Water Baptism According to the New Testament
WHY BE BAPTIZED?
- Jesus commanded baptism. He instructed His disciples to baptize new believers:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing themin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
- The bible depicts baptism as a regular practice for new believers in the early Christian Church.
“… many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8)
Baptism demonstrates our loyalty and obedience to Christ and His Word.
“We know that we have come to know him, if we obey his commands.” (1 John 2:3)
WHAT BAPTISM SYMBOLIZES
Baptism beautifully illustrates two things that happen to us when we become followers of Jesus. We die to our old life, and we are raised to new life in Christ.
- First: When a person is baptized he/she is completely submerged under the water This act symbolizes the death and burial of your old life… the life and identity you once had apart from relationship with God through Christ.
- Then, the act of coming up out of the water is a picture of rising to a new life; life under the grace and forgiveness of God. But also a life empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. God not only sets us free from our sinful past, but He also gives us the power to begin living the new life He has called us to live.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:3-4)
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
From the following passages in the bible we find that those who were baptized were those who believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and as the Savior of the world. This belief is accompanied by something called repentance.
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
“Simon himself believed, and was baptized.” (Acts 8:13)
The people who heard Peter’s Pentecost sermon asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”(Acts 2:37). He answered: “Repent, and be baptized …” (verse 38). Their response: “Those who accepted his message were baptized …” (Acts 2:37-38, & 41).
REPENTANCE- Repentance basically means changing your mind and changing your direction. With regard to Christian faith, this means a change in our minds from unbelief… to belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. This belief involves acknowledging that we all fall short of living life according the perfect righteousness God requires of us. It is acknowledgement that we cannot live out God’s will perfectly in this life, and thus, our need the forgiveness of God… and our need for a Savior who can make that forgiveness possible.
The people who heard Peter’s Pentecost sermon asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”(Acts 2:37). He answered: “Repent, and be baptized …” (verse 38). Their response: “Those who accepted his message were baptized …” (v. 41).
In addition to changing our “minds”… if our minds are truly changed, then this will be demonstrated in our actions. Repentance involves a change in behavior and a turning from living life on our own terms to living life according to God’s will and ways. In Luke 3 in the bible, when John the baptist called people to repent, the people asked what they should do. His answer gives us an idea what repentance “in action” means.
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
While repentance may take many forms, in this passage we see that repentance may mean we need to start living more compassionately, more generously, more fairly or more honestly.
WHEN ARE WE TO BE BAPTIZED?
In one account of baptism in the bible, we find that there was no delay made in baptizing a man who had professed belief in Jesus. So it is possible that, as soon as someone professes belief, they can be baptized. (Acts 8)
“Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” (Acts 8:35-38)
At Tamarindo Church, we take time to meet with individuals who want to be baptized, and we make efforts to baptize people together with as many people from the church present as possible. The reason we meet with individuals is to hear their “story” of how they came to belief, to answer any questions they may have, and to make sure they have a proper understanding of what baptism means. The reason we try to have people baptized in groups is because the bible demonstrates that we are baptized into a “family” of faith, and our hope is to have as much of the family present to celebrate on our day’s of baptism.
HOW ARE WE TO BE BAPTIZED?
(1) The Greek word baptizo (from bapto) means “to dip,” “to immerse,” or to “sink.” At Tamarindo Church we perform baptism by immersion, and we do our baptisms at the local beachfront here Tamarindo.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.” (Matthew 3:16)
“… Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water …” (Acts 8:38-39)
(2) It has been traditionally accepted that baptism by immersion was the practice of the early church.
Martin Luther: “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”
John Calvin: “The word baptize signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
John Wesley: “Buried with Him, alluding to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
For Further Explanation, view the following articles:
- Baptism, an Explanation http://www.intouch.org/you/article-archive/content?topic=baptism_an_explanation_article#.VNTN6kvLc3R
- Taking the Plunge http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/taking-the-plunge/
- Baby Dedication https://bible.org/article/baby-dedication