Step 11 Baptism with Fire

Instruction about Baptism with Fire


The Fourth of Six

“Elementary Teachings about Christ”

from Hebrews 6:1,2


We are studying Hebrews 6:1-2:

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings  

about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again  

     the foundation  

          of repentance from acts that lead to death, and  

          of faith in God,  

       instruction about


          the laying on of hands,

          the resurrection of the dead, and

          eternal judgment.

Topic Headings:

  •  Fire – Baptism – Cup – Cross
  • How to Handle Fiery Ordeals
  • Is It Worth It?
  • What Should You Do?
  • Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken (a hymn)

Fire – Baptism – Cup – Cross

[Before His suffering and death the Lord Jesus said:] “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! (Luke 12:49-50)

Jesus came to bring some kind of fire on the earth, but this fire had not yet been kindled.  First, He had to undergo some kind of “baptism.”  Most Christians seem to agree that the “baptism” to which He refers here is His suffering and death.

What the fire is, is not so clear.  This author believes that it is the fire of persecution against Christians.  Whether fire means that here or not is not very important.  It IS important for Christians to know that In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)  Peter does refer to such persecutions as fiery ordeal(s) (1 Peter 4:12 NASB)

Mark 10:37-39 

[James and John requested of Jesus:] “Let one of us sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your glory.” 

     “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” 

     “We can,” they answered.

     Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, . . . ”

Again, Jesus refers to a “baptism” that is neither with water nor with the Holy Spirit.  The “baptism” with which He was baptized was a baptism of suffering for standing up for the truth.  Finally, this “baptism” resulted in His death.

Jesus prophesied that James and John would be baptized with a similar “baptism”.  Indeed, both were persecuted for their Christian faith.  James was finally executed by Agrippa I for the faith in about 44 A.D.  As for his brother John, some traditions state that he was thrown into boiling oil before the Latin Gate, which did not kill him but probably left him scarred for the rest of his life.  It is certain that John suffered exile for being a disciple of Christ on the Island of Patmos toward the end of his life.

Please notice that Jesus introduces another image of this “baptism” – that of a “cup.”   This “baptism” and “cup” are the same thing.  We see this image of a “cup” again in the next passage:

 [The night before His crucifixion Jesus was in a garden with His apostles.]  And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.

 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:35-36)

Clearly, this cup” is the persecution that he would suffer in the coming hours, resulting in His death on a cross.

Jesus expects His followers to be willing to suffer the same thing:

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

How to Handle Fiery Ordeals

Here’s what Peter taught about such fiery ordeals:

12  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

13  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

14  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

15  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;

16  but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:12-16)

Is It Worth It?

Consider the following and then you decide:

28  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” 

29  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel

30  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age – homes and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields—and with them, persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:28-30)

What Should You Do?

  •  Understand well what Jesus suffered for you.
  •  Understand that Jesus suffered unjustly and so will you.
  •  Be mentally prepared to suffer for Jesus and His words also.
  •  Do not be surprised when fiery ordeals come.
  •  Know that whatever we may suffer in this world, such suffering is small and  insignificant when compared with eternal life with our loving God in the new creation.


Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken,

All to leave and follow Thee;

Destitute, despised, forsaken,

Thou from hence my All shalt be.

Perish every fond ambition,

All I’ve sought or hoped or known;

Yet how rich is my condition!

God and heav’n are still mine own!

Let the world despise and leave me,

They have left my Savior, too.

Human hearts and looks deceive me;

Thou art not like them, untrue.

And, while Thou shalt smile upon me,

God of wisdom, love and might,

Foes may hate and friends may shun me;

Show Thy face and all is bright!

© copyright 2011

Lyra Publications

Preston, Minnesota

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