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Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

The Treasure Within                                                       April 16, 2006

To be baptized, literally means to be immersed completely in water. The significance of this is that one has repented of their sins, and given their heart and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are making a public profession of their faith and willingness to follow the Lord and obey his word. I've heard it said that when you are baptized, it's symbolically as if you bury the old man, and leave him or her in the water and rise in the newness of life in Christ and walk with the Lord in his ways from then on, forsaking the person you were before you repented of your sins and received forgiveness. That's a fairly accurate description of baptism as far as I can see. But there has to be more to this. There is another application regarding baptism. I want to explore this and see where the Lord will lead me through his precious word today. I am hungry for him, for his touch, his word, his presence, and his glory. He is so fascinating and so wonderful, I must have more of him-an ever increasing understanding and revelation of who he is and what he did-and why.

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, Baptism signifies

1. a public confession of faith in Christ;

2. a cleansing or washing of the soul from sin;

3. a death to sin and new life in righteousness.

This was a command of Jesus to his disciples. He set the example, and that is where I want to start. I want to see how he did it. What his attitude was about it. I must know and understand how and why he did what he did, in order to follow in his footsteps. How can I know how to carry my cross-much less even understand what it is without carefully examining the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ as it is written in the Word of God. This record of his earthly ministry was given to us as an example. It would greatly behoove us to carefully examine and consider his walk, and ask for grace and courage to place our own walk along side his and ask the Holy Ghost to shine the light. It will take courage to face what we see lit up. But it will take faith and trust to know that God is able to perfect that which concerns his children. And that he wants to, is willing to. We just have to surrender and ask. (Psa_138:8; Phi_1:6)

John had a revelation from God that Christ was coming, the Messiah Israel had been told about by the prophets for hundreds of years-since Moses. But John had spent time in the wilderness, learning the will of God, the voice of God, the ways of God. He was filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb. The angel Gabriel who came to Zechariah, John's father, to tell him that John would be born, said he would be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb. (Luk_1:15) His mother was filled with the Holy Ghost while carrying him. See Luk_1:44 John said that Jesus is the one who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. His power is not and was not limited by the fact that he himself was growing in the womb in the flesh of Mary when he did this for Elizabeth and John. I don't understand it but I know he did it. I love it-here Elizabeth and Zechariah were old, the Bible says "well stricken in years". They were long past age of child bearing. They were not fertile anymore. Elizabeth's womb was long dead. They had no child. Only God can bring life out of death. Only he can restore and renew. If you have lived your life and made mistakes and feel you are too old to change, or you are empty and feel dead inside, there is an Almighty God out there who has great expertise and ability in bringing life out of death. Abraham and Sarah, too were long past child-bearing age, being 90 and 99, but God brought life out of an empty, dead womb. Can he not take any vessel who will offer itself to him, and in their surrender, pour in his life?

John said in verse 12, his fan is in his hand and he will purge his floor throughly. I didn't know what was meant by that word fan, but here is what it means: An instrument for winnowing grain, by moving in a way in which the grain is thrown up and agitated and the chaff is separated and blown away. Sometimes God has to allow things in our lives to shake us up, to shake the chaff to the surface from where it hides in us-and we might not be aware of its presence, but under pressure, when we get shook up by circumstances it will rear its ugly head, and then we need to bring it to the Lord and let him deal with it. This winnowing instrument was a shovel that dug into the pile of grain and then was thrown up against the wind to be cleansed from the chaff and straw. The wind separated what had substance, the grain, from what was fluff and empty-the chaff. He will throughly purge his floor. He'll cleanse it perfectly, he won't let anything unlike himself remain in the temple where he dwells. The Bible says we are the temple of the Holy Ghost when we have his Spirit and have been born again.

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

To purge something means to cleanse or purify something by separating and taking away whatever is not pure. To remove what is offensive, sweep away impurities. He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. What is the chaff? Literally it is the husk, or outside of the corn or grain. It's the refuse, worthless matter, especially what is light and easily driven by the wind. Oh, I don't want to be a Christian who knows so little personally of Christ that I will fall for every wind and wave of doctrine in the land that is so easily available today but has so little truth in it. Truth will stand when the storm hits. Chaff will be swept away. It will collapse. This word chaff is also used sometimes to describe dried up grass or hay. If we do not stay in contact with the Lord, in fellowship through prayer and reading, of his word-and not just casual reading-but literally digging into his word, and prayerfully meditating on it, seeking revelation and understanding of what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to the church of God, the Body of Christ, who is called to be his Bride-we will dry up. We will drift from him, and forget to be mindful of his word, and we leave ourselves wide open to lies-from false teachers, from the devil, from our flesh and carnal minds. I've been there-I've suffered the results of slacking on my prayer life, and Bible reading, and it leaves you feeling drained, empty, with no substance, and vulnerable. I am a long way from where I want to be, but He is taking me there. He is faithful, and he promised if I would trust him and follow him, he will take me in.

As I read these scriptures, I see this man John, who having been full of the Holy Ghost from birth has not let his flesh control him and is not carnal. He dwells among a carnal people, a religious people, who don't really know God. He hears the voice of the Holy Spirit instructing him, and perhaps people think he is strange, dwelling in the wilderness, eating locust and wild honey, wearing animal hides for clothing. That sure doesn't sound like the peace and prosperity TV preachers you see who are mostly about putting on a show and draining your pocketbook or wallet. But he spoke the truth. His ministry convicted the people, all of the people of Jerusalem came out to see and hear. Some because they were hungry for God, and wanted what John said was coming, the Messiah, and his salvation. I imagine they were sick and tired of the smug haughtiness and arrogance of the Pharisees and Sadducees who thought they were holier than anyone and above the 'common' man. Some were curious to see what all the fuss was about. And some were threatened, and came to see if they could find a flaw, or fault to pick it apart, sent by the Pharisees who sensed a threat to their power and position as "lord" over the people. But John beat them to the punch. He knew what they were about. He called them vipers, a poisonous snake, and he made it clear if they were to flee the wrath to come, they had better be prepared to repent sincerely of their sins. That statement was an insult to the proud and arrogant religious leaders. To them, it was all about prestige, position, power, and self-righteous feelings of superiority.

I can just see them, their faces tightening, thin-lipped at his shrewd judgment of them. I can see them opening their mouths to respond when John by the power of the Holy Spirit takes the words right out of their mouth before they speak them and uses their own argument against them. Just because physically they descended from Abraham, meant nothing in God's eyes. And what a wonderful revelation John gave voice to "God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham."

Thank you Father, for that revelation! Since you can turn stones into people to serve you, please start with my lost loved ones who are hard hearted and blind to the truth. Yes, he can do it!

He said in verse 11 that Jesus shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. I know that in the Bible water is often mentioned and many times symbolic of the Holy Spirit of God. Ezekiel 47, that river he sees that keeps getting deeper, until it can't be crossed, is one example of water symbolizing the Spirit in the Scriptures. To baptize is to be immersed, plunged completely into water, with the whole body being submerged. It should only be done to those who have sincerely surrendered their hearts and lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and are aware of what it means. It should not be done lightly. It is a significant thing in the life of the Believer-and just as partaking of the communion of the Lord's Supper is significant, these holy things of God should not be touched by those who are not serious. It should not be taken lightly or casually. But it is a wonderful thing to do obedience to the Lord's command, with a sincere heart, and understand that you are pledging your allegiance to HIM and HIS passion for souls. His kingdom, not yours. His will, not yours. I do not suggest you have to have all this done or understood to be baptized. No! In the scriptures all that was required was true faith in the need and name of the Savior, the Father, and the Holy Ghost, and true repentance of sin. But I do see a need for young or newly saved believers to be aware of what they are doing and why. It is the job and responsibility of the Holy Spirit to lead each believer on this journey of following the Lord and all that entails. He is leading me, just as he is others, and there is so much I don't know. I just know as I dig into his word, he is rewarding me with understanding. I must apply his word to my life-it's not my place to judge others. What he has been teaching me is so good and thrills my soul so much I cannot keep it to myself. I want to be a blessing first to the heart of my Lord, my Father and my Comforter. And then, a blessing to his people. Someone who has stored his word in her heart because there is not one second of my life I do not need it. And praise the Lord if he sees fit to bring someone in need of encouragement in the Lord my direction. I want to be armed and full of his word so the Holy Spirit has it there to bring to my remembrance to help others. I can honestly say as I go through my life, day by day, I am becoming ever more aware of the fact that the only thing that is holding me up is his word. His grace. His power. His faithfulness and his love. I am getting addicted to him. Hungering for more of him in a way I haven't thus far. And I thank him for it.

In verse 13, as John is holding this public baptism, here comes the Son of God. The Word of God made flesh. (Joh_1:14) The fullness of the Godhead bodily. ( Col_2:09) The Bright and Morning Star. ( Rev_22:16) Him that was since before the beginning, the Word of Life, (1Jo_1:1)the express image of God the Father. (Heb_1:3) He sees all these people, and he knew from the foundation of the world this time would come.(Rev_13:8; Heb_4:3) He goes up to John, who in the flesh is his cousin. And the Holy Ghost in John recognizes the Savior. ( Joh_1:33) The Lord. John is humble, recognizing with awe, his need for this Lord in front of him. He says-Me baptize you? I need YOU to baptize me! But Jesus knew he was setting an example, that was needful for all who would trust and believe in him, to follow. ( 1Pe_2:21) He was fulfilling his Father's word and will. When he says "Suffer it to be so," He means yield, endure it, allow it to be. It must be this way. It has to be this way. Oh, I can just see his eyes, full of kindness, and love for John. He obeyed. When Jesus come up out of the water, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove. I want to look at this very carefully. The Greek word for heavens here is ouranos, it means through the idea of elevation, the sky, by extension, heaven as the abode of God, by implication, happiness, power, eternity. He saw, and the word for that here is eido, pronounced "iddo" meaning to see, be aware of, consider, have knowledge, perceive, understand." He knew exactly what was happening and why.

Luke adds this detail:

Luk 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

Jesus was praying and worshiping as he was baptized. And immediately the Holy Spirit drove him into the wilderness. That word that is used in
Mar_1:12, is "driveth" meaning "ejected, cast forth, expel, thrust out, send away." He was sent to a desolate, solitary desert. He spent 40 days and nights being tested and tried and tempted by the devil. I do not know if the devil tempted him that whole time, but he endured a lot, I am sure. And afterward, angels came and ministered to him. They attended, waited upon him, served him. This was our Lord's experience with baptism in water. After this, he picked his disciples, after spending the night in prayer, and began his ministry and mission of revealing the heart of God to fallen man. That is what disciples of the Lord are commissioned to do. Not build houses or hospitals. They are to make disciples. Heal the sick. Cast out devils. Preach the Gospel. Encourage the weak. Lift up those who are feeble or weak. But we can't do any of these, if we do not spend time with the Lord, drawing from him what we need to do the job. Learning him, so we can show others who he is. How can we show others his heart if we do not know or share it ourselves? I was in prayer a couple years ago, and it was on my heart to learn how to pray in the Holy Ghost as Jude instructs us too.

Jud 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Jud 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

I have not yet been baptized with the Holy Ghost or entered into his fullness. I hunger for it. More and more, here lately. It is not His fault I haven't. It's coming though. I know it is. He's let me know to prepare myself and not be afraid. For the longest time due to foolishly listening to my carnal mind rather than what the Word says, I felt unworthy of such a gift, and a little afraid of that depth of surrender. God has been merciful and has patiently lead me and stirred me to begin to hunger and assured me he is greater than my fear. But I do know when the Holy Spirit is inspiring my prayers. It has a different feel to it, a power that draws straight from the word of God and feels as if it is coming up from the depths of my being, and out of my heart and always surprises me with what I hear in my heart going up to God. Most of my prayers are silent ones, from my heart-I get tongue tied too easily and I know the Lord is going to help me with this. But when I began to hear this prayer coming out of my soul, for the Lord to share his heart with me. I had heard it ministered that we need to share the heart of God for this world. I didn't understand what that meant. But I soon learned, because he took me on a journey through his precious Word, straight to the cross. Before he shares his heart with me, I have to surrender my life fully completely to him, and take up his mission, his plans, his will, and lay mine at the cross crucified with Christ. I have to reckon myself dead to the world, (sin, and the fleshly carnal system of man's ways) dead to running my own life, dead to my own wants and desires and rights to govern my own life. I have to surrender to the Ruler ship of the Word of God completely, separate myself from all known sin, and seek Him. He showed me his heart was for the hurting, the lonely, the lost, those in bondage, with addictions, with pain and confusion, those who were tormented in their minds, those who needed strength, covering, salvation. In short, he took me from the cross to Isaiah 58. I had never understood this chapter. I knew it was about fasting and sacrifice for others. But I didn't understand until that day almost two years ago he began to open it to me. I was awed. I sat and cried, for this was totally unexpected. I don't know what I expected but it made me ashamed to think for 3 years I had thought I was serving him, and hadn't understood this was in his heart to loose the prisoner, open the blinded eyes, break the yoke of the oppressed. Feed the hungry, comfort the lonely. Physically and spiritually. I was overwhelmed. Instead of leaning on the Lord and his strength, I let fear push me back. I let feelings of inadequacy with a mingling of selfishness push me back. I wonder now how different things might be if I had fully yielded instead of drawing back in fear. It was just a few months later one of my dearest friends who had gotten away from God was murdered. It devastated me. I know he was trying to reach her. I know I was not the only vessel around for his use, but for a long time the 'what-if's' tormented me. Still, he never took away that drawing power of his Spirit that kept drawing me back to what he showed me. He is so merciful to our pathetic weaknesses. He is so good. You cannot start getting to know him without beginning to love him. When I look back and see his love and mercy when all the times I failed him yes, I can honestly say he is better than good. There is no word in the English language that expresses how wonderful he is. The best I can come up with he is Magnificent. What an understatement. He has birthed a hunger in me to see his glory. To draw near to him, learn of him, share with him, to give myself completely to him, that my life might glorify him. As John said, I must decrease because he must increase. He is my heart's desire. To know him, to have his presence so real in my life that those around me who are in darkness will see his light. That they will be convicted. They will not see me, but HIM glorified and honored in this vessel. I am but dust of the earth. He is the Treasure within. There is no greater honor bestowed on mankind than for such a weak and infirm vessel to be granted such a treasure.

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.


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