Tonight I want to continue to look at some of the things that sets Baptists apart from all other groups within Christianity. We are Baptists and there are some distinctives that identify us as such. We have discussed our history. And we have discussed our position on the Word of God. Another distinctive that we have is that we observe only two ordinances in the local church. They are Baptism and the Lord Supper.
Tonight we, as a church will be observing the Lordís Supper. It pictures the purity of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It pictures for us the sacrifice that He willingly made to redeem mankind. And it reminds us not only of the past, but points us to the future coming of Christ.
This eveningís message will focus primarily on the subject of baptism. I believe that it is very important that we understand this matter. We will consider four areas this evening: The history, purpose, results, and authority.
The Holy Spirit places great emphasis upon baptism in the New Testament. The words: Baptist, baptism, baptize, and baptized are used a total of 113 times. For some it seems that baptism is a non-essential doctrine and practice, but I believe that God's Word makes it clear that it is not unimportant!
I. History of Baptism.
A. Matthew 3:1-6
1. The story of baptism begins with John the Baptist.
2. John was sent forth by God to baptize.
3. John the Baptist ushered in the Christian era. cf. Luke 16:16
B. All of the twelve disciples were baptized by John the Baptist.
1. Note: John 1:35-45
2. Note: Acts 1:21-22
C. Jesus was baptized by John.
1. Jesus walked sixty miles to be baptized by John in the river Jordan.
2. Note: Mt. 3:13
D. Jesus Christ and His disciples baptized their followers.
1. Note: John 3:22
2. Note: John 4:1-2
3. Jesus commanded that baptism was to continue. cf Mt. 28:19
E. Baptism continued through the book of Acts.
1. The converts on the day of Pentecost were baptized. cf Acts 2:41
2. The converts in the revival at Samaria were baptized. cf. Acts 8:12
3. The apostle Paul was baptized. cf. Acts 9:18
4. The Gentile converts were baptized. cf. Acts 10:47-48
5. Paul's converts were baptized.
a. Lydia in Acts 16:14-15.
b. The Philippian jailer in Acts 16:33.
c. Crispus in Acts 18:8.
6. Throughout the book of Acts we find that all those who embraced Christianity were baptized.
7. Throughout the epistles we find that the early churches practiced baptism.
II. The Purpose of Baptism.
A. Baptism is a public confession of repentance and faith in Christ.
1. Those who repented and believed the message of John, Christ, the disciples, and others demonstrated this by baptism.
2. Through baptism they publicly identified with the redeemed.
B. Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1. Note: Romans 6:4-5
2. The gospel is the good news that Christ died for our sins and was buried and arose! cf 1 Co. 15:1-4
C. Baptism is a picture of the change that takes place in the sinner at the time of salvation.
1. In salvation the sinner is reckoned dead, crucified with Christ, and the believer has been made alive unto God. cf Ro. 6:11
2. The believer is baptized to picture the salvation he already has, not to get salvation!
III. The Results of Baptism.
A. The believer is identified with obedience to God's Word.
1. Baptism is not an option, but it is a command.
2. Those who submit to Scriptural baptism do so in obedience to His commands.
3. Obedience always brings God's blessings.
4. Samuel said, "...To obey is better than sacrifice..." cf 1Sa. 15:22
B. The believer is identified with God's people.
1. In the N.T. all repentant believers were expected to be baptized and identified with a local church.
2. Note: Acts 13:1 and 14:23
3. "In the church" this phrase describes N.T. believers.
4. Each church had its own organi- zation and its own membership.
IV. The Authority to Baptize.
A. It does not rest with the individual believer.
1. There are personal responsibilities for individual believers.
a. Each Christian is expected to be a witness, to tithe, to pray, to study God's Word, etc.
b. No one else can do them for him; they are his personal respons- ibilities.
2. There are responsibilities that Christians have collectively...as a group.
a. God only left one organization of Christians on earth and that is the local church.
b. As a church, God's people are to:
1) receive and dispense the tithes and offerings as God directs.
2) they are to call and ordain pastors and deacons.
3) they are to send missionaries around the world.
4) they are to exercise discipline.
5) they are to maintain facilities for teaching and preaching of God's Word.
c. It is ridiculous to think that an individual should assume the responsibilities of the church.
d. The authority for administering baptism rests solely with the local church.
B. Christ gave the commission to baptize ...to the church.
1. Note: Matthew 28:19-20
2. Note: 1 Co. 1:12-17
a. Paul was emphasizing that Christ had not sent him to baptize in his own authority.
b. Paul was sent to preach; when he administered baptism he did so by the authority of the church not himself.
3. Only the local church has the authority to baptize.
4. And then only if that church is observing Scriptural baptism!
a. Churches that substitute sprinkling and pouring for burial in water cannot administer Scriptural baptism.
b. Churches that baptize babies cannot administer Scriptural baptism.
c. Churches that teach that baptism is essential to a person's salvation cannot administer Scriptural baptism.
d. Churches that teach that baptism is not important or that it is an option cannot administer Scriptural baptism.
Your baptism is important! It means so much more than just a religious ritual. Tonight if you are saved, you should be Scripturally baptized! It is not an option to you! It is a command! Not just any authority will do when it comes to baptism.
Only the local N.T. church that teaches the truth about baptism can administer Scriptural baptism. One of the great distinctives of Baptists is our position on baptism. The most important question for you tonight is this, "Are you saved?" The next question is "Have you been obedient in this matter of Scriptural baptism?"