Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Blistered Man (Part 1)

After confirmation from a dear brother in Christ (Art, that was a major confirmation indeed, thank you my friend) that this blog is the next step in the journey the Lord has foreordained me to walk down, I feel compelled to share this spiritual knowledge that the Lord revealed to me a few months ago. I have an urgency in my spirit to write this post to all who read it right now, for the trend of the world is continuously moving towards a deeper state of darkness.

The Modern Christian's Ignorance 
I always find it to be a sadly ironic thing when I hear professed Christian's in daily life say that they "do not think Christ is going to return for another 100 years, or at least not in my lifetime". Or even worse, if the very mention of His return is brought up in conversation, most say: "Let's hope he does not" or "I hope he does not come back in my lifetime". These are statements I myself have heard, and not just a few times, but numerous times from a number of different people. And such statements are not coming from non-believers, but so called Christians! Now I can understand the fear it must strike in many hearts and minds at the very thought of His return, but then again, maybe I can't. What do people expect to happen? Truly, what utopian society do they have in mind when they reject the only source of perfection? All I see from this type of talk is ignorance; ignorance of what hope there is in Christ, and ignorance to the evil that the world truly represents. Without Jesus, there is no hope, and without His return there is neither blessing nor hope.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13, KJV)

The world is an evil place and we should not wish to dwell here longer than we must. We should always be looking up and not focusing on the matters of this world, i.e: political, economic, social issues. We should rather be focusing on higher things, not on lower things. How much lower can a man's mind go than looking at himself and at the world? John the Apostle is clear on this matter: 

Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15, KJV)

What then shall we make of this rejection of Christ's return and the willingness to stay in the world, rather than let Christ deliver us from it? Does it not point to a love for the world? Many will say, "No, I simply wish to live my life. I want to have kids, and raise a family and enjoy life, and not have to worry about these things." To this I will let Christ himself answer: 

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25, NIV)

Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God the Father's Love here on earth. If we love the world, then the Love of the Father (Christ) is not found within us. (Stick with me now, this is going somewhere I promise)
The Purpose of Baptism
Baptism is much deeper than a simple symbolic act of outward devotion. The "church" has failed, in recent times, to emphasize the importance of the event itself in every believer's life. Jesus knew it to be a necessity for the salvation of the soul:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16, KJV)

Baptism follows belief. One must believe on Christ and then must be baptized, in that order (a definitive argument against infantile baptism). I do not wish to argue about doctrinal matters here though, but I do however want to talk about the miraculous nature of baptism, spiritually speaking. 

First off, baptism is renewal. It is not rebirth, that would imply reincarnation. It is a brand new life gifted unto all who believe in the name of Jesus. It is a New Birth. In order to accept this new life, a man must reject the old life. This would lead us to John's point of loving not the world and the things which are in it. Guess what? You and I are in the world right now. If you are reading this, you are alive, more or less, in the physical sense, but not all are alive in the spiritual sense. That spiritual life is only acquired through belief and baptism in Christ and His name, Jesus. Only then is Christ born in you by the Spirit. This is the new life. Do you love your old life? If you do not hate your old life and the works you did during it, than you cannot be baptized. 
This leads us to another thing, which is this: that all men must come to the realization through revelation by the Holy Spirit that they themselves are evil men needing to be saved. 

Now this post could go many different directions at this point, but I will focus it around baptism only, centered around  a metaphor the Lord gave me concerning baptism. 

My Blister
About 6 months ago I went golfing with my brother and my cousin during the dead heat of summer. I am a terrible golfer, and I am not ashamed to admit it. It is a sport (or skill) that requires much patience and concentration, and moreover practice, in order to be successful. I lack all three of those things when it comes to golf.  :)

Anyways, I was working on my swing and had a golf glove on my right hand. Suffice to say, I do not have the most perfect swing in the world. An imperfect swing can be caused by a strange or imperfect hand grip on the glove (at least that was my case). To make a long story short, I got a blister on my right thumb.

That blister stayed for about 3 days, and I did not want to pop it for obvious reasons, like not wanting to feel pain. It stayed, and continued to grow fuller and fuller. Then, it broke. The water that was within the blister poured out and I felt pain. A few days later though, my skin was completely healed. 

The Metaphor of the Blister
Now how can this blister be applied spiritually to baptism? The Lord showed me this and it blew my mind. How are many blister's formed? Either through friction, irritation, or perhaps fire? I wish to take this from the perspective of being burnt by fire. When a blister occurs, the old, dead skin is separated from the new, living skin underneath. What is between the two forms of skin but water?  The Holy Spirit is referred to as being like fire in the scriptures (i.e: the burning bush). His fire does not burn physically, but it burns spiritually (of course, there are times when it burns physically as well, but we will not get into that right now). A man, when he believes on Christ has been convicted by the Holy Spirit to believe in Him. This is like a fire singeing the skin of the body. The Spirit comes and burns the heart of a man, and it becomes blistered. The old heart is killed off, and a new heart is waiting to be brought forth. There is a clear separation made between the old man and the new man when the Holy Spirit burns him with His fire. Thus, a man believes on Christ and the first step towards salvation is fulfilled. Now, just as with the blister, when the old skin and the new skin are separated by water, so too, is the old man and the new man separated by water. That water is the water of baptism. With a blister, the only way for the new skin to come forth is for the old skin to be broken; this allows for the water to pass out and for the new skin to be manifested for the world to see on the outside. In the same manner, the only way for the new man to be brought forth, is for the old man to be broken. The beginning of this process is baptism. Baptism is the breaking of the old man! Baptism allows the new man to be manifested on the outside for all the world to see! Before baptism you are simply a filled blister, like my right thumb, waiting to be broken and healed. But after baptism, the water passes through and you are made new.

The Breaking of the Blister
There have been many people who have spoken on the subject of the breaking of the old (outer/flesh) man. Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian in the Early to Middle 20th century, described the process best, outside of the Bible (I recommend his work). So I will not dwell to long on the subject, but it must be understood that our old life cannot continue the way it has after the ceremony and act of baptism has passed. Once the blister has been broken, the skin will come forth no matter what. Most of the time this is a painful process, especially when it is broken too soon. But if the Holy Spirit is allowed to move in His own way freely, the gift of joy and perseverance will be granted to those who allow this painful process to occur unabated.  The more suffering the better, for this is pure evidence that the Lord is dealing with your sinful nature. I refer to the event in the book of Daniel concerning his 3 friends. When the King commanded them to bow down and worship an Idol (a created thing, made with the hands of men), they responded to his command as follows:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NIV)

These men were burnt, not physically, but spiritually. For when they went into the fire they were not burnt! 

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. (Daniel 3:19-20, NIV)

They did not defend their own lives. They loved not the world, nor the things in it. Moreover, they did not fear the fire, rather they walked directly into it! It is my belief that Christians must be willing to walk into the furnace, in order to pass through it. When Satan believes he is destroying us with fire and tribulation, we need to understand God's hand behind those very trials; behind that very fire that we fear so much. God uses these very trials to test us and refine us! Remember, he will never leave us, nor forsake us, for he did not leave the 3 children in their test did he?

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:24-25, NIV)

There was another man in their midst. This was the Holy Spirit guiding them and protecting them through the fire. The Lord is always with us! These young believers were burnt by the Lord, in order to purify them. Their hearts were blistered, and they were baptized with fire, which is the conviction of the Holy Spirit on a man's heart, leading him towards the new life found only in Jesus. 

More to follow in the next post, God willing…

Blessings in Christ Jesus

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