“I baptize you with and in water for repentance. The one who comes after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” – Matthew 3:11-12
That rascal John tha Baptizer be an early explorer, a feller who followed tha Son be fer the Son had even come up over tha horizon. Tha Baptizer prepared tha way fer us by charting a course that you and me were ter follow. Fer his trouble, Herod Antipas, tha ruler of Galilee and Perea, lopped off tha Baptizer’s head. It happened this way.
That snake Antipas divorced his first wife Phasaelis and married Herodias, tha former wife of his half-brother, Herod II. In tha Code Fer Carnal Relations it clearly says, “Do not have relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother. No one is to approach any close relative to have relations. I am the Lord.”
John tha Baptizer couldn’t abide by any feller going against tha Lord and breaking tha Code, so he called out that snake Antipas and told him ter repent. Ter stop. Ter make an apology. Ter make amends.
In response that snake Antipas ordered: “Off with his head!”and from a sheaf came tha executioner’s sword.
But thar be another who wields a tool and his not be a sword fer beheading, but a winnowing fork fer thrashing. Thar ‘ill come a day when Son ‘ill go about gathering them that be his and bringing ‘em inter his barn. Them others like that snake Antipas ‘ill be gathered like chaff and tossed inter tha fire. Chaff be the husk of a feller, his skin and bones. By thunder, if a mate knew of tha perils that lay ahead fer them that swims in tha Lake of Fire, he would beg ter go ter Davy Jones befer getting blistered with tha fire that ne’re ends.
Speaking of fire, when tha Son comes inter ya life, he’ll baptize ya in ter tha Holy Spirit and then set ya on fire fer him. Seems like an odd thing ter say: get dunked in water and then get fired up, but that be tha process. A feller’s got ter get cleaned of his old self fer he can catch fire fer tha Son.
What says you? Ya ready ter alter course, come about, and sail towards tha Son? Ya ready to turn yer back on tha way ya be living, be pardoned fer yer grievous offenses, and come in ter tha light? If so, drop ter yer knees right now and say something like this.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I be but a sinner. Here and now I confess ter being a scallywag and rascal. Thar be things I done I shouldn’t have. Here and now I ask ya ter pardon me. Fergive me. I believe you took tha lash fer me and died fer my sins. I believe ya come up from the dead, a thing no feller ever done ‘cept you. Here and now I promise ter turn from my sorry, sinful ways. Please come inter my heart and my life. Fill me with yer Spirit. Hense forth and ‘ever more, I promise ter trust and follow you and yer Father as my Lord, Skipper, and Savior. May it be so.”