“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
Read verses 49-50. In what respect did Jesus come to bring fire on the earth? What is the meaning of the expression “a baptism to undergo”? What can we learn from Jesus who was under constraint until the time of completion?
Read verses 51-53. Why did Jesus’ coming result in division among family? Have you ever experienced such division within your family or among your friends?
Read verse 54-56. How did people predict the weather? (54-55) Why did Jesus call people hypocrites? (56) How can we interpret this present time? Why is it critical for us to do so?
Read verses 57-59. What does it mean to “judge for yourselves what is right”? (57) Why is it important to reconcile with our adversary? Who is our adversary? How can you reconcile before too late? (58) What is Jesus’ warning to those who are not willing to reconcile to the end? (59)
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!"
In today's passage Jesus makes a shocking statement. Do not think I have come to bring peace! I have not, I've come to bring division. Jesus in today's passage calls us to make a firm decision to follow Him, wholeheartedly and fully; to make our calling and election sure. Jesus teaches us that we are either wholly sold out to Him or we are against Him. There is no middle ground. Jesus brought us all out of our old lives of sin, in the land of our Egypt and now He is calling us to make a confession to fear and serve Him faithfully. We must be like Joshua who said in Joshua 24:14-15, "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” May God help us today to make new decisions to serve Him and Him alone.
First, Jesus came to bring fire on the earth. Look at verse 49, "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" In the Bible "fire" is used to represent many things: to represent God Himself. Deuteronomy 4:23-24 reads, "Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." "Fire" also represents the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:3-4 reads, "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." Matt. 3:11 reads, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Very often "fire" represented God's judgment. Luke 3:17 reads, "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." Isaiah 30:27-30, "See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; His lips are full of wrath, and His tongue is a consuming fire. His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; He places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray. And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people playing pipes go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. The LORD will cause people to hear His majestic voice and will make them see His arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail." Sodom and Gomorrah were brought to destruction by fire from heaven. Finally, "fire" is used to speak of purification. Zech. 13:9 reads, "This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My Name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people', and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'" 1 Peter 1:7 reads, "These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
God's holiness is the reason for His being a consuming fire, and it burns up anything unholy. The holiness of God is that part of His nature that most separates Himself from sinful man. Isaiah wrote in Is. 33:14 that, "The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: 'Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?'" Through these verses we can see that the Fire represents the spiritual power exercised by the Lord through His Word and Spirit based on His completed work of redemption on the cross-to the undoing of those who reject Him and to the refining of those who believe in Him. Basically, God's consuming fire either acts as a purifying baptism for believers or as a consuming judgment for unbelievers.
Second, Jesus longed for it to be already kindled. Jesus came to bring this fire on the earth and He wished that it was already kindled. Jesus desired to bring this fire quickly upon the earth. He longed for the time when He would baptize His followers "with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Luke 3:16). Through this baptism all who believed in Him would be regenerated, born of the Spirit, made eternally alive as sons and daughters of God and He longed for that (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-6). They would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth-and He longed for that. They would no longer be alone-and He longed for that (Jn. 14:16-17). They would be sealed with the Holy Spirit as a down payment insuring their eternal inheritance. They would enjoy eternal life now (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30)-and He longed for that. They would be sanctified, made holy by the Spirit's fiery work of internal, soul purification. He would melt their hearts and skim away the impure dross from their souls so they could mirror His holy Image-and He longed for that. And ultimately their lives would be ignited, they would become fully consumed and incendiary and zealous toward the Lord and His purpose for their lives. A zealous fire would flame from their lives, the Spirit burning would rest above their willing heads, and the fire would spread-and our LORD longed for that day to come.
How Jesus longed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and with fire-the regeneration, indwelling, sealing, sanctification and ignition of His people. How He longed for judgment to fall too-to take up the "winnowing fork 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"-to at last bring justice to the earth. Jesus longed for His people to rise up consumed fully with His Word and Spirit as a conquering army of priests to make disciples of all nations and to bring our enemies down in His consuming fire. This was the real longing of Jesus' heart.
Third, Jesus couldn't wait to complete God's mission for Him on the cross. Look at verse 50, "But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed." Before the fire of God could be brought to earth, Jesus first had to undergo His baptism; to be immersed in death before the things for which He longed could happen. Jesus wanted to get the ordeal over with. The thought of it dominated Him-"what constraint I am under until it is completed!" What made the wait so terrible was that He knew exactly what His baptism entailed. His prolonged torture and cruel, violent death were not what distressed Him, but rather it was the necessity of His taking the raw refuse and dung of our sins, (think of the dung gate)-so that He would, in effect, would choke and drown in it and become the same and for a time be separated from the Father. (2 Cor. 5:21) "For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (Jn. 3:16) Jesus who loves us took on the sins of us all! Jesus stood before His disciples and confessed, "I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!" A short time later, after making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem Jesus said, "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name!" (Jn. 12:27-28a) And in the garden He prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not my will, but Yours be done. An angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." (Lk. 22:42-44) And finally on the cross, having become sin for us, He cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit." (Lk. 23:46) How exalted is our Lord! How He longed to bring fire on the earth! He wished that the fire was kindled! But He had to undergo the baptism of death on the cross, immersed in our sins. And He could not wait to complete it! Jesus rushed headlong to the cross for our sake! Jesus raced forward to the cross to save us!
Fourth, Jesus did not come to bring peace, but division. Look at verse 51, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." The cross of Jesus brought about fire from Heaven and with it comes division. Either God's fire consumes us or it purifies, sanctifies and consecrates us. These are the only two possibilities. There are two camps, sheep and goats. And there is true hostility and enmity between the two. James 4:4 reads, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." 1 Jn. 2:15-17 reads, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its attractiveness will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live for ever.
Jn. 15:18-25 reads, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than His master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My Name, for they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates Me hates My Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen and yet they have hated both Me and My Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated Me without reason.'" Luke 16:13 reads, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
The world hates Jesus because Jesus spoke the Word of God to the people; called people to repentance and obedience to His Word; He called them to stop loving the world, stop loving money; stop being friends with the world; to take up their cross and follow Him. This is what Jesus first called us to do. We have been called to be light and salt in this world; to testify to the deeds of our Lord; to live in obedience to His Word. We cannot continue loving and following the world. We must know we will never find peace in this world. We will never find true unity in this world.
Fifth, Jesus brings division even among the family. Look at verses 52-53, "From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." In this world there are no tighter bonds than those that bind family together. But Jesus says that from now on, meaning right now, those bonds will be fractured. Jesus quoted from Micah 7:6, to show that the divisions caused by the Gospel go deep, even to the separation of close family members. And Jesus does not apologize for this either. Because He is the eternal Son of God, we must follow Him, even if it leads to family division, because He is so much more worthy of our allegiance than even the closest of earthly ties.
Of course, we should always strive for harmonious relationships in the family and we should never do anything personally offensive to cause a rift. We should love and honor family members. We should be kind and gracious, even if family members are offensive toward us. But, if family members are offended by the Gospel we believe, we are not to shrink back. We must be prepared to bear such hostility and to stand graciously but firmly for the Gospel. But we must be fully prepared for such divisions. Mark 10:29-30 reads, "'Truly I tell you,' Jesus replied, 'no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-along with persecutions-and in the age to come eternal life." In truth, if we have family members who are against the Gospel, the real truth of the matter is they aren't truly our family. Jesus said in Matt. 12:46-48, "While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. Someone told Him, 'Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.' He replied to him, 'Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?' Pointing to His disciples, He said, 'Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother." This separation between family is not the only thing Jesus came to separate. We are to be separate from the world. His Word separates even our inner person, even our thoughts. Heb. 4:12 reads, "For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Jesus came to separate because without separation there can be no life giving work of God. When God created the Heavens and the earth, He separated light from darkness; He separated land from seas and sky from them both. He did this in order that life could come to the earth. In the same way, God brings division even in the family so that real family, life giving family may emerge!
Sixth, Interpreting the times. Look at verses 54-59, "He said to the crowd, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain', and it does. And when the south wind blows, 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. How is it that you don't 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 magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."
Jesus wanted the people to judge for themselves what is right. What I am sharing today is hard teaching. It is not easy to accept. And no one is to judge another where they stand or don't stand. We must each come before God and see where we really stand. Some of us, may fully accept what Jesus says and do our best to obey. Others, may still be struggling to accept Jesus' Words. But Jesus did not condemn His own mother, when she did not understand what He was doing. Even his brother James, later became the head of the church in Jerusalem. So we do not know what God is doing in each of our lives. We must be careful that we don't judge each other. We must not become proud thinking we are better than others. It is not true! We all are who we are by the grace of God and nothing of our own doing. If not for the grace of God, I would not be standing where I am. And in truth, I know I am not standing where I ought to be standing. I confess that the love of this world, is deeply ingrained within me. I know what I should do, but I honestly confess I don't do it. I thank God for today's passage because God is calling me to wholly commit myself to Him and He has been preparing me for this moment for a very long time, over a quarter century. I know that I am still in need of much refining, sanctifying and purifying in my life. But I thank God, because I now can see it. Truthfully, in the past I thought I was doing alright. But I can see that I've been treating serving God's purpose as a series of activities in my life. Writing testimony, prayer, studying the Bible, inviting students to Bible study, studying the Bible with them, coming faithfully to worship service, etc, etc. But I can see that my person has not been fully consumed by the fire and Spirit of God. My thoughts are almost always concerning my desires and worries and ideas, very seldom are they truly on advancing God's Kingdom or truly worshipping Him in Spirit and truth. I surf the internet, I look for my comfort and enjoyment and ease. Now, I don't want anyone to think that because I say these things about myself, means that I think everyone else should think the way I do. This is God's conviction to me. This is my faith. Some say one day is holy; while others say every day is holy. It is not for me to judge others faith or conviction before God. Each person must give account to God, not me, nor I to anyone else. But we all must be honest before God and see where we truly stand. We must ask ourselves, "Am I truly set apart for God?" If not, then we need to realize that the time is now for us to be reconciled to our Judge, before it is too late.
At the Summer Bible conference we heard God's voice, "I am God Almighty, walk before Me faithfully and be blameless." We confessed our sins and made new decisions of faith to do so. We prayed that God would use our lives as living sacrifices, to use us once more for His Kingdom purpose. And God has heard our cry and our prayers and now He is calling us to fully commit ourselves to Him. We are like Joshua and the people who stand before the walls of Jericho, the great bastion that denies us entry into the Promised Land. Joshua 5:13-15 reads, "Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a Man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua went up to Him and asked, 'Are You for us or for our enemies?' 'Neither,' He replied, 'but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked Him, 'What message does My Lord have for His servant?' The commander of the LORD'S army replied, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so." The question is not whether God is on our side, but rather are we on God's side? Are we fully committed to Him and His calling and purpose or are we committed and serving some other purpose?
God is pouring out His Spirit in these last days. Acts 2:17-18 reads, "In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy" I can see that God is fulfilling these verses. We are surely in the last days. Love is growing cold. The world is persecuting true believers at a greater rate than ever in the past. And His Spirit is being poured out on His people. Last week in Syria, a family of 12, who converted from Islam and became believers, when faced with death if they did not renounce their faith and return back to Islam, refused and they were all killed. Two of the women before they were beheaded cried out, "Jesus save us!" They did not renounce Him! In Kentucky one woman named Kim Davis, a county clerk, refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and was subsequently thrown into jail for contempt of court for defying the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriages. She said she could not do so, because it violated her conscience and God's authority. She said, "This is a heaven or hell issue for me and for every other Christian that believes." Since she made this decision she has experienced the full wrath of not only the state against her, but public opinion, who have shown such hatred towards her. Our nation not only allows same-sex marriage, but now more and more states are legalizing drug usage. This nation is going from bad to worse. And where do we stand? Do we stand on the side of God or do we stand on the side of the world? We must realize that we are on a collision course with this world and to face this very question, are we on God's side or the worlds?
I am very thankful when I heard that Msn. Augustine recently when faced with financial needs and what to do. When asked whether his wife should work, told her plainly, "No! You continue to serve God's Work on the campus as of first importance! God will surely provide our needs. God will give me a job!" I realized just how great a servant of God he truly is! I realized just how blessed Msn. Petra is to have such a man of God as her husband! How happy and blessed Theo and Mailyn are! Every time I think about Msn. Paul and Esther's faithfulness and life of faith. I am truly amazed and thankful. Even though Msn. Paul has served faithfully God's mission purpose for his life, he has experienced much heartache and disappointment. Seeing his students again and again, misunderstand him, and blame him and criticize him, but still he continues to go to campus and to share the Gospel again and again. I am amazed at Shep. Chamnon's life of faith. Even though her school studies were so difficult and she had several false starts and stops, she continued to persevere and trust in God and finally, she is winning the victory and conquering her nursing program. I thank God for my spiritual mother, who for many years has continued to go fishing all the way at UCLA without finding even one new student, ever since she began studying with Seth. But she has persevered and God allowed her this quarter, to miraculously meet two new students: Laura and I don't know the other. I am amazed at my sons, Peter, Andrew, Mark, Joseph and Joshua. They are all growing in their faith. And so are my daughters, Maggie and Angie. I am amazed at my wife, who truly has sold her belongings and is giving to the poor. So much so, that she got sick and several times was so tired that when she got home she parked the car and fell asleep for 15-20 minutes, because she was too tired to get out of the car! I am moved by Frank and Samia's faith. Frank renewed his decision to be a Bible teacher and is serving Golden West College. And I heard Samia, is looking for someone to go fishing with her at Santa Ana College. I didn't even know there was such a school! I heard Samia got Vina a job at her work place, so perhaps Samia has found her coworker, not only at work, but on the campus as well! I am so amazed when I heard that Msn. David and Blessing Cho, made a decision to sell their home in the great neighborhood of Cerritos, next to one of the best high schools in the nation, Whitney High, and move back closer to Downey, because they want to join early morning prayer meeting and to be closer to the family of God. I am amazed every morning when I see so many people come to the main sanctuary and pray together and to do so for the last six weeks without fail. We have had such a desire in the past, but we were never able to do so. But I believe God has been hearing our prayers and has been pouring out His Spirit among us and enabling us to come and to pray together as one body, for one another and for our nation and for this world. There are so many more stories I could share, but I will leave it here. I truly pray God would hear our prayer and help us so that all of us may come and pray together! I believe God is doing an amazing work among us. But now He is calling us to fully commit ourselves to Him. To love Him with ALL our heart, soul, strength and mind; completely and wholly.
May God's fire fall upon us! May His fire consume us, but not destroy us!
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
In the previous lesson, Jesus teaches his people how to prepare for His 2nd coming. When Christ comes, he rewards or punishes each and every person without missing one, both among the living and the dead. In today’s passage Jesus warns us to fight the good fight in our daily spiritual battle and prompts us to reconcile with God before it’s too late. Let’s listen to Jesus’ teachings and maintain the right perspective even though we live in a confused generation.
Read verses 49-50. In what respect did Jesus come to bring fire on the earth? What is the meaning of the expression “a baptism to undergo”? What can we learn from Jesus who was under constraint until the time of completion?
1-1, Read verses 49-50.
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!
1-2, In what respect did Jesus come to bring fire on the earth?
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
First of all, Jesus is the King of peace. He came to the world to give peace to men and glory to God.
Before Jesus’ coming, men were servants of Satan and sin.
Satan uses men to oppose Christ and the Holy Spirit.
The peace of Christ does not come from compromise to gain mutual benefit.
The peace of Christ comes from God. The peace of Christ is gained through a struggle and victory over Satan.
Romans 5:1-2a reads,
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
Hebrews 13:20-21 reads,
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
We prayed that the Northern California wildfire, a destructive forest fire may be quickly subsided. The Rocky Fire has already burned nearly 70,000 acres, displacing 13,000 people from their homes. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency last week. "California's severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox,"
Why does Jesus say that he wants to bring fire on the earth out of clear blue?
It’s an atypical expression of Jesus.
“and how I wish it were already kindled!”
Why does Jesus say, “How I wish it were already kindled?”
It sounds as if Jesus were an arsonist in a peaceful society (?)
But this is not true. His desire is to bring true peace by disturbing people’s sense of false peace.
Jesus came to bring fire, and he wished that it were already started!
Jesus also says in verse 35,
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning”
Jesus commands us to “keep our lamps burning.”
Even the smallest flame can start a wildfire.
What kind of fire was Jesus talking about?
It may be that the fire Jesus spoke of was judgment coming upon the Jewish people in the following decades.
“In Jewish thought fire is almost always the symbol of judgment. So, then, Jesus regarded the coming of his kingdom as a time of judgment.” (Barclay)
It may be that the fire Jesus spoke of is the power(FIRE) of the Holy Spirit that could only come after He had accomplished His work on the cross.
Luke 3:16-17 reads,
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 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.”
It may also be that the fire Jesus spoke of is the spread of the good news and the coming expansion of the work of His kingdom across the globe, which could not happen until He had accomplished His work on the cross.
So Jesus helped them understand their mission in terms of his world salvation purpose. They would suffer, but he would suffer much more, and the world itself would be divided painfully on the basis of the gospel.
I came to bring fire on the earth.
It challenges each of us to follow his footstep to bring fire on the earth wherever we go.
Also it may mean the fire refining our individual faith.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 reads,
“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
We do not know what Jesus’ word, “fire” means exactly. It may be the Holy Spirit, His Judgement, or trial to refine our faith.
However in the flow of the context, the fire of the Holy Spirit may be well fit in the connection of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection to complete the holy work of the Son of God.
John 16:7-11 reads,
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
The fire of the Holy Spirit does the work of judgement. The fire of the Holy Spirit comes from heaven to the earth to purge men’s sins.
1-3, What does it mean by “a baptism to undergo”?
Here Jesus longed for the Spirit to begin his purging work on earth.
But before that could happen, Jesus had to undergo the baptism of his death for our sins and to rise again.
Only then could the Holy Spirit come and dwell in the hearts of forgiven sinners.
The fact that Jesus spoke of His suffering as a baptism is meaningful. He wasn’t sprinkled with suffering; He was immersed in agony.
In the same way, we are to baptized into Jesus Christ and baptized with the Holy Spirit, immersed and overflowing.
1-4, What can we learn from Jesus who was under constraint until the time of completion?
and what constraint I am under until it is completed!
How distressed I am till it is accomplished! Jesus was distressed until His work on the cross was accomplished because He knew all the good that would come of it.
Hebrew 12:1-3 reads,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
But once he completes the will of God on the cross, he is no longer poor Jesus but He will be King and Judge over all.
Read verses 51 - 53. Why did Jesus’ coming result in division among family? Have you ever experienced such division within your family or among your friends?
2-1, Read verses 51-53.
51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
2-2, Why did Jesus’ coming result in division among family?
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
Again Jesus is the prince of peace, but there is another sense in which he does not bring peace but division even within the family. It’s inevitable!
Where there is the work of the Holy Spirit, there is the work of Satan.
Those who are afraid of this division cannot be called faithful servants.
The word, “divided” or “division” are repeated three times, and “against” up to 9 times.
They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
A mother might accuse a son or daughter, ‘You love Jesus more than me!’ In this way, faith in Jesus can be the reason for family division.
But when we stand firm, glorify God, such families have often been brought back together in God.
So the truth is that this kind of division may be temporary.
Again Jesus came to bring fire and he came to bring division.
When that happened, the world would be divided into two: those who received Jesus and those who rejected Jesus.
This division would cut through family ties. Jesus’ people will be alienated from beloved family members.
Jesus wanted his disciples to realize that gospel ministry would be a fierce and painful spiritual battle before they would see the final victory.
They needed to prepare their minds for this and not be surprised when painful struggles came upon them.
2-3, Have you ever experienced such division within your family or among your friends?
Read verse 54 - 56. How did people predict the weather? (54-55) Why did Jesus call people hypocrites? (56) How can we interpret this present time? Why is it critical for us to do so?
3-1, Read verse 54-56.
He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
3-2, How did people predict the weather? (54-55)
He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.
Finally Jesus made this statement to the crowd.
Jesus saw through their facade and exposed what was really going on in their hearts and lives.
They blindly followed the leadership of the religious leaders without discernment.
Even though there were many signs that Jesus is the Christ, many were ignorant and indifferent. They remained this way in order to avoid making a decision.
3-3, Why did he call people hypocrites? (56)
56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
These people already knew what was right and wrong.
They witnessed all kinds of evil practices; violence, adultery, and idolatry.
But they pretended not to see.
They never rebuked young and growing people because of their powerlessness due to their own sins.
The did not want to hurt others. They were humanistic rather than Biblical.
They were very permissive of their children’s sinful lives.
Likewise we see the same things happening in our times.
There was the case of a handsome and typical 19 year old teenage boy. (CNN on 8-3-15)
One day, he was lonely and visited an internet dating site, through which he met a girl who said that she was 17 years old. They met and had sex - a one night stand. But later it turned out that the girl had lied about her age. She was in fact, not 17, but just 14 years old.
He was imprisoned for 90 days, with 5 year probation, and his name was placed on a sex offender registry for the next 25 years. What shame he had to carry for so long!
His parents disputed that such a strict law was not reasonable or fair by standards of our current culture.
But what was done was done. The Judge was firm in his decision.
3-4, How can we interpret this present time?
Jesus rebuked them for being able to interpret the signs of the weather, but not the signs of the times.
Jesus set a good example in this regard.
Luke 17:22-30 reads,
Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
3-5, Why is it critical for us to do so?
Again we need Jesus’ right perspective.
Jesus is our Good Shepherd who is able to guide us into the right path.
Also when we rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are led into the right path of truth.
Young people’s immoral lives, homosexuality, and demon worship make this country’s future look hopeless.
Even presidential candidates are often ignorant and indifferent concerning people and culture’s problem of sin.
They only talk about how to make America strong again. People have itching ears to listen to them.
May the Lord have mercy on each of us so that we may grow up as Bible teachers to discern our times and share the truth of God.
Read verses 57-59. What does it mean to “judge for yourselves what is right”? (57) Why is it important to reconcile with our adversary? Who is our adversary? How can you reconcile before too late? (58) What is his warning to those who are not willing to reconcile to the end? (59)
4-1, Read verses 57 - 59.
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
4-2, What does it mean to “judge for yourselves what is right”? (57)
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
Jesus challenged them, and he challenges each one of us, to judge for ourselves what is right.
He wants us to examine the Scriptures, think for ourselves and accept him as our true King and the Savior and the Lord.
Each person will be responsible for their own decision.
4-3, Why is it important to reconcile with our adversary?
As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.
This is another expression of Jesus in assessing their lives.
No one is righteous before God.
Romans 3:9-10 reads,
“What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one”
Their situation, like ours, is precarious. We are like people on the verge of judgment and imprisonment.
It is high time for us to plead for mercy and for a settlement. It’s time to accept Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as our Savior.
Otherwise, we will pay the full consequence for our sins. The gospel message is a matter of life and death; it demands a response and time is short.
When we die, or when Jesus comes again, our opportunity to accept him will pass. (Period)
Then it will be too late to ask God for mercy. So we must ask now. Be Ready, Be Faithful, Be Rewarded now.
Today Jesus has taught us how to live in light of his coming again. Jesus urges us to be ready.
We must overcome the poisonous influence of postmodernism, hedonism and materialism, clothe ourselves with Christ daily, and have living hope in our hearts.
Revelation 3:18-19 reads,
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
Jesus also urges us to be faithful to our mission, knowing that he rewards and punishes.
When we are ready and faithful, we will be rewarded. May each of us be ready, be faithful and be rewarded.
4-4, Who is our adversary?
In the context, our adversary is the Sovereign God, our Heavenly Father.
4-5, How can you reconcile before too late? (58)
58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.
Again anyone who can judge what is right can see the importance and good of getting right with God before we come before Him as Judge.
If one waits until they will stand before His throne of judgment, the time will then be too late.
try hard to be reconciled on the way
We can also say that in light of the work of Jesus at the cross, God offers a settlement out of court (before judgment) with God, by putting our loving trust in who Jesus is and what He has done for us on the cross.
4-6, What is his warning to those who are not willing to reconcile to the end? (59)
59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”
This helps to explain the fearful, yet Biblical truth that hell is eternal; because payment for sins is required, and imperfect humanity can’t make a perfect payment, required by a perfect God.
The coin Jesus referred to here was “The Lepton; lepton means the thin one; it was the smallest coin.” (Barclay)
The punishment of hell is eternal, just as life is eternal in heaven (Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
The torment of hell is forever (Revelation 14:11), and the fires of hell are not quenched, burning forever (Mark 9:48).
The unjust have their own resurrection, presumably with bodies suited to endure the punishment of hell.
John 5:28-30 reads,
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
Acts 24:15 reads,
“and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”
We learned that Jesus came to wake us up with fire and division. Let us live with his holy fire burning in our hearts so that we may be ready for Jesus to come. We are not victims of this generation but good soldiers of Jesus Christ who must keep our lamps burning and share the gospel. Through the power of the gospel, many lost souls will be restored and reconciled to God. May the Lord richly bless our prayer to bring fire and division so that America may be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Amen.