Summary: What does "baptism? mean? Why is it necessary for a Christian to be baptized? Does baptism save us?


Sunday a.m. - March 30, 2008

1) Jesus Christ walked about 40 miles to the Jordan River to be baptized by John he Baptist.

a. If Jesus walked that far to be baptized it should tell us that baptism is very important.

b. Just before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He gave the disciples this command: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". That’s found in Matthew 28:19.

2) There are the two reasons every Christian should be baptized.

a. First, Jesus was baptized.

b. Second, as we just read in Matt. 28:19, He commanded everyone who follows Him to be baptized.

3) So water baptism is very important to the Christian life.

a. Matthew 3:13-15. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Optional Joke

A drunk stumbled along a baptismal service on Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeded to walk down into the water and stood next to the


The minister turned and noticed the old drunk and said, "Mister, Are you ready to find Jesus?" The drunk looks back and says, "Yes, Preacher. I sure am."

The minister then dunked the fellow under the water and pulled him right back up. "Have you found Jesus?" the preacher asks.

"No, I didn’t!" says the drunk.

The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, "Now, brother, have you found Jesus?"

"No, I did not Preacher."

The preacher in disgust holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time brings him out of the water and says in a harsh tone, "Friend, are you sure you haven’t found Jesus yet?"

The old drunk wipes his eyes and says to the preacher..."Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

4) Baptism is one of two ordinances commanded by the Lord.

a. The first is communion and the second is baptism.

b. Most of the churches in this part of the world takes both of them too lightly.

c. In some parts of the world, such as Nepal, if authorities saw you being baptized they would throw you in prison.

d. For Christians in China or in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, baptism was like signing their own death warrant.

5) What is baptism for?

a. A wedding ring is an outward sign that a person is married.

b. A police uniform is an outward sign that a person in law enforcement.

c. In the same way water baptism is a symbol designed by God to identify a person as

a disciple of Jesus Christ.

d. But it is more than just a symbol.

6) What does the word “baptize” mean?

a. Baptize in the Gr. is “baptisma” and means “to immerse”.

b. Another way of saying it is to “plunge or dunk”.

7) When we accept Jesus as Savior, we are spiritually baptized (or immersed) into Christ.

a. Turn to Galatians 3:26 (NKJV) “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

8) Baptism is also a sign that we’ve been baptized into the Body of Christ, or the church.

a. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NKJV) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

9) Water is a symbol the Bible uses to represent an inner cleansing:

a. “Ephesians 5:25-26 Ephesians 5:25-26 (NKJV) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word”

b. Also in Hebrews 10:22 (NKJV) “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Optional Joke

A young pastor, fresh out of seminary, was conducting his first baptismal service. He was so nervous he got his Scriptures confused concerning baptism and the Lord’s Supper: He said, “I now baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As he lowered the convert into the water, he added, “And now drink ye all of it.”

10) When it comes right down to it, water baptism is a funeral.

a. It’s an act of faith that says, “My old sin nature is dead and buried. I’m raised as a new creation in Christ Jesus.”

b. Romans 6:4 (NKJV) “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

11) Being baptized is not an option. It’s a command from the Lord.

a. Let’s turn to Mark 16:16 (NKJV), “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

b. Some take this to mean that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. But that’s not what it’s saying.

c. Look back at the verse again.

d. The emphasis is on the word “believe”.

e. He who believes and, he who does not believe”

i. The thief on the cross was not baptized yet Jesus assured him, "“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

II. Salvation is received by faith alone. (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5)

iii. "If baptism is necessary for salvation, why would Paul have said, “I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius” (1 Corinthians 1:14)? Why would he have said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17)?" (

12) Salvation is a matter of what you believe in your heart, not what you do or are going to do. In other words, it’s not a work of the flesh.

a. Exodus 20:25 (NLT) “If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.”

b. The altar was used to offer up sacrifices to the Lord.

c. All of the animals that were sacrificed in the O.T. were pointing to the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, which was Jesus dying on the cross.

d. The blood of those animals couldn’t wash away sin, only the Blood of Jesus can do that.

e. God gave Moses the commandment to build an altar with natural stone and not with stones that had been shaped to fit because He knew what man would do.

f. Man would want to make an elaborate altar, beautifully decorated and probably overlaid with gold.

g. Then man would stand back and say, “Look what I did for God! Isn’t it beautiful?”

h. Then he would probably put an ad in the paper, “Anyone wanting to approach God through an animal sacrifice, come and see me first! I build the best and most beautiful altars in the world! Your altar will make all other churches jealous”.

i. What’s wrong with this picture?

j. Turn to 1 Corinthians 1:26:

k. (NKJV) “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

l. And in Titus 3:4 (NKJV) “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”

13) In the Book of Genesis Cain approached God with the fruits of the ground. Cain had put in a lot of work tilling the soil, planting seed, pulling weeds, watering and finally harvesting a crop of super vegetables & fruits but God turned it down.

a. Why did God turn it down? Because Cain’s offering were the fruit of his own labor and God wants us to know that salvation is a work that He and He alone, will accomplish for us.

b. And He did it by becoming a Man, through His Son Jesus, and going to the cross.

c. God still rejects any effort of man to gain his own salvation. To put it very simply, you just can’t get to Heaven on your own.

d. It’s like a battle in a war. One side or the other has to be defeated in death or surrender and live.

e. God isn’t going to lose the battle so it’s up to man to surrender to Him and live.

14) If you check it closely you’ll see that baptism immediately followed a person’s salvation.

a. They didn’t see it as something to be delayed or put off.

b. When the people responded to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the first thing he told them to do is to "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

c. When Philip led the Ethiopian eunuch to Jesus the eunuch asked him, “What is hindering me from being baptized?". So when they came to a body of water Phillip baptized him. Acts 8:26-40.

d. The first thing the apostle Paul is told to do after his conversion was to be baptized. Acts 22:16

e. There are several other times we could look at but for the sake of time, we won’t. (Acts 10:46-48; 16:14-15; 16:33; 18:8; 19:1-5.)

i. But in each of these cases, there seems to be a sense of urgency to be baptized.

ii. Baptism is a way of God communicating His love to us.

iii. When we receive the Grace of God’s through salvation, it’s no accident that He wants us to identify with Him in a way that makes it real to us.

f. Are you struggling with guilt over your past?

g. It may be because you haven’t yet given the person you once were a proper burial!

h. Water baptism is a very powerful reminder of God’s wonderful grace.

i. The person we were before is dead forever, and we are raised with Jesus as a totally new creation.

15) To sum it up, there are 4 stages of the work of Jesus pictured in Baptism.

a. No. 1: He died . . . I died in Him.

i. Romans 6:6-7 (NKJV) “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

b. No. 2: He was buried . . .I was buried with Him.

i. Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV) “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

c. No. 3: He was raised . . . I have a new life in Him.

i. Romans 6:4 (NKJV) “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection”

d. No. 4: He ascended . . . I ascend with Him.

i. Ephesians 2:6 (KJV) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

16) Reading from the Amplified Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if any person is (engrafted) in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!”

a. Ultimately, it all goes back to what Jesus said in John 14:15. "If you love me, keep my commandments."

b. Baptism is a simple, but profound act of obedience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

17) If you have not yet taken this step, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Of course, a person shouldn’t be baptized without doing first what it represents which is accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.

a. Without this, baptism is simply getting wet.

A Baptismal Service

Question #1: Do you renounce satan and all of his works?

Question #2 - Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?

Question #3 – With the help of the Holy Spirit, will you obey the will of God, keep His commandments, and walk in them all the days of your life?

Lord, I pray that (name/names) may truly be buried with Christ as dead unto sin and that (he/she/they) may be raised to newness of life in Christ. Amen.