[Message] Importance of Baptism
By Tim on March 24, 2013
Summary: Baptism is not to be taken lightly. It is an essential part of our Christian faith, it usually accompanies visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit (though may not be simultaneous), and is a strong symbol of our unity with Christ and with one another.
1-1. Definition by Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis (John Piper)
“We believe that baptism is an ordinance of the Lord by which those who have repented and come to faith express their union with Christ in His death and resurrection, by being immersed in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of belonging to the new people of God, the true Israel, and an emblem of burial and cleansing, signifying death to the old life of unbelief, and purification from the pollution of sin.”
1-2. Definition by the Lausanne Movement (John Stott)
“There were the gospel demands, namely repentance and faith. “Repent,” Peter said (Acts 2:38, 3:19), but also declared that “everyone who believes in him (Jesus) receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43 cf. 13:38, 39). In addition he commanded, “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.” The apostles certainly never held a mechanical view of baptism, for they always set it in its context of repentance and faith: On the day of Pentecost those Jews were being required to submit to baptism in the name of the very Jesus whom they had previously repudiated and killed. Whatever else baptism may signify, it certainly was and is a public token of repentance and faith in Jesus.”
1-3. Definition by the World Council of Churches
“Baptism is the sign of new life through Jesus Christ. It unites the one baptized with Christ and with his people. The New Testament scriptures and the liturgy of the Church unfold the meaning of baptism in various images which express the riches of Christ and the gifts of his salvation. These images are some- times linked with the symbolic uses of water in the Old Testament. Baptism is participation in Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12); a washing away of sin (I Cor. 6:11); a new birth (John3:5); an enlightenment by Christ (Eph. 5:14); a re- clothing in Christ (Gal. 3:27); a renewal by the Spirit(Titus 3:5); the experience of salvation from the flood(I Peter 3:20-21); an exodus from bondage (I Cor. 10:1-2) and a liberation into a new humanity in which barriers of division whether of sex or race or social status are transcended (Gal. 3:27-28; I Cor. 12:13). The images are many but the reality is one.”
1-4. Baptism in Jewish Culture
A practice referred to as “mikvah” was a very important part of Jewish tradition for ritual cleansing in water. Also, the practices of John the Baptist and the apostles strongly suggest baptism being used as a symbol of saying, “I follow your teaching” or “I want to turn my life around based on what you teach”.
2. ESSENTIALITY OF BAPTISM
2-1. Jesus commanded baptism (in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit) - Mt 28:19
2-2. Baptism was a requirement of being a believer - Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38
2-3. Baptism signifies conversion - Acts 9:18
2-4. We are baptized into Jesus’ death - Ro 6:3-4; Gal 3:27; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:18-22
2-5. Baptism should not be delayed - Acts 8:36; Acts 10:47; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; Acts 18:8; Acts 22:16
3. HOLY SPIRIT IN BAPTISM
3-1. John’s baptism was about repentance and preparation - Mk 1:4, Lk 3:3, Acts 13:24
3-2. Jesus’ baptism (with the Holy Spirit) was different from John’s - Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:26, 33; Acts 1:5
3-3. Holy Spirit came on Jesus when he was baptized - Mt 3:13; Mk 1:9; Lk 3:21
3-4. Holy Spirit came on others when they were baptized - Acts 8:14-17; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:5-6
3-5. Some got baptized but had to receive the Holy Spirit later - Acts 8:14
3-6. Some knew the baptism of John but not of Jesus with the Holy Spirit - Acts 18:25; Acts 19:1-7
3-7. Evidence of the Holy Spirit was more than the simple confession of saying, “Jesus is Lord.” - cf Acts 19:2
3-8. The Holy Spirit is made visible in many ways, but the most obvious is the power to evangelize. (John Piper)
“There is no promise in the book of Acts that everyone who receives the Spirit will speak in tongues or prophesy. But there is the promise in Acts 1:8 that when the Spirit comes upon us, we will receive power; and in this power we will be able to evangelize the whole world. That promise is made to everybody on whom the Holy Spirit comes, not just a few. Then what we see in the book of Acts are illustrations of what this power looks like as it comes on different groups. It comes with speaking in tongues for some (2:4; 10:46; 19:6). It comes with the gift of prophecy for some (2:17; 19:6; cf. 10:46). It comes with free and overflowing praise of God’s greatness (2:11; 10:46). It comes with obedience to the commands of God (5:32). It comes with courage and boldness of witness (2:14–36; 9:17–22). And it brings the working of various gifts (Hebrews 2:4), and miracles (Galatians 3:5), and signs and wonders (Acts 6:8). But however it comes, it is an experience of divine reality. It is not just an idea about our spiritual condition that we infer from a decision we have made. It is supernatural. You can use it to answer the question, “Did you receive the Spirit when you believed?””
4. UNITY THROUGH BAPTISM
4-1. One spirit, one baptism, one body, one Lord, one faith - 1 Co 1:10-14; 1 Co 12:13; Eph 4:5
4-2. We must not be distracted by the minor differences (World Council of Churches)
“Baptism looks beyond itself. As the basis of our common identity in the one body of Christ, it yearns to be completed through the full eucharistic fellowship of all the members of Christ’s body. We should be one at the one table of our one Lord. “All Christians who have received their baptism as the one baptism into the one church, have also received a radical calling from God to communion with all the baptized.””
4-3. Denying others’ baptism is as dangerous as excommunicating them (John Piper)
“When I weigh the kind of imperfection involved in tolerating an invalid baptism because some of our members are deeply persuaded that it is biblically valid, over against the kind of imperfection involved in saying to a son or daughter of the living God, “You are excluded from the local church,” my biblical sense is that the latter is more unthinkable than the former. The local church is a visible expression of the invisible, universal, body of Christ. To exclude from it is virtually the same as excommunication. And no serious church takes excommunication as an invitation to attend the church down the street.”
5. BAPTISM AT CHAPEL OF HOPE
As Chapel of Hope is a new, vibrant and evolving church of people from many backgrounds, we strive to accommodate all possible differences while building on our strong convictions from the Word. Our current position on baptism is that:
5-1. Anyone who has made a clear and intentional decision to follow Christ must be baptized with as little delay as possible, preferably in a regular Sunday worship service setting.
5-2. Only adults and youth capable of making a rational decision to follow Christ should be baptized. For infants, we practice child dedication, where the parents vow before the congregation to raise the child in the way of the Lord according to the Word.
5-3. As far as possible, and not completely ruling out other forms of baptism, we practice baptism by submersion as it was the practice of the apostles in the early church.
5-4. We baptize our candidates in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
5-5. We believe that any and every believer, whether ordained or unordained, is capable of baptizing others.
5-6. We do not encourage rebaptism.