Baptism of Fire
M't: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.
M't:3:11: 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:
M't:3:12: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
When we consider the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, rarely do we consider it's companion, the unquenchable fire of God. Our present thinking regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that which has been handed down to us through the Charismatic Movement of the past 30 plus years. It's defined by giftings and ministries, deliverance and blessings, and joy and gladness. Rivers of living water flowing out of our innermost beings outwardly manifesting in demonstration and power of the Spirit is our pursuit, and the defining moments of our baptism experience. All of this is good, but it is only a part of God's intended purpose in the baptism in the Holy Ghost.
Little thought or attention is given to the balancing factor of the work of the accompanying fire of God which marks a true and full baptism in the Holy Ghost. Yet throughout the scripture in both Covenants, one cannot escape that God reveals Himself through and in the fires of God. I was in the process of giving many references, but there are so many references to the fire of God (I'm speaking of the sovereign fire of God apart from man's "lighting a match, or rubbing two sticks together) that I've decided to give a separate page of references within the next few days.
When one is baptised in the Holy Ghost AND fire, there is a marked difference to that experience in a person's life. He is literally baptized (drenched, soaked, dipped, saturated) into the refining and purging processes of God through the spirit of judgment and burning. God not only purges and sanctifies the vessel, but He purges and sanctifies and purifies that which comes THROUGH the vessel as well.
2Tm:2:20: But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
2Tm:2:21: If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Speaking of Joseph, the Bible says that until his word came, the word of the Lord "tried Him".
Psalms:105:19: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
Another Psalm declares that the words of the Lord are "pure words". How do those words become pure? They are tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Psalms:12:6: The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Where is that "furnace of earth" where the word of the Lord is tried?
Isa:31:9: And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace is in Jerusalem.
There is not room nor time here to give a Bible Study to bring to understanding that the Church, the Blood Bought, The Redeemed IS the Mount Zion, and the New Jerusalem, the very city of God where He has His fire and His furnace. It is IN the Church that the word of the Lord is tested and tried and proven and purified. It is in the Body of Christ, and in the members in particular that God purges and refines His word and His purposes in this "furnace of earth".
Regarding the baptism in the Holy Ghost, the author states...." Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor,
What is "his floor"?? The answer is found in Paul's writing to Timothy:
1Tm:3:15: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
God intended for the baptism in the Holy Ghost to be the instrument through which he thoroughly purges HIS floor, or HIS Church, or HIS ground......the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth.
When God says He will "thoroughly purge His floor", He is saying that all within His church that finds a place of residence.....whether it be man or ministry or doctrine or tongue or teaching or revelation or prophecy or vision or dream is going to be the fuel for the fire of God until the winds of God blow the ashes of His fire away (the "fan in His hand), and all that's left standing on that floor, the Church, the pillar and ground of the truth is TRULY that which is of the essence and nature of pure truth and pure Spirit and nothing less.
Consider the story of Ruth, and how she was told to "get thee down to the floor".
Ru:3:3: Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
It takes a humbling of ourselves to "get down to the floor" where God does His purifying works. It's not enough to be washed (in the blood) and anointed (the oil of the Spirit of God) and have a ministry (the manifestation of gifts and callings) . To truly come into a relationship with the bridegroom, we must be willing to "get thee down to the floor", even the "threshingfloor" where the purging and the threshing and the winnowing* all takes place. The Church IS God's "floor". It's the very place where God often chooses to test, try, deal, and refine.
We have understood to some extent the work of God in the lives of individuals to refine through the fires of God, through afflictions, testings, trials, scourgings, and chastenings. (This all represents the "fire" part of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, to which we can yeild or deny it's power in our lives). All those things that God brings to bear in a life to causes a "vessel for the finer" to come forth as pure gold. Tried as silver is tried, purified in a furnace of earth heated seven times.
However, we need to come into a greater understanding of the purpose of the Holy Ghost baptism in the bigger picture of the corporate vision for the Church of Jesus Christ. As the fires have burned within to purify and purge that which is IN the church (the floor), the Church is actually called to be the fire in this world by which God will prove and test and purify all of His Creation. The fire of God has been IN the Church for God to do His refining and purifying work. But the fire of God is going to be UPON the church for a witness in this world, and for God's purposes of yet a FURTHER work in the earth whereby
God shall renovate this earth by fire!
Isa:4:5: And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.
Over the past few days, I"ve been coming into a greater understanding that while the church has been criticized often for being too introspective, self-centered, unaware of the burden, not "in touch" with the world's needs and lacking in enthusiasm for a more evangelistic approach to the preaching of the gospel
God has been IN all the inner focus because it has been the times and seasons of preparation from the Lord to allow the washing of water by the word, and the purging of fire within His Church!! But the word of the Lord to the Church is AFTER this process of being baptized in the Holy Ghost AND FIRE, THEN the fires will be UPON the Church. Then we will see God's manifestation of power and glory resting UPON the church.
As the flesh resists hardship and trouble and pressure, so we have resisted the fire part of the Holy Ghost baptism. The thought of it causes pain to the spirit, and unnerves the soul. But it's time for the Church to get a revelation that if we want God's protection in this world in troubled times that are coming, it would well serve us to realize that the defence of God comes through the fires of God. Glib prophetic words promising us some blanket protection apart from a walk of obedience brought about by allowing a true Holy Ghost baptism of fire to purge out of us willfulness and self-centeredness are shallow and truly the substance of FALSE prophecy. Those who think they are going to be in a haven of safety in troubled times apart from being founded and grounded in the fullness of the deep works of God being brought to bear upon the soul are walking in a great deception, and will surely have a rude awakening in the day of the Lord.
A false baptism has rocked and lulled much of the Church of Jesus Christ into a stupor and left it powerless to have the faith to yeild to the true preparatory processes of God for the end times. All God has been doing in the Church throughout the ages has been to the very specific end of bringing forth a mature Man, a corporate Son in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ called into being by the Spirit of God to rule all nations with a rod of iron when the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (the anointed) .
Yet there is a remnant that is being formed in fire, and through the fires, a remnant that has truly understood the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire and though it may be at this time as it were "caught up to the throne" (focusing on worshipping and the work of God within the Church as it comes into His presence) a manifestation of this sanctified and holy Church is coming forth in power and glory to shine right in the midst of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy in the earth!!
God will divide between soul and spirit; and that does not only happen on the individual level, but it shall happen on the corporate level of the Church. There is a soulish church, and there is a truly spiritual Church. And a purged and purified and tried Church, tried in
the fire of Zion, and the furnace of Jerusalem delivering the pure word of the Lord heated seven times in the furnace of earth is going to emerge in wedding garments white and spotless and pure totally outstanding above all the daughters of Judah and the daughters of Jerusalem and the daughters of Zion because of a yeildedness to the true baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire.
Are you baptized in the Holy Ghost and fire? Do you have a sense that your life is saturated with the processes of God whereby you are being prepared for a greater work He shall yet do in the earth? Do you have a sense of understanding in your spirit that you are part of something bigger than what you can currently perceive in your natural thinking which must be grasped by the Spirit of God within you?
It's more than a good meeting, or a good feeling, or good preaching, or good prophesying!! It's the eternal purpose of God wrought in Jesus Christ when He raised Him from the dead declaring His Name to His brethren, the Captain of our Salvation made perfect through Suffering (the baptism of fire) and the firstborn among MANY brethren. The true Church of Jesus Christ comes through the blood and the water and the Spirit. But it is matured and made perfect in the fires of God.
If you truly wish to grow up in God, to grow up into the Head, then seek God for a true baptism in the Holy Ghost and Fire.
Amen and AMEN!!
The following is taken from the Merriam Webster Dictionary which can be accessed through AOL.
*Main Entry: win·now
Etymology: Middle English winewen, from Old English windwian to fan, winnow; akin to Old High German wintOn to fan, Latin vannus winnowing fan, ventus wind more at WIND
Date: before 12th century
1 a (1) : to remove (as chaff) by a current of air (2) : to get rid of (something undesirable or unwanted) : REMOVE; often used with out <winnow out certain inaccuracies Stanley Walker> b (1) : SEPARATE, SIFT <an old hand at winnowing what is true and significant Oscar Lewis> (2) : SELECT
2 a : to treat (as grain) by exposure to a current of air so that waste matter is eliminated b : to free of unwanted or inferior elements : PARE
3 : to blow on : FAN <the wind winnowing his thin white hair Time>
1 : to separate chaff from grain by fanning
2 : to separate desirable and undesirable elements
- win·now·er /'wi-n&-w&r/ n