Believer's Baptism

Content Author: 
Melton, Donnie
Section 1 - Lesson 2
Text: Matthew 28:19-20 (Read the Text.)

Introduction

In this text, the risen Savior gave His last earthly instructions to His disciples. He commanded His Church to do three important things.  They are to win the lost, to baptize them, and to teach them.  The second part of His instructions were concerning baptism.  It is the purpose of this lesson to teach you how you can gain by Believer’s baptism.  There are three things you may gain by being baptized.

Identification With Christ

The first thing you gain by baptism is identification with Christ.  The Gospels record the fact that Jesus was baptized when He began His earthly ministry.  Matthew wrote, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” (Matthew 3:16).  By being baptized, Jesus was willing to set an example for and to identify with those whom He had come to save.

In order to identify yourself with Christ who died for you, you should be scripturally baptized.  Scriptural baptism contains two important elements.

Method of Baptism

In order to identify yourself with Jesus, you must be baptized by the method taught in the Bible.  Paul tells you about this method in the account of the Ethiopian eunuch.  This eunuch had just heard about and received Christ as his Savior because of Philip’s preaching.

Luke wrote of this conversion, “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-38).

The passage above and others concerning baptism make it clear that those who were baptized were immersed in the water.  In fact, the Greek word used for baptism means “to be immersed.”  The scriptural method of baptism is by immersion in water.

Message of Baptism

The second important element of scriptural baptism is the message of baptism.  Baptism by immersion pictures the gospel of Christ.  When you are immersed in the water, the death of the Lord is pictured.  As you are placed under the water, the burial of Christ is portrayed.  Then as you are brought up out of the water, the resurrection is represented.

Another wonderful message is illustrated by Believer’s baptism.  When you are immersed in the water, it pictures the death and burial of the old life.  When you are brought out of the water, it represents being raised to walk in the newness of life as a Christian.

What a message scriptural baptism proclaims!  Your baptism identifies you with Christ and His Church through its method and its message.

Obedience To Christ

The second way you gain by baptism is obedience to Christ.  While administrating baptism, the preacher may say, “In obedience to the command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I baptize thee. ”  The Church obeys Christ by administrating baptism.  You obey Him by being baptized.

There are two important points to consider concerning obedience to the command to be baptized.

Who Should be Baptized

The first point you should consider is who should be baptized.  Some denominations baptize infants or all adults they enlist in their church.  However, scriptural baptism must be administered only to Believers.  That is why it is called “Believer’s baptism.”  This is what Philip meant when he said to the Ethiopian eunuch, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest . . .” (Acts 8:37a).

Churches that baptize infants and unsaved adults teach a different Doctrine of Salvation than Baptists.  These churches believe baptism actually has a part in saving those it is administered to.  Therefore, they believe baptism is essential to salvation.  They consider baptism a sacrament.  A sacrament is an act or ritual, administered by the church, that is believed actually to have a part in salvation.

In contrast, Baptists recognize baptism to be one of two ordinances, instituted by the Lord, to be administered by His Church.  An ordinance is an act or ritual administered by the Church to be faithful to Christ’s teachings.  These ordinances do not save those to whom they are administered, but rather are administered to those who have already been saved.  Therefore, baptism is administered by the local church to be obedient to the Lord’s command.

Likewise, Christ taught the Church to administer the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper in observance of His death and His Coming.  Of this ordinance, Christ said, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1st Corinthians 11:26).  Remember that neither water baptism nor communion can save you, but are administered to those who have already been saved!

When Should You be Baptized

The second point you should consider is when you should be baptized.  It is important to be baptized as soon as practicable after salvation.  When invitation is given at the close of the church service, walk forward to the front of the church.  You should inform the pastor you have been saved and wish to be baptized.  He will arrange a time for you to be baptized.

Failure to be baptized will be a hindrance to your spiritual growth and development.  In order to be saved, you have trusted the Lord for your salvation.  You should now obey His command to be baptized.

Association With His Church

The third thing you gain by baptism is association with the Lord’s Church.  You affiliate with those who, like you, have trusted Christ for salvation.  As you come forward for baptism, you show your willingness to identify with His Church.

There are two ways baptism associates you with the Church.

Act of Baptism

The act of baptism associates you with the Church.  It is the local church that Jesus has commissioned to administer baptism to those who have been saved.  By the act of baptism, you show your willingness to identify with the Lord’s Church.  It also shows the willingness of the local church to associate itself with you.

Affiliation With the Church

The second way you associate with His Church is by affiliation.  You affiliate with a local church by joining it.  It is customary to join the local church that you request to baptize you.  So you should tell the pastor, when you go forward, that you wish to be baptized and become a member of the church.  It was God who chose to establish the local church, and it is through His Church that He will work to accomplish His purposes on earth.  As you join the local church, you identify yourself with the work of God.  You have much to gain by associating yourself with His Church.

Section One–Lesson Two

Believer’s Baptism

  1. Three things Christ instructed the Church to do was to ________________ the lost, to ____________ them, and to ______________ them.
  2. The first thing you gain by baptism is ________________ with Christ.
  3. The scriptural method of baptism is to be ______________ into the water.
  4. Baptism by immersion pictures the __________ of Christ.
  5. The second thing you gain by baptism is ______________ to Christ.
  6. Scriptural baptism must be administered only to __________________.
  7. ____________ the command of the Lord by being baptized as soon as possible.
  8. The third way you gain by baptism is by _______________ with His Church.
  9. It is the ______________ that Jesus Commissioned to baptize those who are saved.
  10. It is customary to ________________ the church that you request to baptize you.
Donnie Melton

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 13:1

A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.