Baptism

I taught for my youth ministry’s Bible study group two Saturdays ago. I taught two sessions, one on following Jesus, and another on (believer’s) baptism. Below is my lecture for the second session (see the first session here).

The Proper Mindset Before Baptism

There are two things we must keep in mind before we get baptized.

1. We must have first counted the cost of following Jesus. Luke 14:28 says:

28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

2. We must make Jesus number one in our lives. Christ must be above our relatives (Luke 14:26a), ourselves (vv.26b-27), and everything (v.33). (See the first session for further discussion).

What is Baptism?

Let’s have a simple and brief word study of the word baptism. The Greek word baptizo (bap-tid’-zo) means (1) to make fully wet (2) to immerse completely in order to effect permanent change. It’s root word is bapto, which means (1) to dip; to cover wholly with a liquid; and (2) to dye; to color by dipping. The best analogy for the idea behind this is the pickling process, where the food (usually a vegetable) is dipped or immersed into a brine.

Now, the Greek noun baptisma means (1) an act of immersing a person in water and (2) a public demonstration of an inward change.

Baptism then is an outward manifestation of an inward change of belief. It’s also a public declaration of identification with Christ in which a person is completely immersed in water. it is not a means to salvation; it is a declaration of salvation.

When Should a Person be Baptized?

Two conditions must be met before a person can be baptized:

1. A person must first receive the gospel message. Acts 2:37-38, 41 says:

37Now when [the people] heard [Peter’s sermon], they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38And 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. 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Emphasis addded)

The people who heard Peter’s sermon first received the gospel message and were then baptized.

2. A person must first believe the gospel message. Acts 8:5-6, 12 says:

5Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. 6And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him. 12But when [the Samaritans] believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Emphases added)

The Samaritans first believed the gospel message brought by Philip, then they got baptized. Another passage, Acts 16:30-34, says:

30Then [the Philippian jailer] brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Likewise, the Philippian jailer and his household first believed the gospel message spoken by Paul and Silas, then they got baptized. (Note: The household wasn’t saved because of the jailer’s faith; they were saved because of their individual faith. Notice that in verse 32, Paul and Silas had spoken the gospel message to the jailer and to the entire household. Consequently, both the jailer and his household got baptized after believing the message they had heard).

Why Should a Person be Baptized?

Below are the reasons why a person should be baptized:

1. It is an act of obedience. If we love Jesus, we will do his commandments (John 14:15). One of his commandments is to “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” (Matthew 28:19, emphasis added). Baptism is the first step of discipleship after you have received Jesus Christ by faith. We want to be obedient to Jesus’ Great Commission.

2. It is an act of identification. In baptism, we identify with Christ’s death (Romans 6:3), burial (v.4a), and resurrection (vv.4b-5).

3. It is an act of commitment. Romans 6:11-13 says:

11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Emphases added)

In baptism, we, those how have been brought from death to life, are committing ourselves to God.

4. It is an act of witness. Followers of Jesus must be baptized (Matthew 28:19). As we go through baptism, remember that we are declaring to God, the world and ourselves that we are committing to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Why be Baptized by Immersion?

Below are the reasons why a person should be baptized by immersion:

1. Jesus was baptized by immersion. Matthew 3:16a says:

16aAnd when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water. (Emphasis added) [Take note of the words “went up”]

2. Every water baptism in the Bible was by immersion. An example is Acts 8:38-39:

38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And 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. (Emphases added) [Take note of the phrases “went down into the water” and “came up out of the water”]

3. It best symbolizes a death, burial and resurrection. Also, the waters of baptism symbolizes the waters of God’s judgment. The waters of God’s judgment came upon the unbelievers at the time of the flood (Genesis 7:6-24). It also came upon the Egyptians in the Exodus and it drowned them (Exodus 14:26-29). And it came upon Jonah because of his disobedience (Jonah 1:7-16), though he was miraculously rescued and thus became the sign of the resurrection.

Therefore, those who go down the waters of baptism are going down the waters of judgment and death. But the coming up from the waters of baptism only shows that they get safely through God’s judgment only because of the merits of Jesus Christ.

(The photo above shows the baptism of my disciple, Darren Soriano. He got baptized last April. It was done in a three-day college retreat.)

Who Should be Baptized?

Every person who has believed in Christ should be baptized (Acts 2:41, 8:12).

Photos by Darren Soriano

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About Enzo Cortes

Enzo Cortes is the Youth Coordinator of Jzone Makati, the youth ministry of Christ's Commission Fellowship (CCF) Makati. He also speaks for various youth and young adult groups, including CCF Makati's young singles ministry, Friday Night Light. He loves to write, read books and blogs, drink coffee, and watch MMA fights.

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