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:
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.
POINT 1: The Holy Spirit and fire.
V.11. John the Baptist said that he only baptized with water unto repentance, but One was coming after him Whose sandals he was not worthy to carry.
In Matthew 11 Jesus said that there is no one born of women greater than John the Baptist. So John, even though so great, says that Jesus is so much greater. Why is He so much greater? Because “… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” There is a great difference between water and fire. After a stone has been in water for 10,000 years the inside is still bone-dry. But put it into the fire, and after a short while the fire has gone right through. We need the baptism of fire, so that ever member of our body is touched, from head to toe. Not that we say we are baptized, but our tongues are still untouched and we can still gossip and speak things which we shouldn’t. Fire also does the following: All different types of wood together in a fire becomes like one thing, all red. One can’t differentiate anymore between the different types of wood, the rusted nails or the coals which are there.
POINT 2: Prerequisite for preaching.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they have received the Holy Spirit and His power. Jesus didn’t want His disciples to go out and preach without having received that baptism. Nobody who has received the baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit will ever say, “I don’t know” if you ask him whether he has received it or not.
POINT 3: When the Holy Spirit comes.
There are many examples of how the Lord worked in 1966 when we were praying for Revival and God started working through the Holy Spirit and fire. God touched each one there where his sin was, for example one person felt as if his eyes were burning because he had been looking at books and pictures which he shouldn’t have; another’s feet were as if on fire because he had gone to places where he shouldn’t have and yet another’s tongue was on fire because of gossip and speaking things which he shouldn’t have. It reminds one of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 6 where, when he saw God in His glory and holiness, he became aware of his unclean lips.
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Another lady was jumping up and down where she was sitting on the cement floor, as if she was sitting on a redhot plate. She was sweating and crying that she was burning. She asked permission to go out, and immediately went to her husband, children, neighbours and employer to put things right with them which had been wrong in her life.
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Many people want revival. This is what it is like when God comes and His fire burns. V.1. “You desire His coming”, but V.2. “Who can endure the day of His coming?” V.3. “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites”, removing all the dross, so that the gold will be absolutely pure. He is the Holy Spirit – God is a consuming fire, says the Bible. If He is in you, He will burn away all dross and rubbish. V.3. He will purify the Levites, the ministers, the preachers, because there are things which shouldn’t be there and need to be removed.
POINT 4: The gifts of the Holy Spirit
There are two gifts of the Holy Spirit that one should pray for, namely wisdom and discernment. Without wisdom one will easily go off the track, and without discernment one will mistake the devil’s work for God’s work.
When the Holy Spirit comes, He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement. Then one knows that it is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit hasn’t closed His office. He is still working today, and in the way He wants to. No person can tell Him how He should work. The Word says that we must discern all things, whether they are from God or not – “test and prove all things”. If we don’t obey God’s Word, we will be misled. Woe to the person who calls something which is white, black; or who calls a black thing white. Take the Bible and examine it, and pray that the Lord will remove everything from your life which isn’t good, so that this will also happen in your life. Let us walk carefully, and let the Holy Spirit lead us into all the truth. What will it be like in our churches and in the world if we, the disciples of the Lord Jesus, would experience this fire!