Summary: This is the 29th sermon in the series "3:16- Numbers That Bring Hope".

Series: 3:16- Numbers That Bring Hope [#29]


Matthew 3:16


As we begin the New Testament portion of our series, we are going to look at a very important theological subject- Baptism. Many times, when you talk about being saved or going to Heaven, people will tell you when and where they were baptized. Baptism is 1 of the 2 ordinances of the Baptist Church, (the other is the Lord’s Supper).

Matthew 3:13-15 (NIV)

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.”

Baptism is…

1. Necessary.

It was not unusual for different religious groups to baptize people into their group. It was considered a ritual cleansing. John the Baptist was already baptizing people for repentance of sins. This is why he was shocked that Jesus wanted to be baptized because he knew that Jesus was without sin.

There are many churches and ministers today that say baptism is not necessary, while others say it is required in order to be saved. Both of these are untrue statements. After a person is saved, one of their first acts of obedience is to be baptized; but it is not part of salvation. We must be careful that we don’t make baptism a part of salvation. If baptism is required in order to be saved, then we have a problem. Jesus never sinned, so he didn’t need baptism for the forgiveness of sins. A new believer needs to be baptized so that they can show the world that they follow Jesus.

It is also important to know that the word baptize means to be immersed. While many denominations sprinkle, Baptist immerse the person. Baptist immerse not only because of the definition of the word baptism; but also because Jesus was buried, (immersed) in the river.

I also need to address what Baptist call alien immersion. This is simply the idea that in order to join a Baptist Church, you have to be baptized or have been baptized in a Baptist Church. The reason given is because other denomination’s baptism has a different meaning than ours; but I refute this simply because baptism is not required for salvation. How can we say that you have to be baptized in Baptist water to be a part of our church, when we say that water baptism is a symbol?

The other area that I need to address is the baptism of children. Since we believe that baptism is a symbol of following Jesus after you are saved, infant baptism is not necessary. Whether a baby or young child is baptized has nothing to do with their salvation. If a child dies before their age of accountability, they will go to Heaven regardless of the fact if they were baptized as a baby or not. The age of accountability has nothing to do with a certain age; but the time when a person realizes that they are a sinner. For those children and youth that have been saved but have not been allowed to be baptized because their parents will not agree to it; no problem. Remember, baptism is not a requirement of salvation.

Baptism is…

2. Symbolic.

When a person is baptized, it symbolizes what has happened to them. When the person is put under the water, it symbolizes that person has died to their old self and is being buried in Christ. When the person is lifted up out of the water, it symbolizes that person has risen from the dead through Jesus Christ. As the person walks out of the baptistry, it symbolizes that person is walking away into a new life.

As I tell children, there is no special power in the water. The water comes from the water hose outside. I also tell them that baptism identifies them as a Christian; but it does not make them a Christian. It is like wearing a sports jersey on a team that you are on. It identifies what team you are on.

Matthew 3:16-17 (NIV)

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Baptism is…

3. Pleasing to God.

Jesus had humbled Himself, left Heaven, and became a human. At this point, Jesus was 30 years old and this is when His ministry began. As Jesus was lifted up out of the water, God the Father let His Son know that He was pleased with His actions. Jesus was living out the plan that was going to bring salvation to the world.

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