Are you ready for the burning unquenchable fire?
Luke 3: 17 “His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
John takes a practice that was common in their daily life and teaches a spiritual lesson to the people.
The Winnowing fork = this was used to throw grain into the air so that the chaff might be blown away in the night-time wind when it was most often done.
Chaff = this is the dust/dirt and also the hard coat of the grain which cannot be eaten or processed but which the wind blows away.
Unquenchable fire = nothing was wasted, the chaff was burnt for fuel. John uses the word unquenchable, a fire that doesn’t go out.
Many have used verse 17 for an end-time continual burning of the godless. The Church have re-defined the godless throughout its history. But before we think of screaming eternal torture with flames of fire. Think again.
John gives this cultural picture in the context of Jesus baptising with the Holy Spirit and fire, in the previous verse.
The Church want the baptism of the Holy Spirit (well a version of that at least).
But a baptism of fire, an unquenchable one? Do we really want that?
Let me encourage you today to seek for a baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire.
Let me encourage you to seek for this continual cultural practice to occur daily in your life and also in intensive seasonal times.
Within your life there must be a constant burning fire that takes the chaff of your life, that which cannot be used and burns it so that you are continually purified. May Jesus baptise you with that fire. May you become more like Him. This is the unquenchable fire we need. A fire that burns. A fire that makes us better people. A fire that does something with our attitudes, our selfishness, our bitterness, our sins. That’s the fire the people of God need. That’s the fire that Jesus brings. This is the fire that John prepares the people for. It is a life-changing fire that never ends whilst we live.