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Why Be Baptized?

We immerse (baptize) at the First Christian Church because Jesus instructed us to be baptized (Matt 28:19-20). It is thus an important step of obedience in our walk with Him. It demonstrates submission to God, and it is patterned on the way Jesus’ apostles taught and modeled it. In fact, every person we read about in the New Testament who chose to genuinely believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was baptized. There are many reasons to be baptized:

  1. Because Jesus Himself commanded it: Then Jesus said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” —Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV). He (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16).

  2. To follow the example set by Jesus: “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan” (Mark 1:9).

  3. To receive the forgiveness of sins secured by Jesus’ death: “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38-- see also Acts 22:16).

  4. To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit: “Peter replied, “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” (Acts 2:38).

  5. To unite with Christ and experience the newness of His life in us: “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4--see also Colossians 3:1-17).

  6. To become a part of Christ’s spiritual body, the Church: “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

  7. To be spiritually circumcised of our old self by Christ and to be made alive with Him: “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12).

  8. To pledge a clean conscience before God: “In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Peter 3:20-22).

 

What is the Meaning of Baptism?

  1. It is a pronouncement of belief. It is like preaching a visual sermon. It is a public way of saying to everyone that you have decided to give your life to Jesus Christ. "Many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized" (Acts 18:8).

  2. It is the moment when we connect with and participate in the Gospel. By imitating the key components of the Gospel, we are identifying with and participating in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus: “Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead. . . we too may have new life" (Romans 6:3-4).

  3. It symbolizes the cleansing power of God's grace. Baptism has been compared to a washing: not of dirt from the body, but of the cleansing of our hearts that God does through his grace.  "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16--See also Titus 3:5).

 

Why be Baptized by Immersion?

  1. Because Jesus was baptized that way. "As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water" (Matthew 3:16).

  2. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion. "...then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water..." (Acts 8:38-39).

  3. The Greek word for “baptize” means "to immerse or dip under water".  Have a look at these authorities on the Greek language of New Testament times and how they define baptizo, the word translated for “baptize”:

 

 

  • Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: “1. to dip repeatedly, to immerge, submerge. 2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water…” (94)

  •  

  • A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (BDAG): “wash, purify, plunge, dip…” (164)

  • A Greek-English Lexicon (Liddell, Scott, and Jones): “dip, plunge” (305)

  • The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: “to dip in or under” (1:530)

  • The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: “dip, immerse, submerge, baptize” (1:144)

 

​What if I was Baptized by Sprinkling When I was a Child? 

First, you should be grateful that you had parents who cared enough about you to set you apart for God. Because of their devotion, you have an opportunity to fulfill their desire for you by willingly submitting to Christ in His call for you to be immersed.

Second, being immersed is not a sign of disrespect for what your parents did, nor is it an act of condemning their best desires for you.

Be thankful for the heritage of concerned parents, but don't be negligent of your responsibility as an adult to make a personal commitment to God by being baptized
(Philippians 2:12-13). There are members of this church who were sprinkled as infants and then, upon coming to personal faith, were immersed into Christ. God has led you to this point, and we pray that you will take this step as soon as possible

 

Does Water Baptism Save Me? 

No, in the sense that there is nothing about the act itself that has the power to save.  Water is only water, after all.  Rather, Scripture is abundantly clear that only Jesus saves by His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:12, 1 Cor 3:10-11). Faith in that good news (the Gospel) is the heart of our salvation (Rom 10:9-10).

And Yes, in the sense that our salvation by grace through faith is given in baptism.  Peter, an apostle of Jesus wrote, “And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
(I Peter 3:21).  Here, Peter does not attribute saving power to baptism by virtue of its use as a religious ordinance.  Instead, Peter speaks of baptism as that which saves because it is the means by which one connects with and receives access to the resurrection power of Jesus.

In other passages, baptism is described as the moment in which one is ushered into the salvation offered by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Paul wrote, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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 6:1-4).

In another passage, Paul describes baptism as the moment in which the old life of sin that was devoted to the flesh is “cut off” and new life in Christ begins: “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead”
(Colossians 2:11-12).

Many other passages give these and additional perspectives on what happens in baptism
(e.g. John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, 1 Cor 6:11, Gal 3:26-27, Titus 3:5).  But these should be enough to show the importance of baptism in the New Testament.

 

​When Should I be Baptized?

As soon as you become a believer. "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day"
(Acts 2:41). There is no reason to delay. As soon as you have decided to make Christ the Lord of your life, you can and should be baptized.

 

​Who Should be Baptized?

Every person who believes in Christ. "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day”
(Acts 2:41).

"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. Simon himself believed and was baptized..."
(Acts 8:12-13).

 

If I Want to Be Baptized Right Now What Should I Do? 

If you contact our minister at this email address, he will be happy to assist you and arrange a time for your baptism any day or hour. But, remember that any Christian can baptize you wherever you are!