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Baptism

Christian Baptism illustrates the life-change that a person has experienced through Jesus Christ. It involves a person being submerged under water for a moment to represent the death of Jesus and then raised out of the water to represent the resurrection of Jesus. This also provides a picture of the person’s own death to himself and being raised to a new life in Christ. Jesus taught baptism as one of two ordinances that believers are to observe.

Why be Baptized?

  1. Because you want to follow Christ’s example

Mark 1:9 ESV

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

  1. Because Christ commanded it

Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 2:37-41 ESV

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

  1. Because obeying Christ’s command shows you know Him

1 John 2:3-6 ESV

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

What exactly is Baptism?

Three types of baptism found in the New Testament:

Mark 1:4-8 ESV

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

  1. Baptism with Water by John the Baptist (John 1:24-28)

John 1:30-33 ESV

31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

  1. Baptism with Holy Spirit by Jesus (Acts 1:4-5)

Colossians 2:11-15 ESV

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

  1. Baptism with Water by Disciples (Acts 8:26-39)

1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV [to identify with the one body, the Church]

13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Romans 6:1-4 ESV [to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ]

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

What does Baptism mean today?

  1. It is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. (Colossians 2:12)

1 Corinthians 15:3-9 ESV

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

  1. It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Romans 6:4 ESV

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

  1. It is an act of obedience to our God.

Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Baptism does not make you a believer; it shows that you already are one! Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring – it is the outward symbol of an inner change and the commitment you made in your heart.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

How are we to be Baptized?

  1. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion under water like Jesus was baptized. (Acts 8:38-39)

  1. The word “Baptize” literally means “to dip under water”. The Greek word “Baptize” means “to immerse or dip under water.”

It is our practice at Grace to practice baptism by immersion. However, the meaning is more important than the mode.

Who should be Baptized? Do I need to get baptized?

Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ.

Acts 2:41 ESV

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 18:7-8 ESV [read the story of the Crispus and his family who believed and then were baptized]

Acts 8:26-39 ESV [read the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch who believed and then was baptized]

The one requirement for baptism is believe in Christ! Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior can be baptized. We do not baptize children until they are old enough to understand and believe.

Is there an age of accountability?

The Bible provides no indicator that there is an actual age where a person actually becomes responsible for their sin, rather the Bible indicates that we are all born with the reality of sin. This leaves one wondering about innocent children who die. When David’s son died, he spoke some words that provide comfort, though the complete meaning is not understood.

2 Samuel 12:23 ESV

22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

 

What if my child dies without getting baptized?

Baptism is not what saves us, it is by grace through faith we are saved…not any work, such as baptism.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If a child dies before getting baptized and it is unclear about his faith in Jesus, we find comfort again in David’s words after his own son died.

2 Samuel 12:23 ESV

When are we to be Baptized?

As soon as you have believed! You shouldn’t delay.

Acts 2:41

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 8:36-39

There is no reason to delay. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, he/she can and should be baptized.

What about being baptized twice?

Our church recommends that you be baptized again if you have not been baptized since you became a believer. It doesn’t devalue a prior experience but simply reflects your desire to be baptized to demonstrate your faith in Christ. Every GBC member has been baptized by immersion as Jesus demonstrated and commanded us to follow.

Acts 19:1-7

And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

Can a family be Baptized together?

Yes! If each family member understands fully the meaning of baptism and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage families to be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment.

Who will Baptize me?

At GBC we encourage believers to be baptized by the individual(s) who were instrumental in introducing you to Christ or who have been an influence in helping you grow in Christ. This could include a family member, friend or if you prefer, one of the pastors will baptize you.