Summary: Understanding water baptism
I. Water Baptism: It’s meaning
1. Greek: Baptizo - to plunge under, dip, or immerse.
a. Some churches teach a sprinkle of water. This is not true to the meaning of the word.
b. Two Greek words translated "sprinkle" are RANTIZO and ECHEO. Neither word is found in the Bible in relation to baptism.
2. Matt. 3:13-17; Acts 8:36-39
a. Matt. 3:16 tells us Jesus "went up straightway OUT OF the water." This does not sound like a sprinkling.
b. Jesus is our example in ALL things. We should get baptized since He was baptized. We should also be baptized the way He was baptized.
II. Water Baptism - Identification With Christ
1. We acknowledge our total identification with Christ in His death, burial, and ressurection.
a. Rom. 6:1-7; Col. 2:12-13
2. You and I were in Christ when He was laid on the cross. He died our death for us. He was buried and went to hell for us. He rose again for us. He did all of this so we would not have to though we deserve it and He did not. When we are baptized we are by faith and public confession declaring that we believe and accept all of this.
III. Baptism and salvation
1. Baptism can be the means for SALVATION (deliverance)
a. Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:20-21
b. Greek: Soteria - deliverance, preservation, soundness, healing.
2. When we teach that baptism is a means for salvation, realize that we are not talking about getting into heaven. There are many sinners who have been baptized are in hell today. There are some who have never been baptized but are in heaven.
b. Salvation implies much more than escape from hell. There are many who have testified to healing and bondages broken after being baptized. Faith exercised in baptism brings salvation from many of lifes negatives because you are identifying yourself with Christ.
IV. Controversial questions answered.
1. Can babies be baptised?
a. No. One must be able to believe and repent of their sins. Babies do not have this capability.
2. There are two baptismal formulas mentioned in the Bible: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19) and in Jesus’ Name (Acts 2:38; 10:48). Which formula is correct?
a. If you use the formula in Matt. 28:19, you still cover Jesus. If you use the formula in Acts you still cover the Godhead (Col. 2:9). The formula is not the issue. The meaning of baptism and it’s effects upon you is what is important.
CONCLUSION: If you have received Jesus Christ as Lord but you have not yet been baptized we suggest you do so immediately. It is not that the lack of it would keep you out of heaven but it be obeying what God has clearly commanded us.
When you are baptized imagine your sin nature, the sickness on your body, and all of your problems being buried. When you come up from the water imagine yourself as a brand new person. What you desire from God could manifest at this time if you apply faith.
Lastly, if you are basing your eternal salvation off of the fact that you were baptized at one time or that you were sprinkled on the head with water by a preist you are living in danger. Reevaluate your standing with God. If you do not recall ever giving your life to the Lord then do so at this time and then be rebaptized.