Summary: A sermon on baptism as taught in Paul’s epistles.
Baptism In the Teachings of Paul Acts 22:16
INTRO.: Story of Paul’s defense in Jerusalem: Acts 22:1ff. Paul emphasizes the role of baptism in his own conversion. One would certainly imagine it plays a prominent role in his later teaching. Since Paul, the Apostle, wrote most of the epistles of the New Testament, we will look at some passages from his epistles.
Let’s look at four passages of Scripture:
I. In his epistle to the Romans: Rom. 6:3-6
A. Notice the importance of baptism in the conversion process:
1. We were baptized into Christ Jesus.
2. We were baptized into His death. This is how we participate in His death.
3. We buried the old man of sin in water just as Christ was buried in the earth.
B. Some things Paul did not say:
1. “Now that you are saved, you should be baptized.”
2. “Baptism symbolizes something God has already done in your life.”
3. “If you are truly saved, you will be baptized.”
4. Baptism is not just symbolic. It is the way God has appointed for us to participate in Jesus’ death.
C. This passage is the one that convinced me about immersion:
1. Immersion is the only “mode” of baptism resembling a burial.
2. We allow ourselves to be buried in “the watery grave of baptism.”
3. Of course this is figurative, but it is a much better picture of burial than having water sprinkled on you.
II. In the epistle to the Galatians: Gal. 3:26, 27
A. Baptism is how we “clothe ourselves with Christ.”
1. There are those who claim we are saved by faith, not by baptism.
2. They claim baptism is a work.
3. Jesus said,"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:29
4. In this passage, Paul makes a very tight connection between faith and baptism.
5. He seems to identify being sons of God through faith and being baptized into Christ. They are parts of the same process.
B. ILLUS.: We visited a Baptist Church while on vacation in Colorado. The speaker, a seminary professor, said, “Baptism is the first act of obedience to the faith and brings us into Christ.”
1. He agrees perfectly with the Apostle Paul.
2. The promise is if we have been buried with Him in baptism, we will also be raised with Him. V. 4
3. Baptism carries an obligation with it to “no longer be slaves to sin.”
III. In the epistle to the Colossians: Col. 2:11, 12
A. Baptism is the work of God:
1. In it we put off the sinful nature.
2. In it we are buried with Christ.
3. By faith in the power of God, we are raised from the dead.
B. We cannot be saved by our own works, no matter how well meaning.
1. But, baptism is God’s work, not ours.
2. It is the fruit of the Holy spirit working in our hearts.
3. Our part is “faith in the working of God.” it is God Who makes us alive through Christ.
IV. In his epistle to Titus: Tit. 3:3-5
A. Baptism is a “washing” and “rebirth.”
1. In baptism, as we have already seen, we are raised to walk in newness of life.
2. We are made alive by God.
3. It certainly seems this “washing of rebirth.” refers to Christian baptism.
4. Once again, we are reminded, we are saved not because of righteous things we have done, but because of God’s love and mercy. V. 5
5. Again, faith is our part of the equation, grace is God’s part, and baptism is the means God uses to bring about new life.
B. Jesus taught the necessity of rebirth in John 3:5.
1. This is a birth of water and Spirit.
2. There is only one way in all the New Testament these two elements are connected; Christian baptism.
3. As we surrender to God in the “washing of rebirth,” we are renewed by the Holy Spirit.
CONC.: What have we learned?
1. Baptism is a burial into the death of Jesus.
2. It follows dying to sin.
3. It is a resurrection with Christ to new life.
4. It is clothing ourselves with Christ and thus becoming children of God.
5. Means by which God cuts sin off from our lives.
6. The working of God in our lives.
7. Done in response to God’s love and mercy in which we receive cleansing and renewal.