Words of Faith 9-11-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
Jesus had just turned up the heat, so to speak. He had just spoken for the first time about His second coming. He spoke in a parable about being ready because that event will take us by surprise and that will be a day of accountability. It was a hard teaching even for the disciples. But now things would get even more troubling. But now Jesus says that where He comes there will be fire.
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"
Scholars disagree on just what Jesus meant here. What is the "fire" that Jesus promised to bring to earth? Fire is a powerful symbol of judgment throughout most of the Bible but fire is also a symbol of purification. Fire is also an image of the Holy Spirit. So what is the answer?
A "hardshell Baptist" might say it is fire of judgment. A Wesleyan revivalist would probably say that it is the fire of sanctification. A Pentecostal might say it is the fire of the Holy Ghost. What is the answer? The answer is: Yes! The fire that Jesus brings is all those things.
While we think of the reconciling work of God in Christ (We cannot escape the judgment of God in Christ. His coming and presence are a judgment simply by His holy presence.
Jesus said, "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (John 12:31-32).
Paul argued in the Roman letter that what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man (8:3).
But Jesus also brings a fire of purification, a cleansing of all that is not of Him. He burns away the chaff in our lives. He blows away everything that is unnecessary. The Prophet Malachi said of his coming, "But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap" (3:2).
The presence of Jesus in our lives will always involve cleansing. There is refining that must take place. There is a laundering that must happen. He loves us just the way we are, but too much to leave us that way. Jesus does not whitewash our sin; He launders it out of our fabric.
Jesus also brings the fire of the Holy Spirit kindled within us that causes our lives to be empowered for ministry. With the fire of the Spirit He gives us a zeal for the lost. He gives us the operation of Spiritual gifts and the dreams and vision of God. He gives us the fruit of the Spirit as a witness in our lives and relationships.
Depending on where we are in our lives, Jesus brings these three things: Judgment that confronts us with our need for grace; Purification that transforms us more and more to the likeness of Christ; Holy Spirit power that equips us for ministry. Where are you?
Lord, show me how to welcome the fire of Your presence in my life. Judge my heart and purify it. Empower me to do what you want me to do. Send Your fire. In Jesus' name.