Read: Genesis 6-8, Matthew 3
There are many in the Church that stay away from any discussion involving the Holy Spirit. For some people, it can be a sticky point of discussion. I’m not one of those people. If we have believed Jesus for salvation, why would we not believe him for the power of the Spirit that he promised to us?
Even John the Baptist knew that the water baptism he offered paled in comparison to what Jesus would bring.
Cleansing with water—water baptism—is an outward symbol of an inward change. But water can only do so much. It can wash the dirt from the outside, but can do very little to cleanse what’s on the inside. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in.
The Bible speaks often of the refiner’s fire. Refining is a process in which raw ore dug from the earth is heated to a melting point. The heavy precious metal stays at the bottom while the impurities rise to the top. Once cooled, those impurities can be wiped or knocked off leaving pure precious metal behind.
This is the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
The baptism “with fire” would convey, in its turn, the thought of a power at once destroying evil and purifying good…
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
The Holy Spirit burns away what is evil and purifies what is good. In Acts 2, where we read the account of the 120 in the upper room experiencing tongues of fire, we see Joel’s prophecy fulfilled.
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see vision.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
Joel 2:28-29 (NIV)
These are those days. God poured out His Spirit on His people in the book of Acts and He never took His Spirit back. So why should we shy away from that which God sent to us to give us power? It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish what Jesus said we would.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
John 14:12 (NIV)
As members of the Church, we should all seek and strive to see and do even greater things than Jesus did while he walked the earth. We need the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our churches if we’re going to see the miraculous like the disciples did. If we want Jesus to come back to earth to take us to heaven, we must first call down heaven to earth. The only way that is possible is with the Holy Spirit and with fire.