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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Sep 26, 2019

In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about Baptism. What is it, who is supposed to be baptized, when, and how. Also discussing whether to re-baptize and should children be baptized.

 

On Baptism

S3EP24

Remnant Bible Fellowship

 

  1. Intro
    1. In the last episode that I talked about Baptism there were some things that I didn’t talk about regarding baptism. So I wanted to do a brief episode just talking very straightforward about baptism: what is it, who is to be baptized, when are they to be baptized, and how.
  2. What is baptism really?
    1. As we looked at the last time I talked about baptism, “Matthew 3:3-6 and Baptism”, baptism is simply an outward expression of your profession of faith in Christ. It is not the cause of receiving the Spirit of God, and it is not an instrument of grace. The only kind of grace that you receive in baptism is the grace from obeying the commandment of God. People can be established in the Lord before they are baptized. My wife was very young when she was converted and her family did not have a regular fellowship. They didn’t live in an area where there were sound churches. So my wife was never taught about the necessity of baptism and she was never really given the opportunity for a number of years. After some time though, when they were visiting out-of-state, a friend of her parents baptized her at his fellowship. This doesn’t mean that she wasn’t saved or that she didn’t grow, but it certainly wasn’t ideal.
    2. The early Christians so closely associated believers’ baptism with your profession of faith that it was common to not be allowed to fellowship or partake in communion unless you had been baptized. The only exception was if you gave your life for Christ before you were saved. That obviously showed a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Who is to be baptized?
    1. The next question that should be asked is who exactly is supposed to be baptized?
      1. “"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."” (Mat 28:19-20)
      2. In some translations the word underlying “make disciples” is instead translated as “teach”. It’s the verb form of the word for “disciple”. So some translations will translate it as “go ye therefore and teach” and others will have “go therefore and make disciples”. It has the same meaning though. Someone who follows and adheres to the teachings of someone is their disciple.
    2. This is the great commission. It, in essence, encapsulates our marching orders as Christians. It also explains why we baptize: It’s a commandment from God. We are to go and make disciples out of all the nations of the earth. These disciples are to be baptized and then they are to be taught how to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It is disciples who are to be baptized. We see this in the pattern of the history of the early Christians in the book of Acts.
      1. “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Act 2:37-41)
      2. “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 8:12-16)
        1. You see that in these passages that it is those who believe the gospel who are to be baptized. These are called disciples. By believing the gospel and following through with baptism you are committing yourself to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the salvation that only He can provide.
      3. When are they to be baptized?
        1. “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Act 2:41)
        2. “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 8:12-16)
        3. “So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;” (Act 9:17-18)
        4. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.” (Act 10:44-48)
        5. “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.” (Act 16:14-15)
        6. “and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.” (Act 16:30-33)
        7. “Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.” (Act 18:8)
        8. “It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 19:1-5)
        9. When we read these passages we see that it was usually right after they believed the gospel they were baptized. It should be as soon as someone demonstrates that they understand the gospel, and that they are putting their trust in Christ alone for salvation, that they should seek to be baptized as soon as possible.
      4. How are they to be baptized?
        1. “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Mat 3:5-6)
        2. “John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized” (Joh 3:23)
        3. We see from these two passages that there was much water required for baptism. Now, these passages are referring to John’s baptism of repentance and not to believer’s baptism, but the only difference that we can discern is that of purpose. John’s baptism was under the Law of Moses for people who were repenting and confessing their sins to God in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Believers’ baptism is an outward show that you believe the gospel and are putting your trust in Christ alone for salvation.
        4. (I said this in the last episode that I talked about baptism) The early Christians got very much out of whack when it came to baptism. Especially by the time of the Catholic church being formed. It was due to the influence of pagan and Greek philosophical thought that baptism started to be seen as a means of receiving the grace of God. But this is not what the NT teaches or the earliest Christian writers.
        5. Here is a passage from the Didache which is believed to be a first century document recording teaching from the apostles to new gentile converts from paganism.
          1. “Regarding baptism. Baptize as follows: after first explaining all these points, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in running water. But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot in cold, then in warm. But if you have neither, pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Before the baptism, let the baptizer and the candidate for baptism fast, as well as any others that are able. Require the candidate to fast one or two days previously.” (Didache, ch. 7)
        6. Now, we gather several things from this. The method was not important. It was preferable in certain ways and settings over others, but it was not mandatory. The type of water was not important: running, standing, or pouring in rare instances. The temperature of the water didn’t matter: cold or warm. There is no mention of the spirit of God. There is no mention of the need for it to be in a particular place. There is no mention of who is to do it. None of those things is mentioned in scripture either.
        7. It should be seen from the scriptures though, and from the meaning of the word as well, that baptism by immersion should be sought. That is, it should be that you dip the person entirely under the water and they should be brought out again. Usually what is done is the person or persons doing the baptizing stand beside the person who is to be baptized. Then the person should proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their confidence in the gospel. Then the baptizer helps to lean the person backward into the water until they are submerged and then bring them back up again. This is the traditional way that a person is baptized.
        8. I changed a point in my description from most people’s experience though. Baptism is the time of the person being baptized proclaiming their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Most churches simply have the baptizer, usually the pastor, say something about it for the person. I don’t think that is right. I’m not saying it is sin or anything. But the person who is being baptized should be willing to say it themselves. It doesn’t have to be a speech. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. But it should be affirming their sincere belief in the gospel. Maybe something as simple as: “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and I believe that He died for my sins and rose again.” I do believe that there is something wrong if the person is not willing to do that.
      5. Should children be baptized?
        1. A question that might arise sometime is whether or not small children should be allowed to be baptized. I believe that they absolutely should as long as they can demonstrate that they understand the gospel, and what its implications are, and that they are sincerely trusting in Christ.
        2. I do want to say though that I despise what most congregations do though to children. They teach them an A-B-C-repeat-after-me type of gospel where the child has memorized what to say but has no understanding of it. You should be able to ask them open-ended questions about their belief and they should be able to respond in their own way. Now, don’t make it an academic exercise. We should never over-complicate the message of the gospel. I just want to emphasize that we should be careful from that wrong kind of persuasion, which I call coercion, and emotionally manipulating a child.
        3. If I can give you an example, I have known that there are people who ask a child if they want to go to Hell. The child will obviously say no. Then the person will just go, “Well, repeat after me.” The child repeats what their told with no understanding of what’s going on and is told they are now a Christian. No their not. There was no personal understanding or exercising of faith on the part of that child. So be careful to not manipulate a child, but also remember what Christ said:
          1. “And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mar 10:13-14)
        4. Now, it should be obvious that infants cannot be baptized. An infant cannot profess their own faith in Christ. This is something that very early on crept into Christianity because of Greek philosophy’s ideas affecting the interpretation of scripture. Only those who can personally understand the gospel and make up their own mind to believe on Christ are eligible for believers’ baptism.
  • Should people ever be re-baptized?
    1. There are times when a person is being saved and converted to the truth from a cult. There are many cults that profess themselves to be “Christian” who have some form of baptism. Cults like the Seventh Day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), and the Roman Catholic Church, etc. There are many other examples that could be given. But these types of cults like to proclaim that they are “Christian” or the true church of Christ and have a kind of baptism usually.
    2. My belief is that those who are saved out of these groups NEED to be re-baptized. I believe it absolutely should be done because baptism is a way to proclaim your faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. By not re-baptizing someone from these groups you are in essence saying that the form of teaching that they had received was acceptable so as to have no need. This is historically how it has been understood in the Church.
    3. When groups like the Anabaptists (who did have some problems of their own but were nevertheless brethren) started to proclaim that those who were baptized as infants in the Roman Catholic Church needed to be re-baptized it started a firestorm of anger because it was seen as denying Roman Catholic authority. I say rightly so.
    4. So if someone is coming out of a religion or group that denies the true gospel of Jesus Christ or His identity as the Son of God then they should definitely be re-baptized.
  • Closing
    1. I hope that you in some way learned something in this episode. I wanted to do a straightforward talk about baptism because some people have questions.
    2. Next time, which may be a couple of weeks out, I’m not sure yet, we will continue going through the book of Matthew and finishing up chapter 3 as we talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It can be a pretty divisive issue but I believe it is necessary to discuss it. I may end up devoting multiple episodes to talk about it, according to the Lord’s will.