07/16/Th – The Coming Fire

Deuteronomy 33:1-17; Luke 12:49-59; Psalms 78:65-69; Proverbs 19:13-14

NT: ““I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how it consumes me until it is finished! Do you think that I came here to bring peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, right away you say, ‘A storm is coming,’ and so it does. And when the south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why don’t you know how to interpret this present time? Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the ruler, make an effort to settle with him on the way. Then he won’t drag you before the judge, the judge hand you over to the bailiff, and the bailiff throw you into prison. I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny.”” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:49-59‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

People love to talk about the pleasant and encouraging things that Jesus said and did. They like to view Jesus as a gentile lamb who is always smiling and never gets angry. However, Jesus is also known as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. While God is slow to anger and abounding in grace, there will come a time when His longsuffering comes to an end and His justice begins. The kingdom of darkness is directly opposed to the Kingdom of God. At Christ’s first coming, He came to disarm the kingdom of darkness and destroy the chains of bondage it had over humanity. The baptism that Jesus said that He had to undergo was His death, burial, and resurrection. Once Christ accomplished His victory over the kingdom of darkness, the Kingdom of God was fully released in the hearts and lives of those who follow Him. When we step into fellowship with Jesus, we also step into a war against darkness. Those who are still trapped in darkness will violently oppose the light and life of the Kingdom of God, and thus the division that Jesus spoke of. This time of battle against darkness is a time of mercy and forgiveness for those who will repent and turn to God through Christ. As the day grow darker and more and more people reject Christ, the closer and closer we come to the end of God’s period of mercy and longsuffering. God will withhold His judgement until all the world hears the gospel and has the opportunity to respond – but once every people group has been afforded the opportunity, the fire – the storm – the judgement will come. We know how to predict a coming storm by looking at the weather patterns and radar images. When we know that a storm is coming, we prepare… we go to our safe space. When we have done something wrong and are threatened with a trial before a judge, we will do everything we can to settle out of court so that we don’t have to face the full weight of the justice system. If that is the way we behave in the natural, how much more should we behave that way in the spiritual realm. The window of mercy and longsuffering for the city of Jerusalem was coming to an end. The final straw was Jerusalem’s outright rejection of the Son of God. The fire, storm, and judgement came to Jerusalem in 70AD, when Rome destroyed the city and tore down the temple. That was the initial fulfillment. There is an ultimate fulfillment coming. We can see the signs. A storm is coming. Jesus is our salvation… He is our safe space. Judgement before the Judge of All is inevitable. While there is still time, we can “settle out of court” and have our debts fully paid by the Lamb who was Slain. Will we take advantage of the time that has been given to us?

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