Summary: verse by verse through Acts

You know there’s some things that we can do to express important messages without ever saying a word.

Flag in the front yard – “I love my country…it’s the best…”

Sports team jersey – “I love this team…it’s the best…”

Wedding ring – “I love my spouse…they’re the best…”

[2] Being baptized is another wonderful way to give a very important message. The message that you love Jesus and that He is simply awesome. Baptism is a vivid display of the grace of God in your life and every person should be baptized after they come to faith.

Now there’s a few different ways in which people are baptized.

[3] Some people get sprinkled with water at baptism.

[4] Some people get dipped into the water at baptism.

[5] Some people get dunked under the water at baptism.

And some people, well, some people have their own ideas on how to be baptized. [6]

[7] Now we believe that the proper way for a person to be baptized is to be immersed completely under the water. After all, that’s what the word “baptize” actually means – to immerse. Also, that’s the way people were baptized in the Bible. There’s not one example of a sprinkling or dipping baptism in the Scriptures. Baptism itself is such a beautiful expression of what God has done in a person’s life. We’re lowered into the water as an expression of our old life passing away, and we’re raised up out of the water as a display of our new life with Christ who’s washed our sins away. God’s plan is that the act of baptism be a vivid display of His grace in a person’s life.

A couple weeks ago we looked at the wonderful story of a person coming to faith and then being baptized almost immediately. Turn with me to Acts 8:34. This is the story of how Philip found an Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the prophet Isaiah but didn’t understand what it meant.

[Read Acts 8:34-38.]

This guy came to understand that Jesus was the Savior, he put his faith in Him, and as a display of his faith he was baptized right then and there. But why would the Ethiopian ask to be baptized? I mean, how did he know about the importance of baptism?

Remember, he had went to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way back home. He probably went to Jerusalem during the festivals surrounding Pentecost which were during the time that Christianity exploded on the scene. On the day of Pentecost alone there were 3,000 people saved and baptized in the same day! Everyone would have seen the spectacle of thousands of people lined up at the Jewish mikvahs to be baptized.

‘Mikvahs’ were pools designed for ritual cleansing by faithful Jews that were all around the temple there. Now they were being used to symbolize the cleansing from sin that only Jesus could give. The Eunuch had probably learned of baptism while in Jerusalem and asked Philip if he could be baptized that all the new Christians he’d observed getting baptized there. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now this isn’t the first place where baptism shows up in the Bible. This was something that was practiced before Jesus began His public ministry. [8] And it was for believers who were looking forward to the Savior. A preacher named John, known as John the Baptist, is the first biblical character instructing people to be baptized as a display of their faith in the Savior to come.

[Read Matthew 3:1-6.]

John the Baptist is the one that God used to set the immediate stage for Jesus who was about to begin His public ministry. He called the people to repent from their sinful ways and turn to God because the kingdom was at hand. He knew that the Savior was on His way and he wanted the people to be ready. So as the people believed John’s message, they turned away from their sinful ways of self-righteousness, trusted that God was bringing the Savior to earth, and were baptized as a symbol of their new faith in God. In faith they looked ahead to the coming of the Savior and were baptized.

[Concert tickets.]

The people under John the Baptist’s ministry believed the savior was coming and they needed to get their hearts ready. They asked God to forgive their sins and were baptized to show that they believed in what God was about to do on the earth through the Savior.

But then something very interesting happens. [9] While John’s baptizing people in Jordan River, the Savior Himself shows up and He wants John to baptize Him!

[Read Matthew 3:13-17.]

Now why would Jesus need to be baptized? Baptism was for repentant sinners putting their faith in the God. Jesus wasn’t a sinner and He was God! So what’s the deal?

The key to understanding this is to remember that baptism is only a symbolic expression. It expresses what’s spiritually going on inside a person. So what was Jesus expressing here by His baptism?

First of all He was identifying Himself with sinners. He didn’t confess any sin like the other people did who were baptized. But like them, He was baptized.

Remember, Jesus was God in the flesh. The God-man who would soon die a human death for the sins of the world. His baptism helped them identify with the fact that He was a real man and not just a spirit. But just because He identified with humanity, it didn’t mean He was identifying Himself as a sinner like the rest of humanity.

His baptism also validated John’s message that people needed to repent for the kingdom of God was at hand. He wasn’t there to teach the people something different than John. He was the fulfillment of John’s teachings. His baptism validated John’s teachings.

[Book cover endorsement “Recommended by Jesus Christ” illustration.]

Jesus’ baptism validated John’s teachings. But most importantly, Jesus was identified as the Savior, the Son of God, who came to take away the sins of the world.

When Jesus came up out of those baptismal waters the Father exclaimed that this was His Son. The Holy Spirit came visibly and rested upon Him. Jesus was identified publicly that He was the Savior. Father, Son and Holy Spirit all testifying together that the time had come for Jesus to be presented to the world as Messiah!

When Jesus first approached John and told him He wanted to be baptized, John didn’t understand. But a few minutes later, he and everyone else understood. This was who John’s been preaching about. The Savior had come!

After His baptism Jesus would begin His public ministry in the land – one that also included baptizing followers. [10] People publicly expressing their faith in the Savior that has come. Throughout Jesus’ ministry He and His disciples baptized His followers as a display of their new faith in Him as the Savior. Something that Jesus instructed His disciples to continue to do until kingdom come.

[Read Matthew 28:18-20.]

“Until the end of the age, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The Father, Son and Spirit that were at My baptism, I want you to baptize in our name until I return.

Isn’t that beautiful? Baptism is such a beautiful expression of what God has done in a person’s life. We’re lowered into the water as an expression of our old life passing away, and we’re raised up out of the water in our new life with Christ as our sins are washed away. How cool a picture is that?

Baptism is one of the most vivid expressions of what God has done in a person’s life. The symbolism clearly shows us how we can have all of our sins washed away by Jesus Christ and how we can restart our lives all fresh and clean.

When you get baptized you’re giving everyone who watches that beautiful message. A message that we all need to hear. What a ministry to others baptism is.

I wonder if there’s someone in your family that needs to hear the message of God’s grace but they wouldn’t dare darken the door of a church. But I bet they’d come see you get baptized. And your baptism could be just the message they need to hear. Every believer should be baptized in order to show the world the grace of God in their life.

Also, every believer aught to be baptized because it is a command of the Lord. Jesus didn’t say that baptism was an optional way of expressing your faith. He said that we must be baptized as believers as one of the ways we express our faith. Being baptized not only shows our faith in Jesus, but it shows our obedience to Jesus.

Now, if you are a believer but decide to never be baptized, you aren’t going to loose your salvation. That’s not how it works. But your spiritual growth will be hindered because of your refusal to obey the Lord in this matter. It’s just as much a sin to not do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing. Believers should be baptized in obedience to the Lord they claim to follow.

And you know what, when you do follow the Lord in this matter, it really does boost your faith. Whenever you obey the Lord your faith grows and it’s the same with baptism.

[My baptism story.]

You know when a believer in Jesus is baptized people get to see what Jesus can do in a person’s life. They get to see that sins can be forgiven and that life can have a new beginning. [11] Basically, baptism is God’s grace on display! Grace in the life of the one who’s being baptized, and grace available for all those who are there to see. Baptism is an incredibly important act of obedience for us who believe – but one that can clearly show’s the world how we have a God of grace.

Pat Summerall spent 50 years with the national Football League. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1952 and played with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants until 1961. After his retirement from the game, he joined CBS as a broadcaster, and in 1993 switched to Fox. During his CBS years he and a fellow broadcaster partied hard off the field. "We raised Cain. I was the first guy at the bar and the last to leave." Summerall was told that if he kept on drinking he was going to die. After checking himself into the Betty Ford Clinic, his counselor urged him to seek a better life through faith. At the age of 66, Pat Summerall was baptized. In USA Today he told a reporter that when the minister "leaned me back in the water, I never felt so helpless, but I knew I had become a Christian. I can’t tell you how great life has been since then."

Here’s a 66 year old celebrity who found God’s grace and wanted everyone to know about it. And I’m sure that as he exited the water he was met with applause and hugs and the blessings of God because he was obedient to the Lord in his baptism.

Maybe it’s time for you to take the plunge and show the world the grace of God in your life. Don’t let fear or pride or anything keep you from doing what’s right. If you need to be baptized, then take that step of faith and show the world just how much you love Jesus!

And when you come up out of the water, I bet you’ll be met with applause, hugs and the blessings of God because of your obedience. And who knows, someone might see just how real and awesome God is when they see you get baptized.