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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


1. The Acts of John the Baptist (Luke 3:1-20)

LUKE 3:15-20
15 As the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he was the Christ, 16 John answered them all, “I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire, 17 whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”18 Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people, 19 but Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things which Herod had done, 20 added this also to them all, that he shut up John in prison.

John the Baptist had a great influence on his hearers, for he preached powerfully, as someone who had authority from God, feared nobody, criticized the acts of Herod Antipas, and rebuked him for living wrongfully with his brother’s wife, showing a bad example to his people.

The people wondered at his courage, and thought he was the Christ to come. However John continued in his faithfulness, and disowned all pretensions to the honor of being himself the Christ. The people expected the coming of the promised One who would make radical reforms to the corrupt state of the Jews.

The Baptist revealed to the people the essential nature of his message, that is, to prepare the way of Christ through self-denial in genuine repentance. In comparison with Christ, John said, he was not worthy to untie the thongs of Christ’s sandals. John directed his followers from himself to Jesus Christ, setting a great example in humility to all ministers of the Lord.

Then he taught the people that baptism with water is not sufficient for salvation, for it is only an indication of the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire, which Christ administers in his divine power. Did the Holy Spirit dwell in you through your faith in the Savior? Do you know the only power that renews hearts and minds? Do not be afraid of the Holy Spirit, for he is not a consuming fire, but the comforter, who enlightens your heart. This gentle Spirit is God himself. The Father and the Son want to live in you and in every believer. Christ came to reconcile us to his Father, so that the Holy Spirit may dwell in those justified and confirm them in communion with God forever. Then the believer bears fruits worthy of repentance, for we cannot fulfill the law unless we are born of God, and his love is continued in us through the Holy Spirit. This is the only way to bear much good fruit that will remain.

John saw Christ as a harvester in the threshing floor of the world, who, in the storm of God’s judgment, separates the weighty wheat from the flying chaff. As such, Christ, at the end of time, will separate the believers who work in love from those who are not filled with the Holy Spirit, but are living thoughtlessly, for the power of the Spirit of Christ alone makes us righteous and accepted. Without this power we are evil, and must be burnt in the fire of God’s condemnation. So open yourself today to the Spirit of the Lord, so that he may purify you in the fire of his divine love. Then you may humble yourself as John did, glorify the power of Christ, bow down before him, and worship him thankfully with repentance.

Satan and his followers hated John because of his frank testimony, powerful fruits, and upright behavior. When John completed his testimony, God allowed his messenger to be put in prison by Herod, the adulterer, in order to examine the prophet’s faith, and show his continuing faithfulness even to the point of death. Thus John became even in his sufferings a forerunner and symbol of the Christ to come.

PRAYER: O Lord, you are the Spirit. You came to our world to baptize us with your Holy Spirit. Force all evil spirits out of our souls, and purify us completely, so that we may be filled with your love. May we appear on the Day of Judgment with the fruits of your power. Grant that these fruits will appear today in humility, faith, and hope, especially in critical days.

QUESTION 33: What is baptism with the Holy Spirit?


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