Baptism according to the New Testament
Why be baptized?
Because you want to follow Christ’s example.
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.” Mark 1:9
Because Christ commanded it.
“Jesus said, ‘Go then, to all people everywhere and make them my disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and then teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.'” Matthew 28:19-20
Because it shows you are a believer.
“…many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” Acts 18:8
Because obeying Christ’s command shows you know him.
“We know that we have come to know Him, if we obey His commands.” 1 John 2:3
The meaning of baptism:
It is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection.
“Christ died for our sins…he was buried…and he rose again.” 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4
“For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.” Colossians 2:12
It is a symbol of your new life as a Christian.
“When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“By our baptism then we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that just as Christ was raised form the dead also we might live a new life!” Romans 6:4
Baptism does not make you a believer, it shows that you already are one! Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring – it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9
How are we to be baptized?
Like Jesus was–by being immersed in water.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16
Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion under water.
(example) “…then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water…” Acts 8:38,39
The word “baptize” literally means “to dip under water.” The Greek word “baptizo” means “to immerse or dip under water.” It is the best way to picture a burial and resurrection. The founders of denominations agree:
Martin Luther… “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”
John Calvin… “The word ‘baptize’ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
John Wesley… “Buried with Him, alluding to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
Who should be baptized?
Every person who has made the decision to believe in Christ.
“Those who believed and accepted His message were baptized.” Acts 2:41
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News…and the name of Jesus Christ they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
“Simon himself believed and was baptized…” Acts 8:13
The one requirement for baptisms is belief in Christ! We do not baptize children until they are old enough to understand and choose for themselves to follow Christ.
When are we to be baptized?
As soon as you have believed! You shouldn’t delay. As soon as a person has decided to believe in Christ, he can and should be baptized.
“Those who believed…were baptized…that day!” Acts 2:41
“Then Philip began with the Scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptized right now?’ Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The official answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:36-39 (paraphrased)
Things to know about baptism:
What about being baptized twice?
We recommend you be baptized again only if you have not been baptized by immersion since you became a believer. It doesn’t devalue a prior experience but simply reflects your desire to obey the teachings of the New Testament and follow Jesus’ example.
Can a family be baptized together?
Yes! If each family member understands fully the meaning of baptism, and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage family members to be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment.
Will I have to say something?
At the beginning of the baptism portion of the weekend service, the pastor will briefly explain the meaning of baptism. Following that, the pastor will introduce you and give you an opportunity to tell briefly how you came to Christ. After being briefly lowered just under the water, you will leave the water, dry off, and watch with others.
Other things to note:
We are very happy that you want to follow the Lord’s example in baptism. There will be others baptized with you. Many people like yourself have been baptized at Harvest.
Watch the bulletin announcements for the next baptism date or contact us and we can let you know when the next baptism service is planned.
- One person at a time will be baptized. You can have a pastor or anyone who is a believer (who has been baptized) perform the baptism.
- Bring a towel and any thing else you’d need after going swimming. We encourage women to wear a swimsuit with dark shorts and a dark t-shirt over the suit. Men may wear a swimsuit and a plain t-shirt. ]
- If you’d like pictures, don’t forget your camera.
- Don’t be surprised when people clap at your baptism. It is a happy experience for every Christian when someone publicly identifies himself as a believer by being baptized.