By Tim Kelley
A Holy Ghost baptism is a baptism of fire. Let it fall on us, and straightway there is turmoil; immediately some hot work begins in our life.
The man baptized with the fire of the Holy Ghost suddenly has a life that becomes, as the Scripture represents it, “a battle,” it becomes “a warfare.” A fire of discontent is kindled within him. There rages in him the flame of a conflict between the Spirit and the flesh.
When the individuals of the original Pentecostal Church were baptized with the Holy Ghost, it was a baptism with fire. It is no different today. Anyone baptized with the Holy Ghost is baptized with the fire! If you have no fire, I sincerely question your Spirit baptism. If at one time you had a fire burning bright in your life and that fire has died down, it’s time to fan the ember into a flame and watch it become a raging fire within! Our God, when He touches us, is a “consuming fire.”
John the Baptist’s preaching in Judaea created conviction in the hearts of the people. With a call to repent, they said, “Surely this must be the Messiah for whom we have waited so long.” The strong-spoken John emphatically declared, “No, I am not the Christ; but One mightier than I cometh; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”
This last expression might have conveyed some idea of material burning to any people but Jews; but in their minds it would awaken other thoughts. Those familiar with the Old Testament knew well how fire was often used by God to give tangible evidence of His power, His presence, and His holiness.
This baptism with fire would cause them to recall the scene when their father Abraham asked Him who promised that he should inherit the land, “Lord, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” The answer came in this manner: Abraham was standing in under the open sky at night, watching by chosen sacrifices, when, “Behold a smoking furnace,” (Genesis 15:17).
The climax of the great power encounter between Elijah end the priests of Baal was fire (See I Kings 18:38).
Israel would recall the fire which Moses saw in the burning bush;
The fire which came in the day of Israel’s deliverance, as a light on their way;
They would remember the fire which descended on the Tabernacle;
Fire was again promised to Zion, not just her public, but in her family, shrines, when “the lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon all her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night.”
They would recall Isaiah’s lips being touched with a burning coal of holiness from the altar (Isaiah 6:6-7).
In the promise of a baptism of fire they would at once recognize the approach of new manifestations of power and presence of God.
John’s baptism was introductory and transitional; Christ’s was to be spiritual, quickening, and searching. Here we find an apparent mixture of metaphors. Baptism means cleansing; and fire means warmth.
How can warmth cleanse? A heart that is not passionate is not pure. Without enthusiasm no virtue is safe. Jesus Christ came to introduce such an enthusiastic virtue (and much more than that!).
Nothing could be more indicative of the need for each person used by God for world evangelism to experience His power, live in His presence and be characterized by His holiness. These were all included in the Promise of the Father spoken of in Acts 1:4 when Jesus said, “but wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HAVE A FIRE?
First of all, to have a fire one must have a fuel source. Fuel is found in any of three states of matter: solid, liquid, or gas. However, only gases burn!
The initiation of combustion of a liquid or solid fuel requires their conversion into a gaseous state by heating. Fuel gases are evolved from solid fuels by pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition (or disintegration) of a substance through the action of heat. In order for a fire to burn there must be three ingredients present: fuel; oxygen, and heat.
In order for the fire of the Holy Ghost to burn there must be:
A fuel source – this is you;
Oxygen – this is the holy ghost;
Heat – this is the temperature of the atmosphere where the fire is to start.
I am talking about having fervency in your service to God. If the church will keep the Spiritual atmosphere hot and lively, people will receive the Holy Ghost.
“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:24-25).
Fervent comes from the Greek word “Zeo” (dzehoh), meaning a living fervor, fiery hot, full of burning zeal. It is the opposite of dignified, cold, and unemotional. In the context of a Christian life, fervor signifies a high spiritual temperature, inflamed by the Holy Ghost.
Apollos was a complete man–articulate in Scripture, and full of spiritual fervency. We need more men like Apollos-men who know the word and have a fiery hot, burning zeal for God:
Men with a living fervor.
Men who are not dignified, cold and unemotional,
Men excited by and about the Holy Ghost!
WHY A FIRE TO DESCRIBE THE HOLY GHOST?
Fire is used to describe the Holy Ghost baptism by reason of its leaping, triumphant, and transforming energy. The fire of God, if it falls on you, will burn up all your coldness, and will make you glow with enthusiasm. The Holy Ghost will work your convictions in the fire, not in the frost. It will make your creed a living power in your life; it will begin kindling you into a flame of earnest consecration unto
Christians are set on fire of God. We have more than enough of cold icebergs. What we need is men set on fire with an enthusiasm for the work of God. We need enthusiasm in worship, in singing, and in prayer. We need enthusiasm in preaching and we need enthusiasm in witnessing.
This fire of God’s Spirit will not only cause us to be enthusiastic, it will also purify us. Foul clay of the Potter must be thrust into the fire to have the blackness burned out of it. This is how the soul of a man is cleansed. No washing will ever clear sin.
Get the love of God into your hearts, spirits to melt you down, and the scum and dross (the trash) will come to the top, and you can skim them off!
This fire is a holy influence that searches the nature of a man, consumes the trash in that nature, refines the good elements of character, and elevates and ennobles the whole being. The Holy Ghost will purify, illumine, transform, inflame with holy fervor and zeal, and carry you up, just like Elijah was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire!
This is what happened at Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended in tongues of fire (Acts 2:3).
THREE TANGIBLES WERE PRESENT ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST
C. Peter Wagner, in his book Spreading the Fire, writes about the three tangibles present on the Day of Pentecost. You can find most of the following on pages 84 and 85 of that book.
The first tangible was audible. The sound must have been tremendous. Those who live in areas that do not experience windstorms or tornadoes or hurricanes may not appreciate the volume of sound from strong winds. We should not miss the significance of wind being used as an analogy for the Holy Ghost, since in John 3:8 Jesus declared, “The wind blows where it wishes,. . . So is everyone who is born of the
The sound was apparently public and external, not just some phenomenon of group psychology that only the believers experienced. It was loud enough, unusual enough and probably terrifying enough, so that people in the Temple area of Jerusalem, or from other parts of the city as well, were drawn toward it to see what strange thing might be happening (Acts 2:6).
The second tangible was visual. At about the same time they heard the sound of wind, ‘there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as a fire, and it sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” At that moment, few had to be reminded of John the Baptist’s prophecy concerning Jesus: “He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16).
The third tangible sign was oral. They began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance. Few things could be more surprising to human beings than suddenly speaking in a language they
had not learned.
John the Baptist declared, “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house–make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.” (Luke 3:15-16 from The Message)
Would you like to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire? Is there a man or a woman who would pray that God would baptize you with a new and fresh excitement for Him and His church? Is there one who would declare, “My fire has burned down more than it should have and I want the Lord to rekindle the flames within me?”
There are some fires that the fire department fights only to protect the surrounding structures. The fire has already consumed the building beyond repair, but they must protect other buildings.
God is interested in igniting within all an inward fire that would consume us to the point of destroying the existing “building” and begin spreading to those “structures” around us. Instead of fighting this fire we should fan the flame!
The Above Material Was Published By The Louisiana Challenger, Pages 6, 7. This Material Is Copyrighted And May Be Used For Study & Research Purposes Only.