BELIEVER'S BAPTISM

Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MARK 16:15, 16




INTRODUCTION:


  1. We see in Mark 16:16, as well as in Matthew 28:19, that baptism is part of the Great Commission.
  2. Getting people saved is only part of the Great Commission.  They are also to be baptized and discipled.
  3. The Lord gave His church only two ordinances: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Of these, baptism was given first and it is mentioned about ten times more often in the New Testament then the Lord's Supper.
  4. In the ministry of John the Baptist it is repeatedly mentioned that his converts were baptized.  John 3:23 says, "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."
  5. This indicates that John chose a place where "there was much water" in order to baptize by immersion.
  6. There is a famous painting entitled, Baptism of Christ (1475), by the Italian Renaissance  painter Verrocchio, the teacher of Leonardo da Vinci.  In this painting, our Lord and John the Baptist are pictured standing in shallow water, and John is pouring water onto our Lord's head.   That is not an accurate picture!
  7. Baptism is important in the book of Acts.  For example, we read in Acts 2:41 that, "they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
  8. That is a great number of baptisms!
  9. Acts 8:12 says, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
  10. The book of Acts mentions again and again that the converts were baptized, such as the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:38, the apostle Paul in Acts 9:18, Cornelius and his household in Acts 10:48, Lydia and her household in Acts 16:15, the Philippian jailer and his household in Acts 16:33, and Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue in Corinth, along with his household "and many of the Corinthians" in Acts 18:8.
  11. The New Testament emphasizes the importance of believer's baptism.

 

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF BAPTISM

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ is our example (Matthew 3:13-17).
  2. "Straightway out of the water" (3:16) indicates immersion (cf. Mark 1:10).
  3. John 4:1, 2 tells us that our Lord's disciples baptized their converts.
  4. Furthermore, our Lord commands us to be baptized.  Baptism is not optional.  It is a command (Matthew 28:18-20).
  5. Obedient Christians follow the Lord in believer's baptism.
  6. A.T. Pierson (1837 1911) was a Presbyterian  pastor, and  a prolific writer who wrote over fifty books.  He was a consulting editor for the original Scofield Study Bible, and he also worked closely with great preachers such as D.L. Moody, George Muller (he wrote the biography George Muller of Bristol), A.J. Gordon, and C.H. Spurgeon, whom he succeeded in the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London from 1891 to 1893.
  7. A.T. Pierson was the leading fundamentalist advocate for foreign missions in the late 19th century.
  8. Pierson was brought up Presbyterian, but later on he became convinced that believer's baptism was the correct mode of baptism, and in 1896 he was baptized by C.H. Spurgeon's brother, James Spurgeon.
  9. Obedient Christians follow the Lord in believer's baptism.
  10. R.A. Torrey is another example of a pedobaptist minister, who recognized that believer's baptism by immersion is what the Bible teaches, and so he submitted to believer's baptism.
  11. As Bible-believing Baptists we must reject the Roman Catholic (which is followed by most Protestants) practice of sprinkling babies.  It is unscriptural, and has led multitudes to hell because they were taught "baptismal regeneration."
  12. Furthermore, we shouldn't place too much emphasis on "dedicating babies," since this is frequently confused as some sort of "Christening."

 

II. THE MEANING OF BAPTISM

  1. Baptism means we are identified with Christ (Romans 6:3, 4).
  2. Baptism means we are identified with the church Christ established, which was Baptist, if not in name than certainly in doctrine and practice.
  3. Baptism is symbolic, just as the Lord's Supper is symbolic.  Baptism is an important step of obedience, but baptism does not save.
  4. If baptism could get people into heaven, then the apostle Paul would have gone all over the world baptizing people, but he didn't (cf. I Corinthians 1:11-17).
  5. Paul only baptized people (such as Lydia and the Philippian jailer) after they were saved.
  6. The Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" (Acts 8:36).
  7. "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (8:37).
  8. "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing" (8:38, 39).
  9. This passage tells us they both went down "into the water" and they both came "up out of the water."  That is immersion.
  10. Baptism is not necessary for salvation.   Our Lord told the repentant thief, "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

 

III. THE MODE OF BAPTISM

  1. Some Christians teach that it really does not matter -- sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.  But it does matter if we take the Bible literally.
  2. The word "baptism" is used in various ways in Scripture, but whenever it is referring to water baptism it always refers to immersion.
  3. Our English word "baptize" is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, which means to immerse or to submerge.
  4. Some things in Scripture are difficult to understand, but not baptism.  Scripture is very clear that baptism is the only proper mode of baptism.
  5. Years ago the pedobaptists used to mock the Baptists, and they would say, "The cry of the Baptists is 'Water, water.'"  The Baptists would respond by saying, "No!  The cry of the Baptists is not 'Water, water,' but 'Obedience!  Obedience!'"

 

IV. THE TIME FOR BAPTISM

  1. It can only be after a person is genuinely saved (Acts 8:36, 37).  He must be old enough (not a baby) to understand Biblical salvation.
  2. Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership and participation in the Lord's Supper.
  3. Some pedobaptists teach that infant baptism has replaced circumcision, but this is not taught in Scripture.
  4. C.H. Spurgeon preached valiantly against the Anglican practice of sprinkling babies ("Baptismal Regeneration," June 5th, 1864) and was criticized for his stand, but his stand was Biblical.
  5. Another Scripture often abused by pedobaptists is Matthew 19:14.  In response to Spurgeon's message on baptismal regeneration, his critics quoted Matthew 19:14.
  6. "Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
  7. This verse says nothing about baptism.  Our Lord said to allow the little children to come unto Him, not to the baptismal font.  I response to the pedobaptist argument, Spurgeon preached, "Children Brought to Christ, and Not to the Font" (July 24th, 1864).
  8. Spurgeon said, "THIS TEXT HAS NOT THE SHADOW OF THE SHADE OF THE GHOST OF A CONNECTION WITH BAPTISM. There is no line of connection so substantial as a spider's web between this incident and baptism, or at least my imagination is not vivid enough to conceive one."

 

CONCLUSION:

  1. Let me conclude that according to our Lord's words in Matthew 28:19, baptism is to be done "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
  2. Some preachers do not baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and therefore it is not Scriptural baptism.
  3. Our emphasis must be on getting people saved.
  4. But after they are saved, they need to be baptized and properly discipled.


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