Baptism -- The Sacrament of Initiation

Introduction:

Water baptism is one of the two God-given ordinances of the Church. The importance of baptism is made very clear in the Bible. Our Lord's Commission to "teach all nations" and "preach the gospel to every creature" includes "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19), and promises "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). Water baptism is an outward testimony of an inner work of grace begun in the life of the believer.

Reading:

(Mat 3:13-17) 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 fulfill 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.

(Acts 8:36-38) And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? {37} And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. {38} And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Who Should be Baptized?

Born-again believers who have repented of their sins.
Mark 16:16, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Acts 2:38, Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Backsliders who come back to God should do the first works again.
Ezekiel 3:20, Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ezekiel 18:24, But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to All the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

Ezekiel 33:13, When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

Revelation 2:4-5, Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

v.5, Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Babies are to be dedicated, not baptized.
Luke 2:22, And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

Mark 10:13-16, And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. v.14, But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

v.15, Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

v.16, And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Why Christians Should be Baptized?

They are to follow the example of Jesus and fulfill all righteousness.
Matthew 13:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

They are to be obedient to the Lord's command.
Matthew 28:19, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Acts 8:37, And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

How Should Christians be Baptized?

By immersion. "Baptize" comes from the Greek word "baptidzo" meaning to "bury." To fulfill the true sense of the word, the believer must be completely buried or immersed in water.

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

This shows the complete harmony of the Trinity in the work of salvation. Other scriptures do not replace the formula given here by Jesus. This is the name of authority in which to do everything, including baptism.

Acts 2:38, Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:48, And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Acts 19:5, When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Colossians 3:17, And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The Spiritual Significance of Water Baptism

Going down into the water identifies us with the death and burial of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:3-4, Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

v.4, Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Colossians 2:12, Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Coming up out of the water identifies us with the resurrection of Jesus.
Romans 6:4-5,8, Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

v.5, For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

v.8, Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.

Colossians 2:12, Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

This identification with Jesus Christ is the secret of the Christian life and victory. Romans 6:11, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Galatians 2:20, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

We do not believe in "regenerative baptism."
When Jesus spoke of being "born of the water" (John 3:5), He was not referring to water baptism, but to the natural birth which was all that Nicodemus could understand (v.4). Jesus also referred to the natural birth when he said, "That which is born of flesh is of flesh" (v.6). This is essential a water birth. The fetus floats in water or fluid for nine months and then the water helps to usher that new life into the world. Being born of the Spirit (v.5) is being born again (v.3) literally from above or from God.

John 1:13, Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Acts 22:16, And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

We are not to wash away our sins, being baptized, but by "calling on the name of the Lord."

1 Peter 3:21, The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

It is not "putting away the filth of the flesh" by baptism that saves us, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.

Titus 3:5, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

It is not the washing which regenerates, but the regeneration which washes.

Testimony of Prominent Men

Martin Luther: "I would have those who are baptized to be entirely immersed, as the Word imparts and the mystery signifies."

George Whitefield: "It is certain that in the words of our text, there is a reference to the manner of baptism which is by immersion."

John Wesley: "I was not only immersed myself, but practice immersion."



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