7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: 12 Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Are believers exempt?)
* The world has many stereotypes and misconceptions about hell
-These midaeval notions must be replaced with Biblical information
- Hell does not belong to the devil. He doesn't take you there. Hell is NOT run by demons with pitchforks, tormenting those consigned there.
* We all have ideas about hell, but are they much clearer than the world's?
- Let us seek together to sharpen them from the scriptures.
HEBREWS 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
* Biblical Imagery & Examples of Hell Fire
- Old Testament burnt offerings illustrate the judgement of hell.
* Phrase "offered up in smoke" repeated - LEV 9:13, etc.
* Altar fire to be kept burning continually - LEV 6:12,13
* Elijah & prophets of Baal (I KI 18)
- Old Testament penalty for harlotry illustrates the judgement of hell.
* "she shall be burned with fire" - LEV 21:9 (for harlotry)
- Fire symbolized purging of sin and iniquity
* IS 6:7 - A burning coal touches Isaiah's lips to purge sin.
- ILLUSTRATION from World Book Encyclopedia:
"Burns rank among the most severe and painful injuries"
* We know that the final judgement is a judgement of fire
- "..thrown into the lake of fire" - REV 20:15
2 PETER 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
EX 19:18 And mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the its smoke ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
EXODUS 24:16 And the GLORY of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the GLORY of the LORD [was] like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
- When we talk about attributes of God, we usually think of:
* Love, Omniscience, Holiness, etc., but...
* FIRE! is an Attribute of God Often Overlooked...
- Our God is A CONSUMING FIRE! (DEUT 4:24, HEB 12:29)
- The altar fire was to be kept burning continually - LEV 6:12,13
DT 9:3 3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD your God [is] he who goes over before you; [as] A CONSUMING FIRE he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before your face: so shall you drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said unto you.
HAB 3:3 ...His GLORY covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 And [his] brightness was as the LIGHT...
LEVITICUS 9:23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the GLORY of the LORD appeared unto all the people. 24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: [which] when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
* At the dedication of Solomon's temple, fire fell (II CHR 7:1-3).
LEVITICUS 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
NUMBERS 11:1 And [when] the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard [it]; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed [them that were] in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2 And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. 3 And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
"he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [EVEN gr. kai] fire:"
Holy Spirit == Breath of God == FIRE - CF Acts 2:3
"Quench not the Spirit" I Thess 5:19
"The Sun of Righteousness" Mal 4:2
"And we beheld His GLORY" - Jn 1:14 (veiled vs unveiled)
"The LIGHT of the world" - Jn 8:12, 9:5 (what did lights consist of? FIRE!)
* Conclusion: God's GLORIOUS PRESENCE IS the Baptism of Fire!
* The PRESENCE of God is: HEAVEN for the believer, but HELL for the unbeliever
PSALMS 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in THY PRESENCE [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.
* HELL for the unbeliever
HEBREWS 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
REV 6:16 And they said to the mountains and the rocks; "Fall on us and hide us from the FACE of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?
MALACHI 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appears? for he [is] like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver...
NAH 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
ISAIAH 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
* Will Christ's PRESENCE finish the job of sanctification (Phil. 1:6), , or will it just finish YOU?...
1 COR 3:13 Every man's work ... shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work ... 14 If any man's work abide ... he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 COR 15:51 ... We shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet...
DANIEL 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried;
IS 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from its midst by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. 5 And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and THE SHINING OF A FLAMING FIRE by night: for upon all the GLORY [shall be] a defence.
ZECH 2:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the GLORY in the midst of her.
ZEPH 1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel... 18 ...the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land... 3:8 ...for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
PSALMS 97:1 The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad [thereof]. 2 Clouds and darkness [are] round about him: righteousness and judgment [are] the habitation of his throne. 3 A fire goes before him, and burns up his enemies round about. 4 His LIGHTNINGS enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. 5 The hills melted like wax at the PRESENCE of the LORD, at the PRESENCE of the Lord of the whole earth. 6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his GLORY. 7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all [you] gods.
2 THESSALONIANS 1:7 ... the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 IN FLAMING FIRE taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction [away] from the PRESENCE of the Lord, and from the GLORY of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
** NOTE: STRIKE the word [away] out of this verse! **
* Fire starts small, spreads in all directions
- By One man sin entered the universe (and spread) (ROM 5:12)
- One Man's fire shall purify the universe (II Pet 3:7)
ISAIAH 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from far, burning [with] his anger, and the burden [thereof is] heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: 28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity...
29 You shall have a song, as in the night [when] a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. 30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the LIGHTING down of his arm, with the indignation of [his] anger, and [with] the flame of a devouring fire, [with] scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
33 For Tophet [is] ordained of old; yes, for the king it is prepared; he has made [it] deep [and] large: the pile thereof [is] fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, kindles it.
ISAIAH 31:9 And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, says the LORD, whose fire [is] in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
* If you DON'T YET KNOW the Lord Jesus:
MT 10:28 And fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
JAS 4:12 - "...One who is able to save and to destroy..."
HEBREWS 10:27 ... a certain fearful looking for of JUDGMENT and FIERY INDIGNATION, which shall devour the adversaries.... 30 For we know him that has said, Vengeance [belongs] unto me, I will recompense, says the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
* Do you want to see YOUR life go "UP IN SMOKE"? - Lev 9:13, etc.
* We who know Him - How should WE live?
2 PETER 3:11. [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought you to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the HEAVENS BEING ON FIRE SHALL BE DISSOLVED, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
* (Play "Living God" song) BENEDICTION:
JUDE 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before THE PRESENCE OF HIS GLORY with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.