Summary: Discusses the basic tenant of water baptism and why we should be baptized in water.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER BAPTISM
INTRO. – Baptism is taught clearly in Scripture and since the Scriptures are the best and most obvious authority on any issue, especially this one, let’s use them for our guide on this issue as well.
I. THE MANDATE OF WATER BAPTISM
A. As you read the New Testament, water baptism is an obvious mandate.
1. "Mandate" – "an order or command"
2. A command is something that must be followed
B. Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say concerning baptism:
1. Matthew 28:18 – 19 – "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
a. The One who has all authority gives the command for the church to practice this ordinance of baptism.
b. Water baptism was obviously part of the process of becoming a follower of Jesus.
2. Jesus Himself was baptized when He began the actual ministry part of His life. In Matthew 3:13-15, Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John. When John said he was not worthy enough to baptize Jesus and that Jesus should be baptizing him – "Jesus replied, ’Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.’" Literally, Jesus was saying that He was doing it because it was what was right to do.
C. A command is something that requires obedience.
1. Early Christians called baptism a sacramentum (sacrament) – the Latin word for the soldier’s oath of absolute devotion, allegiance, and obedience to his commander.
2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: "He who believes, obeys; and he who obeys, believes."
3. If you say Jesus is your Lord and Savior but say you don’t need to be baptized, it puts you in a very precarious position.
II. THE METHOD OF WATER BAPTISM
A. The method of baptism is one of the most argued points concerning this subject. The Bible clearly describes the baptismal process so let’s see what it has to say concerning the method of baptism:
1. Baptism requires water. Anytime someone is baptized in the New Testament it is with water.
2. Baptism requires plenty of water.
a. John 3:23 – "John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."
3. Baptism requires going down into water.
a. Acts 8:38 – "And the eunuch commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."
4. Baptism requires coming up out of water.
a. Acts 8:39a – "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
b. Matthew 3:16a – "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:"
III. THE MEANING OF WATER BAPTISM
A. The meaning of baptism is this: It is the complete surrender of everything you are and everything you have to follow Jesus Christ and be obedient to Him. Having said that what does that mean exactly?:
1. Baptism identifies us with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
a. Baptism isn’t just some magical, mystical act. The water isn’t magical. The pronouncement of "…in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…" isn’t magical. And the person performing the baptism is not magical.
b. Through baptism we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and is what makes baptism effective.
c. Tom Ellsworth tells a story about a Christian who went on a tour of the Holy Land. When they got to the traditional site of Calvary, the tour guide explained what had happened during Jesus’ crucifixion. He asked, "Has any of you been here before?" This Christian raised his hand and responded, "I have." The guide asked, "You have? When were you here?" The Christian replied, "About 2,000 years ago."
2. Baptism signifies your commitment to Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.
a. William James: "An impression without expression leads to depression."
b. When something makes a big impact on you, it needs to find an outward expression or you begin to feel frustrated.
c. God created us in such a way that almost every emotion has an appropriate outlet. You show sadness by crying; you show fear by screaming; you show hilarity by laughing out loud; you show gratitude by giving; you show love with a passionate embrace.