Baptism

Baptism
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
March 5th, 2017
Image courtesy of Maggie Smith at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Baptism
Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

Who should get baptized?  

Christians should get baptized…those who have professed their faith in Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:19-20 Says 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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.

Here, Jesus tells the apostle to spread the good news and make disciples by teaching people to observe everything He commanded.  In other words, Jesus said go make Christians.  That is after all what a disciple is…someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ…Go make Christians and baptize them.

Furthermore, He says to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  That means it wouldn’t make sense to baptize someone who is Jewish in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit because they don’t believe in the Son, Jesus.  Nor would it make sense to baptize a Muslim, because again, they don’t believe in Jesus the same way that we do…IN fact, it doesn’t make sense to baptize anyone who is not a Christian in the Name of the Father, the Son and Holy spirit, because it is our beliefs about the Trinity of God and more specifically, our beliefs about Jesus and His power to save, that separates us from all other religions.

So, if another religion doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ, then it doesn’t make sense to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit.

So having said this…If you, believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you should be baptized.

This brings us to the question…

What?  What is baptism?

Baptism is many things…

It is obedience to Jesus.
We’ve already talked about how Jesus said that we should baptize Christians…and Peter confirms this for us as well in

Acts 2:38
“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

It is a public confession of your faith,

Luke 3:21
When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As He was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven:

You are My beloved Son.
I take delight in You!

Here we see Jesus very publicly associating himself with God, the God that John was preaching about.  And God in a very public way acknowledged his Son, Jesus as well…with a loud voice He said…You are my beloved son…I take delight in you.

It is symbolic…
Often Times, when talking about baptism, the question about sprinkling vs full submersion always comes up.  Here at the church we officially take the stance that we believe Christians should be baptized by full submersion whenever possible because of what it symbolizes

It is symbolic of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

Romans 6:3-5 
Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

When we profess our faith in Jesus, it is like our old life is dead to us…therefore we are buried, by going under the water…just as Jesus was buried with our sin.  Then just as Jesus arose and was resurrected and will one day come again with a new heaven and earth, we are lifted out of the water, we are resurrected, being born again into a new life with Jesus Christ.

It is symbolic of the washing away of our sins

Full immersion also symbolizes, the complete washing away of our sins…

I John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

And this is what the baptism by water represents…Jesus’ blook cleansing us from sin.

Where? Where should one get baptized?

This one is easy to answer…
Anywhere will do…and we are done with that question…

It’s not about the where, in fact, it’s not really even about the method…baptism is about what it represents, and it represents your faith in Jesus.

When? when should a Christian be baptized?

After one accepts Jesus as their savior…

In Acts chapter 16…Paul and Silas were sitting in prison, when an earthquake, opened all the doors, and broke all the chains of the prisoners.  Then, the jailer came running in and saw that the prisoners had escaped, and just as he was about to kill himself, because he would have been held responsible for their escapes…Paul and Silas who did not leave…called out to the jailer, and was able to share the gospel with him.

That night the Jailer and his household became saved…and then

Acts 16:31-33
33 He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized.

The jailer and his whole family were saved and immediately were baptized.  But what we want to point out is that baptism should happen once there is a conscious decision to follow Christ.

This kind of goes along with our first question of who…Only those who believe in Jesus… But this adds in the clarification that baptizing a Baby…doesn’t really work.  Dedicating babies…is a good idea and something I would encourage, but baptizing a baby doesn’t make sense, because a baby doesn’t have to capacity to make a conscious decision to follow Jesus. And that is what baptism represents…a public confession of your belief in Jesus Christ.

Why should we get baptized?

And the truth is, we have already answered this question:
We should be baptized in obedience to Jesus
We should be baptized as a public confession of our faith in Jesus
We should be baptized because it symbolizes the death of our old life and resurrection into a new life with Jesus
We should be baptized because it represents to us, the washing away of our sins…

These are some of the Biblical reasons that we should be baptized… But before we go, I’m going to add a few more personal reasons that I think it is important to be baptized.

The first reason is…The choice to follow Jesus is the biggest, most important decision we will ever make.  Nothing can be more important.  And if following Jesus is the biggest and the greatest decision we will ever make, then why wouldn’t we also want to tell the world…”Yes, we are a part of the Family of God” and to take part in the fantastic, symbolic, wonderful ordinance of God?

The second reason I think it is important to be baptized…
Is because it is symbolic of a complete and full faith in Jesus.  It represents that we are willing to let God into every part of our lives. Because when are baptized and go under water, there is not one part of your body that doesn’t get wet.  It is a full and complete cleansing of your body.  Your armpits, between, your toes, your hands…everything is wet….

And when we decide to follow Jesus, it should also be a full and complete following of Jesus.  There should not be 1 area of our life, that is left untouched by Jesus and His work. 

And finally another reason we should get baptized, is because we can think of a million reasons not to be baptized…I’ve got nothing to wear…people already think I have been…so let’s just assume I am…I don’t like being under water…I’m afraid…I’ll be embarrassed….It is too difficult to get up there and out of there…

And the truth is we can think of a million reasons not to follow Jesus too…I’ll have to change my life, people already think I am, I don’t like being labeled as a Christian, I am afraid, I’ll be embarrassed, it is too difficult…

But these are just excuses…

And when we face baptism and we have a million excuses, but we get baptized anyway, we are saying…I’m not going to let these excuses stop me from being baptized…and it symbolizes our decision that we are not going to let any excuses stop us from being the Christian we know we should be.

Do You Need to Be Baptized?


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