this stage...this remarkable character burst forth and this sets the scene that he steps into.

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