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Luke 3_16

But John intervened: ‘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 3:16-17, MSG

 

One of the most uncomfortable truths about God’s Holy Spirit is that He does not FILL everyone He indwells. A closely related uncomfortable truth is that the Holy Spirit does not automatically change from the inside out every person who professes Christ is his or her Lord and Savior.

Moreover, in order for any phase of believers’ supernatural transformation to take place—after they receive their born again hearts (have their own new heart, new nature) and their own saved life (their own salvation, eternal life)—they also must receive the better Baptism. This better Baptism is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This better Baptism takes place, when Christ followers allow the indwelling Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ, which lives in their born-again hearts) to baptize them with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Through this better Baptism, genuine followers of Christ receive everything they need to be able to live and walk holy, righteously and victoriously. 

Furthermore, followers of Christ need to know, understand and believe that God sends His Holy Spirit to them—the Lord’s true Body of Believers—not only to reveal and explain future events but also to feed, lead, comfort, equip, endow, and teach them. The Holy Spirit is able to accomplish all of these ministries because of His better Baptism.

Far too many of today’s believers in Christ, unfortunately, fail to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that He can baptize them with His better Baptism. The major reason why many of these believers do not surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control is because they do not agree with the following uncomfortable truths about Christians who do not have the better Baptism: They have unbelief. They are ignorant about most of God’s Divine Truths. They are powerless witnesses for Christ. They are weak (spiritually speaking), and some of them fall away from the faith.

Now if the Holy Spirit who lives inside us ALSO is allowed to baptize us (fill us with His Living Water and FIRE), then His FIRE will be in our reborn hearts. In other words, the indwelling Holy Spirit now can fill our hearts with His burning flames of passion. However, what too many of us who profess to be Christians fail to understand is that—before the Holy Spirit can fill us—we have to cooperate with Him. We have to surrender to His control—to his leading, prompting, teaching, sanctifying, and so forth. If we do not surrender to Him—if we do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, by allowing Him to baptize us (initially fill us) with the Holy Spirit and Fire AND by allowing Him to continue to refill us ad infinitum—then we are quenching the Holy Spirit.

The point here is that, if we are baptized with God’s Holy Spirit and Fire, AND if we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit who is progressively sanctifying us, then this spiritual truth means we have allowed the Holy Spirit to fill us so that He can perfect our spirits, souls and bodies. Put differently, if we are full of the Holy Spirit and we are cooperating with His Progressive Sanctification Process—if we are permitting the Holy Spirit to grow us up in the Spirit so that we are changing into the image of Christ—this spiritual truth means that we also have allowed the Holy Spirit to set our hearts on fire for the Lord with burning flames of passion. On the other hand, if we are baptized with God’s Holy Spirit and Fire BUT for whatever reason we have stopped cooperating with His Progressive Sanctification Process, then not only will we not be on fire for the Lord but also we no longer will be changing into the image of Christ. In essence, when our burning flames die out and we just are smoldering (burning sluggishly without flames)—or if we never have been ignited—our spiritual growth also is about to stop or already has ceased.

The bottom line is that there is NO MIDDLE GROUND. We either are on fire for Christ, or we are lukewarm Christians. In order to not be lukewarm Christians, we have to receive AND cooperate with the better Baptism that John the Baptist speaks about in Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16. We have to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and Fire.

Lastly, if we do not have the Holy Spirit in us at all, then we still are spiritually dead. If we are still spiritually dead, then we neither are born again nor saved. Selah (pause and calmly think about that . . .).