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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
December 4, 2004

     I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama - compared to him I'm a mere stagehand - will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He's going to clean house - make a clean sweep of your lives. He'll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he'll put out with the trash to be burned.
Matthew 3:11-12 (Message*)

John the Baptist baptized in water with a simple, stark message of people needing to turn from their sinful lives if they are to escape the judgment. Here John is quoted as pointing to another - Jesus Christ - who will do far more than can be done in the ritual of cleansing in water that John performs.

The kingdom life people accepted with John's baptism is to be ignited within them by Christ. Christ activates the power of the Holy Spirit within us, resulting in complete transformation - changing us from the inside out. This power destroys the trash - that which is not worthy of God - within us, and puts us in right relationship with God.

Looking at the meaning beyond the time period and actions of John's time, we can say that doing all the right religious things - going to church, studying the Bible, even the manifestations in our larger life of treating people well - can help set us up for what is really needed in our lives, but it lacks the power to make it happen. We need an intimate relationship with Christ to bring the power of the Holy Spirit to wholly transform us into true children of God manifesting the love and character of God in our lives.

If you have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ in your life, stay true to that and allow that power to completely control your life. If you have not had this experience, know that there is more ahead and seek to keep yourself open to that transforming power. Then it will come in God's time, and you can receive its blessing in your life.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 11-Dec-2004 20:33:14 EST