THE BASICS OF BAPTISM
Baptism is immersion in water as a public statement of one’s new identity in Christ.
Baptism is a simple illustration of being washed. It is a picture of Christ’s death and resurrection, and a picture of new birth. When a person commits their life to Jesus, baptism is the logical next step for that person to publicly confess what Jesus has done in washing their sin (wrong-doings) away.
The word “baptism” as it appears in the Bible means immersion (the process of submersion in water followed by emergence from water).
Scholars agree that the baptism of the Bible is immersion. The following examples from the Bible substantiate that conclusion:
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16
“Then Philip and the church went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water.” Acts 8:37-38
Note the descriptions of the baptisms – “down into the water,” “came up out of the water.”
It is a visible, tangible, physical expression of what is happening inside spiritually. Our baptism is a picture to be seen by other revealing what is happening within us.
Two descriptive word pictures are given in the Bible to explain what happens at baptism.
1. “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized 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.” Romans 6:3 (See also Colossians 2:1) We are identifying with Jesus’ experience and demonstrating outwardly in our baptism that:
>we are dying to our old life and the ways of sin
>we are burying that old life of sin
>and we rise to live the new life
2. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27 We are demonstrating by our baptism that we are taking off our old clothes of our sinful nature and lifestyle and putting on new clothes of Jesus’ nature and lifestyle.
At Harvest, parents dedicate their children to the Lord but we do not baptize babies. Infant baptism was not a part of the first church in the bible. It was neither God’s intention nor desire for someone else to make such an important decision for you. Infant baptism began in the church centuries later. It was in response to their opinion that the baby would not to go heaven if he died.
We believe, as the scriptures show us, that New Testament baptism was accompanied by belief, faith and repentance. Your decision to follow Christ is a personal faith decision and needs to be made by you alone.
To be immersed may seem disrespectful to your family who had you sprinkled, but really it is more important than that. They were doing what they were taught and had your spiritual best interest in mind. You can thank them for bringing you up with those spiritual concerns.
Many of our congregation who are immersed were sprinkled as infants and later on realized that immersion combined with their personal faith was the first church’s practice under the apostles’ direction.
We immerse as part of the Sunday morning service or at any other time. It can be viewed by many or few.
1. Because Jesus commanded it.
After His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven, Jesus left these final directions to His followers (which includes us): “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-20. (See also Mark 16:15,16)
2. Because baptism was an integral part of every conversion experience recorded in the book of Acts (which tells about the actions and beliefs of the first Christians and the first churches that formed after Jesus’ ascension). Note the following examples of the apostles, their associates, and the first Christians baptized:
> Groups of people being baptized – Acts 2:41; 8:12
> Paul being baptized – Acts 8:34-39; 9:18; 22:11-16
> Cornelius being baptized – Acts 10:47, 48
> Lydia and her household being baptized – Acts 10:47, 48
> Philippian jailer and his household being baptized – Acts 16:33, 34
> Corinthians being baptized – Acts 18:8
> Ephesians being baptized – Acts 19:5
3. Because it is a way to witness to others of your belief in Christ and your resulting commitment. Though is may seem scary and humiliating to be involved in sch a public act of surrender, it translates into a powerful witness to all who view it.
We do not stand in judgment or tell God who to be merciful to. A better questions is, “Can someone love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength – but refuse to do what is commanded of them?” Lordship is not about loopholes. Note that in each situation of conversion, all who were baptized expressed belief in Jesus and we baptized immediately.
You are ready to be baptized:
When you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and are ready to receive Jesus as your Savior.
When you are ready to repent – ready to turn your life around.
When you are ready to put your past behind you and put your life in Jesus’ hand. Read Acts 2:38, Colossians 3:5-10, and John 1:12-13
Any Christian can have the privilege of baptizing another. It would be appropriate for the Christian who led you to belief in Christ, the Christian who is a great influence in your life, the Christian whom you greatly respect or the Christian decision counselor/shepherd who is available to baptize you.
Respond to the invitation in any of our services, mark you connection card, or fill out the form below.
We will talk with you about the decision you wish to make. You will be baptized as soon as possible.
Fill out the form, and one of our Pastors will contact you soon!
I have been baptized. Now what?