Summary: This sermon looks at Baptism in the Bible compared withthe changes that have taken place in the church over the past 2,000 years.
BAPTISM AS IT IS SEEN IN THE BIBLE AND CHURCH HISTORY
Acts 2:37-38; Eph. 4:1-6
1.) Though I may often refer to Baptism, and briefly speak of its significance, it is not so often that I actually would have a sermon specifically dealing with this Biblical doctrine.
2.) It is a shame that a Biblical doctrine of such significance has so divided the church this past 2,000 plus years since it was founded.
3.) When we look at Christianity’s diverse attitudes about Baptism, we find some very diverse opinions on the place of baptism within the church:
A.) In fact there are probably few topics that have more divided the church more than the matter of baptism.
aa.) Is baptism to be administered by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, or like some churches to not even be practiced at all?
ab.) Likewise, the church is further divided on the matter by questioning whether it is for adults, or for children, or for babies.
ac.) Another question that divides the Christian faith on baptism is the question of the importance of baptism, is it an essential act of obedience to receive salvation, or is it merely an outward sign of an inward grace (that has already happened in your heart)?
3.) Today in this message, my goal is to look at the original view of baptism as seen in the Inspired Word of God.
A.) I also want us to look at history in order to understand how the Biblical view of Baptism has changed through the ages.
I. HOW WAS BAPTISM VIEWED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?
1.) The importance of baptism under John the Baptist.
A.) John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance.
aa.) Acts 13:24
ab.) Really, if that were the only verse we looked at on John’s baptism we could interpret it whatever way we would choose to.
B.) Even though John preached a baptism of repentance, it was also a baptism with the teaching that this baptism was for the forgiveness of sin.
ba.) That is an aspect of John’s baptism that is usually not preached so much today.
baa.) Mark 1:4
bab.) Luke 3:3
C.) In fact, Scripture verifies the importance even of John’s baptism for salvation by telling us that the religious leaders had forsaken the purpose of God for their lives by rejecting John’s baptism.
ca.) Luke 7:30
2.) The Day of Pentecost emphasized baptism for forgiveness of sins, and to receive the Holy Spirit of God.
A.) The Apostle Peter stood up to preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
B.) At the end of Peter’s sermon, the people were convicted with guilt over their sinfulness (especially in regards to killing the Christ or Messiah).
C.) With heaviness of heart, these sin-sick individuals asked what they needed to do in order to find the forgiveness of God for their sins.
ca.) Acts 2:37
D.) Speaking with the Holy Spirit of God, Peter directed these people to “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
da.) Our faith in Jesus Christ becomes a saving faith only when it is obedient to the gospel of Christ in the waters of baptism.
db.) On the day of Pentecost, Peter made it very clear that two things happen in the act of baptism:
dba.) There is the forgiveness of our sins.
dbb.) The Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within us.
3.) There are many other passages of Scripture that could be put together on the matter of salvation.
A.) From what I have seen and studied in the Word of God I would sum up the Biblical teaching on baptism as follows:
aa.) Baptism in the Word of God is without exception to be by total immersion of one who is capable of putting his faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of his sinfulness, and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
ab.) Likewise the purpose of baptism according to Scripture is two- fold:
aba.) It is for the forgiveness of sins, and
abb.) the Gift of the Holy Spirit of God.
II. WHY THEN ARE THERE SO MANY VIEWS TODAY ON EVERY ASPECT OF BAPTISM?
1.) Over the centuries, the teachings on baptism within the church have changed.
A.) It would be wonderful if all of Christianity agreed on this very important basic of the Christian faith.
B.) Unfortunately that is not the case.
C.) I realize that today the majority of Churches have a different view on one or more aspects of baptism than what I have just described.
ca.) To be perfectly honest the majority of churches claiming an allegiance to Jesus Christ have accepted one or more aspects on the doctrine of Baptism that are different than what is in the inspired Word of God.