Friday, December 12

Dead in the Wind, Alive in the Fire!

Psalm: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-11
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Epistle: 2 Peter 3:8-15a

The Holy Spirit, by Isaiah, says, "All our flesh is as grass:"Speak encouragingly to God's people, but to say what? That all our strength is like the fragile grass: No strength, no profit. All form, no substance. What's more, it is when the Holy Spirit makes His presence known that our fragile strength and empty appearances all dry up, “But the word of our God stands forever!”
Yet we presume to serve and please God by our own strength! The greatest contribution that straw can make is in being burned up!
1st Corin. 3:9-17 shows us the result. All our works, our efforts and our accomplishments, tested with fire, “to see what sort it is.” Anything we can produce of our weak-straw humanity (flesh) goes up in a flash, but the deep treasures of God are purified of anything “extra” to shine like, well, “gold, silver, precious stones.”
Our own strength fails because the Spirit, in Whose strength God calls us to live, breathes on it!
2 Pet. 3:10-13 speaks of all Creation being under God's judgment, and all Creation shall be burned up under the fire of God.
Everything we trusted, everything that “tickled our fancies” in this world, and everything that gave us grief. Disease, crabgrass, the Stock Exchange, and all our favorite toys.
All the earth, and even the Heavens.
How shall we survive then? and how shall we live now?
Mark 1:1-8 shows a parallel with Acts 1:1-8 as Jesus fleshes out what John had preached: We have been baptised in water, but Jesus came to baptise us with the wind of God, and the fire of God. In other places we read that Jesus did not consider this a “religious option” but treated it as a reality, and as a command. Enough said on that for now.
This baptism is one of judgment: Our sin cannot stand before God, and this Holy Spirit is no less Deity than God the Father from Whom He proceeds. All that is trash, and all that is weak, must be consumed.
What is good is purified.
What is good? What comes from God! The word of our God stands forever, and it is by that Word, and by the Spirit of God, that He transforms and purifies our hearts.
Are we talking about a loud and raucous frenzy, or some uncontrollable “glory fits?” Some try to fit that kind of reaction into the Bible, but we really can't find it there as the norm to follow. The fruit, the expectable outcome, of the Spirit in someone's life is love.
Our hearts and lives are transformed as we step from “The grass withers and the flower fades,” to, “The word of our God shall stand for ever,” as the Spirit continues, “O Zion, that brings good tidings, get yourself up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that brings good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, (and say) Behold your God!


  1. 'The fruit, the expectable outcome, of the Spirit in someone's life is love.

    Our hearts and lives are transformed as we step from “The grass withers and the flower fades,” to, “The word of our God shall stand for ever,” as the Spirit continues...'

    With some people on-line that seemingly have some of the essential Christian doctrines correct but do not seem to show love to outsiders, I question, without attempting to judge hearts, if they are saved.

    No question, a fruit of being regenerated is love for others and not just friends.

  2. All too much of Western Evangelicalism is characterised by one of two examples. Either there is a "decision" followed (at best) with a life of taking notes on a Sunday from a pastor rattling off morally irrelevant intellectual verbiage, stuffing the head and starving the heart, or else there's a great, feel-good celebration that is all heart. Is either of them a picture of Christ in us? Does either succeed in forming Christ in us?

  3. Both approaches are lacking.

    I finished a new post tonight.

    God bless, Robert.

    This is my first comment using Safari which has a different look. I usually use IE and sometimes Firefox.

  4. Good on ya for stopping by, Russ!

    I'm thinking of swapping the focus on this site to primarily posting a lectionary-based sermon plan for each coming Sunday, and maybe some smart remarks during the week, if time permits. I kinda think a few of my visitors are sermon mining when they come by, and no better way to share a sermon than to share a sermon..! Besides, I'm only "on" to preach half the time, & this will be good in building my own outline file! So, whaddya think?


So what's your take?