- Teaching Point 1: Acknowledgement:
Jesus and the apostles commanded followers of Jesus to be baptized in water. Baptism is a public acknowledgement to denounce all other gods and the giving of your heart to Jesus Christ alone. Jesus once said, “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33, NLT).
As we discovered in the last study, there are many ways to show faith in Jesus. Baptism is the most important and biblical way to express your faith in Jesus, while publicly acknowledging Him as your Lord in testimony to other people. It is not meant to be done privately. If you are in a place where you can be imprisoned or killed for being baptized in public, then use wisdom and obey the Holy Spirit’s leading. The purpose of baptism is not to intentionally endanger anyone. If safety requires it, a public baptism may be performed in a private setting with only a few select witnesses. The Bible is our guide to follow. In every instance where the Bible shares about people being baptized, there were witnesses to see it, even if it was just two or three people. There is no mention of baptism being secret because of intense persecution despite this being a real threat in the days when the Bible was written. In every case and every place, baptism is very important and should be done as soon as possible after someone is born again.Acts 8:4-13
(NLT) But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. 9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic. 12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
- Teaching Point 1 Questions…
- Why did the crowds listen so closely to what Philip was preaching? (vs. 6)
- The Good News about Jesus caused many evil spirits to be cast out and many people to be healed. What was in the city as a result of these things? (vs. 8)
- What did the people do immediately after they believed Philip’s message about the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ? (vs. 12)
- Teaching Point 2: Identification
The Bible teaches how we are literally being buried with Christ when baptized. This is another way of saying how we identify with the death of Jesus through baptism. We show that we are dead to the world and the world is dead to us. We are buried with Christ along with all our sins. However, when we come up out of the water, it shows we have been raised from the dead and given eternal life. Our spirit is immediately alive to God and one with Him having identified with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism also symbolizes how, one day, our bodies will also be raised from the dead and we will have glorified bodies which never ever get sick, cannot die, and do not grow old. When we see Jesus, we will be like Him immediately. Water baptism is when you go under the water to identify you are dead to the old sinful person and raised to new life with Jesus Christ. You are now His child who is alive from the dead and one day your body will be resurrected in a glorified state to reign and rule with Christ for all eternity. This is a promise for everyone who believes the Gospel of Jesus.Colossians 2:10-14
(NLT) So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
- Teaching Point 2 Questions…
- What are the things a person identifies with when they are baptized? (vs. 12)
- Why is a person spiritually dead before they trust the mighty power of God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead? (vs. 13)
- What does God do to the record of a person’s guilt when they trust in Him? (vs. 14)
- Teaching Point 3: Memorial
Acts chapter 2 talks about the Apostle Peter preaching to a crowd of thousands of people. The message deeply convicted them, and they cried out, “what must we do to be saved?!” Peter answered by saying “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” He promised them they would be forgiven, receive the Holy Spirit, and the assurance they were saved.
This moment was memorialized for more than 3,000 people who repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus that day. For the rest of their lives on Earth, they could look back at this moment and know it was on that day they were saved.
Your baptism will also serve as a memorial for you. There will be times when you might do something sinful or make a bad mistake. When this happens, all you must do is confess your sin and ask God for forgiveness. You don’t ever have to be baptized again. Baptism, just like salvation, is a one-time thing. But sometimes the devil will try to whisper lying thoughts that say, “you have done bad things recently, you are no longer saved. You are going to hell.” He tries to condemn and shame us to destroy our witness. We can say “no devil! On the day I confessed my sins, believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, I was made a new person in Christ. This is my memorial, in the act of baptism, I identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I am a child of God.”
(NLT) ) “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” 37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
- Teaching Point 3 Questions…
- What did Peter’s words do to the hearts of the people when they heard him preach the Gospel to them? (vs. 37)
- When the people asked what they should do to be saved, what did Peter tell them to do? (vs. 38)
- What does Peter promise will happen if you repent, believe the Gospel and get baptized in Jesus’ name? (vs. 38-39)
In this study, we learned the Bible is very clear about what to do immediately after making the decision to trust and believe the Gospel. Anyone who wishes to follow Jesus and have eternal life is to be baptized. Baptism does not save you, but it is the act of publicly acknowledging Jesus is the God you worship now. Baptism is how you identify yourself with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Baptism is also a memorial. Meaning, when you feel like doubting you are truly a child of God, remember how you belong to Jesus because you publicly put your faith in Him when you were baptized in water.The truth is you were righteous in God’s eyes the moment you truly repented and believed the Gospel, but baptism is the visible evidence that you believe and obey the Gospel. Baptism is evidence of a life fully given to Jesus. Baptism is really the first command that should be obeyed by every believer. It is the first step a new believer in Jesus Christ makes as a public declaration. It proclaims, “I have been born again and joined the family of God.”
In Acts 2:41, when the people were baptized, the Bible says they were “added to the church.” While you are added to Christ the moment you believe in Jesus, it is the act of baptism that adds you to the Church, which is the family of God on Earth.Application Questions
- What are some things we can learn about God from this study?
- What are some things we can learn about people from this study?
- Is there anything in this study that Jesus wants us to obey?
- What will I do now that I know this?