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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
November 10, 2019
How to Make Disciples: Baptism
We will continue this morning in a short series on trying to understand and apply the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 in practical ways. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Going therefore, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. “
We can fulfill this command because Jesus has all authority. He has both the right to give us commands that we are to obey, and He has the power to work through us to fulfill those commands. He is able to enable the incapable who make themselves available. (See: The Great Commission: Overview)
The command itself is to “make disciples.” It is carried out by the three participles in the sentence – Going, baptizing and teaching them. For the last two weeks I have concentrated on the first aspect of fulfilling the command to make disciples which is evangelism. As we are going into all the world, we are to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to others. This going out includes both the normal activities of life and specifically planned efforts to evangelize others.
Let me also quickly remind you that evangelism is not going out to “save” people. Neither you nor I can save someone, for salvation is the work of God, but God does want to use us and so commands us to proclaim the gospel by which He will save people. Evangelism is introducing people to Jesus Christ by telling them who He is, what He has done, and what He can do for them. Man, justly condemned because of his sin, can be forgiven by God. Man, alienated from God by his sin, can be reconciled and brought into an intimate relationship with Him. Man, dead in his trespasses and sin, can be made alive again. All of this is through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Evangelism in its most simple form is simply telling others what you know about Jesus and inviting them to learn more.
We must be both bold and sensitive in doing this. You must be bold in order to take advantage of opportunities and tell the truth about Jesus. You must also be sensitive to do it with true love and not try to force people to a response. As I pointed out the last couple of weeks, neither Jesus nor the Apostles coerced, intimidated or manipulated people into decisions. Jesus gave open invitations and strong warnings in His preaching, but He also left plenty of room for people to reject His message. As He continued to teach, He made it more difficult for those initially attracted to Him to continue to follow. Sometimes He made it very difficult to believe and follow Him. That is quite the opposite of what most “evangelists” do today.
Jesus caught the interest of people and invited them to learn more about Him. We are to do the same, and that can be done in many ways. Christians should stand out as being different because we have Christ living in us. While living in righteousness will provoke some to hate us, it will intrigue others. They will want to know why we are calm in the midst of disturbing situations, why we are confident when others are so unsettled, why we can love even those that hate us. Some will be attracted to the Lord because they see Christ living in us. (See: How to Make Disciples: Jesus’ Example)
We also catch the interest of others by turning conversations to the Lord. This is not hard to do if Jesus is at the center of your life, for people naturally talk about those things that are important to them. You must also work at using a person’s natural interests in attracting them to want to know more about Jesus. Ask people open ended questions about what they think, feel and believe and then talk about the Lord’s perspective on those same issues. Perhaps most will turn away, just as they did with Jesus, but there will be those that will be interested to know more about the Lord.
We all must be careful of falling into the trap of thinking of evangelism as the effort to get someone saved. That certainly is the desire, but it must not be the focus for that is why so much evangelism becomes skewed into marketing the gospel and selling Jesus. The gospel message becomes convoluted as the attractive parts are emphasized and the negative aspects are left hidden for fear they might cause the person to reject the message. People like to hear about God loving them and going to heaven, but they do not want to hear about their own sin, repentance or that if they do follow Jesus, they will be persecuted for trying to live a godly life. A partial gospel results in partial understanding, misplaced faith and false professions. (See: How to Make Disciples: Evangelism)
Evangelism is telling people about who Jesus is, what He did, what He is offering and the consequences of both following Him and rejecting Him. I like J.I. Packer’s definition of evangelism, “Evangelism is the faithful explanation and application of the gospel message of Jesus Christ to sinful men in order that through the power of the Holy Spirit they may come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church.” Notice that it is they may come to trust Him and not will come to trust Him.
When you tell others about Jesus, some will trust Him as Savior and Lord, and others will not. Some will show an initial interest only to later reject Him as they learn more about Christ. That was true in Jesus’ day and it is still true now. Some will reject Christ for the same reasons the rich young ruler did which I pointed out last week. They love the things of this world more than God. Some will reject Jesus like those in John 6 because they want a savior that will fit their preconceived ideas. They will reject the Lord because He teaches things they do not understand or do not want to believe such as His claim to be God in human flesh, of salvation being by grace through faith and not of works, of the historical and scientific accuracy of the scriptures, of His claim to be Lord and have a right to command and expect them to walk in obedient righteousness.
Jesus explained the varied responses to the gospel in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-23. The seed represented the message of the kingdom of God, the gospel. The various soils represented the conditions of the hearts of those who heard the message. Some seed fell beside the road and was quickly eaten by the birds. Some people hear the gospel, but do not understand and are quickly snatched away by the devil. These are those that reject Christ outright. Others are seed falling on rocky soil resulting in shallow roots and a plant that quickly shrivels in the heat. These are those that are initially excited about Jesus, but turn away when rejection and persecution rises against them because of Jesus. They do not want to identify with Christ unless it means an easy life. Others are the seeds sown in soil full of weeds and so are choked out. These are those that have an initial faith in Christ in that they believe some things about Him, but the things of this world are more important to them. They either become concerned about them – “the worry of the word” – or they get caught up in the pursuit of things – “the deceitfulness of wealth.”
In summary, people have different responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some reject Him outright. Some respond well initially, but their spiritual life quickly dies out when life gets tough. Others seem to be doing okay, but as time goes on, their interests change back to the things of this world and they depart. All three of these responses are normal and can be expected. All three are made much worse by a man centered gospel.
For some though, evangelism is not just learning about the Lord Jesus Christ, it the first step of becoming His disciple as they begin a personal relationship with Him when they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. They become spiritually alive and place their faith in Jesus, and so desire to be identified with Him regardless of the consequences. This brings us to the second aspect of fulfilling the command to make disciples. Those who respond with faith in Christ are to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Baptizing Them in the Name– Matthew 28:19
The first thing I want to point out about this aspect of fulfilling the Great Commission is that the term “name” here is singular. We are baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and not into the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit. You are baptized into one name, not three. This verse backs up the doctrine of the trinity, which is a theological word meaning that God is Triune. It is one God self-revealed in three persons who are all co-equal and co-eternal.
Admittedly, the idea of one being existing in three distinct persons is confusing and no one can fully comprehend it because God is beyond our understanding. His various attributes are beyond our comprehension because they beyond anything we have experienced individually or collectively. We can define the concept of eternity, but your mind cannot grasp the idea of something that exists outside of time, and God existed before time and will exist after it. The same is true with attributes such as omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere present), omnipotent (all powerful), and immutable (never changing).
We believe God is triune because that is how He presents Himself. Those who reject this doctrine are rejecting the God of the Bible for a god of their own design. To be blunt, a god you can comprehend is limited and not God at all. God made man in His image, and many men try to return the favor, but in doing so they end up with a false god who is limited by human characteristics. The God of the Bible is beyond full comprehension in all His attributes for He is something “other” than us. We use the term “holy,” which at its root means to be separate or set apart, to describe that fact, and it can be used as an adjective attached to all His communicable attributes: love, mercy, kind, patient, longsuffering, grace, righteous, jealous, just, indignant, etc. God is not like us and the trinitarian formula for baptism points this out. We baptize in one name of God who exists in three persons (see paper on The Triune God).
But why baptism? Why would this be included as part the command to make disciples, and what significance does it have? What does baptism have to do with following Jesus?
Christian baptism is an adaptation of Jewish practices of baptism which traces back to the Levitical precedent of ceremonial washing. The word “baptize” which means “to dip,” “to immerse,” was also used to refer to washing, such as in immersing dishes in water to clean them or dipping in a pool to clean yourself. This practice of ceremonial washing was extremely important in first century Judaism with scores of mikvehs – ritual baths – near the entrances to the Temple so that people could dip themselves and be ceremonially clean before going up to the Temple mount.
The baptism of John was a baptism of repentance. It symbolized the cleansing away of sin after they had confessed their sins (Matthew 3:6). The baptism itself did not take away sins, but it symbolized the righteousness and cleansing given to the individual as they confessed their sins and placed their trust in God alone. 1 John 1:9 tells us that cleansing from sin is related to our confession of them and trusting the Lord for forgiveness.
Christian baptism is similar to this for it also has an element of being a sign of repentance, for the gospel message of Christ is a message of repentance and reconciliation through the forgiveness of sins. Luke 24:46-48 concludes his gospel account with Jesus saying, 46 “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 “You are witnesses of these things.
This is why Peter responded after his first sermon in Acts 2:38 to those crying out to him, “Brethren, what shall we do?,” saying, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . .”. Christian baptism is the same as John’s baptism in this respect. The baptism itself does nothing for you except get you wet, but it symbolizes the washing that takes place when a person repents from their sins. Paul described the washing away of sin this way in Titus 3:5-7, 5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to [the] hope of eternal life.” A washing of regeneration and renewing performed by the Holy Spirit. Salvation is according to God’s mercy and He justifies by His grace. Baptism is only a symbol of that grace being given and not a means to obtain that grace.
Christian baptism retains some of the symbolism of those performed by John the Baptist for both occur as a response of a repentant heart and symbolize cleansing, but they differ significantly too. John’s baptism was in preparation of the coming Messiah. Christian baptism looks back upon the finished work of Christ. This distinction is seen when the apostle Paul met some disciples of John in Acts 19, 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they [said] to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” John’s baptism prepared for them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Identification with Christ. The apostle Paul expands even more on this difference and the significance of Christian baptism in Romans 6. Christian baptism is a full identification with Jesus Christ. Paul brings up the topic of baptism as reason and proof that Christians should not continue in sin. 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? How is it that you have died to sin? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Baptism symbolized the death of your old self (Galatians 2:20 – you have been crucified with Christ), but the identification of the symbolism continues. 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Baptism also symbolizes being raised to a new life in Christ.
Paul continues his argument in verses 5-11. 5 For if we have become united with [Him] in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also [in the likeness] of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with [Him,] that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Baptism is a symbol of what occurs spiritually within you at salvation. You are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. You die to sin and are raised to new life in Christ. That is an additional reason why Christian baptism should be by immersion. The word baptism itself (baptivzw / baptizo) means to immerse, to submerge, and this symbolism of death, burial and resurrection can only be seen in immersion. Christian baptism only occurred by immersion until the middle ages. The Roman Catholic church did not recognize other forms of baptism until 1311 and even the great Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) said, “In immersion the setting forth of the burial of Christ is more plainly expressed, in which this manner of baptizing is more commendable.”
Baptism, then, is an outward sign of personal identification of a person with Jesus Christ. They have learned enough about Jesus to want to be a true disciple of His and be identified with Him. Baptism does not make the person a disciple, it only identifies him as such. I like professor Henry Holloman’s description of this that is in the sheet on baptism I hand out to baptismal candidates. He said, “Christian baptism is like a soldier who puts on his uniform, not to become a soldier, but because he is a soldier and wants to publicly identify himself as a soldier. In Christian Baptism the believer publicly identifies himself with Christ and His people.”
Timing of Baptism. That brings up the issue of timing in baptism. It is clear from the New Testament that only those that profess faith in Christ should be baptized, and that occurs after they have become disciples. That is the flow of the text in Matthew 28:19 with “baptizing” occurring after “make disciples of all the nations.” In the book of Acts, people expressed repentance or faith before they were baptized (Acts 2:28,41; 8:12; 16:14,15, 31-33; 18:8) with some specific examples of them receiving the Holy Spirit before baptism (Acts 9:17,18; 10:47-48). There is no clear Biblical example of anyone who did not believe or was too young to believe being baptized, and that includes the household of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16.
Water baptism is also to be a reflection of the spiritual baptism by which you become part of the body of Christ. The word baptism is also used in conjunction with dyeing clothes by which the cloth dipped in the dye takes on the qualities of the dye. When the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ, you take on spiritual qualities and become a new creation that is part of His body. Paul states it this way in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” Notice as well that this baptism by the Spirit is true for all believers, not just some at a later time.
Believer’s Baptism. For these reasons, self identification with Jesus Christ after repenting to put your faith in Him and being baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, Christian water baptism should be reserved only for those who are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. A person who is baptized before salvation becomes just a wet sinner instead of a dry one.
Let me quickly add that since baptism is only for believers, then infants and those too young to understand should not be baptized. Christian baptism is not an equivalent of circumcision despite traditions in some churches. Baptism can neither save the individual, remove original sin, nor bring a child into a covenant relationship between God and the family to be confirmed when the child is old enough to repeat the catechism. Those are all human wishes and desires, but neither Biblical nor spiritual reality.
While infants should not be baptized since they cannot make any profession of faith, it is possible for a very young child to understand that they have sinned against God and trust in Jesus Christ to save them because He took upon Himself their punishment for sin and then rose back again to life. Jesus Himself spoke of “these little ones who believe in me” (Matthew 18:6). If a child gives clear testimony of saving faith in Jesus Christ and shows a basic understanding of Christian baptism, then such a child is eligible for baptism. However, never rush to baptize or ever say they are a Christian because of it.
The basic principle to remember is that genuine belief in Christ must precede Christian baptism if baptism is to be scriptural and meaningful.
Counting the Costs
Such an identification with Christ in Christian baptism may seem like a “so what” to many of you, but I can assure you that it was not that way during the time of the early church, or currently in other places around the world, or even in certain segments of our own society. Remember that persecution against the church came very quickly. The Jewish leaders thought they had taken care of their problem when they had Jesus crucified, and for the few days Jesus was in the grave it appeared that way. However, once Jesus rose from the dead their problems returned, and when the Holy Spirit was given to the church after Jesus had ascended into heaven, their problems multiplied rapidly. Three thousand were saved and baptized after Peter’s first sermon and five thousand more after his second. In addition, “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). These Jewish religious leaders that had crucified Jesus now had 10,000 or more committed and empowered Christians spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. They quickly began a persecution against them to quiet them. Peter and John are arrested Acts 4. In Acts 5 they are arrested again and flogged. In Acts 7 Stephen is stoned to death by them. In Acts 8 the persecution becomes so strong that the Christians start to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). A house to house search was being made for Christians, and when they found them, they dragged off both men and women and were putting them into prison (Acts 8:3). Baptism now carried a great risk of bringing persecution.
That is still the situation in many parts of the world, especially nations controlled by either Islam, Hinduism, or communists. False religions do not have much tolerance for the true God or His followers. It has been true throughout time, but it has escalated greatly in the last 100 years. It has been estimated that more Christians were martyred in the 20th Century than in the previous 19 centuries combined, and the pace is not slacking any as we have seen since the beginning of this century. The intense persecution against Christians often is given little attention by our secular news media, but even among them a story gets out once in awhile. Destruction of property, physical attacks and martyrdom are common occurrences in other parts of the world. Voice of the Martyrs and similar groups keep track of all they can, but much remains unknown except to God, the perpetrators and the victims (See Persecution.com).
While Christians here in the United States are not yet persecuted to this degree, there is persecution that does occur. Occasionally it will be destruction of property, physical attack and martyrdom, but more often is related to rejection and its consequences. Disdain and slander may cost you a promotion, the job itself, loss of reputation and shunning by friends and family. A Jewish lady I knew in California was disowned by her parents after she became a Christian and was baptized. They actually held a mock funeral for her, and when she would try to call her parents, they would tell her that they no longer had a daughter for she had died.
Some of you have had similar kinds of turmoil occur when you talked with your relatives about being baptized after you came to a personal, saving knowledge of Christ. Some of you may be going through that now. They see believer’s baptism by immersion as a rejection of their religion and family, and that includes “Christian” families that practice infant baptism. They think you have stepped over the line and become a fanatic and part of some cult group. Some people will put off being baptized for years, even decades, because of this kind of pressure. Yet it is for this very reason that baptism is part of what it means to make a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Baptism is a personal identification with Christ. That also reveals the only proper motivation for being baptized. Those who love Jesus Christ and want to obey Him as His disciple will also step out in faith to identify with Him in baptism. There must come a point in the life of those who are evangelized in which they have to either make their identification with Christ known or they will have to turn their backs on Him, and keep in mind that trying to sit on the fence is turning your back on Him, for Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with Me is against Me . . .”.
Do not get baptized to get saved or stay saved because baptism cannot do either one. Salvation comes by God’s grace and mercy and not according to any works of righteousness which we have done (Titus 3:5). Baptism is not required to get saved, but salvation should result in baptism. Again, the order is important – salvation, then baptism. (See Baptism Paper for note on Acts 2:38 and 6 reasons it is wrong to teach that a person cannot be saved until they are baptized). Do not get baptized to imitate or please others. Do not get baptized to gain a position or some standing in your social group or society. All those are fraudulent and only add to your sin.
If you believe that Jesus is who He says He is (God in human flesh), and that He did what He says He did (lived a sinless life, willingly gave up His life as the payment for your sin, was resurrected from the grave and is now ascended to Heaven), and that what He did is sufficient alone to atone for your sins and reconcile you to God, then you need to step out in faith and follow Him. Having repented and confessed your sins to Him, He forgives you and asks you to now be obedient to Him. To refuse to obey Jesus only shows that there has been no true repentance, no regeneration and no salvation. A step of obedience in being His disciple is to identify publicly with Him in Christian water baptism.
If you have not been baptized by immersion since you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you need to be. It is that simple. Pick up the paper on baptism in the literature rack next to the faith box by the back door. Read it, and then let me know if you desire to be baptized, and we will arrange for it to happen. It can even be next Sunday. There is no valid reason to not be baptized, unless you have not put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and a refusal to get baptized does call into serious question what you actually believe about Jesus.
Sermon Notes – November 10, 2019
How to Make Disciples: Baptism – Selected Scriptures
Introduction – Matthew 28:18-20
The Great Commission can be fulfilled because Jesus has all __________- He is able to enable the available
It is fulfilled by 1) Going into all the world. 2) ________those who believe. 3) Teaching them to obey Jesus
Evangelism is going into all the world to faithfully _____________the good news of Jesus Christ to sinners
Be bold in your witness of Christ, yet sensitive to speak the truth in _________
Jesus caught people’s interest and _____________ them to learn more – we are to do the same
Do not fall into the trap of skewing the gospel (___________it) in order to get people to respond positively
After hearing the gospel, some reject Christ ___________ – snatched away by the devil
Some initially respond, then turn away when they are ________or persecution arises. They want an easy life
Some initially respond, then eventually give up because they are more concerned about ___________things
Some respond and becoming spiritually alive and _________________ of Jesus who bear fruit
Baptizing Them – Matthew 28:19
Name is ________, for it is one God existing in three distinct persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit – the Trinity
God’s attributes are ________human full comprehension – eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, etc.
God presents Himself as ___________- a god you can comprehend is not God
God is ______________ us and the trinitarian formula for baptism points this out
Christian baptism is an adaptation of Jewish practices tracing back to Levitical ceremonial _____________
Ritual ______- mikvehs – near the entrances to the Temple mount show the importance of ceremonial baths
John’s baptism symbolized cleansing from sin by ___________ and confession – 1 John 1:9
Titus 3:5-7 – baptism ______________ the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit
Christian Baptism – Acts 19:2-5
John’s baptism was in ____________for the Messiah while Christian baptism looks back at Messiah’s work
Identification with Christ – Romans 6:1-11
In Baptism, you ________with Jesus’ death, burial & resurrection – die to sin and raised to new life in Christ
Baptism was only by ______________ (the meaning of baptivzw / baptizo) until the middle ages
Timing of Baptism
Matthew 28:19 “baptizing” occurs __________“make disciples of all the nations”
In Acts, people are baptized after expressing ____________ or faith or receiving the Holy Spirit
Water baptism is a reflection of ____________ baptism (1 Cor. 12:13) since cloth is dyed by baptizing
A person who is baptized __________ salvation becomes just a wet sinner
Baptism is not an equivalent of _____________- it neither saves, removes original sin nor is a covenant sign
Infants __________ be baptized, but even a very young child can turn from sin to believe in Jesus – Mt. 18:6
Genuine belief in Christ must ____________Christian baptism if it is to be scriptural and meaningful
Counting the Costs
Shortly after Pentecost, Jewish religious leaders began ___________ Christians – Acts 4,5,6,7,8
Baptism can result in similar physical persecution and ________________ in many parts of the world today
Persecution in the United States is rarely as severe, but _____________ and its consequences are common
Even “Christian” families that practice baptism by immersion can react strongly ______a believer’s baptism
Those who love Jesus & want to ______as His disciple will step out in faith to identify with Him by baptism
Do not get baptized to get _________ or stay saved for baptism can do neither
Do not get baptized to imitate or _________others, gain a position or social standing – those are fraudulent
Genuine professions of faith _________in being baptized because the repentant believer wants to obey Jesus
A profession of faith with a ____________to be baptized calls into serious question the nature of the belief
KIDS KORNER – Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following:1) Count how many times Baptism is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents the meaning and importance of baptism for those who believe in Jesus.
THINK ABOUT IT – Questions to consider in understanding the sermon and its application. What is evangelism? What is the danger of equating evangelism with getting people saved? What do you think of J.I. Packer’s definition of evangelism? What kids of reactions have you seen in people after telling them about Jesus? According to the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23), what four kinds of reactions to the gospel should we expect? Which one demonstrates becoming a true disciple of Jesus? Why is Christian baptism to be done in one name, yet three names are used? What does it mean that God is Triune? How are the attributes of God different from man? Why should you believe in the trinity if you cannot comprehend it? What was the basis for Jewish ceremonial baths – the mikvehs? What was the meaning and purpose of John’s baptism? How is Christian baptism similar to John’s in meaning? How is it different? What does Paul say the meaning of baptism is in Romans 6:1-11? What is the meaning of baptivzw / baptizo – baptism? How does immersion symbolize what Paul explains in Romans 6? How does immersion reflect baptism by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13)? When did modes of baptism other than immersion become accepted? What are the qualifications for being baptized? Why should baptism never be forced on someone – willingly or unwillingly? Why do some churches baptize infants? Why is that wrong? When could a young child be baptized? Explain. Why would baptism result in persecution? What is the only proper motivation for getting baptized? Is baptism necessary for salvation? Explain. What is the relationship between baptism and salvation? Why does a refusal to be baptized call into serious question a person’s profession of faith? Have you been baptized by immersion, if not, why not?
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