Baptism – one of two ordinances given to the Church by Lord Jesus, the other being Lord’s Supper. Baptism one of things that distinguishes between denominations. Distinction found in two areas – what is proper mode and who is suitable candidate. Rev. Hugh Stowell Brown, man who preached at Met. Tab. during time of Spurgeon addressed the issue:
These two questions, “How ought Baptism to be administered?” and, “to whom ought Baptism to be administered?”—these are the questions to which we in our consciences feel compelled to offer answers which differ very materially from those which are given by other Christian people. Again let me explain this matter and set in as plain terms as possible. We believe that this ordinance should never be administered apart from the entire immersion of the candidate in water and we also believe that none should be candidates for this ordinance excepting those who avow their faith in Christ.
Rev. Brown based his conviction firmly on the authority of God’s Word, the explicit commands and statements given therein. Same was true for those present at beginning of White Rock Free Baptist Church:
9 baptized Wednesday, Sept. 11, 1839;
6 baptized Thursday, Sept. 12, 1839; church organized same day with 25 members (12 men, 13 women)
Sept. 25, 1839 “met at Br. Nehemiah Westcott’s for the purpose of baptism and after a sermon delivered by Eld. Charles Bean, heard the experience of Seven. Their experience being satisfactory to the church, we repaired to the water and the …candidates were baptised and added to the church.”
Oct. 18, 1839 two sisters baptized
Nov. 13, 1839 8 brothers and sisters were baptised, postponed a week because of stormy weather: “It was a very refreshing season to all present.The church were much rejoiced to see those who were believers in Christ follow him so willingly and lend their influence in his precious cause and that the little church had now its number doubled since its organisation (incl. 6 by letter of commendation).”
A. Baptism for the believer is:
• An act of obedience – Matt. 28:18-20 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38, 41 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
• The following of Jesus’ example – Matt. 3:13 “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.”
• A public confession/testimony – Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”
• A vow of commitment to Jesus Christ – a solemn promise by both word and act to follow him as a faithful disciple
• A pledge and sign of belonging to Christ and his Church – an ordinance given by Christ to the church to be administered by the church
• An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual change – since it is believers who are baptized, outward sign of what God has already accomplished within the individual
consider our text: different symbols Paul used – put off/put on; buried/raised; dead/alive; guilty/forgiven
get the idea that he expected baptism would accompany real and significant change in believer’s life, life characterized by faith in Lord Jesus
B. Baptism is a symbol of:
• The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ: buried with him, raised with him (12) – 1 Cor. 15:3-4 of first importance, Christ died, was buried, rose again. Core doctrine, an essential of Christian faith, Lord’s Table symbolizes sacrifice (death), baptism symbolizes that which validated his sacrifice (resurrection). Take away either, faith is useless.
• The death to sin and resurrection to a new life of the believer: going under water, into grave, raised again to life – old person died, now a new creation, new person in Christ. No longer under mastery of sin, under mastery of Christ, symbolizing work God does in believer at conversion
• The cleansing of regeneration: Paul reminded Titus of how God saves by his mercy “through the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5). Know it’s not washing with soap and water that saves. But,… just as certainly as water washes dirt from our bodies, so blood of Christ applied by Spirit of Christ washes sin from our souls.
• The gospel that saves: Bible nowhere gives warrant for self-baptism; verb “baptize” requires an object, one individual baptizes another. So, too, in our salvation: good news of gospel – God has done for sinful man what man cannot do for himself, all necessary for complete salvation through faith in Christ.
• The changes already accomplished in the life: NT practice – repent, confess faith, be baptized. Consistent with Jesus’ commission: make disciples, baptize them, teach them to follow. Since it’s baptism of disciples, all that’s just been described is already reality in candidates’ lives.
• The resurrection of the dead of all believers: one more piece still future – final resurrection. We know to anticipate it because of Jesus’ resurrection, Paul leaves no doubt in 1 Cor. 15. As certainly as Jesus rose from dead, so will all those united to him by faith. Final stage in salvation will be complete: when “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54) never to be experienced again.
Will be asking each candidate 4 questions; final question requires commitment: do you promise to live as becomes a Christian? Following that, will ask you, the witnesses, to make promise also – to be help and encouragement to candidate in their Christian walk.
Those who belong to Christ’s church have responsibilities not only to Christ but also to one another. Read 1 Cor 12:12ff
To watch over one another in love;
to pray for one another;
To aid in sickness and distress;
to cultivate sympathy and courtesy;
to be slow to take offense,
always ready for reconciliation.
In other words, “to help one another be a vital part of the body of Christ, to hold one another accountable, to pray for one another, to rejoice with one another, to weep with one another, and to walk with one another along our journey to heaven.”