Are you curious or interested in baptism?

From the earliest beginnings, those who have followed Jesus as their King, accepted his message and believed it, have been baptized as an expression of their personal faith in Him.

They do this primarily because we are instructed to do so by Jesus. Just before he returned to heaven he told his disciples, “Go make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” It was to be an identification mark for his followers.

When Peter preached his first message, and his listeners asked what they should do in response, he said, “Repent, and be baptized,” and “those who accepted his message were baptized…” Acts 2:41. When Phillip preached in Samaria the response was similar; “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12 When Paul preached in Corinth we read, “…many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” Acts 18:8

So baptism is an outward, visible expression of an inward commitment to Jesus. Many have likened it to wearing a wedding ring. Wearing a wedding ring does not make you married—it’s an outward symbol of a commitment you have made in your heart. In the same way, being baptism doesn’t result in you loving and and following Jesus, but rather it announces that you do.

How exactly is someone baptized?

The word “baptism” is a transliteration of the Greek word “baptidzo.” What that means is we took the Greek word as it was and made it into a new English word. The actual Greek word meant to immerse, so if we were translating baptidzo literally we would use the word immerse.

So, when someone is baptized, we take and literally immerse them under water! Sometimes the person is immersed kneeling forward, but most times the person being baptized is reposed backward in the water as if laying down. Baptisms have been performed in rivers, lakes, oceans, swimming pools and even in special pools that churches construct in their buildings for this purpose.

Though the word means to immerse, not every church baptizes by immersing people. Some pour water, others sprinkle, but when we baptize, we submerge you completely!

Is baptism meant to represent something as a picture?

We believe so. Baptism is an identification mark, but the act itself is meant to portray a picture. Actually, we believe it is meant to depict several realities.

We believe it pictures being washed clean of our sin.
John the Baptizer baptized people as a symbol of repentance and cleansing from sin. They were baptized as they confessed their sin. When we baptize someone we are picturing that their sins are washed away by the Lord Jesus.

Baptism is a picture of our union with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection.
Not sure how it happened, but being baptized as a follower of Jesus came to picture our unity with Him in His death, burial and resurrection. Maybe God told Paul specifically, or maybe one day he simply saw the picture as they immersed new believers, but this is what he said to the church at Rome; “Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5).

He says something similar to the church at Colossae; “…You were buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12

Baptism is a picture of our new life in Christ.
The first followers of Jesus taught us that when we put our faith in Jesus he forgives us our sin, cleanses us and makes us new on the inside. As the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said, God gives us a new heart! Here’s Paul to the church at Corinth; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

Baptism pictures this renewal. This transformation. Here’s Paul again in his letter to Rome—look for the picture of renewal in baptism. “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 6:4). We were raised up out of the water picturing a resurrection to new life—even now!

Why should those who follow Jesus be baptized?

There are a number of reasons that those who follow Jesus should be baptized. First and foremost would be because Jesus Himself instructs us to be baptized. I would say that someone who claims to follow Jesus and has not been baptized is a bit of a contradiction. How can we claim to follow Him, and not do one of the first things he asks us to do? Here’s that last command that was given to us by Jesus in Matthew’s narrative of the life of Jesus. “All authority in heaven and on 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, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Another reason to be baptized is not just because Jesus asked us to, but because doing so is an act of love for Jesus. Jesus himself said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15). If you love me, you will do as I ask. We should be baptized because we love Jesus. The disciple John wrote some early followers of Jesus and told them; “Whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete” (1 John 2:5).

And finally, as we’ve already said, it’s our way of outwardly identifying with Jesus. After Peter preached “those who accepted his message were baptized” (Acts 2:41).

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, one of his followers, there is no reason to delay—be baptized!

Who should be baptized?

Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ should be baptized. If in your heart you believe that Jesus came to be our Savior and our King, then you should be baptized. “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12).

Because we believe that baptism represents one’s personal relationship with Jesus, we don’t baptize infants. Not all who follow Jesus agree with that decision; many Christians baptize infants because they believe the parents’ faith should be extended to their children, but we do not.

When should we be baptized?

If you are a follower of Jesus, you should be baptized immediately. We don’t mean in that very moment, but you should be baptized as soon as practically possible. Some churches ask that you go through a class first, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but in the New Testament, it seems that people were baptized as soon as they believed and decided to follow Jesus.

In Acts 8 there is a story where Phillip is talking to an Ethiopian and he explains to him the good news of the Kingdom of God and our King Jesus. When he hears and understands about Jesus, as they are passing a body of water, the Ethiopian asks, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” (Acts 8:35-36) and immediately Phillip stops the carriage they were in and baptizes the man.

What about being baptized a second time?

What about being baptized again? Sometimes people are baptized before they really understand and begin to follow Jesus and want to be baptized again. Others are baptized by sprinkling as a baby and want to be baptized as a true believer. In either case, we welcome you to profess your faith through baptism and if either of the above scenarios describes you, we even encourage you to be baptized as an authentic follower of Jesus.

Sometimes, a Christ-follower who was previously baptized already may desire to be baptized again, to publicly express a recommitment of his or her life to Christ. We want to affirm that choice and celebrate it with you!

What will happen on the day I’m baptized?

Some practical considerations:
Since clothes often become clingy and/or transparent when wet, plan on wearing something modest. We encourage shorts and a dark tee shirt for both men and women. You should also bring a bath towel, a plastic bag for taking wet items home, and a complete change of clothes.

When you are baptized, you will be allowed to plug your nose if you need to. The person baptizing you will then lean you back until you are completely under the water, and then quickly lift you out. Usually, the person officiating your baptism will point to the picture we mention earlier saying you are “buried with Jesus and are now rising to walk in a newness of life!”

A private area to change clothes after your baptism will be provided. We will have people there to offer any assistance you may require.

Some spiritual considerations:

We ask every believer who is to be baptized to write out their story of how they have come to follow Jesus and why they desire to be baptized. We understand that public speaking is often very scary for people, so on that day whoever is officiating at your baptism will gladly read your story for you, though you are welcome to do so for yourself.

At the beginning of each baptism, we will briefly explain the meaning of baptism. Then each person that is going to be baptized will be introduced in turn and we will briefly share their story of how they came to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Then that person will be baptized.

Be sure to invite friends and relatives to witness this special moment in your life!

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