Key Passage: Luke 3:16
Key Thought: Many are ignorant of the true meaning of being baptized by the Holy Spirit. This message demonstrates that being baptized by the Holy Spirit means being empowered to effectively witness for Christ.
Christians today often talk about water baptism, but it seems we don’t so often discuss, or even understand, fire baptism. Baptism with fire was the baptism that caused the early Christian church to grow more than any other recorded event in all the Bible. So it seems to me that we should both study and understand what the Bible teaches about fire baptism.
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: – Matthew 3:11
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: – Luke 3:16
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. – Acts 2:3
Proposition: Seventh-day Adventists need to be filled with the Holy Ghost, but most people don’t even really know what that means, much less understand how it happens! (Baptism with fire was symbolic of being filled with the holy ghost to witness effectively.) Two important events took place before the disciples were baptized by the Holy Ghost and fire.
This morning, by examining the events that prepared the disciples to be filled with power, we may better understand how we can receive a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit in this church.
1. Before baptism by fire, all differences between brethren were put away. (Acts 1:14-16)
We don’t know much about the differences they had to put away when they were meeting together in that upper room, but I think we all know that when you get a group of people together for an extended period of time, conflict is inevitable. We also know that there were some major disputes in that early church, even AFTER they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts, chapter 6, because the church experienced such rapid growth, the Grecian Jews who became Christians were upset because they had widows in need who were not being taken care of by the church.
Let’s look at this for a moment:
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. – Acts 6:1
Have you ever known of churches where murmuring would happen among the members? I’m sure it seems unlikely to you that such a thing could happen in our congregation, but I just wanted you to see that if it were to happen someday, we could be a bit consoled with the idea that it happened to the early church as well!
And just in case we saw murmuring among us, it might be good to see how they dealt with the murmuring:
Acts 6:2-7 [comment on the way they resolved the murmuring. 1. The church leaders called the church together & described the problem. 2. The leaders came with a recommendation which the church liked, 3. The church appointed people to do the work the church leaders had recommended that people be appointed to do.
Now let’s look at Acts 15 and see what happened there.
Comment on “Much disputing” (vs. 7)
Paul & Barnabas talk
James decrees a solution
The church comes together in unity.
Wild donkeys defend themselves against danger by getting their heads together. They stand in a circle, facing the center, and kick out at the wolves. Too many professed Christians face out and kick in!
Have you made things right with everyone? Are you now angry with someone? Have you followed the Bible counsel to make it right?
If you know you’ve wronged mankind, then you realize in your mind
That there’s one thing you must do: that’s make it right.
For there’s no true satisfaction in neglecting proper action
When you know you really need to make it right!
In Acts the second chapter, it is clear both then and after,
They had learned the great import to make things right.
It says they shared all things as needed, indicating they succeeded
with the monumental task to make things right.
The tongues of fire upon God’s servants only followed strict observance to this rule:
They made things right. — Poem by Glenn Holland
2. Before baptism by fire, All differences were put away.
Secondly, there was commitment to fellowship and prayer among believers. (Acts 1:14; 2:1)
Near the city of Jerusalem today, the Holyland Hotel has created an amazing model of what the city of Jerusalem might have looked like during the time of Christ. Houses in Jerusalem were smaller than most of our houses today. Remember, there weren’t churches available such as we have here to worship at. People were forced to meet in houses. And that very situation may have been a major contributing factor to their growth.
Baptism by fire was a symbol of the baptism of the Holy Ghost which empowered the early church to effectively witness for Jesus. (Acts 1:8) You see, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are changed inside and out. We are anxious to share!
Explanation of the symbol of fire baptism: “The term “baptize” is also used figuratively. Jesus spoke symbolically of his death as a baptism (Matthew 20:20-23; Mark 10:37-39). The experience of Israel in coming out of Egypt is spoken of figuratively as being baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” (1 Corinthians 10:1,2). (SDABD, “baptism”)
When baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, they were empowered to witness as never before. How is your witness for Jesus this morning? Do you feel as I do, that we need a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit in this church?
I want to be baptized with fire.
I want to make things right.
I want to be a part of a fellowship/prayer group.
I want to become a member.
(excellent quotes: COL 120; 6 BC 1055;)
Submitted by Glenn Holland. Better Sermons © 2005-2007. Click here for usage guidelines. This sermon is also available with PowerPoint slides! For information, see www.adventsource.org or send an email requesting information directly to the author, Glenn Holland.