Holy Ghost AND Fire

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Synopsis of HOLY GHOST AND FIRE !

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize with water those who turn from their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am – so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the grain with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, storing the grain in his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

You may have noticed that I over emphasized the little word and in today’s slice of the bread of life. In fact the title of this message is: HOLY GHOST AND FIRE ! This little word, “and,” is enormous according to what I see in Strong’s Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and the Hebrew Bible. It says that this word has a “copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force. As my lil’ nephew use to say: Let me ‘splain it to you. Copulative simply means ‘joining together,” but the word cumulative means ‘increasing in quantity or degree by successive additions.’

So this scripture ”joining together” is describing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Holy Ghost and Fire must be joined together. All to often we disassociate the little word “and” without even thinking of the necessity of the fire, which must be incorporated in order to fully be baptized in the Holy Ghost. The fire is what increases, or amplifies and multiplies what Jesus is wanting to initiate into the person’s life. Not a flame, a fire.

I belonged to a volunteer fire department for a number of years. In fact I was the instructor to train new volunteers. Later I, as an industrial instructor at a chemical plant taught the team of volunteer firemen at the site. I taught that once ignited, a fire is a chain reaction – it is a sequence of actions and reactions between certain elements. Fire requires (must have)heat, oxygen, and flammable material. If any one of the three is missing or hindered ….. no fire.

Jesus immerses you into the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit. He, therefore, is providing the actual member of the Godhead as the heat and the oxygen. You, if you accept it then become the flammable material.

What is this fire? It is nothing less than the reaction of your humanity being engulfed in His presence. Halleluah! The Holy Ghost consumes and never annihilates His host. Instead He energizes and purifies His people. What is not welcome in His presence is sin, pride, unbelief, and selfishness.

Smith Wigglesworth expressed it delightfully when he said: There are two sides to the Baptism with the Holy Ghost: the first is that you possess the Spirit; the second is that the Spirit possesses you. That is my message for today. Being possessed by the Baptizer, and not merely possessing the Baptizer. There is no limit to possibilities of this kind of life. God’s born again people should be aflame as nothing less than instruments of burning messages.

I do believe there are those who miss the boat simply because they do not want to be possessed. They are unwilling to let God, through His Holy Spirit control their life. They have the attitude of, “I like my life just like it is. I’m happy enough getting my ears tickled once a week at church and then Monday morning – back to my usual self.”

You might recall that in the temple God did not want the flame to ever go out. The fire was indicative of two things: the willing offerings of His people and the manifestation of His presence. As the people of Israel provided the offering sacrificing (the animals of burnt offerings), God provided the fire – it literally fell from Heaven. It was as though fire was first kindled on the altar above and then it fell to the earth on their sacrifice. In a similar manner, today, if you continue to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, God will continue to send the fire from above. Who said that, Bro. Dick? Paul did, to the Romans in the Book of Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 1 –   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that  ye present  your  bodies  a living  sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Also, notice, that God expect this to be simply your   reasonable   service.

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HOLY GHOST AND FIRE !

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize with water those who turn from their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is far greater than I am – so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the grain with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, storing the grain in his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

You may have noticed that I over emphasized the little word and in today’s slice of the bread of life. In fact the title of this message is: HOLY GHOST AND FIRE ! This little word, “and,” is enormous according to what I see in Strong’s Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and the Hebrew Bible. It says that this word has a “copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force. As my lil’ nephew use to say: Let me ‘splain it to you. Copulative simply means ‘joining together,” but the word cumulative means ‘increasing in quantity or degree by successive additions.’

So this scripture ”joining together” is describing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Holy Ghost and Fire must be joined together. All to often we disassociate the little word “and” without even thinking of the necessity of the fire, which must be incorporated in order to fully be baptized in the Holy Ghost. The fire is what increases, or amplifies and multiplies what Jesus is wanting to initiate into the person’s life. Not a flame, a fire.

I belonged to a volunteer fire department for a number of years. In fact I was the instructor to train new volunteers. Later I, as an industrial instructor at a chemical plant taught the team of volunteer firemen at the site. I taught that once ignited, a fire is a chain reaction – it is a sequence of actions and reactions between certain elements. Fire requires (must have)heat, oxygen, and flammable material. If any one of the three is missing or hindered ….. no fire.

Jesus immerses you into the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit. He, therefore, is providing the actual member of the Godhead as the heat and the oxygen. You, if you accept it then become the flammable material.

What is this fire? It is nothing less than the reaction of your humanity being engulfed in His presence. Halleluah! The Holy Ghost consumes and never annihilates His host. Instead He energizes and purifies His people. What is not welcome in His presence is sin, pride, unbelief, and selfishness.
Smith Wigglesworth expressed it delightfully when he said: There are two sides to the Baptism with the Holy Ghost: the first is that you possess the Spirit; the second is that the Spirit possesses you. That is my message for today. Being possessed by the Baptizer, and not merely possessing the Baptizer. There is no limit to possibilities of this kind of life. God’s born again people should be aflame as nothing less than instruments of burning messages.

I do believe there are those who miss the boat simply because they do not want to be possessed. They are unwilling to let God, through His Holy Spirit control their life. They have the attitude of, “I like my life just like it is. I’m happy enough getting my ears tickled once a week at church and then Monday morning – back to my usual self.”

You might recall that in the temple God did not want the flame to ever go out. The fire was indicative of two things: the willing offerings of His people and the manifestation of His presence. As the people of Israel provided the offering sacrificing (the animals of burnt offerings), God provided the fire – it literally fell from Heaven. It was as though fire was first kindled on the altar above and then it fell to the earth on their sacrifice. In a similar manner, today, if you continue to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, God will continue to send the fire from above. Who said that, Bro. Dick? Paul did, to the Romans in the Book of Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Also, notice, that God expect this to be simply your reasonable service.

Think back to the upper room at Pentecost; Acts 2:3-4 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled of each of them….” The Greek word “settled” translates, in The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, to —- appoint, to confer a kingdom on one, to abode, to set down on.” In other words, it was not just to be seen, but to settle down, to remain. It was intended, and it did,
settle on them. Yes, it settled on them, not just their heads, but on their entire persons.

One thing is sure. Men will not be changed by those who are frivolously interested in the Kingdom of God. There was a need for men, filled with the Holy Spirit and fire, to shake Jerusalem… and once again the Holy Spirit and fiery witnesses are needed, men with power of the Holy Spirit. Well, Bro. Dick, what does it take to get this Baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s take a look at red lettered verse spoken by none other than Lord Jesus: Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

In Acts 2:35 Peter explains what had happened in the upper room, saying, “Then, (Jesus) raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He poured out the Spirit He had just received. That is what you see and hear.” Then in Acts 2:39: This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles, all who have been called by God. My friends, over 2000 years ago Jesus completed redemption, received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and made the Holy Ghost available to you and me today. The Book of James says
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Here is what Matthew Henry’s Commentary has to say about this verse: A true Christian becomes as different a person from what he was before the renewing influences of Divine grace, as if he were formed over again. We should devote all our faculties to God’s service, that we may be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

I mentioned earlier: I do believe there are those who miss the boat simply because they do not want to be possessed. They are unwilling to let God, through His Holy Spirit control their life. That leads me to ask you, have you ever ordered a lukewarm cup of tea on a cold winter day? How about a tall lukewarm glass of tea with your dinner? I don’t think so. If my tea is not piping hot or ice-cold I will not drink it. Well, God is the same way when it comes to the condition of our heart. He is not satisfied with hearts that have “holy smoke” where the fire use to be. Let me lead you to the Book of Revelation 3:16: So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue the out of My mouth. Our Father is looking from hot hearts that are ablaze with the fire from Heaven.

Do you remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the young Apostle Timothy? In 2nd. Timothy 1: 6&7 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ. Paul wanted Timothy to know that he had a responsibility to stay strong by continually stirring up the inner fire that was placed in his life by God. He wanted to remind him to keep the fire burning in order to fulfill the call of God on his life.

I believe John Wesley knew that to be true in his life. When he was asked how he got the huge crowds that came to hear him preach, he replied, “I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.” I’ve also heard evangelists make the comment that when the anointing falls on them at a prayer meeting they describe it as “liquid fire” pumping through their veins.

Have you ever noticed how often fire is used in the Bible? God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. The fire of God came down on Mt. Sanai to speak to the Children of Israel. Tongues sat on the heads of the disciples. Hebrews 12:29 reveals our God as a “consuming fire.”

Throughout the Old Testament we see examples of the fire of God falling when a sacrifice was acceptable. So, why should we be surprised to see His request now in New Testament time. Abraham’s offering, in Genesis 15:17 we read about his offering was shown to acceptable by a flaming torch. And in 1st Chronicles 21:26 David built an offering to …. The Lord and offered burnt
Offerings and peace offerings and called upon the Lord; and He answered him by fire from Heaven upon the altar.

One of my favorite examples is about the one about Elijah on Mr. Carmel with his mocking the false gods of Baal. God gave evidence by sending down fire. And, how abut in 2nd Chronicles with fire coming down from heaven to consume the offerings.

Yes, yes, yes… fire will fall from heaven on the life that is devoted to God enough to request such fire and be willing to accept the change. I’ll bet that if you thought about it for a while you can remember meeting born again Christians that are on fire. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. You notice the love perfected in the fire of God in them. They let their sparks fly. I always think of them as kindling that is dry and highly combustible. Once they come in contact with a life that is desiring to know Jesus they ignite with fire of God. One of their sparks will change a dry, empty life into a fulfilled life.

I grew up in a family devoted to a particular denomination and advanced in it to a high position; at the same time I knew of Jesus but had no personal relationship with Him. I certainly knew the denomination. I met my wife who grew up in another denomination and knew of Christ but had no personal relationship with Him. One day the Lord led us to another denomination whose purpose was to ignite the fire in anyone interested. We found what our parched soul had been looking for; being harvested into the Kingdom of God. We fell in love…. not with the denomination, but with Christ personally. We had a friend and our fire was ignited. It has been a wonderful marriage of three.

I cannot remember where, but somewhere in all of our moving around the country, and visiting many churches we remembered a church whose motto was on Bulletin that read: “Wake up, sing up, preach up, pray up, and pay up. But never give up, let up, back up or shut up, until the cause of Christ in the world is built up” I believe that church must have followed Paul’s advice to Timothy and decided to continually…. “….stir up the gift of God that is in you.”

John the Baptist was that way. He preached hell so hot that there was smell the smoke when he came near.
Do you recall what Peter preached for his first sermon after the Pentecost in the Upper Room? Acts 2:37 “….Brethren what shall we do? And Peter answered them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus for the release and the forgiveness from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Again, here is the word “and” connecting two things be baptized in the name of Jesus ( that’s water baptism ) and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
( that’s baptism in the Holy Spirit or being born again. )

Too many get offended by the words, “born again.” That simply is referring you were born in water, natural birth in you mother’s water bag, but then born in the spirit, actually in the Holy Spirit.

I am here today to say to you that the Lord is inviting any of you who have not yet done so, to receive this awesome gift of God that will ignite your heart with holy fire. Once you devote your life to God as a living sacrifice, it won’t be long before you will be spreading a few sparks of your own.

Bro. Dick, why are you so intent on changing the way we church. Why are you trying to make us uncomfortable with such things that are not spoken of at our church? Because, by religion’s rules, we are leaving behind what our Lord left for us, His own Spirit. He is in our spirit if we are born again, to not only be our advocate and comforter but to be our intermediator with the Christ himself. By not disciplining our young people through training them to life a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through His Spirit, instead of traditional religion of our each denomination, we are failing.

What makes me say that we are failing? Let me tell you what Pew Research Center had to report in their Religious Landscape Study.
Listen not only to the survey’s facts but also the comments backing up the survey, coming not only from pastors, but Theological Professors and mainline denomination regional leaders has to say in the matter.

I’ll just read to you an excerpt of the report:

The finding shows a big decline in the number of Americans who say they’re Christian – can be interpreted another way says pastor.
The ministers, who hail from most Christian state in the nation, Alabama, ( 71% Christian ) suggests that the survey reflects a lifting of the fog of a Christian culture in the U.S. and rejection of traditional religious institutions, It is not an end to the dominant U.S. faith. Rather than this being a “nail in its coffin” it is simply a lifting of the fog; that is starting to see things with more realism.

The upshot, they say, is that people who may have been passively riding a cultural wave of church attendance and affiliation are now making a choice – for or against Christianity. Our culture is forcing the hand of individuals to say, “Are you in, or are you out?”

The Chair of Theological Department at Spring Hill College, in Mobile, said the U.S. trend toward secularization, which has been seen in Europe for some time, is not surprising. They said that “everybody has heard about the globalization of the economy, but there is a globalization of the way we understand ourselves, our traditions and our past. It is certainly results in a trend to a breaking with the sureness of the past.”

The protestant Pastors said: “Today’s generations have shed the cultural pressure to identify as Christian. They have grown up in a home deeply committed to the politics of Christianity and the moral distinctions of Christianity, but didn’t attach themselves to the true person of Jesus. If you don’t mind, I believe I’ll re-read that…. but didn’t attach themselves to the true person of Jesus.
What have I just been preaching on? Personal relationship! Now… back to the survey. Hear Ye – Here Ye !

The churches that will grow over the next decades will be the churches that turn back to the pure message of the Gospel and The person of Jesus. Pardon me, but, isn’t he referring to the Holy Spirit of Jesus? Back to the survey again.

The Executive Dean of the School of Christian Ministries and the Director for the Center for Leadership at the University of Mobile said that he has seen in his travels that there remains a strong desire amon young people for spiritual truth. Some faith traditions, he said, just aren’t delivering. I think what’s happened is that many of our denominations have watered down the Gospel so much, trying to become part of the culture, that’s exactly what they’ve done. Among the mainline Christian churches showing bigger declines were Methodists, Presbyterian and Episcopal denominations. Sorry folks if that steps on your toes, but, I did not say that; the Dean of University of Mobile said that. Again, I’ll go back to the survey.

The Methodist Minister with the Alabama-West Florida Conference said the following: “We unfortunately have tried to reverse decades of declining membership with a steady stream of initiatives, to no avail. I believe our problem is that we’re not addressing the problem. Our issues are not fundamentally about worship styles, locations or embracing the latest growth strategies; our issue is a deeply spiritual one, and I personally don’t see how we move forward unless we begin with sincere repentance” A pastor who left the Methodist denomination along with his congregation two years ago said that trendy initiatives have created a consumer Christianity, in which
I come and get the goods and services I like, but there is not discipleship going on. Hallelujah, is that’s not what I’ve been preaching about for the last six months. OK, again, back to what the survey is saying, not what I am saying.

What the church sold people on is that, “We’ve got what you want to feel good. What we really should be telling people is that we’ve got what you want ….to find purpose and a deeper meaning in life.”

Traditional African-American Christian denominations were among groups showing fewer declines. That may be linked to their history. One of their pastors said: Through the generations, all we had was the ability to trust in a God who could deliver us. We knew the only way we could overcome circumstances… was a power that was higher than we are. We have held fast to that.

Another pastor said: Authenticity, rather than the way things have always been, should be a guiding force for congregations hoping to survive. We all are drawn to something as people. There’s something pulling at us. We need and desire God deeply in our hearts. When people go to churches that don’t give them Jesus they realize that everything falls short.”

The Chair of the Theological Department of Spring Hill College also said that in evangelism efforts, churches make a mistake when they are more self-serving than outgoing. Bringing the heart of God that has become incarnated and embedded, in Jesus to the resurrection, as a new force in the world – there is great power in that! He also praised the New Evangelization Movement by Pope Francis in which he calls for a deepening of the faith and a proclaiming of the Gospel. The popular pontiff has also urged believers to adopt both “roots” and “wings.” That is to be rooted in tradition, not only the teachings, but also the practices of Christianity, but the roots are not to keep him boxed into a small little square of understanding and visioning.

The Pastor who left the denomination, along with his congregation, said that he has noticed a growing trend in what he calls the
“micro-church” movement – small churches of up to 150 people that he says are “breaking out all over the place.” He said, “I’ve seen as little as 30 people, and they’re vibrant, and they’re calling people to discipleship. People who are seeking something meaningful are finding their way to them.”
By the way, I purposely left out the names of those making these comment to the Pew Research Survey, and gave you only their titles. However, let me say, all this information came out of a recent publication of Mobile Press Register, certainly not hidden.

Another possibility may be that some churches ministers a confusion between: a sin, a custom, and a tradition.
Let’s take a look at Mark 7:10-13 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I could have given to you.’ 12 You let them disregard their needy parents. 13 As such, you break the law of God in order to protect your own tradition. And this is only one example. There are many, many others.”

All too often churches label persons as sinners, and even disassociate them, for doing things like women cutting their hair or men raising a beard or wearing jewelry. This simply comes from different ministers, or denominations, interpreting or twisting a particular verse. That’s why I always recommend studying the Bible not just reading it, to make your deliberation.

 

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