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WATER BAPTISM – WILL YOU FOLLOW THE LORD? elevation Baptism 5

The story of Jesus being baptised in water goes like this. The whole of Matthew chapter three.

This was the beginning of Jesus ministry years. It began with the Father speaking audibly about His Son at His baptism, and culminated with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus some three and a half years later. Jesus set a pattern for us to follow Him.

Will you follow the Lord in the waters of baptism?

My story.

I was born again at the age of 20 and about seven weeks later I was baptised by immersion in water. This was a beautiful experience for me and a time when I also desired to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a great opportunity to witness this reality to all your family and friends.

What does baptism mean? What is it for?

When John the Baptist baptised people is was in response to his call for people to repent, confess their sins and heartily amend their ways. It was a public demonstration that a person had made a new start in life to walk in righteousness, and leave the past behind. It showed the picture of a washing away of the old life.

Later water baptism took on a new and added meaning after Christ was raised from the dead as an identification with Christ of His death burial and resurrection.

For each of us Water Baptism certainly is an outward sign of an inward life change. It is an important declaration to all our friends, family and brothers and sisters that I have chosen to follow Christ. But it is a whole lot more than that too.

It is a spiritually powerful experience that prepares you for a victorious life walking with Jesus. Let’s see how Paul saw water baptism.

Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?

2 Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?

3 Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

4 We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.

When you were born again, you became a new person, a new creation, your old life ceased and a new life began. You were crucified with Christ. Rom 6:6 We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

What do we do with a dead body? We bury it! And so in water baptism we bury the old life in the waters of baptism and rise up out of the waters just as Jesus was raised from the dead.

Think of it like this: Jesus died and you died (your old life); Jesus was buried and you were buried (in the waters of baptism); Jesus was raised, and you were raised into newness of life. So in this way you truly identify with Jesus.

Water baptism represents the reality of what takes place in your new birth. It is an outward sign that you are following Jesus; but much more than that it is following Jesus and partaking in the fullness of your own resurrection to new life in Christ. Far more than just a declaration, it delivers the power of God to you for real life change.

Look at his verse with me;

Rom 6:4

We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.(AMP)

This verse says Jesus was raised up from the dead by the glorious power of the Father and JUST THE SAME way you are raised walk in newness of life. When you come up out of the water after going under it, you can believe that the power of God comes upon you to raise you spiritually into a new life. – That’s powerful!

Does Water baptism help me now?

The truth and application of the reality of water baptism is something that helps you every day of your new Christian life. The apostle Peter shows us this truth when he says in 1 Peter 3:19-21

19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.(NLT)

In other words the water of Noah’s flood is a picture of water baptism. How so? Noah enters into the Ark which represents God, the ark having three levels, the top one being one with windows to let in light (Father Son and Holy Spirit). The rain comes and the water which represented judgement rose up and the Ark floated on the waters. The waters separated the ungodliness of the world whom God judged from Noah and his family.

In this same way the waters of baptism now separate us from the ungodly past now we are in Christ (Our ark).  So to apply this great truth, whenever you are tempted to sin remember your water baptism and invest faith in your experience of God’s power and truth in that you are now a new creation and the water of your baptism has separated you form the ungodly temptation coming against you.

It’s a believer’s baptism. Maybe you are saying, “I was baptised as a baby, so I don’t need to be baptised again.” The idea of baptising babies came into the church centuries ago because of fear. Fear that babies that died at a young age would not go to heaven. However baptism does not save, as we have learned in February’s theme (faith for salvation) – only through faith in Jesus Christ is a person saved. Jesus commanded is disciples, let the little children come to me. Salvation for children below the age of understanding is secure in His mercy and acceptance. After the age of understanding children easily receive Christ, but they must be led to Christ.

In all cases in the New Testament people were baptised after they believed. In Acts 2 as Peter preaches the first sermon to the early church they are moved to respond and they said what shall we do? His response was Repent, be baptised and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In Mark’s gospel he states, Mark 16:16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.(ESV). Baptism does not save but it’s so closely linked to our salvation and path to follow Christ that it is included here in the scripture describing followers of Christ.

Another objection some people have is “It’s embarrassing to get wet while everyone is looking at me! My hair will look a mess, people might see my legs, what would I wear? It’s too cold! Etc. etc.” I’m sure there’s a thousand questions that relate to our sense of self consciousness, but all I can say is talk it through with a leader and overcome these things so that you can obey God and be baptised. We will be having a water baptism service on April 26th both morning and night.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What are some common objections to being baptised?

2. Describe, imagine the scene of the first mass water baptism as described in Acts 2:37-41

3. Can some of the group share testimonies of being baptised?

4. How has baptism helped you, changed you, affected you?

5. What would you say to anyone considering being baptised?

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