Baptism by Fire Part 4 – Quenching the Fire of Self

By John Thiel, mp3

In our last study we researched into the word of God to identify something inside of us that we must differentiate from our spiritual life and that is that self, that inner nature that is our natural man. We touched on the fact that it is a fire and now I would like to look into this fire and how to quench it, the extinguishing of the fiery self. 

The symbol of watery baptism well describes the dealing with the fire of self. It is a symbol of plunging under the water and putting the fire out. If you have a smouldering item and you want to extinguish it, you put it under the water and the fire goes out. This is truly what the symbol of baptism is, a symbol to place me under the water so that my spiritual mind can appreciate that self is being extinguished. It needs to be extinguished ever after.

We identified from God’s word that to be born of the word is indeed a water experience. We are to be washed, to be brain-washed by God’s word. People don’t like to hear that, but if you’re not brain-washed by the word you are brain-washed by the world, it is a reality.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The word of God is the source of new birth and is likened to water.

Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Water in God’s word is connected with the word. The baptism by water is a symbol of being baptised by the water of the word. Water symbolises washing and a process of extinguishing the self that burns within the body. The fire of self burns to react:

When slighted and insulted and neglected and scorned to harbour hurt feelings.

When a wrong of mine is pointed out to justify myself

When I find fault with others to make me feel better

When I want to prove that I am religiously more humble than others

A fire burning, agitating and stressing within all through the flesh. This is where disease has come from. The medical profession knows that stress creates disease. What causes stress? Circumstances pushing the button of self.

Self, the flesh, the natural man these were the terms we read in the scriptures. What is this in other terms? Every person has this and it is a fire, an internal combustion that finally leads to death.

Ecclesiastes 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

Did you like that?

Ephesians 3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all [is] vanity. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

The flesh, the natural man is doomed like any other animal. Indeed, the nature of the beast is in every human being. I used to question this when the scientists said that we are animals. The Bible says we are animals, but we are not only animals, we are also spiritual beings. The animals don’t have that same ingredient which God has put in a man because He created man after His own image.

In our worship of God we want to get it clear because God knows us better than we know ourselves. He is willing to show us ourselves as we come willingly to worship Him, that we may worship Him in spirit and in truth. Here is the truth.

If we subsist largely upon the flesh of animals, {ST, January 6, 1876 par. 20}

Don’t be distracted by the flesh eating subject, this is just a point in case.

…the animal nature is increased in like proportion. {ST, January 6, 1876 par. 20}

I have an animal nature according to this quote.

Man is sufficiently animal in his nature without cultivating those propensities by the eating of food which stimulates and excites the animal organs to activity. As these propensities are strengthened the mental and moral powers are diminished. {ST, January 6, 1876 par. 20}

I’m not sharing a message on food at the moment, I’m sharing a message to understand something, that we man are animal in our nature, we have animal organs. Those animal organs must not be activated because if these propensities are strengthened, the mental and moral powers are diminished. This is physiological reality. We have animal organs.

A gross diet will dull the comprehension and set the animal passions into activity. The animal nature will struggle for victory over the moral and spiritual nature. {16MR 65.2}

Did you notice there is a battle between the two natures? The animal nature, the animal organs must be quenched so that the spiritual and the moral and mental nature does not have a hard time in battling with that animal nature.

The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificial coverings induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity, tends to recklessness in morals, and the mind and heart are in danger of being corrupted.–H. R. {HL 185.1}

These are physiological truths that we must understand in the line of our appreciation about self and our battle with self, because self, the natural man, the flesh are animal. Animal organs function inside of us where, if they are strengthened, you don’t even have to exercise your intellectual, spiritual, moral nature, they will exercise and conquer that. A lot of people don’t want to know that, ministers don’t want to know that. As I study God’s word, they argue with me in the messages that I share, they argue against such a thing that, that is actually present in every Christian.

What Has Sin Done to the Animal Nature?

Among the lower creatures Adam had stood as king, {Ed 26.4}

Before the fall, Adam was king over the lower creatures. The lion wasn’t the king, it was Adam.

…and so long as he remained loyal to God, all nature acknowledged his rule; but when he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of man, but the nature of the beasts, the trees of the forest, the grass of the field, the very air he breathed, all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil. {Ed 26.4}

The king that Adam was before the fall over the animals provided them with a submission to him, but when sin came what happened to the animal? A spirit of rebellion extended throughout the animal creation. What about inside of Adam? Did you notice what we read?

The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, {Ed 26.4}

He was to be ruler over his own body but when he gave over to the serpent, when he gave over to Satan, he was no longer king over the animal of creation. A spirit of rebellion was in the animal. How does that manifest itself?

What do those creatures do when they are threatened? They will either fight or run away. That comes from the drive of the animal organs. Inside of you and me there is an animal organ, it’s the adrenal glands. Fight or flight, adrenalin. It kicks in the moment you sense danger. Fear creates an adrenalin rush. This is the animal. It creates self to control, it creates fear and it creates stress, it creates a fire that burns within. The spirit of rebellion lodges in our animal natures. That is what needs quenching. The spirit of rebellion needs to be extinguished. What in the water of the word is there that will tame the animal in me and govern and bring that rebellious self into total subordination?

When Adam and Eve sinned, there was the first promise to achieve that.

Genesis 4:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Enmity between the animal and the serpent. If enmity was not put there, the animal would have ruled entirely. That animal was going to be crushed under the seed of the woman it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. This is the gift of Jesus Christ, the woman’s seed. The answer to this rebellious spirit that is in the animal nature which includes my animal nature is spoken of here:

But man was not abandoned to the results of the evil he had chosen. In the sentence pronounced upon Satan was given an intimation of redemption. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God said, “and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. Ed 27.1

There is an engrafting. God’s word is creative and when God speaks to the ear that receives that, there is an engrafting of the word that creates enmity against the animal nature.

Before they heard of the thorn and the thistle, of the toil and sorrow that must be their portion, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that could not fail of giving them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ. { This intimation also nature repeats to us. Though marred by sin, it speaks not only of creation but of redemption. Though the earth bears testimony to the curse in the evident signs of decay, it is still rich and beautiful in the tokens of life-giving power. The trees cast off their leaves, only to be robed with fresher verdure; the flowers die, to spring forth in new beauty; and in every manifestation of creative power is held out the assurance that we may be created anew in “righteousness and holiness of truth.” Ephesians 4:24, margin. Thus the very objects and operations of nature that bring so vividly to mind our great loss become to us the messengers of hope. Ed 27.1-2}

God Installed Into the Consciousness Of Every Human Being Enmity To The Beastly Nature

There is the word that will quench the fire of the animal in me. It’s in His word, in that promise. Watch the word with me. We are here to open our hearts to this wonderful God who reveals to us the quenching and the extinguishing and the taming of self, of the flesh, of the natural man, of the animal nature.

John 1:9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Jesus lights every man that is born on this planet earth. Stop to think what this means. Nature itself describes the wonderful statement of enmity between the animal and the spiritual, the life and the death and the resurrection that nature speaks. This wonderful gift of life, of enmity against the rebellious spirit is here denoted:

Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].

What an interesting statement. The gift of God, the light of life is given to all, the rebellious also. The rebellious nature is infused by the gifts of God that He may dwell among them. This is the enmity that He creates, which He promised in Genesis 3:15. For this reason, no matter where you are born, no matter how low an estate you might have been born in, whether you have been born in darkest Africa or in the Islands or in the most horrible areas of the world, every human being is born with the light of Jesus there.

Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

The heathen who have never heard the Ten Commandments who live very close to nature, can learn in nature what we learn in the reading of God’s word. I never forget the day when I came across a man who had been born in communist Hungary. The reading of the Bible was forbidden, but he was a man who lived close to nature. As I was talking with him I touched many different scriptures; he said he understood and believed all these things. I said where did you get all that from? He said from nature. I asked him why he smoked then; he said because he disobeyed. The fact is that every person has an absolute privilege of receiving God dwelling with them wherever they are. This is beautifully summarised here, this is what God has done to make sure that no human being needs to succumb to the rebellious spirit of the animal nature within.

Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit. {COL 385.1}

Anything that is good inside of us is the working of the Holy Spirit. The world around us has some good traits and you wonder where they get that from. They are not Christian. When you talk to some atheists, they have a better view than many Christians have. That is the work of God’s Holy Spirit in them, the light that lights every man.

In the depths of heathenism, men who have had no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Their acts show the working of a divine power. The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The “Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. {COL 385.1}

There is the enmity that God has installed in every man against the animal inside him, if heeded.

In Nature

Those who follow and heed this light shining in the soul will behold in nature that which we can behold in the word, the suffering of death and the resurrection. Any person can study the traumas of the attack of evil and the power of good trying to overcome it anywhere.

Lamentations 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by?

Children, when you walk through nature, do you stop as you pass by to have a look?

Lamentations 1:12 behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger. 13 From above hath he sent fire into my bones,

This is speaking of Jesus. The fire of the animal nature, He met.

Lamentations 1:13 and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate [and] faint all the day. 14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, [and] come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into [their] hands, [from whom] I am not able to rise up.

Today the scientists have found the genetic helix which is wreath like. They have found alcoholic components in the helix, also disease creating genes. Here he is saying they were put into Christ’s body. Is it nothing to you that I am suffering the fire of the animal rebelliousness in my flesh? It’s burning like fire in my bones. Those who have never read it in the word, the pain and the victory enacted by Jesus, they may sense within themselves and not reject it; they may experience and appreciate that. It can be felt if a person hasn’t the opportunity to read the Bible. The amazing lessons you can read through nature tells you the full story. Are there any astronomers here who have studied the stars? The Southern Cross; the story of the gospel is written in the stars?

The Son of God Made to Be Sin for Us

Those who have the word, behold and let self become extinguished by the wonderful revelation of this enmity that God has put against the animal nature.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God so loved the world. What did He do in giving His only begotten Son?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Adam’s sin unleashed a spirit of rebellion and Jesus received in His body what is in our body, animal organs which have been affected by sin. He was made to be sin for us; He experienced the fire in His bones. Reflect on this.

When Adam’s sin plunged the race into hopeless misery, God might have cut Himself loose from fallen beings. He might have treated them as sinners deserved to be treated. He might have commanded the angels of heaven to pour out upon our world the vials of His wrath. He might have removed this dark blot from His universe. But He did not do this. Instead of banishing them from His presence, He came still nearer to the fallen race. He gave His Son to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Christ by His human relationship to men drew them close to God. He clothed His divine nature with the garb of humanity, and demonstrated before the heavenly universe, before the unfallen worlds, how much God loves the children of men. {AG 53.2}

The gift of God to man is beyond all computation. Nothing was withheld. God would not permit it to be said that He could have done more or revealed to humanity a greater measure of love. In the gift of Christ He gave all heaven. {AG 53.3}

He came closer to us instead of withdrawing.

Divine sonship is not something that we gain of ourselves. Only to those who receive Christ as their Saviour is given the power to become sons and daughters of God. The sinner cannot, by any power of his own, rid himself of sin. . . . But the promise of sonship is made to all who believe on His name.” Every one who comes to Jesus in faith will receive pardon. {AG 53.4}

We express ourselves many times that this is too hard, the battle between the spirit and the flesh is so heavy I can’t any more. Have you ever said that, has it ever struck you that this is too much, God is expecting too much of me. Why do we say it? Because the animal nature inside of us is rebellious. There is a moral nature, there is a spiritual nature, there is a gift that has been installed as enmity against that horrible nature. The only way by which we can benefit, to conquer this animal nature that is so much part of my flesh and bone, that burns within me:- to conquer that is to behold Christ. To behold this amazing love of God, what was it? He might have removed this dark blot from His universe. But He did not do this. Instead of banishing them from His presence, He came still nearer to the fallen race. He gave His Son to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh

What flesh was that? The argument of false doctrine is that it wasn’t sinful flesh it was only like it. Sorry, it was bone of my bone and bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. Exactly the same, with the animal organs working in it. With such an awareness, He came even closer to us to such a degree, are we willing to plunge into His salvation?

1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Apostle Paul met that very challenge. What should we do? We quench, we extinguish our body, our animal body with all its animal organs. We keep it under and bring it into subjection. Don’t you rejoice to know of the light of God’s word? The story of this love is to cause the fire to be extinguished.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

That animal nature, those animal organs, will send you imaginations. They will send you impulses that will stir the animal organs of the brain. You will get sensations and feelings and thoughts that, as they happen to you, you want to exercise the picture of God’s love. As we are suffering under scorn, slighting and I feel the feelings coming up within me that I want to have this corrected, I will look to Jesus and will correct it inside of me. I will quench it. As I feel within me that I am being accused of something and there comes this burning within that says no I didn’t mean it that way, I will look to the amazing gift of Jesus and He could have done exactly that but did He? I will see the faults of others and think I am better than that, then I will look at Jesus and see Him suffering worse than that. When I think I am so humble I will see Jesus humbling Himself to a degree that I would never have done. Doesn’t that quench the fire? Doesn’t that do the work so that I will bring every burning reaction within me and will quench it under the appreciation of these amazing revelations of God’s love.

We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. If this is ever too severe for me, if it is ever that I think this is too hard, I can’t any more, I will remember the words of Hebrews 12.

Hebrews 12:1 let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

What did He endure? The things that we have to endure when things aren’t going so well, but worse. If I feel like fainting, look at Jesus. He endured an experience that you cannot even fully comprehend. Have you resisted unto blood striving against sin?

Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Listen carefully to what He did when it happens to you that self wants to arise, the spirit of rebellion.

1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Let’s paraphrase that. We whose self has been extinguished, whose self has been brought into the dust in Jesus Christ, that we should then live unto righteousness. This is a beautiful meditation but oh how few engage in it. Ponder whether self has any right to complain. With what Jesus and the Father have done has self any right to complain?

Contrast this with the riches of glory, the wealth of praise pouring forth from immortal tongues, the millions of rich voices in the universe of God in anthems of adoration. But He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life to the world. …

Wondrous combination of man and God! He might have helped His human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from His divine nature vitality and undecaying vigor to the human. But He humbled Himself to man’s nature. He did this that the Scripture might be fulfilled; and the plan was entered into by the Son of God, knowing all the steps in His humiliation, …. {5BC 1127.1-2}

The eternal Word consented to be made flesh! God became man! It was a wonderful humility. {5BC 1127.2}

But He stepped still lower; the man must humble Himself as a man to bear insult, reproach, shameful accusations, and abuse.

What does self do with that?

There seemed to be no safe place for Him in His own territory. He had to flee from place to place for His life. He was betrayed by one of His disciples; He was denied by one of His most zealous followers. He was mocked. He was crowned with a crown of thorns. He was scourged. He was forced to bear the burden of the cross. He was not insensible to this contempt and ignominy.

He was not insensible. Self felt it.

He submitted, but, oh! He felt the bitterness as no other being could feel it. He was pure, holy, and undefiled, yet arraigned as a criminal! The adorable Redeemer stepped down from the highest exaltation. Step by step He humbled Himself to die–but what a death!……. He was numbered with the transgressors, He expired amid derision, and His kinsmen according to the flesh disowned Him. {5BC 1127.3}

In consideration of this, can men have one particle of exaltation? As they trace down the life and sufferings and humiliation of Christ, can they lift their proud heads as if they were to bear no trials, no shame, no humiliation?

Let this speak to yourself nature, to the animal nature. Can I hold onto this?

I say to the followers of Christ, Look to Calvary, and blush for shame at your self-important ideas. All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man up from his moral defilement. All this was for you who are striving for the supremacy–striving for human praise, for human exaltation; you who are afraid you will not receive all that deference, that respect from human minds, that you think is your due. Is this Christlike? {5BC 1127.5}

What a challenging message to us. But this is the challenge of the enmity that God has put in the heart of every man. If he will pursue it, self will be extinguished.

The baptism which Jesus was baptised with, the cup that He drank was ours. May this melt down the hard self, the hard human rebellious spirit. It’s the animal. Let it be melted down, let it be extinguished totally by these meditations is my prayer.


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Posted on 07/05/2012, in Baptism, Baptism by Fire, Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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