Baptism by Fire Part 3 – Discerning the Fire in Self
By John Thiel. mp3
This baptism subject as we had been previously researching is a subject poorly understood in this age of the world. That is when it was written back there in Sr White’s time. She said this is the reason for so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many have been baptised but they were buried alive. Self did not die. Therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.
It’s a subject that has to do with the kingdom of heaven verses self. In our experience in the research on this subject, we found out that baptism is a long protracted exercise. In our experience like with the apostles, it is an ongoing experience.
We must realize that we are in Christ’s school, not to learn how we may esteem ourselves, how we shall conduct ourselves so as to receive honor of men, but how we may cherish the meekness of Christ. Self and selfishness will be ever striving for the mastery. It is a fight we must have with ourselves, that self shall not have the victory. Through Christ you may triumph; through Christ you may conquer. OHC 184.6
Here is a meditation which sometimes seems to contradict itself in our mind because when we are baptised, we are meant to have died. Self was meant to have died but then there is the suggestion in what I just read that self and selfishness, will forever be striving for the mastery.
It appears that all through our life, after our baptism, there is still the reality that self may arise. It is something we need to continually deal with. This is what the baptism of Jesus was about. The baptism of the spirit and fire. A coming down from heaven and coming lower and lower into the obedience of death. Even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
That obedience of Jesus coming down and making himself of no reputation and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself and continued to be obedient even the death of the cross. This was the baptism of Christ. The experience of a life time in reference to self. We are to be born again through this baptism. We are to be born of the word which is in itself according to Jeremiah, it is a fire.
Jeremiah 23:29 …is not my word like as a fire? Indeed, it is a fire.
It is indeed a fire. The word of God and when we are born of the word, we are born of the fire. As that fire arrives at the door step of the sinners heart, it meets another fire that we will understand this battle as we enter into this baptism.
Isaiah 50:11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.
There is a fire that comes from our own self-motivation. It’s a kindling that with the sparks of our kindling we walk in the light of our fire and as the fire that comes from Gods word to the sinners heart; there is a counter fire. To be truly baptised with the baptism that Christ is baptised with. We need to understand this battle with self.
A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols. 5T 231.
The perplexities in the church come from that. If you want to trace any perplexities in the church from that, it traces to self every time. There is no variation of that. This requires to gain an understanding of my individual inner self. How it manifests itself so I can identify it when it raises it’s ugly head when it comes from the fire of the baptism of Jesus. We are to understand my inner self. Deep inside of me. I love that prayer; Lord show me as you see me.
God pierces all disguises and reads the inner life. GC 486.2
This is what we are dealing with. He knows all about me deep inside and he pierces into that.
The time is near when the inner life will be fully revealed. All will behold, as if reflected in a mirror, the working of the hidden springs of motive. The Lord would have you now examine your own life, and see how stands your record with him. RH November 10, 1896, par. 14
How do we proceed? Our scripture reading identified it is an approach to the God of whom we have to do. A willing approach instead of what Adam and Eve did; they ran away. We all want to hide that inner self that makes us feel so exposed. We can’t run away from God.
Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
He is going to expose it and we want to come to Him and ask please expose it to me so I understand.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Haven’t you found that as you read God word and listened to the pure word of God being presented, that it cuts deep? It really reveals things I would rather have hidden. It cuts and goes into the intents of the heart. As we proceed into the Word the exposes this, I want to put a word of caution. When the exposure takes place by Gods word, do not let the discovery riddle you with hopeless guilt as this is often the case. This is why people run away from the exposure. Because if this is bad I am, what hope have I got? Remember He is a loving father. When He exposes ourselves to ourselves, He is not there to destroy us to that exposure.
1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
My heart condemns me because God exposes me but God is greater than my heart. He wants us to see him as our compassionate Father.
Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. 9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
When the heart condemns us, there is disquiet inside of me. Have you experienced that many times? This is the time when we feel that we are lost but remember God who remembers that we are but dust. He knows how sinful we are and He hasn’t cast us off. Wonderful story of how He dealt with the disciples.
He knew Peter was going to deny him so miserably. But He placed a wonderful consolation into his heart. He said Satan will sift you but I have prayed for you.
This is when we are fully exposed and our faith must not fail in the God who has prepared the expose of my weakness and sinfulness. When Peter denied Him so demonstratively, Jesus looked at him with compassionate rebuke. He asked Peter if he loved Him and said feed my sheep three times. This is the God who does not condemn the sinner who is exposed to his own sinfulness and weakness. Those deep hidden springs that we would rather stay down, will be brought forward.
Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out
Was that the case with Peter? There was deep water there. There was self and deep installation of the counsel of the Lord at the same time. There are deep hidden springs that must be brought to the surface and understand something going on inside of me. People have said, you’re pressing the wrong buttons, don’t touch it. But the Word of God does touch it and brings it to our face. Every individual born into this planet of sin, has something inside of them that is there because of sin. It’s called self-preservation. As soon as any threat comes our way, there is something that works within to defend itself. That is in every man’s heart. We are all in the same boat. If someone points the finger, we defend ourselves. We will defend our image. This is natural because of sin.
What Self Defence Really Is
It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is all alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. RC 263.6
Are you listening? Do you complain that the church is neglecting you somewhere? Do you complain that someone is neglecting you? What is that? Self. Self is alive and we are ready to continually to guard it.
We shall be deaf to reproach and blind to scorn and insult. “Love suffereth long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4, R.V.)…. RC 263.6
What is this? Self-preservation. What is it? The love of self. Self wants to defend it self. It’s called ego which is the Greek word for self. What motivates our life on this planet is self. We are like that because of sin. Indeed, deep inside of each one of us, this deep calling unto deep, this deep calling, unconsciously is active. It motivates all the responses. The world is loaded with it. It is coming to its death. It says you will lie down in sorrow this kindling of this fire.
When self is active, how does it manifest itself?
when we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. RC 263.6
If self is there, I will take neglects and slights to heart. Someone walks past me on Sabbath morning and doesn’t greet me. I’m being slighted. That is self. Whatever it is, I am being bypassed. I am no longer an officer in the church. I am being neglected. It is self. It creates perplexities in the church. In the daily life, in the home, my opinion is bypassed. I have an opinion and it’s bypassed. I have a good point to make and it’s being slighted. Self gets reactive. It is self.
Our Own Ability
If you have exalted views of your own ability, your spirit will rise in self-justification at the least provocation. GW 397.1
My own ability I have exalted views about. That is self. We are exposing self by the word.
When the woman was asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” she answered, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” “Why didst Thou create the serpent? Why didst Thou suffer him to enter Eden?”—these were the questions implied in her excuse for her sin. Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; PP 58.1
To protect my own image. He was the great covering cherub and he had exalted views of his own ability. He was the one who took this into himself decidedly and would promote himself and blame everyone else but himself for the destruction that was created.
it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, or upon God—making even His blessings an occasion of murmuring against Him. PP 58.1
If it wouldn’t have been for that circumstance, I would haven’t have done it but I did it and I want to shield myself.
This is point number two. One was we take slights and neglect to heart. Two is to exalt our own opinion and ability and we complain and protect ourselves and exercise self justification.
Although we do not acknowledge that the object of defaming another is to exalt self, self-exaltation is behind the practise of noting the shortcomings of others. RH May 12, 1896, par. 2
I am a capable person of pointing out others short comings. It is self exaltation. Here we see clear identification points by which we can recognise where self is operating.
The fourth point is most unexpected.
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Self can take hold of the word of God and exonerates itself. What is it there for Laodicea? I am so blessed. I am His church. We are part of his church. We are, I am; self. Claiming to be Gods church and you must come and join us. We are Gods church is contrary to the humility that is the opposite to Satan’s mentality. If we are going to be Gods people, we need to be humble. We need to be the opposite to what Satan is. We go forward with ego-centrism that takes the helm of a strict reformer. Here is the fine tuning of understanding the expose of self.
No man can of himself understand his errors. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. The lips may express a poverty of soul that the heart does not acknowledge. While speaking to God of poverty of spirit, the heart may be swelling with the conceit of its own superior humility and exalted righteousness. In one way only can a true knowledge of self be obtained. We must behold Christ. COL 159.1
By beholding Christ all these things will be exposed. We behold Him in His word. It is the testimony of Jesus we are reading. It is a love letter from heaven. Jesus exposed Peter. He exposed the selfism. This is God’s love because sin and sinful mindedness does not and will not permit it’s own glory to be squashed. Jesus words say as many as I love I rebuke and chasten. This is the love of our inner natural self. The natural man.
- We take to heart the neglects and slights of others.
- We have the exalted view of our own ability and will justify ourselves by the least provocation as did Adam and Eve.
- We will note the short comings of others.
- We will be very comforted in the righteousness and the humility of our own selves.
When God comes along with His fire, His word, what will my natural self-regard as it comes to my heart? I have often been puzzled by this as I’ve shared. Was it me sharing or the Lords word? In my experience of years sharing Gods pure word, I have repeatedly been opposed even by church leaders.
1 Corinthians 2: 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
There is this inner self that will not recognise is wisdom. It’s foolishness, it doesn’t make sense to self. That is the natural man.
The highest qualification of the mind will not, cannot, supply the place of true simplicity, of genuine piety. The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be; but its beauty, the evidence of its power to save the soul that believes, is a lesson that is never thus learned. If the practice of the Word is not brought into the life, then the sword of the Spirit has not wounded the natural heart. It has been shielded in poetic fancy. Sentimentalism has so wrapped it about that the heart has not sufficiently felt the keenness of its edge, piercing and cutting away the sinful shrines where self is worshipped…. OHC 203.2
This is the natural man. The natural mean reads the bible and covers himself in poetic fancy. What beautiful poetry is there in God’s word. Poetic sentiments. The natural man takes the Bible as a scientific study using his intellectual brain and covers himself in a deep sense of poetic joy. That is self. That is the natural man. We need to appreciate this as we are exploring the baptism wherewith Christ was baptised with. Can you sense the deep-seated motives? The unconscious motives of our actions. As we receive these messages. Do we feel the knocking on the hearts door and do I permit it to penetrate?
The natural man regards God words as foolishness. There comes a fire, and a fire within of my own kindling. Will this fire permit itself to be quenched by the other fire? The knock on the heart’s door is another example. Do I let him in or encase myself? When the fire of self-kindling meets the fire of God in the baptism by fire.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” COL 158.1
But we must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace. The Pharisee felt no conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit could not work with him. His soul was encased in a self-righteous armor which the arrows of God, barbed and true-aimed by angel hands, failed to penetrate. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. COL 158.2
I want to be like the poor publican who struck his chest and said Lord be merciful to me a sinner. That is called voluntary humility. I want to be the true worshipper and not the pharisee. Have you ever come across that thought? Here is the pharisee, look at the reformers, I’m not a pharisee; I’m a humble man, I like simplicity. Self is speaking. True selfless is just focusing on what the Lord wants me to do and nothing else. That is foreign to the natural man.
As we take this message as enlightenment from heaven, we actually have the answer to all of our perplexities. Whatever perplexities you meet in the church, please remember this message. Something perplexes you in the church and something stirs, examine yourself. It is self that is active and remember self doesn’t want to see it. It wants to blame someone else. If this didn’t happen, there would be no perplexity. If I don’t react to what someone else is doing to me, there will not be a perplexity. These are the realities that God wants to inscribe into the church. It is His spirit of coming down out of himself to come close and be selfless to the benefit of those around him. Self will have no more sway in me. That is what the baptism decision is.
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Can you see an ongoing decision here? I have been baptised into Christ. I have decided my old man is dead. What am I to do? Reckon him to be dead. It doesn’t mean he won’t come up and attack you again. Self will happen again and again but don’t let it get the victory. You have killed it at baptism as a decision for the future now reckon yourselves to be dead but alive unto God. Don’t let sin. It wants to, but you won’t let it reign in your body. There is a constant baptism going on of not yielding and dying with Jesus. I die daily.
Jesus emptied Himself, and in all that He did, self did not appear. He subordinated all things to the will of His Father. When His mission on earth was about to close, He could say, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4)…RC 263.5
Self never was in appearance.
Through all the lowly experiences of life He consented to pass, walking among the children of men, not as a king, to demand homage, but as one whose mission it was to serve others. There was in His manner no taint of bigotry, no cold austerity. RC 263.4
What would bigotry and austerity reveal? When you come into the presence of a real reformer, and you feel I am not like him, and he begins to show his reform principles, he says you can’t do this or that. What is that? It’s an expose of self. it’s austerity. Jesus never showed that.
The world’s Redeemer had a greater than angelic nature, yet united with His divine majesty were meekness and humility that attracted all to Himself. RC 263.4
He wasn’t occupied with self at all. Nothing mattered about self. It was about others.
1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
Genuine conversion is needed, not once in years, but daily. This conversion brings man into a new relation with God. Old things, his natural passions and hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, pass away, and he is renewed and sanctified. But this work must be continual; for as long as Satan exists, he will make an effort to carry on his work. He who strives to serve God will encounter a strong undercurrent of wrong. His heart needs to be barricaded by constant watchfulness and prayer, or else the embankment will give way; and like a millstream, the undercurrent of wrong will sweep away the safeguard. No renewed heart can be kept in a condition of sweetness without the daily application of the salt of the Word. Divine grace must be received daily, or no man will stay converted…. OHC 215.2
If I do not cultivate the closeness of Jesus, I will encounter an undercurrent of wrong. That’s what I love about Peter. Jesus rubbed the salt in to Peters natural self. Do you love me Peter? Three times. Ouch; self. The salt of the word, the fire of the word. We are not to be double minded:
The Lord accepts no halfhearted service. He demands the whole man. Religion is to be brought into every phase of life, carried into labor of every kind. The whole being is to be under God’s control. We must not think that we can take supervision of our own thoughts. They must be brought into captivity to Christ. Self cannot manage self; it is not sufficient for the work…. God alone can make and keep us loyal.61 OHC 215.4
This is now for us to expand upon. In this study, we have come to see the true expose of self in all these different areas. We can see self the natural man is not trustworthy and the fire of baptism is there to meet the fire of kindling of self. Once we have understood this exercise, we can then go forward and realise that I am only going to create more problems in the church. No, I won’t not run away from church, I will stay there. This is self again. Have you ever had self say, well I’m not being appreciated at church, I am only going to make a mistake again so I better stay away. Have you ever had that thought? What’s that? That’s self.
Come into the arms of Jesus. Come for healing, cleaning, overcoming self so that we can understand and learn more of dealing with this problem. Our next contemplation is exactly what this will be that God alone can keep me loyal and I want to learnt how to interact that way. May we accept His love in showing us what self really is.
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