Baptism is a divine command (Acts 10:48). The Bible mentions water baptism 77 times and it is included in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). In this lesson we will take a look at the meaning of baptism and some of the questions surrounding it.
I. Why Is Baptism Important?
There are only two ordinances given by Christ for every believer to observe: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Of these, Baptism was given first. Jesus chose to be baptized as our example (Matthew 3:15).
Notice the common elements in each of these commands for baptism:
A. Christ (Matthew 28:19-20)
B. Peter (Acts 2:41, 10:48)
C. Philip (Acts 8:38)
D. Paul (Acts 9:1-7)
II. What Is Baptism?
The Greek word for Baptism means to immerse or to plunge.
A. Baptism pictures the _______________ , ________________ and resurrection of Christ. (Romans 6:4-5). The only form of baptism that fully symbolizes this is immersion.
B. In baptism, we confess our faith in the __________________ and the __________________ and the _________________________________ (Matthew 28:19).
III. Requirements for Baptism
1. The Hearing of the Word
The Word always comes first. This is very important. Note the order in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). It commands us to first teach, then baptize.
Because all men are born into sin, no one will seek God (Romans 3:9-11). For salvation to happen, there must be divine intervention. The Word of God is that intervention. God sent His Word to heal and deliver us from destruction (Psalm 107:20).
A. “It is the Spirit that ________________________; the flesh profiteth nothing: the _________________ that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are __________________” (John 6:63). (The word quicken means, “to make alive, to cause to live, to give life…” )
B. “Faith comes by ______________and hearing by the ____________________________” (Romans 10:17).
It is the Word of God that opens our eyes to be able to understand that we have sinned, and that we are in need of a savior. Without it, we are dead in our trespasses and sins.
When we hear the Word, we are illuminated enough to make a choice: receive or reject the Gospel. For those who choose to repent, and to receive Jesus, baptism should follow. It is an outward symbol of what has taken place on the inside. The old person is gone. We are made new. There is not one case recorded in the Bible where one was baptized who did not already claim salvation. Even John the Baptist demanded evidence of repentance before he would baptize. (Matthew 3:7-8)
A. Note the divine requirements in Acts 8:37: One must __________ the testimony of the Word with all their heart, and believe that Jesus Christ is the _____________.
B. 1 Peter 3:21 says that baptism is the “answer of _______________ .”
Note the requirements concerning water for baptism:
C. It requires a going _________ into the water (Acts 8:38).
D. It also requires a coming _____________ out of the water (Matthew 3:16-17).
IV. Must one be baptized in order to be saved?
Although baptism is a good work, the Bible plainly says that we are not saved by our works, and that it is altogether a matter of God’s mercy.
A. “Not by works of_______which we have done” (Titus 3:5).
B. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
C. The thief on the cross was saved without being baptized (Luke 23:42-43). Jesus said to him, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in .
V. When Should One Be Baptized?
1. Study the seven examples of the Book of Acts. These give us the practice of the first churches:
A.The practice of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:41-47)
B. The practice of Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:12-13)
C. Philip and the Eunuch (Acts 8:37-38)
D. Paul’s example (Acts 9:17-18)
E. Cornelius’ example (Acts 10:47-48)
F. Lydia’s example (Acts 16:14-15)
G. The Philippian Jailer’s example (Acts 16:33)
Baptism, therefore, is the first step of obedience after salvation.
2. Baby Baptisms
In order for true scriptural baptism to take place, salvation must come first. That is why there is no reason to baptize babies or infants. Babies and infants are unaccountable. They do not yet have the cognitive reasoning to comprehend the gospel. Therefore they cannot accept or reject it. There is not one record in the Bible of the baptism of an infant, nor any record of someone being baptized before a profession of salvation. In addition, baptism requires complete immersion into water.
New believers often ask questions like, “What if I was baptized once, but I didn’t understand it?” Many were baptized as a baby, or at a summer camp, but did not really understand what they were doing. The baptism did not come after a true repentance and salvation. The question often poses itself, “can I get re-baptized?” The answer is YES!
If your first baptism didn’t come as a true sign of your own repentance and willingness to follow Christ, it wasn’t truly scriptural baptism. You may get baptized again, but its really like you’re doing it for the first time. Don’t let a past experience stop you from obedience to the Word of God.
A. death, burial
B. Father, Son, Holy Ghost
1. A. quickeneth, words, life
B. hearing, Word of God
2. A. believe, Son of God
B. good conscience towards God
A . righteousness