We’ve been doing some serious clearing out of old stuff at our office in preparation for the anticipated move to our new “Every Nation London Hub.” (more about this another time.) I was given the task of deciding the fate of a crate of photo’s we’ve been storing for ages. What struck me as Ali and I went through these on a trip down memory lane, was that the majority of these “church” photo’s over the years were from four categories: Church together gatherings, mission trips, our Bible School graduations, and water baptisms – stacks of them in all sorts of places! Actually I was quite encouraged by this, because isn’t that what Jesus instructed when He commissioned His followers to GO into all the world, and make disciples, baptising them… teaching them…
Water baptisms are one of my favourite things to be involved in, as they so powerfully demonstrate the message of Jesus, and what it means to follow Him. If you have never been baptised in water, here are a few truths about it for you to consider and respond to. (And if you are keen and ready, we have a great opportunity for water baptism coming up on Sunday the 28th August when we have our Church in Hyde Park service, which will include water baptisms in the Lido there. Speak to a pastor or Connect group leader if you would like to be baptised too.)
So, here are 7 important truths I believe that the Scripture teaches about water baptism:
Water Baptism is:
- for every believer. Everyone who chooses to become a follower / disciple of Jesus should be baptised in water. Jesus instructed His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them. It’s not an “optional extra.”
- Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- a sign of repentance, identifying with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. By repentance and faith, I identify with the death of Jesus Christ (going down under the water), and have been raised to new life in Him (coming up out of the water), declaring to everyone that Jesus is now Lord of my life.
- Romans 6:3-4 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
- a believer’s baptism. It’s not a “good person’s” or a “good enough person’s” or “mature Christian’s” baptism, but a believer’s baptism. In water baptism, you are not confirming your maturity or goodness, but your faith/trust in Jesus. If you have believed/put your trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ for your salvation, then you confirm this publicly through water baptism.
- Acts 8:35-40 (NKJV) Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptised?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptised him.
- a funeral, not a death. We “die to our old way of living” through faith and surrender to Jesus. Baptism is the public burial of the old way of living, the old way has already “died” when we committed to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.
- Romans 6:5-6 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
- like a public wedding ceremony, where we openly declare to the world what we have decided in our hearts. The ceremony tells our friends and foes that we now committed to One and no longer available for anyone else.
- by complete immersion, meaning that we go completely under the water and up again. This is the New Testament pattern, symbolising the death and burial of our old way of life, and resurrection to new life in Jesus.
- Matthew 3:16 After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water…
- a step of obedience. Even Jesus said about His own baptism: Let it be done to fulfil all righteousness.
- Water baptism is not something for us to argue or reason about. Like a public wedding ceremony is the accepted way to announce to the world that a marriage is starting, so Jesus ordained that water baptism would be the way His followers proclaim their faith in Him.
- Together with regularly sharing Communion, this is the way we proclaim and remember all God has done for us in Christ.
You can view / download my notes on water baptism here.
- Have you been baptised in water as a public identification with Jesus and confession of your faith in Him? Yes / No
- If not, do you have any questions about water baptism?
- Who can you speak to about these questions?
And, since we’re taking a journey down memory lane, here’s one of my first video teachings I did on baptism – 3 minutes from a boat!