Study 3: The Next Step – Water Baptism
The Bible makes it very plain that every believer needs to be baptised. The word “baptise” is an anglicisation of a Greek word meaning to dip, immerse, submerge or plunge into a liquid. It was used by dyers to describe the act of dipping material in dye. New Testament baptism would have been by immersion (…He went up out of the water. Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38-39) It is such an integral part of the early Christian life that the New Testament takes it for granted that a profession of faith in Christ will be followed more or less immediately by water baptism. (Acts 2:41; Acts 18:8)
Baptism in the Old Testament We can see pictures of baptism in the Old Testament. For example, in the story of Noah, it points out in 1 Peter 3:20-21 that the saving of Noah and his family was a picture of what happens to us in baptism. We identify with Jesus Christ who separates us from the lost and gives us new life. It is not the ceremony that saves us, but faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.
Also the children of Israel coming out of slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea, is a picture for us regarding our baptism. It is a public sign of us coming out of slavery to sin and death into a new kingdom of Jesus Christ with a new Father and family. As they were ‘baptised into Moses’ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4) it means that we are united in Christ by baptism, so the Israelites were united under Moses’ leadership in the events of the Exodus.
Why are we baptised?
1. Command for Believers:
Acts 2:38. “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 28:19. “Therefore go and make disciples of all Nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
John 2:5. “Do whatever He tells you.”
2. Jesus did it:
Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-10; Luke 3:21-23. Wherever He goes we have no alternative but to follow Him. We are His disciples. He is our example. We should follow His steps.
3. The apostles practised it:
Acts 2:41. Jerusalem.
Acts 8:12. Samaria.
Acts 8:36. Ethiopian Eunuch.
Acts 10:48. Cornelius’ House.
Acts 16:33. Jailer at Philippi.
Acts 18:8. Corinthians.
We must copy the first Church, as it knew Jesus Christ’s will about baptism more than any since.
4. Sign of forgiveness for sin:
By complete washing of the inner man with the blood of Jesus. Baptism is for believers only which implies that the person understands what is happening (Mark 16:16 “…whoever believes and is baptised…” Acts 2:38 “…repent and be baptised…”)
5. Sign of being a disciple:
Baptism is closely linked with believing in Jesus Christ. Some scriptures place them side by side as part of becoming a Christian, Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Matthew 28:19. We are showing that “our old being (our old life before we became a Christian) has been put to death with Christ on His Cross”. Romans 6:6.
Romans 6:2-4 states:
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Children are baptised, but only when they have a clear understanding of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and because they want to obey Him by baptism. They can also be presented in dedication, as the parents make the promises for the children, believing that God is a Covenant-keeping God and, in His time, they will follow Jesus in answer to the parents’ faithful prayers.
6. Making a break with the old way.
The person being baptised is declaring that he now trusts Christ, is dead to his old sinful past, and is rising in the power and strength of Christ. He identifies with Christ and declares complete allegiance to Him before all principalities and powers, Romans 6:3-5.
We are baptised out of love and obedience and copying our Master. When we choose to follow Christ we must ask, “What can I do to please Him?” I don’t want to miss out on anything in this life that is in God’s will for me even if others don’t agree or they think it is non-essential. Jesus thought that baptism was the way to make a start to His ministry. He certainly didn’t need to deal with sin, and He was baptised in the River Jordan, Matthew 3:16.
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptised and wash your sins away, calling on His name.” Acts 22:16
3: Living with Jesus – Challenge Questions
1. What did you enjoy most about the previous study?
2. Look up Colossians 2:11-12. Write it out and memorise the verses, making sure you really think about it a lot. This will encourage this amazing Truth to move from your head to your heart.
Read the Notes on the ‘Next Step’
3. Is baptism something we can do if we feel like it? Give reasons for your answer.
4. If we are not baptised does that mean we will not have a place in heaven? Give a verse from your reading, if possible, to back up your answer.
5. If you are talking to someone who has doubts about being baptised could you point them to Bible verses that may help them to decide? If so which ones?
6. Which do you think is the best reason for being baptised? Why?
7. From the baptisms which the apostles practised, written about in Acts, which do you find the most exciting?
8. Why do you think the devil is concerned about you being baptised? (Romans 6:6)
9. Have you been baptised since you became a Christian? Tell us about it.
Answer the following question with True or False. If you have a scripture from the study please write it out.