Difficult Scripture: Baptism of Fire
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Letís look at a Difficult Scripture and ask the question: What is the Baptism of Fire?

I. Scripture: Matthew 3:11

Matthew 3 starting in verse 7, John the Baptist was preaching and "-when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? {8} "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, {9} "and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. {10} "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. {11} "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. {12} "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.""

II. How This Verse Is Misused By Some: Some point to this verse 11 to say we should seek the "baptism of fire" mentioned here.

III. True Explanation

A. Notice the context: John was not speaking to Christians. He was reproving the Pharisees and Sadducees for their self-righteous attitudes (See verses 7-9).

He told them to bring forth fruits meet for repentance (verse 8).

B. John explained that he was baptizing with water unto repentance (verse 11), but Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

C. Notice verse 12, This fire is described as an unquenchable fire that would burn up the chaff.

D. Malachi 4:3 describes the results of this same fire. "You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts."

The wicked are to be ashes -- completely burned up -under the feet of the righteous. This is speaking of the second death, as described in Revelation 20:14-15. "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. {15} And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."