Summary: How Important is Baptism? What does it represent? Three words describe what the act of baptism means to the believer.
Opening Illus: Young boy saved on the church bus; goes to tell the preacher “I want to get advertised…”
The early church’s practice was to ‘advertise’ baptism:
• “Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:18-19 (quickview)  (HCSB)
• “Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed the Lord, along with his whole household; and many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized.” Acts 18:8 (quickview)  (HCSB)
3 Words describe the act of baptism:
I. Identification (vs. 3-4)
A. Recognition of Leadership and Dependence
1. Did Moses baptize the entire nation of Israel? No.
2. They became identified with him by submitting to his leadership.
3. They became identified with him by acknowledging their dependence on him as their leader.
C. The act of baptism portrays our identification with Jesus’ sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf (vs. 4).
1. Apostle Paul echoes this when expressing his ultimate desire:
3. Death, burial, and resurrection are echoed in this verse.
II. Integration (vs. 5)
A. Grafted In
1. “United together” in verse 5 is a botanical term that describes two plants being grafted together, now to grow together and become one.
B. Spirit Baptism
1. The Spirit of God baptizes us into the body of Christ.
2. He grafts us in so we become a part of Christ.
3. The act of baptism symbolizes this Spirit baptism.
III. In-operation (vs. 6-7)
1. We are so intimately identified with Jesus’ death that our old nature is considered to be dead as well
2. Dead people do not sin; sin is not a temptation; they are no longer obligated to sin by living in a sinful body
1. We are now free to live choosing not to be in bondage to sin
2. This is through the power of His resurrection (vs. 5b)
3. Water baptism is not what delivers us from sin; it pictures the salvation that has delivered us from sin.
4. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”1 Peter 3:21 (quickview)  (HCSB)
a. Peter is likening water baptism to a symbol of salvation.
b. In verse 20 he refers to Noah and the ark, where 8 people were delivered.