Fact, Folly, Fire, Isn't that just like Jesus?

Writer Author  Jerry Lee Kay Sr.
Christian Article : Bible Teaching  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer If you attempt to follow Christ, you will experience division. It is also true, of course, that many Christians suffer not because they follow Jesus, but because they are judgmental, boorish, pious, buffoons. But it is also a fact that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim. 3:12). And sometimes the division and persecution come from those we love the most...that is fact!

"I've come to start a fire on this earth... how I wish it were blazing right now! I've come to change everything, turn everything right side up—how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I've come to disrupt and confront! From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be— Three against two, and two against three; Father against son, and son against father; Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; Mother-in-law against bride, and bride against mother-in-law." Then he turned to the crowd: "When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, 'Storm's coming'—and you're right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, 'This'll be a hot one'—and you're right. Ye Pretenders! You know how to tell a change in the weather; so don't tell me you can't tell a change in the season, the God-season we're in right now. "You don't have to be a genius to understand these things. Just use your common sense. Luke 12.... That is fact!

Jesus longed to bring "fire on the earth," to baptize his own "with the Holy Spirit and with fire," so they would be regenerated, indwelt, sealed, and sanctified, so judgment would be set in motion for the world. To this end he had to be baptized in death, a 'fact' that dominated and distressed him until it was done. And He actually ran to the cross. As a result the realities for us are immense. There is dissonance and division in this world today as it was in His days on earth. Moreover, now that the cross was on the distant horizon, the Lord moved to dispel any illusions that the disciples might be entertaining. "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division". The "peace on earth" heralded by the angels at His birth would now have to be postponed until His coming again. Moreover, the battle would rage in the very homes of God's people: "For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three". Father and son would be at loggerheads; mother and daughter would be at daggers drawn. Once a member of an ordinary human home becomes a committed Christian, the chances of peace will be in jeopardy. The age long history of the church on earth is proof of that fact.

Signs of the times were everywhere. The people could see them and were observant of them. They could see a cloud rise out of the west. "There's going to be rain!" they say. And right they are. They feel the south wind blow. "It's going to get hot," they say. And they are right. The geographical setting for these forecasts is the land of Israel. To the west was the Mediterranean, from whence came the rain; to the south was the desert, which gave the hot, dry winds. The people could read these signs in the sky. But they were blind to the spiritual signs (12:56). The Lord accused them of hypocrisy.

Why could they not read the plentiful signs of the times? The living God was in their midst. The prophets had foretold His coming. They also had foretold the 'place' (Mic. 5:2), 'the period' (Dan. 9:24-26), and the 'plan' (Isa. 42:1-3). He had Himself demonstrated His deity in countless ways. He had told them who He was and why He was there. A visit to the archives in the temple would have given documented proof that He was descended from David (Matt. 1:1-16). But they were blind to it all...That is Folly!

They were not only blind to what was apparent but also blind to what was approaching (12:57-59). The whole discussion began when a man asked the Lord to intervene in a legal case. The Lord ended this oration with a legal case, an impending case between themselves and God. He said, "When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.” I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite"

Before long, these very people, spurred on by their rulers, would be howling for His death. And what a death! Then the church would be born, and the Jewish rulers would see it as a threat. God would send apostles and prophets. Sanhedrin and synagogue would rise up against them. And still God would hold back His hand. But legal proceedings would soon be under way. The Judge would be on the bench. The Judge would be the Lord Himself, with the nail scars in His hands. But there was still time. The guilty nation of Israel could still make its peace with God. Time, however, would not stand still. All that was required was a national turning to Christ, and the case would be settled out of court.

The nation of Israel refused to come to terms, so it was delivered over to the officer—a veiled reference to the Roman military—God's executioner. By a.d. 135, the Jews were ready to fall for the first of a number of weird false messiahs. He was Bar Cochbar, who led the Jews into an insurrection. The result was the total defeat of the Jews and their complete expulsion from the land. Jewish national life came to an end. For the next two thousand years or so, they would be scattered far and wide. Homeless, hated, and hounded from land to land—"till thou hast paid the very last mite,” That is folly.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh. (John 3:6) It is possible for a man to be marked by an analytical mind, so that he wants to argue out everything, reason out everything and subject everything to the microscope of his own brain, his own reason, and just see the whole thing right through in that way - not accept it until he can understand it like that. And so he becomes very analytical, very investigating in his mind over the thing, and until he can have the very best answer to all his questions from every side, he is not going to accept it. That man will make very slow progress. The same will apply to one who thinks that by getting a mighty wave of religious emotion he is going to enter into the things of God. That is one of the great snares of the devil today. Religious emotion is no criterion; it is no ground of true spirituality.

Our knowledge of the Lord, the very remotest bit of it and the very first ray of it depends upon our spirit being awakened and illumined by the Holy Spirit. Progress in the things of God is simply the growth of our inner man and not the acknowledgment of our intellectual capacity to grasp truth. We may have an increasing capacity, by reason of association and familiarity with truth, for grasping ideas and grasping truth and teaching. And that capacity may expand and expand until there is very little that is available to be grasped, and yet with such there may be the very smallest measure of real spirituality.... The child of God is one whose spirit has been renewed and who has, at the center of their being, a union and a communion with God which is not the possession of any man by nature, and which cannot come in any other realm but in the renewed spirit.

Early in Luke's Gospel we read that John the Baptist's preparation for the coming Christ was so popularly successful that some people wondered if he was the Christ, which prompted him to explain: "I baptize you with water. But one, more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3:16).

John's careful denial that he was the Christ emphasized his own inferiority to Jesus and the superiority of Jesus' baptism. John's water baptism was external, while Jesus' baptism of the Spirit and fire would be internal. It would cleanse the inside of believing humanity. Believers would be baptized "with the Holy Spirit and with fire" because the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit would involve the fire-like work of purification. And those who would refuse Christ would undergo the fire of Christ's judgment, as John further explained: "His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Luke 12:17). Therefore, we are given to understand from the very first that Jesus' ministry would be fiery—first, as a purifying baptism of believers, and, second, as a consuming judgment upon unbelievers.

Now, toward the end of Luke 12, as Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, and the cross loomed larger and larger, so that it filled Jesus' mental horizon, our Lord paused to reflect on the fiery realities the cross would unleash upon him and his followers. His reflections were a pre-cross fact check. Jesus bared his feelings, his innermost heart, and revealed some harsh realities. It was good for the disciples, and it is good for his followers today, to see these realities because we are always in good shape when we see things as they are. The trouble comes when we see fact as we wish it would be, not as it is. The fact for Jesus was that the prophesied fire had not fallen, but he so longed for it—"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled" He longed for the time when he would baptize his followers "with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3:16).

Through this baptism, all who believed in him would be regenerated...born of the Spirit ... made eternally alive as eternal sons and daughters of God... and he longed for that...They would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth...and he longed for that...They would no longer be alone...and he longed for that...They would be sealed with the Holy Spirit as a down payment insuring their eternal inheritance. They would enjoy eternal life now...and he longed for that. They would be sanctified, made holy by the Spirit's fiery work of internal, soul purification. He would melt their hearts, so to speak, and skim away the impure dross from their souls so they could mirror his holy image...and he longed for that...And ultimately their lives would be ignited, they would become incendiary. Pentecostal fire would flame from their lives, the Spirit of burning would rest above their willing heads, and the fire would spread...and he longed for that.

This was the real longing of Jesus' heart. These are not Luke's imagined words. These are the words of Jesus, the verbum mentis of his mind and heart" I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" This is how Jesus felt before the Passion and the cross.

Has there ever been anything you wanted so badly that you just couldn't get it off your mind? Every time you tried to think about something else, your mind just kept drifting back over and over again to that thing you desired. Finally, your urge to possess it became so intense that every fiber of your being wanted to reach out and capture it before anyone else had a chance to snatch it first! Let me use a different illustration to make this point. If a drug addict or an alcoholic abruptly decides to stop doing drugs or drinking after many years of chemical abuse, what happens? Unless that person has a miraculous deliverance, it probably won't be too long before his body begins to crave those chemicals. In fact, his appetite for drugs or alcohol might get so forceful that he doubles over in agony. That's how much his body yearns for a "fix" of what it has habitually received in the past. In the New Testament, the images above would be depicted by the Greek word epipotheo, which is a compound of the words epi and potheo. The word epi means over, and the word potheo is the word for desire. But when these two words are compounded together, the new word epipotheo portrays an intense desire, a craving a hunger, an ache, a yearning for something a longing or pining for something. More specifically, it describes an intense, abnormal, excessive yearning. Usually this word is used to indicate an intense yearning for something that is morally wrong and sinful. It is the pitiful picture of someone, such as a drug addict or an alcoholic, who needs his "fix" so seriously that he is doubled over, racked with pain, and crying out, "Please, someone, give me what I need!" Remarkably, this Greek word epipotheo is the same word found in James 4:5 to describe the desire of the Holy Spirit when it says, "... The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy...."The word "lust" in this verse is from this same Greek word epipotheo. Only this time the word is not used to describe the painful addiction of a drug addict or alcoholic; rather, it depicts the Spirit of God! There is obviously some object that the Spirit of God craves. In fact, this Greek word pictures Him as desiring it so desperately that He is one who needs some type of "fix" to satisfy an addiction. He is crying out, "I have to have it! I can't wait any longer! Give me what I crave! Give me what I am aching and yearning to have!" But what does this mean? What is James 4:5 saying to us? What does the Holy Spirit yearn for so sincerely that the Bible would picture Him in this way? In James 4:5, the Bible reveals the intense yearning the Holy Spirit possesses to have us entirely for Himself That should be no surprise to us. He is our Indweller, our Sealer, our Sanctifier, and our Source of power. His attention, His gifts, His power, and His Word are all directed toward us. He is in love with us!

The Holy Spirit is so in love with us that He wants more, more, more, and more of us. Every day He wants our time, our attention, our devotion, and our fellowship. If we deny the Holy Spirit of what He wants from us, He cries out, "I need you! I must have you! I want to fill you, empower you, and flood you with My divine life!" James 4:5 conveys this compelling idea:"... The Spirit has an all-consuming and passionate desire to have more and more of us. In fact, this desire to possess us is so strong that He literally yearns, craves, and pines after us." Never forget that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Lover who lives on the inside of us. He passionately yearns to fulfill His responsibility to the Father to help, teach, guide, and empower us. The word epipotheo emphatically means that when it comes to you and me, the Holy Spirit can never get enough! The Holy Spirit desires to possess you—all of you. Because of this intense desire, He is focused on changing you, empowering you, conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, and helping you fulfill God's plan for your life. Learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to have more and more of you each day. Satisfy the yearning of this Divine Lover. Let the Holy Spirit love you! Let Him control you! Let Him exercise His authority in your life and flood you with His divine desire!

You see Beloved; division is only half the story. Jesus also brings peace with God—the ground and foundation of all peace. Jesus gives us his peace. This is not something from a package. It is not a philosophical abstraction. It is his own personal peace. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives" John 14:27, He gives us the peace he had for thirty- three years amidst turmoil and rejections, even on the cross. He shares with us the peace that is now his in glory. This is not a dream. This is fact! He also gives us peace with his own people, other believers. As Paul put it, "He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit" (Eph. 2:17, 18). Jesus prayed for his people's mutual peace—"that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you" How sweet this is—peace with God, then
Christ's own personal peace in our hearts, and then peace with each other. If we are walking in the Spirit!

I know that the Holy Spirit loves you! You say... Poppa how do you know? Cause He told me so! He thinks of you, dreams of you, and wants to fill you with His Presence and power. The Holy Spirit was sent into this world to be your Helper, your Guide, your Teacher, and your Leader. Therefore, you need to learn to lean on Him and to let Him lead you through all your affairs in this life. Surrender to Him, yield to Him, and depend on Him for everything you need. Lord, help us to be mindful that the Holy Spirit lives inside us and wants to possess more and more of us every day. Abba Father helps us learn how to surrender to the Spirit's power and to yield to His sanctifying Presence. I know that as we yield to Him, He will fill us full of every good thing we need to live a happy and successful life in this world. Father help us today to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit completely. Holy Spirit, I ask You to fill us anew right now, the peace of Jesus, and peace with each other. He gave his all. He sank in
death's waters that we might have his fire and his peace.

Now isn't that just like Jesus?

God Bless You

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Email: jerryleekay@suddenlink.net
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