“Who should be baptized?”
The Bible teaches that every individual who puts his or her trust in Christ for salvation should be baptized. There are many biblical examples of this teaching. The people who heard Peter’s first sermon asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) He answered: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (verse 38) Their response: “Those who accepted His message were baptized…” (verse 41) In the book of Acts, numerous other examples of baptism of believers are given. For example, “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed, and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere…” (Acts 8:12:12) “Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10:47-48) “…many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8) Conclusion: These biblical examples indicate that the person who has first repented of sin and believed in Christ should then be baptized. One must first be a believer in Christ to be eligible for baptism. “We know that we have come to know Him, if we obey His commands.” (I John 2:3)
“What is the meaning of baptism?”
Baptism is a symbol of one’s identification by faith with Christ in death, burial and resurrection. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:3:4) The use of water symbolizes the inner cleansing that God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Baptism in and of itself does not cleanse us or guarantee a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. Instead, it only demonstrates publicly what has already taken place internally. Just as a wedding ring doesn’t make a person married (it only symbolizes the commitment that was made), so baptism is a symbol of a changed life and new commitment. “…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 3:21) “When you came to Christ, He set you free from your evil desires, not by a bodily operation of circumcision, but by a spiritual operation, the baptism of your souls. For in baptism you see how your old, evil nature died with Him and was buried with Him; and then you came up out of death with Him into a new life because you trusted the Word of the mighty God who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then He gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for He forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of His commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” (Col. 2:11-14) Conclusion: Baptism is an outward expression of an inward experience that has already taken place through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
“Why be baptized?”
1. Baptism is a step of obedience for every believer commanded by Christ Himself. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19) 2. Baptism provides an opportunity for every believer to publicly acknowledge his or her faith in Jesus Christ. “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32) 3. Baptism allows us to follow Christ’s example. “…Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” (Mark 1:9) Conclusion: While salvation is a free gift of God’s grace alone, the credibility of one’s salvation is demonstrated by obedience. Taking the step of baptism demonstrates our obedience to Christ.
“How can I be baptized?”
We offer baptism classes for adults a week or two prior to each opportunity for baptism. It allows time for questions, and reviews the procedures for baptism at Summit View. One of the class assignments will be writing out your story of God’s rescue in your life and asking a friend or family member to read it aloud to those watching your baptism. If your child is interested in being baptized, we ask that you make an appointment with the Pastor of Children’s Ministry for you and your child. Our summer camps also provide opportunity for baptism. Parental permission is required prior to participation and parents are invited to attend.
“When are we to be baptized?”
As soon as possible! The Bible indicates that baptism is one of the first steps a new believer takes. “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him” (Acts 8:36-38) It’s not unusual, however, for someone to discover the importance of baptism several years after professing faith in Christ. This person should not be embarrassed about this, but rather make plans to be baptized at the first opportunity.
“Should I be re-baptized?”
To be re-baptized depends upon the significance of your first baptism. If you had actually trusted Christ prior to being baptized, there is no need ever to be re-baptized as a sort of second commitment to Him. However, if your first “baptism” was as a child where you were unable to personally declare your trust in Christ; or, if you discern that for some reason you were baptized as an adult, yet still were not an authentic Christian, then certainly consider being re-baptized now as a believer.
“What about the mode of baptism?”
In New Testament times we read that church leaders went out to local rivers to immerse those who were being baptized. The goal was to go to a public location to let all know of their new commitment. In an effort to reflect this “public statement of faith” we’ve chosen to do the majority of our baptisms in public settings. These settings include lakes, rivers and pools that are generally associated with one of our youth camps or our church picnic. It is important to note that “the way” you get baptized is not nearly as important as the fact that you are making a public statement of an internal commitment.
If you’d like to be baptized, please register for our next Baptism Class or contact the church office, 360-260-8300.