Summary: Part Twelve of our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
Baptism (BFM #12)
Text: Romans 6:1 – 4
By: Ken McKinley
Before we begin, I want to read to you a funny little thing I found titled Wisdom from the mouths of babes.
From Patrick, age 10: Never trust a dog to watch your food.
Michael, age 14: Never tell your mom that her diet’s not working.
Emily, age 10: Don’t pull daddy’s finger when he tells you to.
Hannah, age 9: When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” Don’t answer.
From Taylia, age 11: Don’t let your mom brush your hair when she’s mad at dad.
Andrew, age 9: A puppy always has bad breath, even after eating a Tic-Tac.
Kyoyo, age 11: Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.
Lauren, age 9: Permanent markers are not good to use as lipstick.
And lastly, from Eileen, age 8: Never try to baptize a cat.
That last one is pretty funny, because we are actually going to be talking about baptism today. Yes we are still on article six from the BFM (the church) and we are talking about the four essential ministries that a church does, or should be doing. We’ve already talked about church discipline, we’ve talked about church members exercising their gifts for service, and today we are going to be talking about the ordinances of the church. There are two ordinances of the church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and I can’t cover them both in one day, so we are splitting them up.
Today, we’re going to talk about baptism, and then next Sunday (Lord Willing) we will be talking about communion. Article 7 also talks about these two ordinances, so in a sense I’m killing two birds with one stone here.
So go ahead and open your bibles to Romans chapter 5 and beginning with verse 20 follow along with me as I read our text (Read Romans 6:1-6:4).
Did you ever wonder why the Lord decided to use baptism? I mean, if salvation is by grace through faith (and it is), why do we even have a ritual like baptism? I want to read to something that John Piper wrote about a conversation he had with a missionary to the Philippines. This missionary said that “in the Philippines… converts were tolerated and scarcely noticed by their family – until they came to be baptized. Then the Biblical predictions of hostility and separation came to pass. There is something about this open ritual of new-found faith that makes clear where a person stands and what he is doing.” In-other-words, when a person identifies with Christ publicly and openly, people start to get upset. They don’t mind those people who just talk the talk, but when we start walking the walk, then people start to get uncomfortable.
The word “baptism” or “baptize” is the Greek word “baptize” and it means to dip, immerse, or to plunge something into something – usually water. And the descriptions we have in the NT are pretty clear that people went down into the water to be immersed, rather than have water brought to them to be sprinkled. In-fact, lets look at a few of them. Matthew 3:6 (Read), “In the Jordan;” John 3:23 (Read), why was it important that there was “much water there?” Look at Acts 8:38 (Read), why go “down into the water?” And if we look at our text today in Romans we see that baptism is representative…
it’s symbolic of being buried with Christ and being raised with Him to newness of life, how does sprinkling symbolize being buried?
So the first thing we need to be aware of about Christian baptism is that it is by immersion.
One of the great things about our text is that it shows that, if you understand what baptism portrays, then you’ll understand what really happened to you when you became a Christian. I was baptized when I was about 5 years old. I had no idea what I was doing. My grandpa held the idea of paedo-baptism. In other words, that children and even infants can be baptized and thus be part of the covenant community. This is the view of our Presbyterian and Lutheran brothers and sisters hold. Maybe it was his Scottish roots, and I don’t disagree with much of what my grandpa did, but on that issue I part ways with him. This is one of the main reasons I am a Baptist.
See article 6 of the BFM says that a church is made up of “baptized believers.” We Baptists believe in believer’s baptism. And I think that we’re right, because I believe this view has the Scriptural support behind it.
Now like I said, I was baptized at about age 5, and didn’t have the foggiest idea of what I was doing, or what baptism was all about. I got baptized again later on in life, after I understood what baptism was about, and what it symbolized, but I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t have to do that, I just wanted to do that. A lot of people get baptized when they don’t know a lot about Christianity or the Bible, and that’s not unheard of. In the Bible we hear about younger people who have received Christ as their Lord and Savior and make a public profession of faith in Him through the act of baptism. And it is expected that later on they will learn more and more of what it means.