WHY THEN WERE YOU BAPTIZED?

By Cougan Collins

lgchurchofchrist@cableone.net

 

Some men organized an inter-denominational Bible study group. In time, they came to the subject of baptism. The leader of the class suggested they share their baptismal experience. Ernest was visiting and this is what he heard:

* Gerald said, "I don't really remember my baptism. I was baptized as a baby."

* Harry reported, "Well, my parents had me baptized, and I can't remember any details."

* Marvin said, "The preacher insisted I be baptized. I was about 9 or 10."

* Sam related, "At 12, I was sent to catechism classes and then baptized. I didn't have much to say about the process."

* Randy said, "All my friends were being baptized, and I did not want to be left out."

* Fred confessed, "To tell the truth, I was baptized to win the heart of a pretty girl. Her parents would not allow her to date anyone who was not a baptized Christian."

* Jeremy said, "I was baptized to join the XYZ church. They required it for membership."

* Sandy told them, "I was baptized to show the world that I had been saved by Jesus. I was saved earlier when I was very sick. I had confessed Jesus and prayed and was saved."

* Bill seemed a bit embarrassed. He said, "Well, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit" during a prayer service. They told me I was saved, and I have not gotten around to being baptized in water.

* Art surprised the group by saying, I am saved, but I have not been baptized in water, it is only a symbolic thing. The Lord saves those who believe in Him and Christ.

 

Finally, the leader asked Ernest if he would like to share his baptismal experience.

* Ernest opened his Bible and read Jesus' commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..." (Mk. 16:15-16).

* He then turned to Acts chapter two and read Peter's instruction: "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

* He read the words of Ananias, to penitent Saul of Tarsus, "Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

* He related the conversion of the man from Ethiopia. "They both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and his baptized him" (Acts 8:38).

* He turned to I Corinthians and read, "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body..." (I Cor. 12:13). He also cited Ephesians 1:22-23, God "gave him (Jesus) to be heard over all things to the church which is his body..."

* He then opened his Bible to Romans chapter six and read that "We who died to sin...we were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead...so we also might walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:2-4).

* Last he read Galatians 3:26-27, "For ye are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ."

 

Ernest then summed up the teachings he had read.

1. No baptism is valid unless it is preceded by instruction in the gospel, which includes belief, faith, repentance and confessing Jesus as Lord, which eliminates infant baptism.

2. Baptism is the point at which Jesusí blood washes away our sins (Acts 22:16).

3. In baptism, we participate symbolically in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We die to sin when we are buried in baptism and raised from the baptismal waters symbolizing our resurrection to our new life in Christ (Rom. 6:1-4), which shows that baptism is an immersion.

* In our baptism, we are united with Christ (Gal. 3:26-27) and inducted into his body, which is his church (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23).

* When we are baptized we receive the wonderful gift of God's Holy Spirit which is the seal and earnest of our salvation (Acts 2:38; Eph. 1:13).

* Thus baptism is a dividing line standing between the saved and the lost (I Pet. 3:21).

 

Needless to say, Ernest's short lesson caused quite a stir. The discussion was warm and stretched beyond the allotted time for the class. But as many as gladly received his word were baptized...and the Lord added to the church...those who were being saved (Acts 2:41, 47). Why then were you baptized?

 

Adapted John Waddey