Questions About Baptism

Baptism1_Graphic I’ve noticed that Baptism is a topic that people have lots of questions about.  Today we’ll examine some of the most common questions.

Why should I be baptized?

  1. It demonstrates my belief in JESUS.

Acts 18:8 “Many of the people who heard Him believed and were baptized.”  Baptism doesn’t make you a Christian.  It just shows that you are a Christian.  A wedding ring doesn’t make me married, it is a symbol of a commitment that I made that made me married.  One day I made a commitment to my wife before God and a bunch of people and I said “I do” and I gave my life to her in front of God for the rest of my life.  That commitment is what makes me married, not the ring.  If I were to loose my ring, I’d still be married.  Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward commitment. 

It is your commitment to Christ that saves you.  Baptism just says to the world, “I’m not ashamed to tell the whole world what’s happened to me.  I’ve given my life to Christ.”  A little boy asked his pastor , “When can I get advertised?”  I like that. That’s what baptism is.  Baptism is an advertisement for Jesus. It’s saying, “I’m not ashamed of Jesus Christ.”

  1. Jesus says I Should Be

In Matthew 28:18-20  “Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and (1make disciples of all nations, (2baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and (3) 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

“These are the three things the church is commanded to do:  1. Make disciples — help people come to know Christ; 2. Baptize them; and 3. help them grow up.  Some people think, “I’ll be baptized after I’ve grown up.  After I know about the Christian life, then I’ll be baptized.”  No, it’s right after you make the decision to follow Christ.  Notice the order:  You make the disciples, then you baptize them, then you spend the rest of your life growing as a Christian.

 3. To follow the example set by Jesus.

Mark 1:9 “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.” Why was Jesus baptized?  In order to save Him?  No, He didn’t need to be saved.  He was perfect.  Baptism doesn’t save you.  It is a symbol of obedience and it’s an example that we are to do what He has done.

What is the meaning of baptism?

Baptism is a beautiful picture or illustration of life after death. As a person is lowered under the water it symbolizes death and burial.  When a person is raised above the water it symbolizes resurrection and new life!

  • Baptism illustrates Christ’s Death, Burial and Resurrection.

  “For when you are baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.”   Colossians 2:12

  • Baptism illustrates my NEW LIFE as a Christ follower.

“By our baptism then, we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead…so also we may live a new life!”  Romans 6:4

At The Ridge Fellowship we baptize the way they did in the Bible — putting people all the way under the water.  It is a symbol of a burial and resurrection.  Just like Jesus Christ died and was buried in the ground for three days and then rose again.

Why should I be baptized by immersion?

There are some churches that sprinkle a little water on your forehead, some pour a little water, other churches put you all the way under the water.  Why do we believe and practice at The Ridge Fellowship you should be baptized by immersion?  Four reasons.

  1. That’s what the word means. “Baptize” literally means “dip under water.”  The Greek word baptize means to dip under water.
  2. Because Jesus was baptized that way. We want to baptize the way Jesus did.  Matthew records,“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.”  Matthew 3:16  He went down to the Jordan river.  John the Baptist baptized Him in the river.  He set the example.
  3. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion. Example: “…Then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water…”  Acts 8:38-39
  4. It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection. The founders of denominations agree about this.

Martin Luther (Lutherans) said, “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”

John Calvin (Presbyterians) “The word `baptize’ signifies to immerse.  It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”

John Wesley (Methodists) “Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”

Some Catholics are now going back to baptizing by immersion.  Since 1988 every Catholic church in California has been built with a baptism pool so they can immerse.  The arch bishop said, “Catholic churches have realized `This brings out far more clearly the true meaning of baptism of being buried with Christ and entering into a new life.'”

Who should be baptized?

  • Every person who’s believed in Christ.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News…and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”  Acts 8:12

This is the model you see in the New Testament:  people believe then they were baptized, they believe, then they were baptized.

What about infant baptism?

I was baptized as an infant in a Presbyterian church, but I don’t remember it.  If you too were baptized as a child or baby, I’m sure that was very significant for your parents, but you may not remember it.  So it didn’t mean anything to you.  We’re not talking about the baptism of confirmation but a baptism of confession or believer’s baptism.   A believer’s baptism states: “I want the world to know I’m a follower of Christ.”  You can’t do that until after you are a follower of Christ.

child dedicationAt The Ridge Fellowship  we dedicate children and baptize believers.  An example of Dedication is found in  Luke chapter 2 “Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  Luke 2:22 (NIV)

We wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them.  There is only one qualification in the Bible to be baptized.  You’ve got to believe in Christ.  Obviously you’ve got to be old enough to understand what that’s all about.  There are many churches that practice the baptism of confirmation and I’m not opposed to this.  This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child.  The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own confession of faith.  This custom only began about 300 years after the Bible was finished.  It’s not in the Bible.  It’s just a tradition.  This is different than the baptism talked about in the Bible, which was only for those old enough to believe.  The purpose is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ.

When should you be baptized?

  • As soon as you believe. Or as soon as you realize its importance. Maybe you’ve been a believer for a while but you didn’t realize how important it was

“Philip began with the scripture and told him the good news about Jesus and as they traveled along the road they came to some water and the man said, “Look!  Here’s water.  Why shouldn’t It to reach our target I be baptized right now?”  Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”  The man answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  So he went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”

There’s nothing special about the water.  The water in the pool is not holy, neither is the baptismal pools churches use.  What is holy is the faith of the people.  It’s not where you’re baptized.  It’s why you’re baptized — to publicly say, “I am an adult consenting follower of Christ.”  There’s no reason to delay.  After you’ve decided to receive Christ you ought to be baptized.

At The Ridge Fellowship baptism is strongly encouraged because we want to KNOW Christ and GROW to be like Him.

Other common questions. 

Step in step outWhat do you wear when you’re going to be baptized?  Whatever you feel comfortable in.  If you’re a woman, maybe a swim suit with a t-shirt over the top simply for modesty.  The men, just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.  Something you don’t mind getting wet in.  We provide a T-shirt (black), shorts, (black) and a towel.

Can my family be baptized together?  Yes.  If each family member understands the full meaning of baptism and has become a Christian, we encourage families to be baptized at once.  I once baptized three brothers and sisters.  It was a great experience.

Certificate0010Can I choose who baptizes me?  Yes, a relative, spouse, parent, Growth Group leader, your campus care person or any of the Teaching pastor’s.  You may choose who will baptize you.

Will you have to say anything at your baptism?
  No.  At the beginning of the service, I or one of our pastors will briefly explain the meaning of baptism.  You will wait at the edge of the baptismal tank for your turn to be baptized then I or another pastor will introduce you, briefly lower you under the water, then you can leave the tank, dry off and watch the others.

How can I remember my baptism?  We take your picture and it has your certificate with your name and I sign it. This is to help you remember your baptism.   We also give each person baptized a Life Application Study bible and a “Step In, Step Out” T-shirt.

Life Application Bible_
Can I invite people to my baptism?
  Absolutely!! We also encourage you to invite people to your baptism.

Special Circumstances?  You may have a special circumstance which needs a private baptism.  We would be happy to do that for you.  For instance, if you’re petrified of water and there are folks that absolutely have phobias about water.  I do private baptisms.  We are understanding and sympathetic.  There are people who’ve had cancer treatments and are wearing a wig or toupee and they’re afraid that’s going to fall off, or if you’ve had a surgery or anything that would cause you to be embarrassed, all you need to do is let me know and we’ll arrange a private baptism.

Is it ok to be baptized more than once?  For instance a wife who was baptized when she gave her life to Christ but now her husband has become a Christian and she wants to be baptized again with him.  Sure you can.  Do you take communion more than once?  There’s no law that says you can only be baptized once.  If you are in the Holy Land and you want to be baptized in the Jordan river as a reaffirmation of your faith, go ahead.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s not like it’s a sin to do it again.

How do I sign up for baptism?    Just mark on your Connection Card on a Sunday morning.

If you have not been baptized, it would be our privilege to baptize you.

Are there any other questions I didn’t answer?  Comment below.



About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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1 Response to Questions About Baptism

  1. divinbread says:

    There many type of Baptism? It’s truly is amazing that many people are getting baptized but many aren’t doing the baptism that saved. Also, the bible clearly stated why was Jesus baptized.

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