The Bible Concerning Baptism

by Pastor Art Kohl

Introduction: 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for reproof, for CORRECTION, for instruction in righteousness." God gave us ALL SCRIPTURE (The Bible) for many reasons. One is for correction according to this verse. The problem is that "correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way," Proverbs 15:10.

Jesus said that God's Word is truth. (John 17:17) Let's look at God's Word concerning baptism - it's so important!

1. Jesus Commands Us To Be Baptized

His last command to his disciples was, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28:19

When Gentiles began to be saved as Peter the apostle preached, Acts 10:48 says, "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." It was commanded!

Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15

2. We Are To Be Baptized After We Believe

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15-16

The story is told of a man from Ethiopia who had been to Jerusalem to worship. He was an unsaved man, even though he was religious. He was lost. While riding in his chariot back to Ethiopia (1500 miles!), he was reading Isaiah 53 of the Scriptures. It is an Old Testament prophecy of Jesus Christ. An Evangelist named Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. He didn't. Philip preached Jesus unto him. (Acts 8:26-40)

As these two rode in the chariot, the Ethiopian asked Philip, "See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip said, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." The Ethiopian said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Now notice verse 38 - "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."

Only believers can be baptized according to God's Word. There is no such thing in the Bible as infants being baptized or babies or children. The "baptizing" of infants is a tradition of man that violates the commandment of God and should be rejected by true believers. Jesus asked the question, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" in Matthew 15:3. If God wanted babies to be baptized, he would have commanded it in the Bible.

3. Bible Baptism Is By Immersion

The word "baptize" comes from the Greek word "baptizo" which means to "immerse" - nothing else. The story in Acts 8 again says, "... and they both went DOWN INTO THE WATER, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he BAPTIZED (immersed) him."

In Romans 6:3-5 it tells us that baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When a person believes the Gospel, they are outwardly to show their inward faith by the ordinance of water baptism. As they stand in the water, they are showing that Christ died for them. As they are immersed in the water, they are showing that Christ was buried for them, as they come out of the water they are showing that Christ rose again for them. It is an outward expression of their inward faith.

Sprinkling is not immersing. Pouring water on someone is not the same as immersing. Baptizing is immersing! Sprinkling and pouring does not represent the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus was baptized, it was by immersion. Matthew 3:16 says, "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water."

The practice of sprinkling did not start until about 300 A.D. when Constantine declared the whole Roman Empire "Christian." (Of course no person or nation can be declared "Christian." It is a decision of freewill from a person's heart. Romans 10:9-10) The Church came to Constantine and told him to be baptized. He refused to be immersed and told them to come up with another way. The clergy feared him more than God and suggested sprinkling, to which he agreed. Thus began this unscriptural practice.

A person who has had water sprinkled or poured on them has never been baptized (immersed). Bible baptism is by immersion!

4. We Are To Be Baptized Immediately

As soon as a person believes on Christ and receives Him as their Savior, they are saved (Romans 10:13). Immediately they should be baptized as a way of confessing their new found faith in Christ.

Acts 2:41 says, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about 3000 souls." After midnight one day a man was saved in Acts 16:25-33. The same night, or early morning he was baptized. Read it.

When I was saved at the age of 13, shortly after, at the first opportunity, I was baptized by immersion in water. How about you? Have you been saved? "Saved" is a Bible word used repeatedly. We either are, or we're not. Have you been baptized AFTER you were saved?

Conclusion

God gave His word for correction. It has corrected me over and over again in my life. Yield to God's Word. Study it out yourself. Remember: the Bible is of no private interpretation, 2 Peter 1:20. Read it and heed it.

If you are religious, but not saved, accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour today. Place your faith in Him and be saved. What is faith? Forsaking All I Trust Him.

John 3:15 says, "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." ... And you can take God at His Word!

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