WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM?
Baptism is a visible, tangible, physical expression of what is happening inside spiritually when we put our faith in Jesus and decide to follow him. It’s the outward expression of the inward miracle. Our baptism is a picture to be seen by others revealing what is happening within us.
Two descriptive word pictures are given in the Bible to explain what happens at baptism.
1. "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were
baptized into his death? 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 6:3.We are identifying with Jesus'
experience and demonstrating outwardly in our baptism that:
a) we are dying to our old life and the ways of sin.
b) we are burying that old life of sin.
c) and we rise to live the new life.
2. "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with
Christ." - Galatians 3:27. We are demonstrating by our baptism that we are:
a) taking off our old clothes of our sinful nature and lifestyle,
b) and putting on new clothes of Jesus' nature and lifestyle.
We put on Jesus' values and His priorities. We surrender to Jesus' way. We make Him Lord of our lives, as well as Savior. That means - "I'm no longer the boss of my life. Jesus is." (Galatians 2:20)
WHAT EXACTLY IS BAPTISM?
The word "baptism" as it appears in the Bible means immersion (the process of submersion in water followed by emergence from the water).
Scholars agree that the baptism of the Bible is immersion. The following examples from the Bible substantiate that conclusion:
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water." Matthew 3:16.
"Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water…" Acts 8:38-39
Note the descriptions of the baptisms - "down into the water," "came up out of the water."
WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
1. Because Jesus was baptized. He is our model, our example, in everything we
think and do. Read Matthew 3:13-15.
"13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented."
Jesus said it is proper - it is the right thing to do. So John baptized Him. And immediately afterward, God expressed how pleased He was with Jesus' actions.
Jesus said baptism was the right thing to do, and then He followed through with action.
2. Because Jesus commanded it.
After His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven, Jesus left these final
directions to His followers (which includes us):
"All authority in heaven and 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-20. See also Mark 16:15,16.
3. Because baptism was an integral part of every conversion experience recorded
in the book of Acts (which tells about the actions and beliefs of the first Christians
and the first churches that formed after Jesus' ascension). Note the following
examples of the apostles, their associates, and the first Christians baptized:
a. groups of people being baptized - Acts 2:41; 8:12
b. Paul being baptized - Acts 8:34-39; 9:18; 22:11-16
c. Cornelius being baptized - Acts 10:47,48
d. Lydia and her household being baptized - Acts 16:13-15
e. Philippian jailer and his household being baptized - Acts 16:33,34
f. Corinthians being baptized - Acts 18:8
g. Ephesians being baptized - Acts 19:5
Note that though each situation varied in some aspects, all who were baptized expressed belief in Jesus and were baptized immediately. According to these Scriptural examples, baptism is a part of becoming a Christian.
4. Because it is a way to witness to others of your belief in Christ and your resulting
commitment. Though it may seem scary and humiliating to be involved in such a
public act of surrender, it translates into a powerful witness to all who view it. We do
not require anyone to be baptized in the public worship service. Your baptism can
be scheduled on any day or any time with whoever you want to be there, but we do
like for you to consider the impact your baptism could have on others by making it
a part of the worship service.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I AM READY TO BE BAPTIZED?
You are ready to be baptized:
When you understand your own sin and your need for a Savior. (Romans 3:23)
When you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and are ready to receive Jesus as your Savior.
When you are ready to repent - ready to turn your life around.
When you are ready to put your past behind you and put your life in Jesus' hands. Read Acts 2:38, Colossians 3:5-10, John 1:12-13.
IS BAPTISM BY IMMERSION NECESSARY TO BECOME A MEMBER OF PLUM CREEK?
Yes. Our heart’s desire is to simply obey the clear teaching of God’s Word. So even if you were baptized as an infant, your baptism today represents an obedience to Christ’s command for all who come to faith in him. We don’t baptize infants or young children because in Scripture the one thing that comes before baptism is belief in Christ. The Bible teaches that there is an age where children do not truly understand right from wrong. Read Deuteronomy 1:39. We don’t baptize anyone until they are able to understand and believe.
Our church believes that you should be baptized if you have not been baptized by immersion since you became a believer. This doesn’t devalue a prior experience, but simply reflects your desire to be baptized in the same way that Jesus was baptized. Everyone who becomes a member at Plum Creek is baptized by immersion.
WHO SHOULD BAPTIZE ME?
Any Christian can have the privilege of baptizing another. It would be appropriate for the Christian who led you to belief in Christ, the Christian who is a great influence in your life, the Christian whom you greatly respect, or the minister who is available to baptize you.