The Holy Spirit and fire are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. And it is God’s command that you be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire.
[SW154] 09/20/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
Matthew 3:11 [John the Baptist said] “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
A few things about the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
— Repentance must precede the baptism. Not only repentance, but the fruit thereof.
— The Holy Spirit and fire are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other.
— John the Baptist was not baptizing those who did not yet believe. He was baptizing believers in God.
— That means that those believers in God needed to repent, needed to turn to God. They were going through the motions but sinning on the side, and John’s words convicted them of their sin.
— The most religious were the ones he most strongly rebuked. Dotting i’s and crossing t’s does not make you right with God.
So why repent and be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire? I could tell you all the things that will change in you and all the things that you will become, but here’s the bottom line: God commands it. Isn’t that enough reason?
John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ, and the disciples, preached for God’s people to repent. It is the repentance that leads to life:
Acts 11:18 When they [Jews upset that Peter had gone into the home of the Gentile Cornelius] heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads tolife.”
So repentance must come first. Then you live. Then you seek the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire, because God commands it (see Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 5:17-18).
What will the Holy Spirit’s fire do?
— Refine you and purge you of all admixtures, burning off every other inferior metal so you are made pure, so your heart is completely God’s (Malachi 3:3). Again, Malachi prophesied to the people of God, even the Levites who were designated as His ministers and worshipers, not unbelievers.
His eyes move to and fro across the earth to strongly support those whose hearts are entirely His, beloved (2Chronicles 16:9)! Halleujah!
— Cleanse you (Acts 15:9). The house of Cornelius did speak in other tongues, which is evidence of baptism with the Holy Spirit throughout the New Testament, but what really impressed Peter was that their hearts were cleansed. Again, purity of heart is in view.
— Provide you with light to lead the way. He is the pillar of fire by which Israel was able to journey by night (Exodus 13:22). You will hear a voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right or the left.” (See Isaiah 30:21.)
— This fire will burn but not consume, so that you may be as the burning bush (Exodus 3:2), and the Lord may speak through you.
For today’s church:
We blame much of our problems on the devil. We say he’s at work, and that’s why our lives are so messed up. But that’s not what the Bible says:
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
God will deliver you from your lust when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. Listen to Peter:
2Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Beloved, Christianity is not a religion — it is a relationship with God that is intimate and continual. I hear “relationship” a lot in the church-at-large. What I rarely hear is that you cannot have a relationship with God if you continue to willfully disobey God (that is, SIN).
1John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [that is, sin], we lie and do not practice the truth;”
Do not deceive yourselves, beloved. Give God full reign in you.
Turn from your willful disobedience! Turn from your sin! Jesus Christ is the only Way to God the Father. No one comes to Him except through Jesus.
Don’t just mouth the words — truly turn away from the sin you’ve been doing. Then ask Him for the Holy Spirit and fire. He’ll refine, purge, cleanse, light your path, and remove your chains so you’re no longer a slave to sin.
Believe and receive!