This morning, our church witnessed the baptism of three of our regular attendees, Sis. Aiza, Sis. Issa, and Bro. Jek. They saw their need for the saving work of Christ, that they could not save themselves. They need the cleansing blood of the Perfect Savior. They submitted to Christ by becoming part of the local church, and they will be accepted into the membership tomorrow.
Here’s the link to the full sermon.
Water baptism is clearly defined in the New Testament. Let us study water baptism in four headings. These things must be understood carefully and clearly about the biblical understanding of water baptism.
1. The Mandate of Baptism
Is this really important for a believer? Yes!
It is important because it is commanded by the LORD Jesus Christ Himself.
Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (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.”
Though baptism is not part of the saving gospel, believers should not minimize its importance. The NT sees baptism as the immediate next step after believing in Christ.
Act 2:38-41 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.
Act 8:36-39 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (38) And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. (39) And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
Act 9:17-18 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (18) And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
This is the pattern in the NT. The gospel was preached, regenerated, confessed Christ, baptized and became a member of the local church.
2. The Mode of Baptism
Only true believers can receive water baptism.
Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Act 2:38-39 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.”
The New Testament knows that only true believers can be baptized. Therefore, infant baptism is untenable. How can an infant confess, believe, and embrace Christ? Baptism requires repentance and faith.
How should baptism be administered? The English word baptism is a transliteration of the Greek word βαπτίζω baptízō. This word literally means to immerse (Matthew 3:11-17). Baptism is immersion or dipping something.
3. The Message of Baptism
The message of baptism is identification. They identify themselves with the Triune Jehovah (Matthew 28:19-20) and the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6).
It is also a visible picture that we have been cleansed and our sins have been forgiven us.
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
It is an outside symbol of inward reality. It is a sermon illustration of the gospel message. It is a visible illustration of the message of the gospel of new creation.
4. Some Misunderstanding concerning Baptism
Is water baptism necessary for salvation? While water baptism is important for the Christian to show his obedience to Christ, the Bible clearly shows that it is not part of the saving gospel.
1 Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Act 16:30-31 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (31) And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
What does water baptism imply? After this, what comes next? It implies church commitment. The Scripture teaches that they must be taught (Matthew 28:19-20). There is an ongoing teaching “teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you.” New Testament believers were taught not only to know but to “observe”, not some but “all”. They must be taught under the oversight of the church.
The believers in Acts 2 didn’t go on their own after being baptized, “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” after being added to the church. All baptized disciples were assumed as members of local churches.
The natural and proper context of growth is the community of those who call upon the Name of the LORD, the local church, which is the visible redeemed people of God.
To God be the glory!
*This blog is based on our pastor’s message during the baptism event.
5 thoughts on “The Mandate of Water Baptism”
Amen. Well written Brother. Thanks for posting this. Soli Deo Gloria!
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Amen brother. May God be praised!
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