Fire is either a purifying agent or a consuming agent. Throw precious metals over fire and the impurities will come out. Throw wood and straw over fire and it will be consumed down to ash. The fire of the Holy Spirit is an interesting study in Scripture. You see the Holy Spirit in types and shadows such as the pillar of fire that led Israel through the desert. It was probably the fire of the Holy Spirit that Moses encountered with the angel at the burning bush when the bush burned but was not consumed (Exodus 3:2). It was probably the fire of the Holy Spirit that came out from the Presence of the Lord to consume the burnt offering (Leviticus 9:24), yet it was this same fire that took out Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu in the very next chapter (Leviticus 10:2). Even in the New Testament we have John the Baptist prophesying of Jesus coming to "baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire". On the Day of Pentecost the Bible says "then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them (Acts 2:3). Though Scripture doesn't specifically mention this, I speculate that it was also fire from God's Presence that took out Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. This helps us better understand what Paul says in Romans 11:22:
"Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in His kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off."
Here's my point: I want to beg you as fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord to pursue greater and greater levels of God's presence and Holy Spirit fire in your life. The primary way of doing this is through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, not only do we receive a powerful prayer language, but there comes a fire from Heaven upon us! Here's just some of what this fire will accomplish in your life:
1) It will cause you to have an insatiable hunger and thirst for God. Praying a lot in your Heavenly prayer language will stir up a fire to seek God even more. You become hungry for His presence!
2) It will enable you to do what Jesus did. Jesus not only preached repentance because the Kingdom of Heaven is near, but He also demonstrated the power of the Kingdom. He obviously expects us to do the same because He said we would do even greater things (John 14:12) and as a part of the Great Commission He said to heal the sick and cast out demons (Mark 16:15-18).
3) It will fill you with the boldness of God! When discussing being a witness or telling others about the Lord, no one can use the "too shy" excuse with me. I repeated kindergarten I was so shy! I was always the kid who stood quietly in the background. I grew up feeling a bit insecure and self conscious. I didn't like meeting new people or talking to strangers. I despised the elementary spring music program even if I didn't have a part that required speaking. Even in high school I dreaded speech class because it meant that I had to talk in front of people! Yet when I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I became so stirred with a passion for God that I couldn't help but speak of it! I believe when the early church prayed that it was normal to have some praying in their heavenly language while others cried out in their earthly language. It would have been in this kind of atmosphere that this prayer and the following answer was offered:
"And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness."
Maybe you don't feel like you qualify for miracles in and through your life. Maybe you feel you just aren't bold enough to share Jesus with others. Stir up the baptism in the Holy Spirit in your life. If you've already received it, ask Jesus to do it again and again. If you have not yet received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, then storm Heaven until you receive what Jesus has promised to you.
It has to be more than a pet doctrine folks! It has to be a continual experience!
Marc P. Eidahl
New Life Church