The Baptism of Fire, Pt. 2

Luke 3:16 says, “John 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.”

In biblical times, the sacrifices were to be seasoned with salt. Mark 9:49-50 says, “49For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Our sacrifices is to be seasoned with salt, which reflects the words we speak. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Our speech is to be seasoned with salt so that we know how to answer people when we are questioned about our faith. It should encourage others to believe in God! Salt’s purpose is to enhance (french fries), protect (icy roads), and preserve (meat). In the same fashion, our words should enhance, protect, and preserve our environment and those who are around us. It is a sacrifice because we not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ or shy away from telling the truth, but we must share with others who Jesus is in our lives.

The leftovers of the sacrifice would be ashes. When you give everything that you have and are to God, all that you will have left is ash. This has spiritual significance. According to Numbers 19:9, the ashes of a heifer that was sacrificed was to be gathered outside of the camp into a clean place. Since Christ is our High Priest, after we become living sacrifices before Him and reach the place where feel as though we are nothing, He will take us outside of the camp and where the populace is in order for us to be cleansed and purified in His sight. He wants to carry us to the place where it is just us and Him. He longs for intimacy with us, and we should be willing to give that back in return. It foreshadowed Jesus Christ! Hebrews 9:13-14 says, “13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Christ longs to purge our conscience from dead works, but it can only happen when become as ash before Him, and when we do, it does not stop there. Isaiah 61:3 teaches that He will give us “beauty for ashes”. He will give us a joy unspeakable and full of glory in the midst of our mourning and brokenness. You may feel like nothing, but when you take upon yourself the identity of Christ, you are capable of seeing yourself the way God sees you. It indicates that you are fearfully and wonderfully made because you are His child bearing His DNA. You may feel like ash, but God is ready to create something out of nothing. Just give Him your life, and He will do just that!

The second thing that the baptism of fire does is that it purifies. It tests to see what we are truly made of. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 says, “3Every 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. 14If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” The fire reveals what you are made of, and if you are made of gold or silver, you will be purified! 1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. Your faith will be tried by fire, but it is to burn all of the impurities out of you so that your praise to God can be perfected. It is similar to when the three Hebrew children were thrown in the burning fiery furnace bound, but when the king looked into the flames, he seen four men loose in the fire. God will never leave you during that trial, but your faith will be tried. However, when you come out of the flames, you will be stronger than ever before, insomuch that you impact people of higher power and authority. It creates a testimony in you of the greatness of your God! Instead of running away from the fire, run to it with all of your might so that you can get everything God has in store for you. Malachi 3:2 mentions about refiner’s fire. A silversmith does not put the silver directly into the flames, but he holds it into the right position over the flames so that the silver is not damaged. He knows that the silver has completed the purification process when he can see his image in the silver! When God puts you in the fire, He is seeing what you are made of and burning all of those impurities out so that you can be a reflection of His image and glory!

The baptism of fire purifies us by consuming all of those things in our lives that can eventually destroy us. We have to kill the sin before the sin kills us! A good illustration to use is when Paul was bitten by a venomous snake (Acts 28:1-7). The people expected him to die and believed he was cursed due to his past failures. Instead of caring what others thought or believed of him or allowing them to dictate his faith, he shook the snake off into the fire. You have to kill it before it kills you! He was putting the wood together when the snake jumped out in the first place, but instead of dying or being afraid, he continued on in faith. You may be doing a work for the LORD in hopes of taking care of others, and right in the middle of it, some serpent rises up to destroy you through his or her venom or poison. Instead of being shaken up by, shake it off into the fire of the Holy Spirit. God is just trying to see what you are made of! Do not quit because of the opposition you face, but start a fire to consume those impurities in your life. When people speak evil of you, overcome it with good! Overcome it with the baptism of fire!

The purpose of the baptism of fire is to ignite a flame in us to fulfill the Great Commission, which is preaching the gospel throughout the entire world. St. Francis of Assissi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and, if necessary, use words.” We must always be preaching the gospel by being the message of Christ. We cannot help but share and tell others about Jesus Christ. In the church of America, we have a major misconception of evangelism. We believe evangelism is having Christian bumper stickers or wearing Christian t-shirts. We believe we win people to God by inviting people to our church services. Many times we are invited people to our revival services who go to other churches. Do not get me wrong. We need unity and to fellowship with one another, but it is about winning the lost to Jesus Christ. How many of us have invited one person recently to a relationship with Jesus Christ? Not to church, youth service, or revival, but a relationship? The simple approach is asking them if they need prayer for anything. Many will accept prayer, but when you have the fire of God burning on your altar of prayer, people will be convicted to know and meet this Jesus Christ! It is time for us to receive a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire so that we have a passion like never before to tell others about Jesus Christ. The reason why the church of Acts was successful was because they were people of prayer and they were unashamed to tell the truth. They were determined to win as many as they could in their lifetime to Jesus Christ. We must have that same determination!