J-P spoke tonight from Acts 2:1-4 about the need for us to receive the fire of the Holy Spirit, as the disciples did on the day of Pentecost. Fire can be seen as an instrument of hell or a tool of heaven; it can be destructive or constructive. Even in the Bible, fire is often used as a symbol of judgment (e.g. 1 Chronicles 36:19) as well as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but we see from Scripture that God is described as a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). Moses met God in the burning busy; God led the Israelites through the wilderness by a pillar of fire at night.
Throughout history, we have seen the destructive nature of fire (the burning of the temple twice in Israel’s history, fire being used to burn witches, forest fires which spread so quickly and cause much devastation.) But when we think of the Holy Spirit’s fire, we see how we must not quench the Spirit of God (1 Thess 5:19); we must not throw a wet blanket over the fire of heaven.
We need the fire of the Spirit as heat, light and the source of our power. God wants His fire to warm our hearts, to make us enthusiastic and fervent. Without the fire of the Spirit, we can never hope to win others to Christ and must not allow the pressures of the world to quench that fire. Heat may be said to represent our emotions and passions, but light is also needed. Emotions and the intellect must not be in competition; Peter was able to preach a powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost which brought many to repentance. We need both enthusiasm and solid reason, for truth is the means by which the Holy Spirit guides us. We must never presume to know everything but should seek God’s direction and correction.
Fire is also a symbol of power (think space rockets!) and we need God’s power in our lives so we can never be lacking in zeal but can keep our spiritual fervour as we serve the Lord. (Rom 12:11)