Baptism – Why Mess with It?

May 31, 2009
INTRODUCTION – Why on a Foggy cool day, when we could be home watching basketball, or taking a nap, are we going to gather at the inlet beach in Morro Bay and baptize a couple of our members? What if we get seaweed in our hair? What if a crab bites our foot? What if someone who knows me from school or work drives by and sees me? Isn’t this kind of an outdated practice? Is getting baptized really that important?

6 Reasons why we as a church should be ever more committed to baptizing new believers, and why new believers ought to be eager to be baptized – even in a cold ocean on a foggy day!

1. Because Jesus submitted to it: Matthew 3:13-17 (turn to it) “righteousness”
The apostle John said in the 2nd chapter of his first letter – “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

2. Because Jesus commanded it: Matthew 28:18-20

3. God is pleased by it, and intimacy with God results from it: John 15:14 “You are My friends, if you do what I command.”
John 14:21 “He that has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (cf. Matt.3:16,17)

4. Baptism by immersion mirrors or illustrates to those watching what has happened to us on the inside. It is a picture of the truth of the gospel.
a. First of all it illustrates when we are dunked that we have died with and are buried with Christ. Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 2:12

b. Second it illustrates that we have been raised with Christ to newness of life. Rom. 6:4,5; Gal. 2:12

c. Third it illustrates as we get dunked that we have been cleansed from all of our sin. “Annanias to Saul – later renamed Paul, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Acts 22:16

5. There is no account of anyone coming to Christ in the book of Acts that did not almost immediately get baptized, whether it be an individual, a family, or a large crowd of people.

6. Baptism is meant to be a stake in our growth and resolve and determination to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
a. Timothy’s example: I Tim. 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” This is why I prefer to have our baptism on the beach in front of our church family and anyone else who happens to drive, walk, bike, swim, fly or kayak by.

b. Luke 9:26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
I Peter 3:20-22

3 Common Questions:
1. Why do we dunk or immerse instead of sprinkle? Def. of word: The verb “baptizo” was used in pre-Christian greek to mean “plunge, sink, drown, drench, overwhelm.” This greek verb is also used in pre-Christian Judaism, and once again means “overwhelm, immerse.” The Greek English Lexicon of the N.T. states that baptize means to “dip or immerse”.

It is very possible that one of the reasons God wants us to totally immerse people is because He wants to totally immerse and cover and overwhelm people with His love and presence.

I love the attitude of Peter when Jesus Christ began to wash his feet. At first – he wouldn’t have it. But then as Jesus explained the significance of what He was doing, Peter replied , “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

what baptism illustrates or pictures – – death or burial with Christ; raised with Christ – newness of life

Church history supports this practice: Martin Luther – the great reformer said, “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imparts and the mystery signifies.”

John Wesley concurred when he said, “Buried with Him, alluding to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”

2. Why do we not baptize infants?
A. no command to do so;
B. No example in scripture of that being done.
C. No possibility of infant making a volitional decision to receive & follow Christ

Lewis Sperry Chafer – the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary said, “ Infant baptism when practiced can be no more than an expression of the faith and hope of the parents that their child will ultimately be saved.”

3. Do you have to reach a certain level of maturity or commitment to get baptized?
In every account in the book of Acts – it appears that the practice was to immediately baptize people after their conversion; and thus before they really had a chance to prove their intentions to follow Christ and or their faithfulness.

There are no passages that encourage us to wait or to watch for spiritual maturity.

F.F. Bruce – the great New Testament Scholar said, “the idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in the New Testament.”

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