BIBLICAL BAPTISM – AN ORDINANCE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH
I have entitled this study: “Biblical Baptism – an ordinance of the local church” (listen or download) because my intent this morning is to appeal directly to Scripture to get a clear understanding of this important and often misunderstood subject.
An ordinance – authoritative order, a religious decree. There are two ordinances given by Christ to the Church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
There is much confusion about what baptism represents and what baptism does. Today we are not appealing to traditions or opinions we want to go directly to Scripture with a heart that is open to God showing us His truth.
John 7:17 says “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.”
Just to be clear about what I am referring to when I use the term: baptized or baptism. The word Baptism or Baptized in the New Testament means to place a person under water.
Baptism has beautiful spiritual significance as we will see in our study.
In order to discover what Scripture teaches about baptism let’s answer a series of six questions:
What Is Biblical Baptism? (Romans 6:1-8)
Baptism is a picture of the DEATH, BURIAL, & RESURRECTION of the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 15:1-4)
The Holy Spirit baptized each of us into Jesus Christ when we were saved. (Gal. 3:27)
Baptism is the believer’s confession and identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. ILL. Wedding Ring
Biblical Baptism is the believer’s statement of faith that in Christ they are “dead to sin” and intend to “walk in newness of life.” (Ro. 6:4)
Baptism is an act of obedience on the part of the believer. (Mt. 28:19)
Baptism is also an expression of the believer’s love for God. (Jn. 14:15)
Who Should Be Baptized? (Acts 2:41)
Those who are saved by believing in Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:25-33).
What is Biblical Salvation? (John 3:14-18,36 with Numbers 21:9, Romans 10:9-11,13)
You can be saved and not Scripturally baptized (thief on the cross), but you can not be scripturally baptized and not saved. (Luke 23:39-43)
This is Believer’s Baptism. In the Bible, water baptism always follows salvation.
- Cornelius – Acts 10:47-48
- Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:35-38
How Should One Be Baptized?
Understanding the terms: In the Greek language the language most of the New Testament was written in, there are three different words used:
- “Echeo” – pouring water
- “Rantizo” – sprinkling water
- “Baptizo” – to dip under the water, to immerse.
In the New Testament, the only word ever used for baptism is “baptizo” – meaning to immerse, dip under the water.
- Jesus was baptized by immersion. (Matthew 3:16)
- John the Baptist baptized by immersion. (John 3:23)
- Philip baptized the Ethiopian by immersion. (Acts 8:38)
Baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and can only be pictured by immersion. (Romans 6:3-6)
Comments on baptism:
Martin Luther (Lutheran) – “Baptizo is a Greek work and may be translated immerse. I would have those who are to be baptized to be altogether immersed.”
John Wesley (Methodist) – “Buried with Him in baptism – alluding to the ancient manner of baptism by immersion.”
John Calvin (Presbyterian) – “The word baptism signifies immersion. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the early church.”
For the first 250 years, the early New Testament church always baptized by immersion. Scholars of all denominations admit that in the original meaning and in the New Testament use, baptism meant immersion.
It was not until AD 1311 that the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Ravenna made sprinkling or immersion allowable.
It was not until 1644 that the Church of England adopted sprinkling by a vote of Parliament.
When Should One Be Baptized?
As soon as you can after you are saved. (Acts 2:41; 16:31-33; 10:44-48)
Where Should One Be Baptized?
In the local church. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Communion) are the two ordinances of the local church. There are no private baptisms in the Bible, with the exception of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8.
Why Should One Be Baptized?
Jesus has commanded you to. (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 10:48)
- Command given by Jesus.
- Command relates to all nations.
- Command is given to the local church.
Jesus did as an example to us. (Matthew 3:16)
The early New Testament Church did. (Acts 2:41)
- Baptism by immersion is ESSENTIAL not to salvation, but to obedience. (Jn. 15:4)
- Baptism by immersion is IMPERATIVE – it is not optional (Acts. 2:38).
- Baptism by immersion is a BLESSING to be enjoyed not a burden to be endured. (Acts 8:39; 22:16)
BAPTISM BY IMMERSION!
Here is the pdf download Biblical Baptism