Devotional - Are You Sure You Want To Call Down Holy Fire Upon Yourself?

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, May 11, 2014.

  1. John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Luke 3: 16 (ESV)

    When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and restedon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. - Acts 2: 1-4 (ESV)

    The traditions within the Pentecostal church, built up over the past 100 years, are so often confusing or simply inaccurate when lined up with Scripture. We take the temporary gifts of the Spirit and pretend people hold offices in them. Somewhere in the course of the 20th century we confused and intermingled our private prayer language into our public display of tongues. Prophecy, which Scripture clearly indicates is instructing and comforting with the Word of God has been mutated into worldly clairvoyance and parlor tricks to amuse the masses. Anyone with a business card and a faux-cross background can call themselves an Apostle now. New age mysticism and cultic practices from Kundalini yoga have infiltrated the sanctuary as much as contemplative prayer and transcendental meditation have corrupted our prayer practices. We are more zealous to chase men for a "spoken word over our lives" instead of pursuing God through His Word.

    Along with these changes, our language has changed. Our vernacular. The way we discuss our faith and beliefs. It shows up in the drastic alteration of worship. Once upon a time our worship was How Great Thou Art but today it is How Great You Think We Are. In yesteryear we sang about Calvary, the cross, and all God had done for us but today it is all about our blessings, our birthright, and what God owes us. Mixed into these songs of petulance is the shift in the past few decades to a mysticism style that is more akin to the chanting mantras found in Hinduism than to anything that remotely resembles the God of Christianity. Don't belive me? Watch any Jesus Culture concert. Nearly every song lasts 15 minutes yet only has two stanzas. The hook is repeated as a mantra, over and over again as the music becomes a monotonous driving beat in your ears. It is indoctrination more than worship. Even built into the lyrics are clear indications that the people writing and singing do not understand Scripture. One popular Jesus Culture song asks God to flood our hearts with holy fire. Sometimes the Spirit of God will literally stop me in the middle of a song because it is simply not glorifying God. Flood our hearts with holy fire? Do we truly understand what we say to God sometimes?

    I know that "holy fire" is a popular phenomena within Charismatic circles. I have heard preachers pray for it. I have watched choirs sing for it. I have seen misguided dance ministries dance for it. Remember, it doesn't matter if "everyone is doing it." The only thing that matters is if it is Biblical and if it is not, what we are actually asking for. I remember my pastor once asking us if we knew what we were asking for when we prayed for God to test us. The truth is we did not. I read a quote once from John MacArthur who explained that he bans certain types of songs from his church. One is the "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs, which is very wise. The second however were songs that he didn't think people were serious about the lyrics. The example he gave was the song that had the lyric "brokenness is what I long for." McArthur correctly surmised that while some might be ready to be broken before the Lord - most would be asking for something they were not ready for and were not serious about. When I look at the seemingly overwhelming desire for "holy fire" - I feel the same way. People simply do not understand what they are asking of God.

    Do you know how many times the term holy fire appears in the Bible? Zero. That's right. We sing and dance and chant and pray for something God never mentions. That means that we interpreted somewhere this concept of holy fire as something we should pursue. Most Pentecostals will agree that they say holy fire as being some kind of passion for the things of God. A renewed zealotry for God. Mostly this is conflating a human understanding of a linguistic colloquialism - "being on fire" - with Scripture. The problem is that Scripture must rule over our human languages - not the other way around. Words have meanings; even for God.

    But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value. - 1Corinthians 3: 13 (NIV)

    Fire primarily is a representation in the Bible for judgment. It also is used to discuss the purification process of a believer. Not exactly something we are known for running towards. It should be a harrowing thing, not something we jump around asking for. In my research on this subject, I found the primary verses that seem to cause confusion for many are the key verses for today. The Luke verse being interpreted as Christians expecting a baptism of fire and the Acts verses as a manifestation of that on the Day of Pentecost. Let us reason together and examine what the Scripture actually says and are we applying it right or even understanding it at all.

    The first Scripture is a statement from John the Baptist. He correctly states that his baptism is of water but another, the Christ is coming. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit AND fire. This verse does not say Jesus will baptize you with holy spirit fire but rather the Holy Spirit and fire. What appears to be a subtle difference is actually quite large. We need to examine the entire context. Who is John speaking to? According to the preceding verses he is clearly speaking to a mixture of believers and unbelievers, including some of the Pharisees. There is no question that the first part of this declaration, promising the baptism of the Holy Spirit is meant for believers. We have cross scriptural references for this including when Jesus instructs His followers to wait specifically for power from on high. Then who is the baptism of fire for? Let us return to the context and see the very next verse:

    His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” - Luke 3: 17 (ESV)

    It seems pretty clear that the reference to fire here is not meant for the believer as it deals with judgment. The wheat of believers are gathered into the barn but the unbelieving chaff is consumed by unquenchable fire. Many will then point to the second set of verses from the Day of Pentecost. It is true that Acts Chapter Two is the fulfillment of Luke 3:16 in that this is the deliverance of the promised Holy Spirit. This is when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is when the power of God was indwelt within them. Thus the Holy Spirit was able to lead Peter into all truth and give him a powerful boldness to preach the first sermon. But what about those tongues of fire? Doesn't that prove it was also a baptism of fire? Not exactly beloved. Here is that verse again:

    And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and restedon each one of them.

    The key words here are "as of"; indicating that it was not actual fire. In fact, when Jesus referred to the declaration from John the Baptist in relation to the believers He said this:

    And while stayingwith them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” - Acts 1: 4-5 (ESV)

    One could argue strictly from a logical standpoint that the word "fire" was omitted because there were no unbelievers being addressed here, as there was when John first uttered these words. At this point because so many have been raised on this potentially false notion the topic will switch to almost any Bible verse or story that involves fire. We must be careful when dividing the Word of God to not read into the Word what is simply not there while avoiding what is. We do not create whole doctrine out of intermittent words or phrases that are not supported by the entire canon of Scripture. That said, did Elijah call down fire from heaven? Absolutely but it was a one time event designed to expose the false prophets of Baal. I supposed if you had the relationship with God that Elijah had and you were trying to expose a band of false prophets you could try this but all you really need to do is open the Word of God to expose what is false. Wait a minute preacher, didn't the sons of thunder ask Jesus to call down fire from heaven? Yes they did but they asked within the context of destroying those who rejected the message of Christ and Jesus rebuked them for it. We could go on for a long time dissecting vague references to fire and trying to stretch them into doctrine that impels believers to request something called "holy fire" but it simply will not be doctrinal.

    On the other hand we have plenty of clear Scriptures where God refers to fire as a method of judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire. The seventh plague of Egypt included fire raining down on the Egyptians. Nadab and Abihu were consumed by fire. The 250 men offering incense in Korah's rebellion were destroyed by fire. Then there are agreeing Scriptures regarding the future judgment of men by fire. These include; 2Thessalonians 1:8, Hebrews 10:27, 2Peter 3:7, 2Peter 3:12, Jude 1:7, and many more in the Book of Revelation. In addition to these there are references to being refined and purified by fire. These include Zechariah 13:9, 1Peter 1:7, Malachi 3:1-4, Isaiah 48:10, Job 23:10, Proverbs 17:3, Psalm 66:10-12, Mark 9: 49-50 and many others.

    So what can we conclude? There are many instances where fire is represented Biblically simply as fire. God Himself has been represented as fire in several occasions such as the burning bush and the pillar of fire that led Israel. Beyond that however there seems to be two major themes we can identify. The first is that fire is clearly a method of judgment from God; either in past judgments or referring to the coming judgment. Secondly, God refers to fire often as a means to purify and refine those who believe. That is really it beloved. Judgment and purification. One we definitely do not want to be calling down upon us and another we probably don't mean to. Let's look again at the lyric from earlier;

    "Flood our hearts with holy fire." Really? When you read the rest of the lyrics, filled with references to raining down and dancing in a barren land, it becomes apparent that Jesus Culture has no idea what they are talking about Scripturally when they try to write songs they think are worship. That is not exactly a surprise when their lead worshiper has been proven already to be unable to discern what is from God and when she is being visited demonically:

    Yet this is the fastest growing worship trend in America today. It seems as if pastors, churches, and congregants do not stop to ask if a song is worthy of being called worship. As long as it makes it to Christian radio - which is entirely secular by nature! The mantra of repeating over and over again our desire for holy fire to fall from heaven is strikingly ignorant of Scripture and sloppily irreverent to the very fact that God one day may give us what we want. I know the objections already and they simply do not hold up to the light of the Word of God. You want the manifest presence of God? Maybe you forgot that that Holy Spirit already lives inside of you. He does not have to "rain down" as much as you need to let Him rise up! That really sums up our Christian problem sometimes. We are always seeking an outside experience because we do not want to do the real work of an inside changing. It is easier to get "soaked" on the outside and pretend that we are "spiritual" then let the Holy Spirit into those closed areas in our life to do some real spiritual surgery.

    You say holy fire because you want more zeal for God? Pray that you become more zealous. You want more love for God - ask Him for it. You want to be more committed, passionate, and determined? Pray for those things. They need not be flammable. Words matter. What we say to God matters. What we sing to God matters. I am stunned sometimes at the lyrics of the songs that we call worship today. We sit in churches across this land singing man centered songs that we pretend glorify God. We hear man centered preaching we pretend teaches us about God. All the while dancing and singing that He rain down judgment or purification over us. One day beloved, He may very well answer.

    Reverend Anthony Wade - May 11, 2014
  2. Mt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

    Ac 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

    Ac 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
    17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit;
    and they shall prophesy:
  3. You're hysterical. You obviously did not read it. The two verse you cite are the key verses for the devotional, lol.
  4. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6:7 KJV)

    This verse came to mind while I was mowing one day and listening to music. I've had to learn to use discernment with music. I take for granted that all praise and worship music is holy and edifying, sadly some is not.

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6 KJV)
  5. 1Co 14:21 ¶ In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
  6. 1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
    15 ¶ What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
    16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
    17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
    18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
    Euphemia likes this.
  7. #7 Euphemia, May 14, 2014
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
    I love Jesus Culture! They are truly anointed by Holy Spirit to bring worship before the Lord! The Body of Christ could learn from them about true worship, about worshiping with all we've got---spirit, soul and body---and about Godly excellence.

    Denouncing a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led group of young leaders in worship is of the devil. That kind of judgment is vile and has hell as its source, devoid of love.
  8. You keep displaying clearly that you have no discernment. You also have no desire to be taught.

    To any watching. Please read the following with an open Bible and let the Holy Spirit lead you into the truth.

    This is a movement birthed at one of the most heretical churches in this country. A church that runs a school to teach the gifts of the spirit. A group whose leader espouses dominionist theology and whose worship leader offers a personal testimony of visiting the throne room of God and meeting the Father face to face, despite the Bible being clear that she would die if that were so. Realize also key words used to confuse you by people like Euphemia. Pointing out what is not Biblical is not "judgment." It is what is required by the Bible.
  9. I never been to a Church who talked about some Holy Fire, or asking God to lay it on you for a good test. Asking to search your heart to see if you need to fix something maybe.

    Now I have been to a AOG church where some nut case preached about God getting the dross out of our life through trials and pain. Had the guy actually taken the time to read a scripture, He would have found that Dross was destroyed (As in the person) every time it was mentioned. Being in the furnace of God did not end well. Not sure where he got that doctrine.
    I think He called it the refining fire or some nonesense like that.

    Another interesting study about fire.......... Is where did it come from?

    We know God uses the enemy like a battle axe, used a Destroying angle he watched over in Egypt. Satan is the only one mentioned that brings down fire.

    Satan used it to burn up Job's sheep....... Baaaaaaaaaa........ poof....

    How about Sodom?

    The disciples ask Jesus if they should rain down fire on those that would not hear, He said........... You know not what spirit ye are.

    Satan pulls the fire tricks again in Rev.

    Just saying.

    I would change churches Anthony, that is some strange stuff your experiencing.
  10. Jude 1:17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
    19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
    20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
    21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

    What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
    Euphemia likes this.

  11. Actually, the opposite is true. Why would I want to read something you wrote elsewhere? Such self-aggrandizement is appalling.
  12. If you learn how to read, that was not directed to you.
  13. I don't get no response back?

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