Raging Fire

April 8, 2020

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” - Matthew 3:11

It may be the largest forest fire in American history. For two terrifying days and nights, August 20-21, 1910, this fire raged across three million acres of timberland in northern Idaho and western Montana. It started when some scattered fires burning in a dry area were hit by hurricane-force winds. Within six hours, fires became firestorms and trees by the millions became exploding candles. Wind-powered fireballs were rolling from ridge top to ridge top at 70 mph leaping canyons a half a mile wide in one fluid motion. Entire mountainsides ignited in an instant. The sky was so filled with ashes that ships 500 miles out to sea could not navigate by the stars. By the time it was finally put out, this massive forest fire had burned 4700 square miles.

That may be the largest fire in American history, but I don’t believe it is the largest fire that has ever been put out. I believe there is a larger fire that is being put out every day by followers of Jesus Christ and every Sunday in certain churches. This fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Throughout Scripture, God’s presence is symbolized by fire. In Exodus 3:2 God speaks to Moses through a burning bush. The glory of God led the wandering Israelites as a pillar of fire in Exodus 3:2, and rested above the Holiest Place in the Tabernacle in Numbers 9:15-16. God appeared to Ezekiel through fire in a vision in Ezekiel 1:4. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Holy Spirit is referred to as fire in Matthew 3:11-12 and Acts 2:3-4. However, the Holy Spirit is not a “thing,” He is a person. As believers, we must grow in relationship with Him just as we do with God the Father and God the Son.

It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to learn what grieves the Spirit of God and to rid our lives of those things. It is also our responsibility to unleash the fire of the Spirit in our lives instead of quenching it. The Holy Spirit is a fire that is meant to rage in the life of every Christian.

Application: Is the Holy Spirit a burning fire in your life?

Topics: Holy Spirit

Bible Reference

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.
On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.
So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night.
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.
And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.