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.
1. Is salvation dependent on Baptism?
A. Due to inadequate knowledge:
A person who dies without getting baptized because of not fully knowing the Lord’s command to do so will not lose his place in heaven. It would be so similarly, if it is due to lack of time prior to death or other practical consideration.
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”. (Mark 16:16)
Baptism is not a Pre condition for salvation but rather a product that should follow.
B. Due to shame or other private reason:
A person who avoids being baptized due to pride or shame of confessing His name or acknowledging publicly the need for repentance, then his or her salvation itself has to be questioned. Jesus said,
“If you are ashamed of me in front of people I will be ashamed of you in front of my father in heaven.” (Luke 9:26)
Note: When Jesus himself was baptized (Matthew 3:13-15), He said He was doing it “to fulfill all righteousness”
2. Why baptize by immersion?
A. The best representation:
We believe that baptism by immersion is the best in bringing out the meaning of baptism, which is identification with death, burial and resurrection. Being put under water signifies death and burial and coming up out of the water signifies resurrection.
“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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” (Romans 6:4-5)
B. What baptize means:
The Greek word for baptism ‘baptizo’ means “to immerse or overwhelm something”, such as to dip or to immerse a person as in dying a cloth. You immerse it completely in the dye until the nature of the cloth is changed.
“Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.” (John 3:23)
C. But I was baptized as a child?
As water baptism is voluntary and willful identification with Christ we do not subscribe to infant baptism, as infants are incapable of making up their mind or of exercising their faith.
3. Is that all there is to Water Baptism?
You obey the Master’s command when you get baptized and decide to live a life yielded to Him.
B. Your testimony:
In the class you should have given your testimony of your salvation experience. On the day of baptism, you will give a brief testimony that glorifies the Lord. Do not dwell long on your misdeeds of the past but mention briefly the newness of life the Lord has brought in to your life. Do not run down your former belief system, instead tell the people how marvelously you have been brought from darkness to light, and of the God you have decided to serve!
C. Baptism formula:
In keeping with the instruction in Mathew 28:19, you are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
D. Practical considerations:
Be appropriately dressed for this solemn occasion, avoiding clothes that attempt to make a bold statement! As you get immersed in water since your clothes tend to get transparent and/or stick to your body, it is recommended to wear dark colours and adequate undergarments to avoid embarrassment. Ladies are encouraged to wear long dresses to reduce tendency of skirts to float on water.
Note: Please tell the Pastor in advance if you have any special needs or limitations that need to be considered. Be assured that with understanding and care any set backs could be overcome to allow you to have a blessed experience in following the Lord in baptism.
Image: Tony Alter
Used with permission from Assemblies of God of Ceylon
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