Every person has an opinion about baptism, especially if you grew up in church. Unfortunately most of our opinions are not based on the Bible but on the tradition in which we grew up. Specifically, what denomination or tradition or influence we had.
Some groups baptize for salvation. They believe that in order to go to heaven, you must be baptized. Some groups baptize babies.
Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” This verse gives us a glimpse of just how important baptism is.
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptize” which is pronounced “boptizo.” Boptizo means to dip, to soak, to plunge or to immerse; to wash.
I think we are all familiar with the account of Jesus being baptized. He comes to John and says, “Baptize me.” John said “No. ” John hesitated. Matthew 3:14 says, “But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Why did Jesus get baptized? To confirm John’s message, to identify with the message, to agree with the message. By the way, the message was about Him…His death, His burial, His resurrection.
I Peter 3:21 – “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Peter uses the word ‘symbol.’ This is the only time this word is used in the New Testament.
Water baptism represents your salvation. Peter says baptism is not the removal of dirt and sin but a pledge (business transaction). It provides a clear conscience. Christ washed you in his blood. You symbolize that by being baptized. When you follow through in baptism, your conscience is clear!
Many of you were sprinkled or had water poured on you. Your baptism was not an action that you voluntarily took to publicly declare that you received Christ. Remember, baptism is a symbol, a picture of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
There are 4 categories of people here this morning:
I. You know that you’ve received Christ and you were baptized after your salvation experience. You got it right, you’re ok.
II. You have never received Christ, you don’t have a relationship with Jesus so you have not been baptized. Today, you need to accept Jesus and follow through in baptism.
III. You know that you’ve received Christ. There is no doubt in your mind. But for whatever reason, you have never gotten baptized. You have never “gone public.”
IV. You were baptized before you actually received Christ. Maybe you were sprinkled as a kid or “got dunked” (your baptism didn’t mean anything because you were not a believer).
Baptism doesn’t save you, it’s only a symbol. But it matters to God and it is a big deal to Him. Don’t make light of what is important to God. Don’t minimize what God has maximized!
Have you followed through in baptism? If not, you need to go public!