Having identified God's remnant church, the true follower of Jesus will want to know how to join it. Jesus said: "Other sheep I have who are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock" (John 10:16). Generally one joins the church through baptism, though those who previously have been baptized may join by receiving Jesus as absolute Lord of their life and accepting the Biblical principles upon which the church is built. In this lesson we will learn the meaning and importance of baptism, as well as the way Jesus showed it should be administered.
- What two things are involved in being born again?
John 3:5 [Note: It takes love AND a legal ceremony for a good marriage. There also are two aspects to the new birth: The spiritual part is our new, loverelationship with Jesus; and the official part is baptism, where we publicly pledge ourselves to Him. Both are called for in Scripture. The Further-study verse is 1 John 5:4-6]
- Through what rite do we "put on Christ"?
Gal. 3:27 [Note: "Baptism" is a Greek word meaning "to dip" or "to immerse." It was carried over directly into English in our Bibles, being made a "theological" term. To call sprinkling baptism is a misuse of the term. Acts 22:16]
- What does baptism represent?
Rom. 6:3-5 [Note: Immersion represents two things: 1) Our faith in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection; and 2) our death to self, burial of our old habits of sin, and our resurrection to a new way of life in Jesus. Col. 2:11-13]
- Why was Jesus baptized, and what was God's response?
Matt. 3:13-17 [Luke 3:21, 22]
- Was Jesus sprinkled, or immersed?
Mark 1:10 [Note: There is not a single instance of sprinkling in the New Testament. Sprinkling was substituted by noninspired men after the death of the apostles. Eph. 4:5]
- If Jesus Himself was baptized, should any of us consider ourselves too important to be baptized?
- Should pride prevent anyone from being buried in water for Him, when He was buried in a tomb for us?
- In the Old Testament, the animal sacrifices pointed to Jesus' death. Were these sacrifices effectual without faith on the part of the worshiper?
Heb. 10:4 [Lev. 4:35; Lev. 23:27-30; Rom. 9:31, 32; Deut. 32:20; Hab. 2:4]
- In this respect, baptism is like these sacrifices. While baptism is necessary, can baptism itself, without faith, save us?
Mark 16:16 [Note: Baptizing infants is meaningless because they have no faith. An infant can be dedicated to the Lord, as Jesus was as a baby, but baptism is meaningful only when it expresses the believer's faith. 1 Peter 3:21; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 5:1, 2]
- At Pentecost, what did Peter tell the new converts to do?
Acts 2:38 [Acts 8:12, 38]
- What were the new converts "added" to when they were baptized?
Acts 2:41, 47 [Note: Some Bible versions omit "to the church." See KJV or NKJV. Acts 5:14]
- What symbol represents the church?
Eph. 1:22, 23 [Ans: 'The church . . . is His body.' Col. 1:24]
- What are we to be baptized "into"?
1 Cor. 12:13 [Ans: Christ's body, the church. verses 27, 28]
- What is given to those who are baptized?
1 Cor. 12:7-12 [Ans: Everyone receives some gift of the Holy Spirit for service in God's work and in His church. "Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God."--Christ's Object Lessons, p. 327. Rom. 12:4-11]
- What are we to do with these gifts after we are baptized?
John 15:2, 8 [Matt. 12:30]
- What was Jesus' last commission to the disciples?
Matt. 28:18-20 [Mark 16:15, 16]
- On one occasion, what did Paul do to those who had been baptized before learning all of the gospel?
Acts 19:3-5 [Ans: He baptized them again. Acts 17:30]
Jesus said, "Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father" (Matt. 10:32). Once God gives us the opportunity to develop a faithrelationship with Jesus, and then as we learn how to publicly confess that relationship through baptism by immersion, salvation is conditional upon our obedience.
Would you like to request baptism today and begin to prepare for that wonderful event?
And while you are preparing for baptism, will you pray that God will show you what gifts He has given you to be used in service for Him and His church?