Baptized With Fire

When you read the Gospels – it becomes obvious very quickly that no one ever knew what Jesus was going to do next, not even those closest to Him. He kept surprising people, and it ticked off the religious people and their leaders, the Pharisees. They preferred routine, sameness, some of which had become tradition. Like so many Christians and churches that seem to walk in the footsteps of the Pharisees, they thought it was appalling that Jesus kept breaking routine. Afterall, they had determined who God was, how God behaved, and how God would accomplish things – such as who the Messiah would be and the way He would behave when He came.

But the Bible makes it clear that Jesus came to reveal God to us (John 14:8-9). Along with many other characteristics, He revealed a compelling, powerful, relevant, passionate, unpredictable, exciting, and personal God. Totally foreign to the religious people of His day and today. Certainly not the God being spoken of in the synagogues and worshipped during the temple services.

Since the Church was birthed on the Day of Pentecost, churches (believers) have been given the same assignment – to reveal God to the world. Unfortunately, when the church is old and tired, irrelevant and boring, powerless and predictable, people conclude that God is also like this. When the Church becomes stale, it paints the wrong picture of God. And, in my experience, travelling from church to church and ministering in many situations, this is often the case today as well. It is time to bring about a radical change.

The world needs churches that allow the real God to stand up and stand out. If the church is going to represent Him properly, the church must always be fresh and creative, alive and dynamic, powerful and relevant, passionate and purposeful. Believers must be on fire.

An interesting prophetic word (soon to be posted on this site – from a prophet in the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan) talks about the Church not being lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). Here in part is what it said: “…My Church, My Church that belongs to Me, is not lukewarm. My Church is baptized by fire!…” John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize people “in the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The early church was birth in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Fire is always unpredictable and so alive and dynamic that it consumes everything it comes into contact with. Ah! An ideal picture of the Church of Jesus Christ. And someone baptized in fire can never be lukeward or cold.

Many years ago when I was in my first seminary there was a wonderful little book written by a Jesuit priest called “Good Old Plastic Jesus.” Even back then, as an unsaved church attender, that book impacted my life. In spite of reading 100+ books a year I still remember that specific book – long ago lost in books piled everywhere in my office, study, library, basement…. The world is not looking for a predictable, containable, controlable God to worship and follow – a plastic Jesus!. The heart cry of believer and non-believer alike is still the same as when Jesus was training His disciples … to know the One True God and not the religious counterfeit often presented by churches today and seen in the lives of many followers today.

Jesus was a radical revolutionary who came to reveal the One true God to the world that He created. He did not come to establish another religion but to enable us to have a personal dynamic relationship with our heavenly Father. The Church – a gathering of men and women who have dynamic daily walks with the living God through Jesus Christ – should be and must be the most actively alive, vibrant, dynamic and relevant gathering upon the earth.

Time to see some changes in what we do and how we do it so that we can reveal the Father as He truly is.

1 reply
  1. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    Ralph;
    My spirit actually jumped in me when I read this article. I too am sensing a irristible change coming forth, whether people agree or not it is coming. I need to say this though…
    1)most pulpits only preach what the people want to hear
    2)if the people really wanted change then they must make the first move
    3)someone might use the scripture but how can we when we don’t know what it is and we haven’t heard and on and on and on Rom 10:14-15
    4) sorry people,you have heard, the Lord has with His new covenant put it in our hearts and in our minds that you do know and you have seen it but… you don’t believe it, you mock it and you shun it, because it is telling you that in order for you to expereince the good things of God in your life (your life MUST change)
    5) that won’t happen because most people when questioned thoroughly actually enjoy their lives
    6) the whinning and complaining is just natural

    When I had finally had enough, I searched and when I found, I made a quality decision to do something.
    Was it easy, was it fun, did all the trials and tribulations stop? NO No No but God is bigger than all of that. I didn’t even have a church all I had was a bible and a lot of time to read, so when I picked it up, God made the words come alive to me. This happened in 1985 and I didn’t find a real church till 1997.
    Bottom line is you have to want to change!
    Beliieving and faith are action words. Neither is any good to any of us unless we act on our beliefs and live out our faith. If I’m healed then I speak only healing and edification to my body.

    We can love them, we can supply all that is possible as far as physical needs and spiritual needs, but the desire must come from within the person themselves.
    Scripture even says that unless the Father draws them, they can by no means enter. Or something close to that. John 6:44

    I am becoming so burdened with seeing the lost saved that when I look upon most people my heart literally begins to break and I sob inside for their condition. Yet I know unless the ground of their hearts is first broken by God to receive and then act upon His word they will never get it. True repentence is mandatory, it is not a suggestion, or open for discussion
    Sharon
    I can preach, teach and turn purple but unless people become responsible for their own future, concerning God they can’t be helped.

    Reply

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