THE BAPTISM OF FIRE
I baptize you with water for repentance, But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11 NIV)
As believers, we are called to do more than go to church on Sunday mornings, do more than follow prescribed rituals, and certainly do more than have water sprinkled on our heads or be immersed in baptismal pools. There are all extremely important and not to be ignored, but they must be followed up with a willingness to experience the “baptism of fire.”
This seems to be pretty self-explanatory. John the Baptist seemed to be a pretty straight-forward kind of guy. He's saying that although he can baptize people in water for the remission of their sins, it's not good enough. In the near future, Jesus is coming to seek and to save those who are lost. He will baptize us with the Holy Ghost and Fire. Of course this is prophecy because it has not yet happened. Jesus had not been baptized yet, with water by John, let alone the Holy Ghost.
When He did come on the scene, He preached His Father's message for the 3 years and was crucified. It was THEN after He ascended into heaven and His Spirit was sent back to earth as our comforter that this prophecy was fulfilled.
On the day of Pentecost there was the sound from heaven as of a rushing might wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. (3) and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Some people think that when the baptism of "fire" is mentioned, it is in this reference as part of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Another explanation is the excitement and zeal one feels when they become filled with the Holy Ghost. (This I have felt. ) I cannot think of a more satisfying and exciting feeling when this happened to me. Hence, the phrase "on fire for God".
Last but not least is another explanation which sounds good, but I'm not sure that this verse would go along with this particular explanation. While I do agree that we must go through a cleansing process and a purifying process (purified by fire), I don't know that I would agree that this particular explanation would go with the Key Verse for tonight. It sounds like they are saying that God deliberately makes us go through trials just to purify us and "make sure that we are worthy of being a vessel fit for His use.
I'm sorry, but I don't agree with this. I may be way off base, but I know for a fact that God uses all kinds of people whether they've been "purified" or not. For example, what about Rahab the prostitute, or the woman who was not married, but "living with a man? She ran into town telling everyone about Him. Neither of these had been "purified". There were many other examples all through the Bible, and He still uses all kinds of people from all walks of life today to get His message spread, and to do other wondrous works of Him.
Yes, I'm sure He rejoices when His creation "wakes up" repents and realizes that they need to be baptised in Jesus' Name for the remission of their sins, and receives the Holy Ghost and is baptised with His "fire", and I have no doubt that those that He chooses to use do come around and do this, but it does not necessarily have to be the first step. God does things in His own order and in His own ways.
Good Night to All and May God Bless!