What is baptism?
Baptism is an outward sign, act, and expression of what God has done in our lives. Scripture teaches us that the act of Baptism is symbolic in many ways. Paul, in Romans 6:1-4 says that the act of baptism symbolizes our old life in sin dying and being buried, and when we come up out of the water, it is like we have been raised with a new life in Christ. The word baptism used by John and Jesus means to “cleanse, to wash and to purify.” Baptism is a symbol of Jesus washing away the sins of our life and making us a new person. God has saved us, cleansed us and made us a new person. We are not saved when we are baptized, but baptism tells the world what God has done.
Why should I be baptized?
First, we want to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus, who never sinned, was baptized in Matthew 3. Secondly, baptism is a way to publicly declare your faith in Jesus Christ. It is a serious, important step. It’s a great opportunity to communicate to your friends and your family that you are a changed person. Thirdly, and most importantly, Jesus instructed us to be baptized. In Matthew 28:19, he told the disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” In the Book of Acts, early followers of Jesus followed this command (Acts 8, 9, 10, 16). Being baptized is an act of obedience for a follower of Jesus. We do it because Jesus commanded it.
When should I be baptized?
Because baptism is a public declaration of faith, it should happen after you have put your faith in Jesus Christ. There is not a right age to be baptized. A person should be baptized when they understand they were a sinner, but have now committed to being a life long follower of Jesus and their sins have been forgiven. An individual should be baptized as soon as they have put their faith in Jesus Christ. Some people want to be baptized again because they did not understand their first baptism or left the faith and now have returned. This is a great opportunity to communicate their return to Jesus.
How is someone baptized?
Scripture does not give an instruction guide on how baptism should take place. Different faith traditions have used various ways of baptism throughout history. We follow the examples of Scripture as closely as we can at First Assembly without being legalistic. Therefore, we baptize people in water by letting them go under water and come up again (symbolizing the death and resurrection of Romans 6), this is called immersion. Jesus commanded us to “baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” so we obey His command to baptize with those words (Matthew 28:19).
Why do we celebrate baptism at First Assembly so much?
As a church we place a high emphasis on being baptized. We regularly schedule this moment for people at First Assembly to declare their faith in Jesus Christ. We know this is a sacred moment when someone publicly declares their love of Jesus Christ, but it is also a joyful moment for us. The Bible tells us that heaven rejoices when a person places their faith and hope in God. We want to rejoice with them.
Fore more information or questions about water baptism or how you can be baptized, contact Gary Tomlinson at email@example.com or 501-758-8553.
Posted on Wed, January 23, 2013
by Timothy Hill