Preached by Pastor Brian Robinson on April 15, 2012
What is Baptism? Why do we do it? What is it supposed to do for you? Does it save? What does it symbolize?
Some come from traditions that baptize infants.
We can’t answer all issues raised since the beginning of Christianity, but we do have the word of God.
We do it because Christ commanded it. Matthew 28:18
Baptism is an initiatory rite.
What does the word signify?
What is the proper mode? Immersion or sprinkling?
The New Testament was written in Greek, an accurate and precise language. Because a tradition of sprinkling had emerged, they left the word untranslated.
Baptism means immersion.
There are other words to describe washing, bathing, pouring, and sprinkling. They are not used. The only Greek word used for baptism is baptism, or immersion.
John the Baptist was John the Immerser.
In Mark 1:10, when Jesus was baptized, it says, “...as Jesus came up out of the water”. Did He go in to be sprinkled?
John 3:23 “John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there.” You don’t need much water to sprinkle.
Acts 8:26-40 The Ethiopian eunuch says, “Here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” If it was only sprinkling, they could have used their water in jugs.
“When they came up out of the water.” You don’t need to go into water to sprinkle, but both the baptizer and the one being baptized do need to go in to be immersed.
Does the mode matter? No big deal, as long as you’re baptized (immersed). :)
Immersion is the most expressive mode for giving a picture of its meaning.
In Romans 6, we see baptism symbolizes death, burial and resurrection. We identify with Christ in His death.
The old nature has been put to death. We die to a self-centred life. Christ first, others second, self last. We offer up our bodies as living sacrifices.
Resurrection—abundant life, liberated from the power of guilt, sin and the law.
This picture only makes sense with immersion.
Who are the proper subjects of baptism?
Only believers need apply.
We don’t believe in adult baptism as opposed to infant baptism, we believe in believer’s baptism as opposed to unbeliever’s baptism.
There is no example or command in Scripture to baptize infants. No one was ever carried to the water. They walked in.
All examples of baptism show faith preceding it. See the Ethiopian eunuch, the Apostle Paul and the Philippian jailer.
“What must I do to be saved?” “Believe on the Lord Jesus.” An infant can’t believe.
The message comes first, then the ordinance.
When the mothers brought their children to Jesus, it was for a blessing, not to be baptized.
We can pray for our children, teach them, and be an example to them, but they cannot inherit our faith. God has sons and daughters, not grandchildren.
Can we make too little of baptism? Yes, if we ignore it. It’s a command of Christ. It’s a matter of obedience. It’s the beginning of the Christian walk, not the end. It’s an outward, public sign of an inward cleansing.
Can we make too much of baptism? Yes, if you believe it is necessary to salvation. Nothing is to be added to the work of Christ.
An example is the thief on the cross. He believed, yet he could not get off the cross to be baptized, yet Jesus promised he would be with him in Paradise that day.
Christianity is simple.
Gal. 6:15 “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” You could also say, neither baptism counts for anything, or not being baptized, but a new creation.
Baptism will never wash away one sin, even if you did it every day. You must be born again.