Sunday, December 6, 2015, 3:47 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “As a Deer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 3:11-12 (NASB).
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
In context, John the Baptist was busy preparing the way for Jesus Christ by preparing people’s hearts to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah. His message was plain and simple, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” The “kingdom of heaven” was in reference to Jesus Christ – his birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, his sending of his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, the life of the church (his body), his coming again one day to judge and to receive his bride to himself, his millennial kingdom reign on the earth, and his dwelling with his followers for eternity in glory.
John, in preparation for Jesus Christ, baptized the people with water for repentance. Repentance means a change of mind, and is consistently used throughout scripture to describe a turning away from sin, a forsaking of idols, a transformation of the Spirit of God of heart and mind (the change of mind), and turning to follow God/Jesus in obedience – putting off our old flesh and putting on of our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Yet, not everyone was baptized by John for repentance, and not everyone was sincere in their desire to be baptized.
John scolded the hypocritical religious leaders who came to him at the waters of baptism, apparently out of a desire only to escape the wrath of God, which is what many people do in praying a prayer to “receive Jesus” as Savior of their lives, i.e. they look at salvation merely as an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when they die. Yet, John told them that they must produce fruit (spiritual outgrowth/results) in keeping with repentance. Jesus taught a similar message, as did his NT apostles, that salvation from sin means death to sin and living to righteousness, no longer walking according to the flesh, but walking (conducting our lives) according to the Spirit (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 8:1-14). John, thus, warned them that those who do not produce good fruit (in keeping with repentance) will be cut down and thrown into the fire (either the fires of judgment and/or of eternity in hell).
With the Spirit and Fire
Then John the Baptist talked about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, as the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, via repentance and turning to walk in faith in God/Jesus, to obey him, by the power and working of the Spirit in our lives in new birth (spiritual birth), we die with Christ to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life. In regeneration of the Spirit Jesus Christ baptizes us with his Spirit. Our salvation is the baptism of the Spirit. We are then indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Water baptism for the believer, which is an outward symbol of our inward faith, symbolizes this death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ Jesus.
Jesus will also baptize us with fire. Fire has to do with judgment, and the New Testament teaches that God judges (disciplines; corrects; punishes; rebukes; chastises) his own for the purpose of purifying them and making them holy, and/or to get his wandering ones to return to their “first love.” He does this because he loves us, and because he wants us to be in a right relationship with him. One other purpose of judgment is to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e. to sift out who is truly a follower of Jesus Christ and who is not, but is a Christian in form only, or is one who has never made a confession of Christ as Lord and Savior of his or her life. The chaff, i.e. those who followed a form of religion but who did not produce fruit in keeping with repentance, or who rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives, will be burned up with unquenchable fire. The wheat, i.e. those who survived the cut and who did produce fruit in keeping with repentance, will survive and will be gathered to Jesus Christ for the wedding supper of the Lamb.
I believe the world is under the judgment of Almighty God right now, and that we can see evidence of it in the news stories we read, in the decisions of our leaders, in the speeches of Barack Obama and Pope Francis and others, and in the moral and spiritual decline of today’s modern church. So much of today’s church is no different from the world. It is barely distinguishable between the church and the world anymore. The church is supposed to be the body of Christ, a spiritual organism, made up of those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives, with Jesus Christ as the head. Its meetings are supposed to be for the purpose of mutual edification and encouragement of the body so that we can go out into the world with the gospel of salvation, and so we can stand strong in our faith against all the tricks and traps of the devil in his deceitful scheming against us.
Yet, much of the church invited the world into the gatherings of the church, and thus they acclimated the meetings of the church to the desires of the world in order to attract the world to their assemblies. Thus, they diluted the gospel of salvation in order to make it more palatable and acceptable to the sinful world and to the adulterous and idolatrous church. Books written by mere humans, even ones teaching syncretism (the blending of differing faiths), have replaced the Word of God, as have movies or movie clips. Feel good messages meant to tickle itching ears have replaced Holy Spirit inspired preaching intended to convict hearts of sin and call people to repentance and obedience to Christ. In America, the church partnered with an evil government, placing the US government as head over the church, superseding Christ as the sole head and authority over his church. And, the church turned itself into big business, utilizing marketing techniques and schemes (tricks) in place of God’s Word as their guide for how to conduct the meetings of the church.
So, God is judging his church and its leaders, and he is judging nations and people who have rejected him as Lord and Savior. I believe his purpose is to revive his wayward church and that through his revived church the gospel will go to the ends of the earth, and that many people will be saved before Jesus Christ returns for his bride. And, through this judgment there will be a definite separation between those who truly follow Christ with their lives and those who do not, or who have done so in form only. And, those who hold to the testimony of Jesus, who do not deny his name, who obey the Word of the Lord, and who preach the full gospel message are being persecuted and will be persecuted and even put to death because they didn’t compromise with the world, and they didn’t conform to the norms of society where those norms conflicted with the Word of Truth.
Satan is the father of lies and the great deceiver. We live in a time of great deception. We can’t trust what we read, see or hear in the news, because much of it is lies (whole or half-truths) propagated by world powers who control the world. We can’t trust the words of our political leaders or of many of our leaders in the church, because many of them are following after lies, and are promoting such lies to the people. So, we must place our trust solely in the Lord, and trust him to tell us what is truth and what is lies, i.e. to give us a spirit of discernment so that we don’t fall into the trap of the devil and begin following lies instead of the truth.
For the past 11 years, the Lord Jesus has been opening my eyes to see that so many things I had accepted as truth (news stories, history books, etc.) were really lies cleverly disguised as truth. The Lord taught me about the US government, and helped me to see that our nation is not the Christian nation I thought it was, but that it was founded on syncretism, which is a blending of opposing beliefs into unity with one another. This is obvious when one looks at our national symbols, all the statues in D.C. patterned after Greek, Roman or Egyptian gods and goddesses, the layout of D.C., and the influence of freemasonry in the founding of our government, and so much more. Over the years he has opened my eyes to see so many lies and deceptions, false flag operations, staged disasters or terrorist attacks, and the modus operandi of our government and their allies in the “international community,” and how all of this was/is leading up to the rule of the beast (Rev. 13).
The US government and their allies, in concert with the New World Order “Beast,” have been going throughout the world for some time now creating chaos and disasters, terrorist attacks and mass murders, etc., and then they go into these nations (or their own nations) as “saviors” or under the guise of defeating terrorists, yet in order to conquer people, take down sovereign governments, and persecute and kill Christians and all opposition to the rule of the beast (World powers, the elite, big banks, etc.). They are the terrorists. They are the sponsors of terrorism who recruit, train, equip and finance terrorist organizations to do their dirty work for them, the likes of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, which I believe is a privatized and prussianized military force of the New World Order Beast. If you want to know the motive of these terrorist attacks, it is the conquering of the world by this beast New World Order, which is like a revival of the old Roman Empire. Some things they completely fake, while other scenarios have partial truth, but they lie about who is committing the crimes.
Our leaders are not fighting terrorists. They are fighting all opposition to the rule of the beast, which includes followers of Jesus Christ. And, they are accelerating their fight against their opposition, too. Listen to their words. What are they against? They are against extremism (uncompromising) in ideologies (beliefs), radicalization, and nonconformists. What they want is for the world to unite together as one under a one-world totalitarian regime (the beast), under a common purpose, and under a one-world religion which blends all religions into one. They are against what they consider to be intolerance, bigotry, individualism, hateful ideology, discrimination, perverted interpretations of religious faith, faith that calls for war (judgment), and the dissemination of certain types of religious messages, in particular the gospel of salvation. The gospel does not compromise with the world, it does not accept all religions or all walks of life as viable, but it preaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father and to heaven, and that only through faith in Jesus Christ, via repentance and turning in faith to obedience to Christ, can we have the hope of eternal life with God and escape the fires of hell. So, we are targeted for extinction.
Difficult days lie ahead. Know the times in which we live. Pay attention to what our leaders are saying and doing. Notice the modus operandi of our government leaders, and how things are escalating, and don’t believe everything you read, hear or see in the news or coming from the mouths of our leaders. Don’t get caught up in the lies, but search out the truth prayerfully before God, asking for wisdom and discernment. Know that many things are faked (staged). They leave clues for us. And, put your faith solely in Jesus Christ. Trust in him and in his word, and do what his word says, not what humans tell you to do. Seek the Lord with all your heart, and commit your ways to him. And, never compromise!
As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1
As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield…