Is scriptural baptism important? Matthew 3:13-17 states, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Christ considered baptism very important as he walked about 60 miles in order to be baptized by John the Baptist. Some might think Jesus could ask someone at Galilee to baptize him, thus saving the 60-mile trip. Jesus knew that nobody in Galilee had the authority to baptize, because God gave that authority to John the Baptist.
God the Father and God the Holy Spirit approved the baptism of Jesus by attending the baptismal service. When Jesus was baptized, God the Father voiced His approval by stating, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" as the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.
Is God pleased with your baptism? Does God consider your baptism "scriptural"? It really does not matter what you think or believe about your baptism. You must determine whether your baptism is scriptural by God’s standards recorded in the Bible.
Scriptural Baptism Involves:
A scriptural subject.
A scriptural method.
A scriptural administrator.
A Scriptural purpose.
A scriptural subject is a person that is already saved. When Christ gave the Great Commission to the local church, he put salvation before baptism. Jesus declared in Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" The word "teach" speaks of salvation, therefore baptism comes after a person is saved.
Acts 2:41 states, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." It is very plain that before these people were baptized, they had already received the word of the Lord with gladness. John the Baptist refused to baptize the Pharisees because they did not bring forth fruits "…meet (suitable) for repentance…" Matthew 3:7-12.
Acts 8:12 reveals that Philip baptized the Samarians only after they believed the preaching about the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
Acts 8:26-40 gives the story of Philip and the Eunuch. Verse 35 reveals that Philip preached Jesus to the Eunuch. When they came to water, the Eunuch said, "…See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip answered in verse 37, "…If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." The Eunuch then replied, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." At this point, the chariot was stopped, and Philip and the Eunuch both went down into the water, and Philip baptized the Eunuch. Is this passage not proof enough that a salvation experience is necessary before baptism?
In Acts 10:43-47, Cornelius and his household were baptized after they received salvation and the gift of the Holy Ghost, not before.
In Acts 16:31, the Philippian jailer asked, "…Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas did not tell the man to be baptized, or do good works, or join the church. They told him to "…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." After this man believed, he was scripturally baptized. Verse 33 records, "…And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." The jailer showed fruits of repentance when he willingly and with danger to his own life, brought Paul and Silas to his own house and set meat before them, rejoicing and believing in God with his entire house.
Repentance and Faith, not baptism, is required for salvation. Hebrews 9:22 clearly states, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." Baptism does not save, but as will be seen later, baptism is an outward reflection of salvation that has occurred in the spirit of man. Hebrews 10:4 states, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." If it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin, how can water wash away the spiritual filth of sin?
The scriptural method of baptism is immersion in water. The word "baptism" means immersion, to dip as in dying cloth. In scriptural baptism a saved person is completely "put under the water". Sprinkling or pouring is not baptism.
Matthew 3:16,17 reveals that Jesus was completely immersed. "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:" When Jesus was baptized, he came up straightway out of the water. If Jesus came up straightway out of the water, he had to be in the water. I have seen pictures of John and Jesus standing in the Jordan River as John the Baptist uses a small cup to pour water on Jesus’ head. Jesus did not have water poured on his head, but was fully immersed. It is unscriptural and illogical that John and Jesus stepped into the Jordan River, and then John poured water on Jesus’ head.
John 3:23 confirms that John "…was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized." John needed much water to baptize. A cup of water would not do. The person must be completely immersed.
Acts 8:38-39 declares that the Eunuch "… commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." Both Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water, and both Philip and the Eunuch came up out of the water. There must have been much water in order for both men to get into the water.
Romans 6:3-5 makes it abundantly clear that baptism is a burial, a likeness of the believer being dead to this world, and alive unto God. The believer has put away past sins, and is looking forward to the resurrection. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" Could anything be clearer? The only way these scriptures can be misunderstood is if a person is willingly ignorant.
A Scriptural Administrator is one who is authorized by God to baptize. It takes authority to do most things. Only the government can legally print money. Any one else who prints money is guilty of counterfeiting. Doctors and lawyers must have permission to practice medicine and law. A person who practices law or medicine without the proper authority is guilty of impersonation. On a more personal level, I am the only one who has authority to take money out of my checking account. Anybody other than myself that takes money out of my checking account is guilty of thief.
There is also authority for scriptural baptism. I understand that most people do not understand this principle, but even a casual observation of scripture will reveal this truth.
John 1:6 states, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." This passage reveals that John was given authority from God, as he was sent from God. Matthew 3:3 explains that John came to prepare the way of the Lord and John baptized in the name of the Lord in the river Jordan. The phrase "in the name of" means authority.
John 4:1,2 reveals the progression of authority to baptize moved from John the Baptist to the early church, which was organized by Jesus Christ during his personal ministry. "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)" The disciples, who are members of the church organized by Jesus Christ, received scriptural baptism by John the Baptist, the man sent from God. John 4:1,2 reveals that the early church was baptizing by the authority passed to them from John the Baptist, who is now in prison.
On the day of Pentecost, the saved were added to the already existing church by baptism. Acts 2:41 states, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Acts 1:21-22 reveals two requirements for the replacement of Judas Iscariot. First, the new apostle must have companied with Jesus and the rest of the disciples from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Second, John the Baptist must have baptized the new apostle. This illustrates that John baptized all the original apostles.
In Acts 10:47, when Cornelius and his household were saved, Peter asked permission from the Jerusalem church members present to baptize them. "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"
A Scriptural Purpose pleases the Lord. Matthew 3:17 reveals when Jesus was baptized, "…the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Can anyone doubt that God was well pleased with his son? Can anyone doubt that God is well pleased with believers when they are scripturally baptized?
III John 4 declares, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, and he pleased his father when he was scripturally baptized, so we please our heavenly father when we obey him by being scripturally baptized.
Jesus Christ gave the local church his Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. When all four parts of this commission is followed, God is pleased. The four parts of the commission are: (1) The church must take the gospel message to all the world, (2) Disciples are made when people are saved by the grace and mercy of God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. (3) Saved people are baptized by the authority of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. (4) All of God’s commands are learned and observed.
Not only does scriptural baptism please the Father, it also proclaims the gospel.
I Peter 3:21 declares, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:) Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God because it shows we are looking forward to our soon coming resurrection.
Scriptural baptism pictures and proclaims the gospel. as described in Colossians 2:12. "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
Romans 6:4 exclaims, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." This passage proclaims that burial in water (baptism) illustrates our death to the old life of sin and rebellion against God. Being raised out of the water illustrates our new life in Christ.
Galatians 3:26,27 states, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." These verses proclaim that baptism is the beginning of clothing ourselves with the life of Christ, that after salvation and baptism we will not live as in days past, but will live as Christ would have us live.
Scriptural baptism also protects the church from: (1) Protestant denominationalism (2) interdenominationalism (3) and the ecumenical one world church.
There are many protestant churches in this world, but true Baptists are not protestant, or interdenominational. Baptist did not come from the protestant reformation, but have been present in this world since the time Jesus first called out his disciples from the shores of Galilee. True Baptists do not accept protestant baptism because protestant baptism does not meet the four requirements of scriptural baptism.
Scriptural churches do not accept infant baptism, because infants can make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
Conclusion: Do you have scriptural baptism? If not then we invite you to Independence Baptist Church where you can learn more about what God requires for salvation, scriptural baptism and acceptable service.