top of page

The baptisms of
water, spirit, fire and suffering

John the Baptist called for baptism with water to repentance:


"I baptize you with water to repentance; but he who comes after me is mightier than I, so that I am not worthy to wear his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11)

Jesus challenged his disciples:


"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world!" (Mt 28:19-20).

Baptism is an act of faith ; an outward symbol of our identification with Jesus Christ as our new life. Our old sinful past has been washed away and we have been resurrected to live a NEW LIFE of faith in Jesus Christ.

To the known Baptism with water (baptism of faith) but there is also baptism with the Holy Spirit ,   baptism with fire and baptism of suffering .


(Hebrews 6:1-3: "Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings,[baptisms] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.."


​​"Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God!" (John 3:5)

Baptism is to be understood as burial and resurrection , and is seen as an act of obedience, working to erect the barrier between us and the power Satan had over us.

The Baptism of Water, Spirit etc.
Jesus Baptism

When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus was visibly and audibly filled with the Holy Spirit:


"Now it came to pass, when all the people were being baptized, and Jesus was also being baptized and praying, that heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice sounded out of heaven, said, You are my beloved son; I am well pleased with you." (Luke 3:21-22)


Here the Father Himself speaks with an audible voice. As a sign of His Son, God the Father filled Jesus with the Holy Spirit, that is, with His mighty spiritual power. The Holy Spirit was brought directly to Jesus. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and equipped for his ministry. Jesus testified of this in Nazareth, his hometown:


"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, oppressed set at liberty to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18)


In the Bible, anointing is done by pouring oil on the head. The oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit and it is a symbol of the mind of that Holy Spirit being given to people. We too are baptized with the Holy Spirit and anointed for our duties. We then speak of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes from the Father.


"But when the Helper comes that I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me." (John 15:26)


"And behold, I send upon you the promise of my Father; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye are endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)


Before the fall, Adam and Eve also possessed the Spirit of God. So they could have fellowship with God. Through Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross, it is possible for every believer to be permeated by the Holy Spirit again and again and we can learn to live and reign in harmony with our heavenly Father and with Jesus, our older brother and saviour.


"Because you are now sons (and daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying out: Abba, Father!" (Galatians 4:6)


When Jesus the Messiah walked the earth, He was always filled with His Father's Spirit:


"Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I speak not from myself; and the Father who dwells in me does the works." (John 14:10)


John, one of Jesus' eyewitnesses, explains in his first letter: "And whoever keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in him; and by this we know that he abides in us: by the spirit which he gave us. " (1 John 3:24)

Jesus' Baptism

Baptism of Faith

Being “buried” or submerged under water in faith.

According to our biblical understanding, everyone who has made a decision for Jesus should be baptized by immersion in water. Faith and repentance are the only biblical requirements for baptism. Peter said to them: " Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ." (Acts 2:38) and Jesus said, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)

Jesus gave us as his disciples (successors) to proclaim the message of the coming kingdom of God. This also includes the invitation to baptism.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life." (John 3:36a)


When we have recognized the true way, we want to surrender our lives completely to Jesus. With the baptism of faith. "... we are buried unto death (with Jesus), that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, even so we also may walk in new life." (Romans 6:4)


With baptism we confirm that we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and that he died for us on the cross on Calvary. Through His precious blood we have been redeemed from the dominion of sin and death. It doesn't matter when you came to believe in God, water baptism is an important part of faith. Hereby  one testifies before people and before God and the spiritual world that one has a living faith in Jesus and a new identity! Through baptism you put on Christ, "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27)


"Behold, what love the Father showed us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not recognize us, because it did not recognize him. Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we are has not yet become apparent will be; but we know that when he appears we shall be likened to him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:1-2)


Through repentance and faith we have received forgiveness of all our sins. Through Jesus a new life was given to us and we decide to lead a new life. Because we no longer want to walk the path of sin, we give our old life through baptism into death.

Now we live for Christ, who is to control our whole life and to guide and determine our actions and thoughts.

We belong to the body of Christ, ie to his church. "For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones." (Eph. 5:30) We want union with all true children, wanting to love and serve them and subject ourselves to the leaders of God. WE HAVE A NEW FAMILY in Christ to which we now belong because we were baptized into Christ.


We now know that we are children of our Heavenly Father.


We are royal children.

We are children of God.

Baptism of faith is to be understood as burial in Christ and resurrection through Christ , and is seen as an act of obedience, working to erect the barrier between us and the power Satan had over us.

Before you buried the old man (full of sin) through baptism, sin had dominion over you - even though you were born again. But now, through the baptism and burial of the old nature, sin has no control over you.

Baptism of Faith with water

Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Life as a Christian begins with your conversion and receiving new life from God (rebirth). With God speaking into our lives and the work of the Holy Spirit leading to rebirth, we have not reached the goal of our Christian life, but are at the beginning of a new life. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a striking and important experience that empowers us and prepares us for ministry.

The spirit baptism or better the baptism in the Holy Spirit means the baptism as already predicted by John the Baptist:


"I baptize you with water to repentance; but he who comes after me is mightier than I, so that I am not worthy to wear his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11)


The first disciples experienced this baptism in the Spirit at Pentecost. It was promised to them by Jesus shortly before the Ascension. Jesus explained that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the receipt of dynamic power of the Holy Spirit to witness. (Acts 1, 4-8)


Two of the main purposes of the baptism with the Holy Spirit are: 1) to receive power and 2) to become a witness of Jesus. "...but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth!" (Acts 1:8) The power of the Holy Spirit should not only make us feel good, but ENABLE us to be obedient, to obey the Lord's command to believers, to go into all the world and preach the gospel; be his witnesses.

If we really want to be his witnesses, then God will baptize us with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus commanded his disciples to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit before going into the world. "And behold, I send upon you the promise of my Father; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye are endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)


The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is described in Acts 2. Today when a person opens their heart and allows God to enter their life, the Holy Spirit immediately comes to dwell in them. "And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty wind that was blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire who divided themselves and sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak." (Acts 2:1-4)


"...for the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:5b)


When Peter leads Cornelius and his family to faith and they are filled with the Holy Spirit, this Spirit baptism is seen as a sign of the authenticity of their conversion and therefore the baptism of water is also performed. (Acts 11:1-18)

It is not enough to be baptized in water —there is another foundation to be laid in the Christian life; that of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth!" (Acts 1:8)


Note that Jesus did not allow the disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel until they received papism in the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4) When a person receives the Holy Spirit, a river will flow out of it like a river of living water (see also John 4 - the woman at Jacob's well). We can draw and drink from the living water again and again; ie the infilling (anointing with) of the Holy Spirit is not just a one-off event, it must become a way of life.

One of the signs that you are filled with the Holy Spirit is that you speak in tongues or in other tongues (languages unknown to us). When we pray in other tongues, we are praying in the perfect will of God. The Holy Spirit supports our prayer. As you pray in other tongues, the Holy Spirit is building your new house (your inner temple). Your spirit, the temple of the Holy Spirit, will be magnified as Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and grace with God and man (Luke 2:52).

If you have the feeling that you do not yet perceive the Holy Spirit in you, you can give your life back to the Father (if possible with the help of your fellow believers) and ask him to fill you with the Holy Spirit so that you can start your new life , your new calling and ministry will be filled with its dynamic power. (Gr. Dynamis: power, ability, authority, especially indwelling power and quality of God. We can also speak of the power of God.)

The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are to do the work of ministry; You are there to help people. God desires that ALL believers seek Him for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself declared at the beginning of His ministry after being baptized with the Holy Spirit:


"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, oppressed set at liberty to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18-19)

When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, God fills us with His supernatural love . This is essential if we are to be effective and have the courage to be His wetness. Love makes us Christian and effective. Love drives away all fear and makes us courageous. (1 John 4:18)

But the baptism with the Holy Spirit also comes with the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: " But to everyone is given the evident workings of the Spirit for [common] benefit. For to one is given by the Spirit a word of wisdom , but to another a Word of knowledge according to the same spirit; another faith in the same spirit; another bounties of healings in the same spirit; another effects of miracles , another prophecy , another spirit discerning , another different kinds of tongues , another interpretation of languages . But all this works in one and the same spirit, which allocates to each personally as he wills." (1 Cor 12:7-11) The GIFTS of the Holy Spirit are for doing the work of ministry; they are there to help people. God desires that ALL believers seek Him for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The baptism with the Holy Spirit that we experienced at Pentecost is a promised gift to all believers today. What must we do to receive this baptism? "Repent, and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38). After that we are to pray in faith for the gift of the Holy Spirit,  as  is described here in the parable (The Friend Asking): "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and to everyone who seeks you will find; and to everyone who knocks it will be opened." (Luke 11:5-13) We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit if we want to serve God. (See below for a prayer suggestion asking for the Holy Spirit )

Every believer should seek and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way we will have "power from on high" (Luke 24:49) that we need to serve the Lord and become an effective witness. The baptism with the Holy Spirit does not just happen once. In our journey with the Lord and in the service of the Lord, we are continually being filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should remain persistent in prayer, longing for more and asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit again. It should become our daily lifestyle.

Baptism with fire

John the Baptist already proclaimed:

"I baptize you with water to repentance; but he who comes after me is mightier than I, so that I am not worthy to wear his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire ." (Matt 3:11) and in the book of Acts we read that the 120 followers of Jesus were baptized with fire. (Acts 2:2-4)


In Luke 3:15-17 we read, "But while the people were waiting, and everyone was asking in their hearts because of John, whether perhaps he was the Christ, John (the Baptist) answered everyone and said, 'I baptize you with water ; but there comes one mightier than I, and I am not worthy to unloose the thong of his shoe; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire . He has the winnowing shovel in his hand, and he will become his threshing floor through and through cleanse and gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."


John the Baptist outlines three phases of God's fire.

1) He will thoroughly clear out or clean the threshing floor , i.e. the church .

2) He will gather the wheat into the barn . This is the evangelism fire.

3) He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire —the fire of judgment .

Cleansing Fire


"Winning wheat" means throwing the threshed grain into the air with a flat basket shovel (winnowing shovel), throwing it against the wind so that the side wind carries away the chaff and husks and only the grains fall back into the basket. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain.

The LORD will clean His threshing floor by separating the wheat (that which is true, just, and valuable) from the chaff (that which is useless, unholy, and against God's will). This speaks of the fire of God in the life of believers to purify it.


Through the baptism of fire we are cleansed and sanctified.



In Isaiah 6 we read that a seraphim flew to the prophet, and the seraphim was holding in his hand a glowing coal which he had taken from the altar with the tongs; and he touched Isaiah's mouth with it and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken from you and your sin is atoned for!" (Isaiah 6:1-9). The prophet then receives his special commission.

Another example of God's cleansing fire is found in Malachi 3:1-3. "Behold, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly the Lord whom ye seek shall come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith the LORD hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will stand when he appears? For he is like the fire of the smelter , and like the lye of the washers. He will sit and melt, and purify the silver; He will cleanse the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver; then they will bring offerings to the LORD in righteousness."

From the letter to the Hebrews we know that our God is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:29)


Jesus is about to purify his followers by fire and he is about to send his seraphs. It is only when we are willing and fully surrendered to the Lord, when we humble ourselves and ask Him, that He will let you go through this baptism of fire. We should WISH for this BAPTISM OF FIRE because it cleanses our hearts to a higher level of COMMUNION (fellowship) with the LORD. It enables us to carry more of HIS PRESENCE, LOVE, HOLINESS, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His POWER, ie we become partakers of His Divine Nature.

Fire is for special purification . We are being refined in God's furnace . It deals deals with the consequences of sin in one's life, the pollution that sin has caused, and it also deals with the demonic. The fire burns out hurts , fears , inferiority , hereditary problems , sexual abuse , multiple personality disorder , original sins of the forefathers/mothers and enemy strongholds in the spirit of God's people. Only through purification with fire can we meet God in His sanctuary. For this we, who are baptized with water and Heist, only belong in the outer area of the heavenly temple and we are only allowed to step before God's throne after we have been sanctified by fire.

To be baptized with fire, we must seek the face of God in our little closet and ask him to cleanse and purify us utterly with fire. It means to put aside the worldly life and consecrate oneself totally to the Lord. This happened to the 120 disciples who were obedient to "wait for the promise of the Father" to "receive power to be witnesses to Jesus". 

To have the "fire" of power evangelism with signs and wonders, we must first have the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit.

After receiving this "fire," God imparts HIS LOVE (and burden), HIS boldness (love casts out fear), and HIS POWER to reach the lost with the gospel, with signs and wonders to bring in the harvest. (That happened at Pentecost). (Acts 2:14-41)

A vital church grows

Peter then preached the gospel with a fiery conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the people were "cut in the heart." They brooded over their sins in Jesus name and were baptized with the water and in the Spirit. Afterwards they were also baptized with fire and the church grew under the fire of evangelization. Signs and wonders were seen everywhere. They learned quickly from Jesus' disciples and the church grew quickly and steadily. (Acts 2:38-43)

Judgment fire - burn the chaff

In Acts 5 we read the story of Ananias and his wife who betrayed the church. Both suffered the judgment fire of God when He "burned up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Through the judgmental deaths of the two, the fear of God came back into the church and clarified and purified the people even more.

Fear of God preserves purity in the Church

Purity (purifying fire) precedes power (evangelical fire), and godliness preserves unity and purity in the church. This "fear of the Lord" protects the saints from defilement and defilement, lest we lose the manifest presence and power of God. Without the baptism of holy fire, the harvest will not come into the house of God.

"The fear of the LORD is pure, it endures forever; the decrees of the LORD are truth, they are righteous all together." (Psalm 19:10)

"The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life; by it one avoids the snares of death." (Proverbs 14:27)

We NEED the baptism of fire in our lives,

that we may be cleansed and sanctified,

so that we can impart DIVINE LOVE,

to be able to EVANGELIZE with power,

to judge and remove the chaff,

to MAINTAIN PURITY, UNITY and POWER in the Church.

When the fear of God is in the church, the FULLNESS of HIS SPIRIT is there.

This should be our desire, so ask to be baptized with His fire.


Baptism of Suffering

In Hebrews: 6-13 the teaching of baptisms (washings) is mentioned. So far we have gone through the baptism of water , the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire . Now follows the fourth baptism, the baptism of suffering . The baptism of suffering is less well known, but in the New Testament we read of it:


Matthew 20:20-23

"Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to him with her sons and bowed down to him to ask something of him. But he said to her, 'What do you want?' She said to him, 'Say, that these are my two sons one on your right hand and one on your left in your kingdom." But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you are asking! Can you drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism with which I was baptized They say to him, "We can." And he says to them, "You will indeed drink my cup and be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized . But to bestow sitting on my right hand and on my left is not mine, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

Jesus was referring to his suffering and death on the cross, which is a baptism of suffering. The Lord Jesus endured a "baptism of suffering" when He was rejected, scourged, humiliated, and crucified on the cross. Jesus first had to suffer on the cross so that he could then baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. In this way the love of God is expressed and passed on.

Luke 12:29-43

"I (Jesus) have come to put a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I must be baptized with a baptism, and how urgent I am until it is done! Do you think that I came to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division: for henceforth five in a house will be divided, three by two, and two by three; the father will be divided with the son and son with father, mother with daughter, and daughter with mother, mother-in-law with her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law."

Everyone suffers in this world, but for those of us who are in Christ, the suffering we go through is redeeming. It is for our glory. If we follow Jesus, we will find that we suffer in some way, but it is never in vain. God uses everything for our good.

Taking up your cross to follow Jesus is a fundamental teaching of Christ. (Matt 16:24; Luke 9:23)

If we are to be successful in following the Lord, it must be clear that suffering will be part of our work, but our path to maturity in Christ is not all suffering. It is an exhilarating walk that yields everlasting fruit. Our goal of faith is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). It is God's desire that every believer grow up and walk in "perfect  love." (1 John 2:5; 1 John 4:12,17). In order to truly grow in love for the head of Christ (Ephesians 4:15), some degree of suffering is involved in the process.

"But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, may he himself, after you have suffered a short time, completely prepare, strengthen, strengthen and found you!" (1 Peter 5:10)

Suffering is related to the glory of God revealed in us. "But Jesus, who "was for a little while lower than the angels," we see through the suffering of death, "crowned with glory and honor," that by the grace of God he might taste death for all." (Hebrews 2:9) In the New Testament we see that the words suffering and glory go hand in hand. Paul writes in Romans 8:18, "For I am persuaded that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us." Paul suffered many times, but calls them light sufferings because he has the future in mind. (2 Cor 4:17-18) Peter also explains that the fiery temptations we suffer and go through allow us to better understand what Jesus suffered for us. (1 Pet 4, 12-13) Sufferings and temptations strengthen our faith.

Suffering leads to our eternal glory

One of the mysteries of faith is: "Christ in (us), the hope of glory." (Col 1:27) We all have to go through suffering and tribulation, for tribulation breeds endurance and patience (Rom 5:1-5) and this endurance/perseverance/patience breeds Christlike character . This character fills us with hope , for God fills us with MUCH MORE OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT and LOVE , which is the glory everlasting.

In all suffering we must fix our eyes on God's eternal plan, and in all suffering we should give thanks to Him, for this works an everlasting weight of glory.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always!
17 Pray without ceasing!
18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Acts 14:22

"There (the apostels) helped the believers gain strength. They told them to remain faithful to what they had been taught. ‘We must go through many hard times to enter God’s kingdom,’ they said."

Some of the sufferings are:

  1. Persecution by men (2 Tim 3:12; Heb 12:3)

  2. Resisting Sin (Rom 13:14; Heb 12:4)

  3. Demonic / satanic resistance (1 Thes 2:18; Eph 6:12)

  4. Carrying the burden of the Lord (2 Tim 2:10; 2 Cor 11:23-29)

  5. Divine Discipline - Correction (Hebrews 12:5-11)


  • No matter what the cause of our suffering, God is able to use it for our good. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Cor 4:17-18; Col 3:1-4)

  • God is with us when we suffer. (Hebr 13,5-6; Ps 34.19; Isa 41, 10, Isa 43, 2-3)

Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Baptism of Fire
Baptism of Suffering
Ask for the Holy Spirit

Dear Heavenly Father,

you see that I regret an old way and that I want to walk in your ways. I ask your forgiveness and now in all humility I ask you to be filled with your Holy Spirit.


I allow the Holy Spirit to fill me with Your power and flow out of me and through me.


I also allow him to use my voice.


Let the fruit of the spirit* grow in me and change and shape my life.


Dear father,

use my speech to glorify you. take my whole life I give you the dominion.


*Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . (Butcher 2000)

Asking for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
bottom of page