I came to cast fire upon the earth: and would that it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided three against two, and two against three. They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law" (Luke 12:49-53
I am quite sure that if that had originated with myself, or with any of my brethren, it would have caused very great offence. But He said it. And it seems to me to be all of a piece with the beginning of that statement
I came to cast fire upon the earth...". 'That is why I came; that sums up the meaning of My coming "judgment" . Why did I come? For what did I come? What is to be the outcome and the issue? I came to cast fire upon the earth...
We see here the effect of the fire, and it is very terrible. It introduces the element of judgment. There is no need to argue with anyone who knows anything about the Bible that fire in the Bible is so often the symbol of judgment
we need to comprehend the meaning of that word 'judgment'. We so often limit it to one of its aspects, especially the final one. We speak of 'bringing to judgment' - meaning by that, to punishment - the final effect of judgment. But judgment in the Bible is a more comprehensive word than that. It is, to begin with - and this can be clearly seen in terms of fire, or fire in terms of judgment - a trying of things, a putting them to the test.
Having done that, it discriminates: that is,
it divides; it shows to which category things belong, and it puts them there. Fire has that effect.it says "That is of that kind, and it belongs to that kind; it is of that category, or that realm, or that kingdom: this belongs to another." Fire finds out:
it discriminates and it divides. And then it relegates finally. It says: that has been found to belong to a certain realm; it has been designated, it has been discriminated; it belongs there, we put it there. That is the final effect of the fire. So That is the content of the word 'judgment
The bible says that this judgment - which would come, mark you, with the coming of the Holy Spirit - the effect of Christ's release through the Cross, in the coming of the Holy Spirit was to cast fire. In other words, the effect of Christ's release would be the coming of the Spirit as the Spirit of fire; and as the Spirit of fire His presence would always be in terms of judgments in this threefold sense of the word. The Holy Spirit's presence is like this and it has this effect.
Here in chapter 12 of Luke's Gospel we have it operating in one realm; "Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay, but rather division." The word in the old Authorized Version is "a sword". Something that cuts and creates Division! It sounds terrible.
But He goes on to explain what He means by division: "There shall be from henceforth five in one household divided, three against two, and two against three." And then He gives examples of division in the family. Here the fire is at work in the realm of human relationships
This has nothing to do with outward divisions within the Church, divisions amongst those who are in Christ. That is not what the Lord is speaking about or pointing to. He is thinking in a totally different realm, in the spiritual realm. This division takes place entirely upon a spiritual basis.
The classic illustration or example of this is the one that we have in the early part of the Old Testament, in the case of the Levites." Leviticus" You will call to mind how, when they had reached the wilderness, Moses was called up into the Mount. He was there so long that the people came - I think deliberately placed by God - under a very severe test, as to where their hearts really were: whether they were after their own interests or after God's, their own ends or His; whether their hearts were in this matter with the Lord, or whether their hearts were set upon their own gratification and pleasure. They were put to the severe test of that probationary period of the forty days and forty nights in which Moses was in the Mount, and they broke down under the test. When Moses came down, hearing the noise in the camp, you remember what had happened - the calf and the dancing. "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt
Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and cried: 'Who is on the Lord's side?' "Whoso is on the Lord's side, let him come unto me." 'And all the sons of Levi went over to him. And he said, Gird every man his sword upon his side, and go in and out and slay every man his brother, every man his friend.' The sword, the fiery sword, has come into the realm of human relationships. It is finding out where the heart is, testing the heart; it is discriminating between motives, "the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12); and it is putting these people in the category to which they belong. Here are the Levites, who have been put to the test and have come through triumphantly, and for evermore they stand as representing the full, pure thought of God concerning His people. The point is that this work of judgment, of the fire, of the sword, came into the realm of human relationships, to find out the motives of the heart.
You can take that into Luke 12. That is just what it means. The divisions, even within the family, the home, the household, will be made by the Holy Spirit on this matter of the relationship of the heart. We can see, as we read the story of Israel in the wilderness, that the heart of that nation, that generation, as the Psalmist " as stated in Psalms" said, "was not stedfast with God" (Psalm 78:8b). In their heart they lusted after Egypt - the fleshpots of Egypt. Their heart was back there, even while they were in the wilderness; and that generation never entered the Land, because its heart was not with the Lord. It is a matter of inward division, a division in the heart
The Holy Spirit is always a divider in that way; it is a work of the Holy Spirit to do that. In a sense - not in the wrong sense, and be careful how you take me up - in a sense the Holy Spirit is the cause of divisions. There is a realm in which He is the divider
What a tremendous amount there is bound up with that in spiritual life! It works out in this way, that anyone - and this is the test - who really has the Spirit is very sensitive to light and very sensitive to darkness. They know quite well about the big division that God has made; and, when they touch anything that belongs to the darkness realm, they feel the darkness in their own spirit, they know they have touched darkness, they know they have come into another realm. That is a work of the Spirit, and a very important work indeed.
On the other hand, anyone who has the Spirit will be equally sensitive to light.
These are marks of the Spirit, judging which is which and what is what, what belongs to this realm and what belongs to that; and these things are set apart: so that it is something quite abnormal if darkness comes into the day or light into the night. It is not the ordinary course of things at all
You can have those differences of kingdom or realm within your own family, your own household, and there can be no fellowship at all because there is the division which is made by the Holy Spirit Himself. Many can confirm and testify to this from their own experience including me shem, and some are suffering because of it. But the point is that is how it will be if the Holy Spirit comes in, and the Lord Jesus was faithful and honest enough to let it be known that that is how it would be. You cannot avoid it, you cannot get over it, you cannot bridge it. It is painful, but it is a mark that the Spirit has done something. With that said, we as the Lord's people might be more and more sensitive to those different realms which are put apart by the Spirit of God! It is a mark of growth in the light of the Spirit to become more and more sensitive to what belongs here and what belongs there.
Just a quick example I could
Throw in there is one of having a spouse who's not seen the lord and accepted him; in that picture, ones heart that has seen the Lord ought to be sensitive to the spirit about what he indulges himself in and what not. The spirit always convictes him of his actions that are not at par with the Lords heart.
Paul used the phrase: "the things which differ" (Romans 2:18; Philippians 1:10); and he said it to believers. He would have them know, as Christians, the things that differ. That was the true kind of division that ought to have existed at Corinth. Day and night had been all mixed up together; things which belonged to the night were present among the "sons of the day" (I Thessalonians 5:5), and they were not sensitive to them. "We must recognize that the life of the Spirit is a life of spiritual dividing; the course of the Spirit-governed life is that of discerning, being sensitive to the things that differ"
"The spirit works in us creating division just to make us sensitive of the realms that co-exist in us. He desires to makes us live to his own kingdom while he shuts out the realm that is irrelevant to him; how ever sensitivity is available for all..so that we know and comprehend that which is not of God and that which is of God and when we react to light, its a great sign of growth"
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