We imagined that God had abandoned us.
Yet He has come to us, and immersed Himself in us,
that we may dwell in His Presence all the days our lives.
Truly, we come from Him, through Him, to Him.
The source of all life is God’s Word. God spoke, and it existed. Life comes from God’s Word (John 1:3) and is maintained by God’s Word (Hebrews 1:3). Outside of God’s Word, there is no life (Colossians 1:17).
So long as Man lived according to God’s Word, Man had life. He had abundant life without end, so long as He was connected to the Life of God.
But when Man sinned, the life that came from God died within Him. His body was alive, but his spirit was dead. Before, the life of God had lived inside of him. Now, that part of him had ceased to exist, man was dead on the inside, even when his body was alive on the outside.
And you and I were born without the life of God inside us. We walk. We talk. We breathe. But we are dead. There was no life in us. We were born dead on the inside, even when our bodies are alive on the outside. We were born dead, because we did not have the life of God within us. Humanity is cursed with death.
All of us, sometimes, feel so alone. We can feel the deadness inside, and wonder, “Where is God?” “We wonder, is He angry with me?” “Why won’t He answer me?”
People who are born dead live life in a certain way. We might be:
- Searching for significance through achievements, power or position
- Exalting in our rank, status and importance
- Searching for peace through our work
- Striving for love in all the wrong places
- Desiring vengeance on our enemies
- Cowering into ourselves for fear of being hurt
- Dragging others down, so that we can ease the feeling of our own unworthiness
And if we’ve been living life at all like this, then God is calling us to change. He is calling us to live life His way. This is what living life His way looks like.
- Seeing that the pursuit of power is not the way to win the war against evil. Instead, evil is defeated by laying down our rights and becoming a servant of all (Philippians 2:6).
- Laying aside our rank, status and importance, and instead seeking to become a humble servant, looking to bless those around us (Philippians 2:5–11).
- Learning to embrace mercy, while ceding all of our rights to seek for vengeance (Romans 12:19).
- Learning that nothing in us can be considered right or worthy, but to rely completely on the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21, 22).
- Not seeking to be self-sufficient, but instead depending on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
God has a way of doing life that is different from ours. We are to abandon our way of doing life, and adopt His way. To do that requires a complete change—a new creation—that can only be accomplished by the power of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The power of God
The power of God is symbolised in the baptism of Jesus.
The first meaning of baptism is that we say, “I am willing to die. There is nothing good in me. I lay down my rights. I lay down my need to be someone to be something. I lay down my addictions, and all the cravings of the flesh. I lay down my life.”
The second meaning of baptism is that we say, “My life is renewed in Jesus Christ. I am made alive in Him. He is my life. He is all in all in me.”
Baptism is Immersion
Now, I want us all to be clear on what baptism actually means. Baptism is not the act of dipping something in water.
Here's a good way to think about it. I could take a sponge [the sponge is wrapped in plastic]. This sponge represents the human heart. And if I place this sponge in the water, and bring it up, the water runs off just like the duck. There’s no difference.
The problem is this heart has a veil [plastic wrap] on it. The veil is hardened against God’s transformation. It has a layer of dead flesh around it. What it needs is circumcision—it needs the dead fleshy covering to be removed from it. It needs to be unveiled.
[Remove the plastic wrap from the sponge.] So, when I now place this heart in the water, it is now immersed in water. The water penetrates to the deepest part of the heart, filling the heart and changing it. So when I draw it out, the heart is changed; it is no longer the same. And look [hold up the sponge and squeeze], out from this heart flows rivers of living water (John 7:38). This a river of water flowing from the Source that Jesus promised to the Samaritan woman at the wall.
Baptism doesn’t mean “to dip,” it means “to immerse”. And that which is immersed is permanently changed. We carry around within us the immersion of Jesus, for the Spirit of God dwells within us.
Immersion in Fire
But Jesus does not only immerse us in spirit, but also in the fire of God. For John the Baptist prophesied of Christ:
"I baptise you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:11, 12).
Every wheat stalk consists of wheat and chaff. And Jesus will separate you from your husk of sin, leaving the nourishing grain of wheat ready to enter His barn.
One of the great Messianic prophecies involves fire. The Messiah was prophesied to be a refiner of silver (Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:3). Now this image of the Messiah being a refiner of silver is a beautiful one. When silver is being refined, is it exposed to fire in order to burn out all the impurities. And as the Refiner examines the silver, he leans close to the silver to examine it. When all the impurities are removed, he can see His face. For pure silver reflects a man's image, as you will see each morning, when you look in the mirror, for a mirror is made from glass backed with silver. When we are refined into pure silver, we reflect the image of Jesus.
"But we all, as with a face looking into a mirror, see the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image from glory to glory. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The fire of Jesus burns in the heart of all who are baptised. Jesus' refining fire burns away at our impurities. It burns away at the sin-damaged parts of our brain. The fire of Jesus is immersive, and burns away at the natural man within us. Are you experiencing the refining fire of Jesus? If so, rejoice, for you are a son of God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said,
"Everyone will be salted with fire" (Mark 9:49).
And as the song says,
Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
One day every tongue will confess
One day every knee will bow
But the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose Him now.
The refining fire of Jesus will consume the natural man and all his works. If we build with cheap building materials, it will be exposed. But if we build with the gold, silver and precious stones of the gospel, we have a reward (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
The presence of God
So, if we are immersed in Jesus Christ, then our “inner man” is bound “through Him” to the life of God. That means we are no longer dead on the inside, but we are alive in God.
And Christ promised that we would see Him, for He promised that:
- The Spirit of Truth would come to us, for He dwells with us and will be in us (John 14:17)
- He would not leave us orphans, but that He would come to us (John 14:17–18).
- He and Father would come to us and make their home with us (John 14:23).
No longer are we isolated and alone. Instead, we’re immersed in the spirit and the fire of the Presence of God.
We are at-one with God. We are in His Throne Room. He has raised His sceptre and welcomed you into His Presence. He has placed His Name upon you, and called you His child. He has accepted you. He has placed His guarantee of sovereignty, of heirship, of heredity, of intimacy in you.
And so now, even in this world, we may enter His Rest.
You may Rest in Him. Dwell with Him. In harmony with Him.
You’re a new creation. You’re a child of God. You’re the son or daughter of a King.
So be filled with awe. For the Mighty God lives in you, producing His will and His work within you (Philippians 2:13).
So this is the abounding love that comes from the Caring Heart of God: that you live as a person dwelling in the Presence of God.
This message based on John 14:15–24, Philippians 2:12, 13.