This series of lessons is for people who want to know more about Baptism and be prepared for this step in their Christian walk. At the end of the study series, both the student and the teacher would decide if the student is ready to be baptized. [Used with permission from the Assemblies of God of Ceylon]
1. Types of Baptisms mentioned in the scripture
There are several types of Baptism mentioned in scripture which is mentioned below.
I. Baptism of repentance/Baptism of John
Historically proselytes (those converting from other faiths to Judaism) were baptized. John the Baptist practiced baptism of repentance at the time of Jesus.
“John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” ( Mark 1:4)
II. Water Baptism
“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4 )
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-19)
The commission is given in light of the authority that is given unto Jesus; this is an authoritative command, not a suggestion.
III. Baptism in the Holy Spirit
“For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5)
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)
2. What is Water Baptism?
In water baptism, the candidate is immersed in water as a sign that he is now a believer in Jesus as his Lord and savior, and is seeking to live a life pleasing to his Master. Some examples from the Bible:
- Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, (Matthew 3:13-17)
- Jesus and his disciples baptized believers, (John 4:1-2)
- The early church baptized new believers, (Acts 2:38-41)
So we too baptize following the example of our Lord and the other disciples.
Symbolical significance: It’s an outward sign of an inner change. Being buried in the water symbolizes your death to Sin and your old life, and the coming out of the water symbolizes your new life in Christ Jesus, (Romans 6:4).
Physical significance: It identifies you as a follower of Jesus Christ and as an integral part of the family of God, the universal body of Christ. It is also a public declaration of your faith that you are now committed to Christ, to obey Him, and live in fellowship with his family.
Spiritual significance: You seal the covenant made with the Lord at Salvation, and in front of witnesses you communicate that you have broken any agreements or covenants made with any other powers or principalities made knowingly or unknowingly.
3. What water baptism is not?
I. Not salvation. It cannot save you. Salvation comes only by:
- Acknowledging that we are sinners, (1 John 1:9)
- Repenting for past sins, (Luke 24:27)
- Accepting Christ as personal savior, (John 1:12)
- Putting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 2:8)
- Confessing that Jesus is Lord, (Romans 10:9-10).
(Note: All the students are encouraged to share their salvation experience in the Lord Jesus.)
B. Not Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Water baptism does not mean that you have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Baptism of the Holy Spirit is distinct from water baptism and could be received at anytime.
C. Not Church membership
Water baptism does not make you a member of our Church. To become a member of a local church it is best to understand the doctrines, the vision and activities of the local church and then make the commitment to the vision and work of that church.
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