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The Southgate Christian Fellowship

SCF What About

What about Water Baptism?

"I was confirmed when I was twelve. Wasn't that enough?"

"I've been a Christian for thirty years. Are you seriously suggesting I need to be baptized?"

"My mum had me Christened as a baby. Do I need to be baptized again?"

"Can't you just sprinkle some water on our heads? Do we have to get completely soaked?"

These are common questions but they miss much of the Biblical relevance of baptism. So -

Why be baptized?

We have invited Jesus into our lives and have been 'born again' into God's family. Our dubious pasts have been forgiven and forgotten by God - we have new life!

However, if we are going to live this new life in God's power and authority, unhindered by our past, there are two further steps we need to take. One is to be baptized in water and the other is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. See what it says in Acts 2:37-38: When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What, then, is water baptism?

Baptism is a command of Jesus (see Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16), and in being baptized we follow the example he set for us when he himself was baptized by going down into the waters of the river Jordan (see Matthew 3:16). The New Testament part of the Bible (the part that covers the life of Jesus and onwards from there) was written in Greek; and the Greek word for baptism is 'baptizo' which means to immerse, to plunge, or to dip.

What does baptism do for the believer?

This is what it says in Colossians 2:12: Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. See also Romans 6:3-4.

When we look at what the Bible has to say about baptism we can see that it is a very significant event in the experience of the Christian. This is because:

1: It's our funeral!

"We are buried with Christ". Throughout the New Testament baptism is done by immersion (eg: Acts 8:38-39). As Paul says, our old selves are buried so we have to go right down into the water to symbolise the burying of  our old nature.

2: It's our resurrection!

"So too we are raised with Christ". As we come up out of the water we are clean and new and ready to take our place with Jesus at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1:20-21; 2:6). What a different perspective this gives us on life, seeing things from God's viewpoint!

3: No longer a slave to sin.

"...count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). What does this verse tell us about sin? It makes it quite clear that, after we have been baptized, we can resist temptation and not do wrong things.

4: Identified with Jesus.

In Galatians 3:27 it says that "all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." This means that we have the nature of Jesus within us that can grow and grow. As a result we become more and more like him.

And what is the nature of Jesus? It's the 'fruit' of the Holy Spirit that Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Do you need to be baptized in water?

If you have not been through the waters of baptism since you became a Christian then this is a step you need to take in obedience to Jesus.

In doing so you are:

            1: Saying goodbye to your old lifestyle and turning away from ungodly living.

            2: Saying hello to new standards of living - God's standards.

            3: Saying yes to Jesus and becoming his disciple, being obedient to his Word and being a witness for him in the world.

           

This gives a brief introduction to water baptism. If you want to know more, or if reading this leaflet raises a question in your mind as to whether you need to be baptized, please e.mail us for further help.

 

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