This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Water Baptism Lesson Series
Biblical vector illustration of Jesus, receiving water baptism in the hands of John the Baptist.

Lesson Objectives

Welcome to the second lesson on preparing for water baptism. This series consists of three lessons for people who want to know more about water baptism and be prepared for this step in their Christian walk. In this lesson, we will focus on who can take water baptism as well as why should one receive water baptism.

At the end of this lesson series, both the student and the teacher would decide if the student is ready to be baptized. Also see that you are free to download, copy, print, share and use this note for teaching others as long as the original idea is not altered and republished elsewhere or on the web. [Used with permission from the Assemblies of God of Ceylon. Scripture quotations are taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMP), Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.]

1. Who can take Water Baptism?

One must fulfill four prerequisites to receive water baptism. In the previous lesson, we learned water baptism is practiced in many other religions also (as a ritual) You are taking part in a mere ritual unless you fulfill these prerequisites.

1.1 Those who believe in Jesus

You should have personally accepted Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, not only as your miracle worker, provider, etc. Consider the undermentioned examples from the Bible.

She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed and continue to believe that You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God, [a]He who was [destined and promised] to come into the world [and it is for You that the world has waited].” (John 11:27)

because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

1.2 Those who have Repented

If you are genuinely penitent (sorry) for your past life of independence from God and immorality and take responsibility to turn away from such behavior you have repented. Here’s what the Bible says about repentance.

So they went out and preached that men should repent [that is, think differently, recognize sin, turn away from it, and live changed lives]. (Mark 6:12)

And Peter said to them, “Repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah] and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

1.3 Those with bondages Broken

You should know that the bondage of the devil and the power of life-controlling habits have been broken. A genuine effort should be made to sort out one’s life and relationships. For example, addressing issues such as estranged family relationships, living together though not married, impure practices such as drunkenness, gambling, falling into debt, and other issues that do not glorify God.

that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

1.4 Those living victorious Lives

You should know how to live a life yielded to God, Counting yourself dead to sin and alive to God. Refuse to yield your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, and yield yourself to God as instruments of righteousness.

What shall we say [to all this]? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that [God’s gift of] grace may increase and overflow? Certainly not! How can we, the very ones who died to sin, continue to live in it any longer? Or are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:1-3)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith. (Romans 12:1-3)

2. Why be baptized in Water?

It’s important to know why you do what you do? It’s the same with water baptism. You need to know what validates water baptism in a biblical sense. Let’s consider five major reasons why we need to be baptized in water.

2.1 Our Lord has commanded Us

Unlike in other religions in Christianity, water baptism is not an optional ritual but an authoritative command from our Lord and Savior Jesus that we must obey.

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)

2.2 Our Lord has set an Example

The historical fact that Jesus himself received water baptism suggests that we don’t have any excuse for not receiving it ourselves. The Bible describes the baptism of Jesus in the manner mentioned below.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”. Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:13-17)

2.3 As a public confession of Faith

It’s a public confession that strengthens your faith by bringing out your secret discipleship and frees you to follow Jesus fully. You outwardly express the change that has taken place inside you and thereby become a public witness.

What shall we say [to all this]? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that [God’s gift of] grace may increase and overflow? Certainly not! How can we, the very ones who died to sin, continue to live in it any longer? Or are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:1-3)

And after this, Joseph of Arimathea—a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews—asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away His body. (John 19:38)

I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

We have therefore been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory and power of the Father, we too might walk habitually in newness of life [abandoning our old ways]. (Romans 6:4)

For by one [Holy] Spirit we were all baptized into one body, [spiritually transformed—united together] whether Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit [since the same Holy Spirit fills each life]. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

3. What if I don’t want To?

Although water baptism is an authoritative command God won’t make you receive water baptism. The decision is yours. You will not go to hell if you avoid water baptism. It’s not synonymous with salvation. However, it’s a physical sign of the spiritual transformation that transpired in you. Consider the example from the Bible below.

As they continued along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch exclaimed, “Look! Water! What forbids me from being baptized?” [Philip said to him, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] took Philip [and carried him] away [to a different place]; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:36-39)

Final Remarks

Water Baptism is an important step in our walk with God and I pray you will find this lesson series to be helpful. In the meantime, if you are looking for a sermon to preach at your special baptismal service feel free to check “Biblical Perspectives of Water Baptism.” (All students are to be given time to share their salvation experience in the class during this session and the next. The teacher will help any student to reinforce their acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord.)

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