For the next four days, we will look at what some of those next steps look like as you begin living your life as a Christ-follower.
When you read the Book of Acts, which is the history book of the first few years of the gospel (the good news of what Jesus had done spreading following the resurrection of Jesus), you’ll find that a very clear NEXT STEP for new Christians to take is water baptism.
1. Why should I be Baptized?
a. To Follow Jesus’ Example:
To understand the reason for being water baptized, it is important to carefully consider what the Bible says about it... Jesus himself was baptized. He was not a sinner, yet he humbled himself in obedience to identify with us and gave us a clear example to follow.
9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.
b. An Act of Obedience:
Water baptism is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ.
19 "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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
c. A Public Declaration:
Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism does not make you a believer; it shows that you already are one! Baptism does not ‘save’ you; only your faith in Christ does that.
2. What is the Significance of Baptism?
a. A Move from Death to Life:
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead.
12-14 “Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.”
Colossians 2:12-14 MSG
b. A New Life:
It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian. We bury the ‘old life’ and we rise to walk in a ‘new life’. Baptism is like a wedding ring. The ring doesn’t make a couple married; the ring is a symbol to others of the promise and covenant that they made in their heart to each other. Baptism is a demonstration, before God and man, of the commitment and covenant that a person has made in their heart with Christ.
4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
3. How Should I be Baptized?
The model we see in the New Testament is by being immersed in water. The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word “baptize” which means “to immerse or dip under water”.
16 “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.”
38 “…then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water….”
4. Who Should be Baptized?
Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ. We believe in baptizing children when they are old enough to understand what it means and make a personal declaration of belief.
12 “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.”
5. When are we to be Baptized?
Believers in the New Testament were baptized the same day. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, he can be, and is encouraged to be baptized.
41 “Those who accepted his message were baptized….”
“Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”