The Baptism Of Fire: Sermon By Bishop Gobanga
I indeed baptize you with water unto 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.Matthew 3:11 (NKJV)
The context of this reading is when the Israelites were waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises through the coming of the Messiah.
The Israelites were not ready for the Messiah and had a wrong perception of Him. They thought that the Messiah would come and get rid of the enemies of the Jews.
It is important to understand what God means when He speaks a word. We ought to be careful about what we embrace from our foundation as it may not be doctrinally sound. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us and give us a fresh revelation.
When John the Baptist spoke of the Messiah, he spoke of repentance and that Christ’s baptism was with the Holy Ghost and fire.
The first baptism is a cleansing of a person from evil, falsity and sin. Being baptized with the Holy Spirit is a cleansing of the mind and spirit with deeper spiritual truth from deception.
The second baptism is with fire. It works within your heart cleansing you from evil impulses and pleasures. This is where your mind and spirit is cleansed from error. We need to come to a place where we are willing to change the way we think. The greatest battle we’ll have to conquer is the battle of the mind.
To repent is to receive a new understanding of God. You have to receive new information. Repentance is change of mind. It causes us to align to what God desires and how He thinks.
When you are baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, Jesus inducts you to the 3rd person of the Godhead who continues His work in you.
The third type of baptism is accompanied by spirituality and love. It is cleansing of any pleasure. This is where the fire of God is ignited in one to have passion for God and people.
The fire of the Spirit of God purifies, energizes and beautifies you. It also obliterates sin, pride, unbelief, selfishness and the things that do not glorify God.
The purpose of the fire of God is to cause you to have a passion for holiness.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
When you are baptized with fire, you become immersed in the Spirit, saying like Paul that no longer do you live, but Christ lives in you.
God wants us to be living flames of fire that ignite every place that we go to. When you are under the superintendence of God, you will only be moved where God moves you.
The fire of God can never be put off. It will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. The things that we read in the book of Acts have not ceased. It is the church that is sleeping.
When the fire of God comes upon you, it separates you. It separates that which is truth and that which is falsehood.When you have the consuming fire of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit will lead you into all truth. You will not rely on a preacher.
The fire of God is not the fire of judgment. It is the fire of passion for God and the things of God. It makes you hate sin with passion. Doubt and unbelief are sin. That which is not of faith is sin. We need to walk by faith (not in our circumstances) and the voice of God.
The problem is not that you don’t have the credentials. You need to have confidence in yourself. A lot of us lose opportunities because we are not confident. God wants us to know that there is a difference between knowing about Christ and experiencing Him.
When you have the Holy Spirit, every wrong idea about yourself, God, the Holy Spirit and Christ will fall away. When you are full of the fire of God, divine wisdom will be your portion.
The fire of the Holy Spirit will cleanse you, transform and purify you so that the beauty of Christ becomes evident in your life.
The problem with the Church is that we have missed the goal of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire and instead focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The purpose is so we can attain to the full image and stature of Christ.
The fire of God in you should cause you to align to the direction God is leading you to, not to the whims of society or people’s opinions. When you come to Christ in repentance, it is to agree with His terms.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire obliterates that which is falsehood and the notions that we have held on to. God wants to bring us to the place where we are changed into the image of Christ.
Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.Isaiah 54:16-17 (KJV)
Satan is a tool for God to accomplish His purpose e.g. Job’s story. God will never allow the devil to interfere with your purpose. Suffering has a prophetic purpose and causes us to learn obedience.