“The Spirit We Need” (Matthew 3:11 message)

One day last week, a woman posted a comment on my blog on the internet. She wrote:

“Shawn, I was looking at your work “being poured out as a drink offering”. I am a Christian who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence following of speaking in tongues. I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit for 14 years now and I know its life changing. I have just one question to ask, “Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the speaking in tongues?” In (order) to be poured out as a drink offering as Apostle Paul has endured, we all must be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Only then can we truly please the Lord Jesus. I had many things going wrong with my health and would have died but because I was Spirit-filled and praying in tongues the Holy Spirit has cleanse my body from the evil that was trying to kill me. You have a health problem, well if you are Spirit-filled and pray in tongues for this health problem you will see your problem will not continue and you will be set free.”

Perhaps this woman means well, but that kind of teaching is wrong and it is hurtful to many people. But this is just an example of so much misunderstanding about “the baptism of the Holy Spirit”, so we are going to spend a few minutes more Matthew 3:11 this morning looking at this. John the Baptist said there of the coming Savior:

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

What does this mean? What was John saying that Jesus came to do? Continue reading

Posted in Matthew sermons, Sermons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“His Marvelous Love In A Besieged City”

“Blessed be the LORD, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.” (Psalm 31:21)

Here David praises God for ministering to him, even in an extremely difficult time in his life. He said he was “in a besieged city” — in other words, enemies had come up and surrounded him, and were trying to “starve him out.” Can you imagine what that would be like? It would naturally be a time of great fear, and anxiety, and uncertainty … But David says that in that time of besiegement, God “made marvelous His lovingkindness to me.” Continue reading

Posted in Devotions/Bible Studies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s The Report About YOU?

“For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.” (III John 3)

Evidently some “brethren” left the presence of the church that John was addressing here, and brought him a report about their faith & practice. And when they told him, John said that he was “very glad”, because they shared how the people of the church were “walking in truth.” Which should cause each of us to ask ourselves: would they bring that kind of good report about ME? Continue reading

Posted in Devotions/Bible Studies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Does Your Soul Prosper?

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (III John 2)

Controversy surrounds this little verse, as proponents of the prosperity gospel attempt to use it to promote their doctrines. Although Christians versed in the whole counsel of the word of God will reject the idea that every believer will be healthy and wealthy, it would do everyone well to consider yet another question first: DOES YOUR SOUL PROSPER? Continue reading

Posted in Devotions/Bible Studies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Praying For Health & Prosperity?

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (III John 2)

From John’s prayer here which opens his third letter, it is evidently not WRONG to pray for one’s prosperity and good health. For sure, some have taken this verse too far, claiming that it is a guarantee of health and prosperity. We know from elsewhere in scripture that it is NOT: Continue reading

Posted in Devotions/Bible Studies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Servant & The Savior” (Matthew 3:11 sermon)

Several years ago, one of my sisters was attending a missions banquet, and she heard that the President of our Southern Baptist International Mission Board was going to be in attendance, so she was looking forward to meeting him. She had seen his picture before but she didn’t really know him by sight, so when she arrived she began looking for him, but she didn’t see him. The meal began, and they were serving the food and the drinks, and still no sight of the President. So she leaned over and asked someone next to her: “I thought the IMB President was supposed to be here tonight; is he not?” The person said “Yes, he is right over there” — and pointed to a man who was carrying a hand towel and a pitcher of water. It turned out that my sister HAD already seen him — but she had mistakenly thought that he was a waiter!

That’s the kind of mistake that we OUGHT to make in our Christian churches and ministries. Our churches are not about US being “something” — not the pastor, ministers, deacons, teachers, leaders or people. We are only servants who should be pointing people to the Lord.

We see this attitude modeled in the ministry of John the Baptist here in Matthew 3. Last week we studied how John warned us in :9 not to trust our nationality, our religious heritage, or our family background to save us, but that each of us must personally repent of our sins and follow Jesus as our Savior, in order to be saved. Now in :11 we find that John makes an important statement both about HIMSELF, and about the LORD:

“As for me, I baptize you in water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

There is a striking contrast in this verse: John first speaks about Himself, and he speaks about Jesus. He says, “As for ME, I baptize you with water for repentance” but then he says: “BUT HE” — and there is a real emphasis; a real contrast here in Greek: “BUT HE”! — is mightier than I … HE will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” He says, I am one thing, BUT HE is another; I have one ministry, but He has another. And John makes it very clear here, that he is merely the humble servant of a powerful Savior! And we need to make sure that we realize the same thing about ourselves today too! Let’s look at what God has to teach us through this verse: Continue reading

Posted in Matthew sermons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving In Truth

“The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.” (III John 1)

It was for no light reason that the Spirit of God inspired John to add these words, “in truth” to this opening verse of his third letter. (Notably He did it in II John 1 as well, when He had John write that he loved “the chosen lady and her children” “in truth” also.) ┬áThis is important because many varieties of “love” abound which are NOT really love “in truth”: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment