Chapter 3 Part 6 Baptized with Fire

Matt. 3:10 "And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh 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 thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 

A significant yet often overlooked fact is found in the above passage.  There are two things that were burned with fire.  The tree which brought forth no good fruit was cast into the fire.  Second, the chaff was burned with unquenchable fire.  There are several verses of scripture that speak of different ones being cast into fire:

            1.  Rev. 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

            2.  Rev. 20:10 "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

            3.  Rev. 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." 

 Fire is one of the figures in the scripture of God's wrathful judgment of sin.  According to Matthew chapter 5 those on the left hand brought forth no good fruit: 41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." 

            Thus, there is an eternal punishment pronounced against the non-elect who having only an evil tree (flesh nature) bring forth no good fruit.

            There is, however, another set of scriptures that speak to us about the punishment of the sins of the elect:

            1.  Ex. 3:2 "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed."

            2.  2 Sam. 23:6 "But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: 7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place."

            3.  2 Chr. 35:13 "And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people."

            The bush that burned with fire, yet the bush was not consumed was a type of Jesus Christ as he suffered the judgment of God for our sins on the tree of the cross, yet he was not consumed by that judgment as he arose victorious over sin, death, hell, the grave, and Satan on the third day.

            The sons of Belial are a figure of our sins.  Notice that the man that touched them was fenced with iron and a staff of a spear.  Jesus when he suffered and died on the cross was nailed to the cross with iron nails and had a spear through his side.  Notice also that the sons of Belial (our sins) were utterly consumed in the same place.

            The Passover is typical of all the Old Testament burned offerings in that they pointed to the sufferings of the Lamb of God for the sins of his people.

            According to 2 Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 

            Please note in our text that the Lord gathered his wheat into the garner.  The wheat represents God's elect people and the garner represents heaven's glory world.  The chaff represents the sins of God's elect people and they are burned with unquenchable fire of God's judgment of sin at the cross. 

 Chapter 3 Part 7  Baptism of Jesus

Matt. 3:13 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

            We make the following observations concerning the above passage:

            1.  Jesus walked to Jordan from Galilee a distance of approximately sixty miles to be baptized of the only man on earth who had the authority of God to baptize at that time.  Anyone who thinks it doesn't matter who performs water baptism should consider the Lord's example.

            2.  When Jesus said, "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness," he was not referring to him and John fulfilling all righteousness, but he was referring to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost as fulfilling all righteousness. 

            3.  Water baptism is immersion and not sprinkling as Jesus went up straightway out of the water.  In order for him to come up straightway out of the water he had to first go down into the water. 

            4.  If baptism were a means of being born again or of being saved from sin, then why was the Lord baptized?

            5.  The Lord set an example for us.  Should not we follow his example?

            6.  The Lord set forth in his baptism his intention to die for our sins, to be buried, and to rise again the third day.  When we are baptized we are setting forth our belief that Jesus died for our sins and that he arose again victorious over death, hell, and the grave.

            7.  The Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) expressed His pleasure and approval of the Lord, what he was doing and of his example.

Chapter 4 Part 1 Temptations - General 

            Matt. 4:1 "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." 

            According to James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."  From this passage we draw the following conclusions:

            1.  God cannot be tempted with evil.

            2.  God does not tempt man to do evil.

            3.  Man has lust (desires).

            4.  Man's desires can be enticed to do evil.

            5.  When man's desires and the enticement to do evil conceive, then sin takes place.

            6.  The consequences of sin is death.

            There are three types of desires in man: 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  It is through these three types of desires (lust of the flesh; lust of the eyes; and the pride of life) that man is enticed to sin. 

            Satan is an enticer.  He uses our flesh nature, the world, and suggestions in our mind to entice us to do evil. 

            Satan tempting Eve is an example of the above: Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

            Eve saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh).  She also saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eye).  Finally, she saw that the tree was desirable to make one wise (pride of life).  When these lust conceived with the temptation to become as gods, she ate of the tree and thus sinned.  When sin was finished it brought forth death.

            The same principles work in each of us and it was by these principles that Satan attempted to tempt Christ.

 Chapter 4 Part 2   Christ v. Adam 

            Matt. 4:1 "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered."  The scriptures set forth a strong contrast between Christ and Adam.  Note the following contrasts:

            1.  Adam was in the garden when he sinned.  Christ was in a wilderness when Satan tempted him.

            2.  Adam had all the trees of the garden, which were good for food to eat, and yet he chose to eat of the tree that God forbad him to eat.  Christ was in a barren land (wilderness) that had no food to eat, yet he refused to succumb to the devil's temptation.

            3.  Adam had never had a reason to be hungry.  Christ had fasted forty days and forty nights.

            4.  Adam sinned willfully, thus plunging himself and his posterity into sin and death.  Christ refused to sin, thus becoming the perfect sacrifice whereby he delivered his elect from the condemnation of sin.

 Chapter 4 Part 3  Christ v. Moses 

            4:1 "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered."

            According to John 1:17 "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

            The above invites us to compare Christ with Moses.  When Moses went up into the mount the first time, he fasted forty days and forty nights.  God gave to him two tables of stone on which were written the ten commandments.  When Moses came down from the mount and saw the children of Israel dancing naked to their shame and worshipping a golden calf, he threw down the tables of stone and broke them.  Moses went back up into the mount and fasted an additional forty days and nights.  God gave Moses the ten commandments the second time on two tables of stone.  This time the stones were placed in the ark of the covenant for safe keeping. 

            The ark of the covenant is a type of Christ.  When Moses was given the ten commandments the first thing that he did was break them.  Christ refused to break the ten commandments even though he too had fasted forty days and forty nights.  Christ kept the commandments of God perfectly and then at the appointed time became at the cross the perfect sacrifice for sin for the elect.