Baptism of Fire By Leonard Ravenhill

Luke 3:16

      We are going to look into the Gospel as recorded by Luke and the third chapter.

      I suppose most of us can quote John 3:16 without looking at it. How many of us can quote Luke 3:16? It's the other side of the coin, it should be as well known. Well, here it is' in the good King James version.

      Luke 3 verse 16: "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 in this version, "and with fire:" but the original says: "Holy Ghost fire." Because God is a consuming fire. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of fire. And Jesus said, "I've come to bring fire on earth." There is no escaping fire. This is a kind of a clich' of mine, but I still get a lift out of saying it, I believe that tonight the world is going to hell fire because the church has lost Holy Ghost fire, it's as simple as that.

      Between Malachi and Mathew you've got
      Four hundred years of blackness without any prophetic light.
      Four hundred years of stillness without any prophetic voice.

      And then suddenly, dramatically, unexpectedly this strange man, John the Baptist, came streaking across a sky that was totally black. The Word says he was a "burning and a shining light." Jesus, the greatest character in history, says, "There was no man comparable to John Baptist." Not Isaiah not Jeremiah not any of those towering saints. He is a very, very remarkable character.

      John the Baptist appears in the wilderness. It was not only a wilderness geographically,
      it was a wilderness morally,
      it was a wilderness politically,
      it was a wilderness religiously.

      You see, you go back in the Scripture and you read about Ezrah and Nehemiah. They established a governership over Israel made of a hundred and twenty priests and rulers. These priests and elders ruled over Israel. Four hundred and fifty years they dominated that nation. I say: this was a jungle, theologically.

      In 170 BC there was a man with the strange name of Antiochus Epiphanes. You need to look up his name and his relatives. He took over Jerusalem, he polluted the temple, he made the Jews sacrifice to idols, he built a statue of Jupiter where the the altar of the burnt offering should have been. He burnt the Scriptures publicly. He prohibited the worship of Jehovah. And all this horrendous stuff went on. In 37 BC came Herod the Great. He betrayed the nation to the Romans, he fostered immorality, he massacred the noble people, he built that magnificent temple that was standing.

      Now with this horrendous background of murder and rape and debauchery and suffering and agony, John Baptist steps on the stage. A remarkable character.

      You see, today we try to organize. We try to get a bunch of people together. God never did that. God takes individual men. He takes Moses to the backside of the desert. John the Baptist was in the wilderness until the day of his showing forth.

      Jesus, the Son of God who had left the Glory, spent thirty years in training to minister!
      John Baptist thirty years in training.
      The apostle Paul at least thirty years.
      Moses at least forty years;
      and we want to go to Bible School six months and come out like a super prophet! It's the time factor that kills most of us. Tell me how much time you spend alone with God and I will tell you how spiritual you are.
      Not how many meetings you go to.
      Not how many gifts you have.
      Not how many sermons you preach.
      Not how many records you've made.

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He purifies until He looks in me and sees His reflection. He won't be satisfied with less. He doesn't come to make me a great preacher, or a great writer, or a great singer, or a great organizer. He comes because He wants to reflect His beauty in my life. Gentleness and meekness and holiness.

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Jesus came not to save us just from sins, but from sinning. When they heard these men, they were pricked in their hearts.

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