What the Bible teaches about Baptism

I. The Bible on Baptism
   Once you have received Christ Jesus into your life to be your Savior, you should immediately get baptized. Baptism is the mark of identification that we are Christ’s followers. In the Baptist Faith and Message, we read,
   “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead.”
   In this first point on the ordinance of baptism, I want to walk through some basic questions that people often ask about Christian baptism. They are:
A. Why should I get baptized?
   There are at least three key reasons why every Christian should be baptized. What are they?
1. Jesus set an example – Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11
   In Matthew 3:16-17, we read,
   When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
   In Mark 1:9-11, we read,
   It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
   We are to be baptized because Jesus Christ Himself set the example for us at His own baptism. We get baptized to follow the example of Jesus.
2. Jesus commanded it – Matt. 28:18-20
   Just prior to Jesus’ departing and going back to His Father, He gave His disciples what we commonly refer to as the Great Commission, and within that Great Commission is the command to baptize. We read,
   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
3. It demonstrates obedience – Acts 18:8
   Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
   There is a very significant movement that occurs within this verse. It is essential that we get it. First, Crispus believed. Placing faith in Jesus Christ is step one, and it is essential.  Second, many of the Corinthians – get this - “hearing, believed and were baptized.” The steps are very obvious – you hear the gospel, you believe the gospel, and then you follow up with your own baptism. You accept the gospel and you identify with the gospel.
   Have you been obedient to the gospel by being baptized?
B. What is the meaning of Baptism? – Romans 6:3-4
   This passage is not really speaking about water baptism, but I believe that it provides insight into water baptism. Don’t miss the significance being taught here. We read,
   Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
   Baptism illustrates my new life that I have in Jesus Christ.    
   Baptism clearly pictures and proclaims four important things:
1. Baptism pictures and proclaims the believer's death, burial, and resurrection with Christ.
   In Colossians 2:12, we read,
   Buried with Him in baptism, in which you were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
2. Baptism pictures and proclaims the death of our old life to sin, and our resurrection to walk in newness of life.
   As Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
3. Baptism pictures and proclaims our faith in the Trinity of the Godhead.
   Baptizing them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  (Matthew 28:19)
   Are you aware that some churches actually baptize you three times, once in each name of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
4. Baptism pictures and proclaims our "putting on" of Christ.
   In Galatians 3:26-27, we read,
   For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
   It is very important that we don’t think that baptism makes us a believer, or that it saves us. No, baptism shows us that we have already believed – that we trusted Jesus to save us. Baptism doesn’t save you; only Jesus Christ can save you. Baptism is the outward symbol of your commitment to Jesus Christ.
C. Who should get baptized? – Acts 2:41
   Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
   Everyone who has believed and received Jesus Christ as their Savior should get baptized (We see this in the early church – Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12-13, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15,33; 18:8; 19:5)
   Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? Have you been baptized? You should have been.
D. When should you get baptized?
    I once read an article on baptism and the author stated, “An unbaptized follower of Jesus Christ is unheard of in the Bible.”
   It is important that you don’t put off your baptism. Once you have made a confession of faith, the next step for you is your baptism. You want to be publicly identified as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
E.What is the mode of baptism?
   Throughout Church history many different ways of baptism have arisen, such as sprinkling and pouring. However, the Greek word for baptism means, to dip, or to immerse. The original mode of baptism was a total immersion under water. These other methods arose at a much later date. Once I called around to various types of churches – Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal - and I asked the leadership of these churches what they believed to be the original mode of baptism. Every single one of them told me it was IMMERSION!
   And please keep this in mind; Immersion best pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
   Every follower of Jesus Christ needs to be baptized. Have you been baptized? If you have, great; but if you haven’t you need to talk with your pastor, and your church needs to get you scheduled to be baptized. You need to make a public profession of your faith – you need to be publicly identified as a follower of Jesus Christ.

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