Summary: Message about the symbols of the Holy Spirit and the fire
Title: THE FIRE OF THE LORD
TEXT: MATTHEW 3:11 – 12
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: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Here John makes a direct reference to on of the major functions of the Holy Ghost. It begins as a reference to the deceit and the arrogance of the Pharisees and Sadducees. These were the religious leaders of the day.
They both were prideful in their own selves. Believing that they were the true followers of God. With the Pharisees they were big on following the law. It would seem like this from the outside by their works and deeds. But inside they were full and pride and deceit. Deceiving the Jews into believing that following the law would make them righteous before God.
Worse yet were the Sadducees who were the teachers and scribes of the law. Yet they denied so many of the Torah’s teaching.
John prophesies of a judgment that is about to happen to the children of God, the Israelites. He says that “the axe is laid unto the root of the tree”. This means that the axe is there at the tree and ready for the woodsman to pick it up to begin to cut it down.
Judgment was coming. God was about to separate the good trees from the bad. Those trees that bring forth good fruit will be kept and those that bring forth bad will be chopped down.
The picture we get is that the time is almost fulfilled. It is about to happen every thing is fallen in place.
John was the forerunner to this. He could see that this was about to take place. Judgment was going to come through the Messiah.
In verse 11 John begins explain the process of this judgment. When he came and preached repentance people were baptized in water. Water baptism symbolizes a washing of the old and a cleansing of the new. It came when those repented.
Yet something was about to change. The Messiah was coming. He had already been born and was about to ascend into the ministry.
John baptized with water but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
We know what the baptism in the Holy Ghost means. This was fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4 on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost descended up the 120 in the upper room. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, a rushing mighty wind blew through, and tongues of fire rested upon each one. It is the promise of power.
Yet what is this fire?
FIRE IS MENTIONED OVER 500 TIMES IN THE WORD OF GOD
In GENESIS 19:24 we see THE FIRST RECORDED MENTION OF FIRE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
GEN. 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Then in MATTHEW 3:10 we see THE FIRST RECORDED USE OF THE WORD FIRE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
MATT. 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire
IT IS NOT A COINCIDENCE THAT THE FIRST MENTION OF FIRE IN BOTH TESTAMENTS ALSO SPEAKS OF AN ACT OF JUDGMENT
Yet in the New Testament this fire represented more than judgment but also a cleansing, purging, and purifying.
Listen again to MATTHEW 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The fan actually means the “winnowing fork”. It is used to separate the good wheat from the chaff. Then the chaff was burned because it had no use.
HERE IN MATTHEW 3:12 WE SEE THE FIRE OF THE HOLY GHOST AT WORK PURIFYING, SEPARATING, PURGING, CLEANSING
Let me tell you IF WE ARE TO SEE A MIGHTY MOVE OF GOD IN OUR LIVES TODAY WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO ALLOW THE FIRE OF THE HOLY GHOST TO DO A WORK IN US
A WORK OF PURIFYING, A WORK OF SEPARATION, A WORK OF PURGING, A WORK OF CLEANSING
It is time that we allowed the Lord to begin to separate what we don’t need and what is hindering us from being all that we can be for Christ.