Memory Verse: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
INTRODUCTION: Apostle Paul tells us that the things that can be seen are temporal, but the things which we cannot see are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). For this reason the Lord wants us to take our eyes oﬀ the tangible and reach out by faith to that which is eternal. We must learn to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Most people desire tangible things to hold on to, even in their spiritual lives. For this reason most religions have rituals to teach spiritual principles. But the Bible only teaches two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (the footwashing service is a part of the Lord’s Supper).
Even though we are to walk by faith the Lord seemed to know that, as weak mortals, at times we need something tangible to illustrate a spiritual truth. Baptism is a very beautiful symbol of what Christ does for us through His spirit.
Baptism signifies three aspects of the work of Christ in our lives. First: It signifies the cleansing of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. Baptism does not remove our sins; it simply represents what has already happened when we accept Jesus as our Savior.
Second: It signifies our identifying with Jesus, especially in His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus’ death purchased our salvation. His resurrection proved Him victorious over Satan and guaranteed that we, too, will be resurrected.
But it did much more than that. Jesus defeated Satan by His resurrection, and thus, if He dwells within us, we can overcome sin in our lives.
The sixth chapter of Romans explains how our baptism parallels the work of the spirit in our lives. When we ask Jesus to come into our heart and rule, our old man (or carnal nature) is crucified. At that point we are new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Baptism signifies the burial of the old man and the resurrection of the new creation.
Third: Baptism is the initiation ceremony in which we are placed into the body of Christ. The pagan religions of Paul’s day had initiation rites whereby new converts were initiated into the heathen religions. He used this practice to illustrate how we are baptized into Jesus Christ and become a part of His body.
Symbolic ordinances have no inherent power and are eﬀective only as they hold meaning to those who participate in them. Their significance is only in relationship to the spiritual principles they represent.
- Where is baptism first recorded in the Bible? Matthew 3:1.
- What was John the Baptist’s basic message? Mark 1:4.
- What is necessary for those wishing to be baptized? Matthew 3:6. What else is needed? Acts 8:35-38.
- What does baptism accomplish? Acts 22:16; Acts 2:37-38.
- What else does baptism picture? Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-5.
- What change should take place in our lives as the result of our conversion and baptism? Colossians 3:1-3.
- Did Jesus set an example for us to follow in baptism? Matthew 3:13-17.
- Where does baptism place us? 1 Corinthians 12:13.
- What is the Biblical mode for baptism? Acts 8:36-39. Matthew 3:16. [NOTE: The word “baptizo” in the Greek means to dip or immerse.]