Introduction to Baptism

Matthew 3:1-17
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

This chapter tells much about being baptized. But, I want to discuss a few things in hopes of helping some to better understand the meaning of being baptized. I grew up under many different denominations. I was raised Catholic even attended Catholic schooling. In foster homes I went to a Catholic church, then a Presbyterian church, and then a Mennonite church (where I was baptized at age 14). I was adopted by a Baptist family. Then married into Lutheran. I’ve had Jehovah Witness friends and even a Mormon boyfriend. They all have one thing in common, which is for another day. I have not accepted any one denomination since I was young but, I trust the word of God in the King James Bible and only the King James.

This is not intended to offend anyone but, you may have been taught something not at all the true word of God. My youngest son (9) has recently been asked to be baptized. My oldest sons were baptized (by pouring water over the forehead) in the Lutheran church at a very young age. This has always bothered me and in my eyes they were not truly baptized as my in-laws and my husband believe. I fought to keep my youngest from falling prey. There is nothing against being “dedicated” as a baby but, the Lutheran church flat out calls it a baptism. A few years ago my youngest was attending summer bible school at said church where my in-laws go and where my two older boys were “baptized”. The Pastor was handing out “baptismal birthday cards” to the kids and my youngest son didn’t get one. He asked the Pastor why. Pastor told him that he doesn’t have an invitation to Heaven because he was not baptized. I was furious. Why do you ask? Every single man, woman, and child have an invitation to Heaven. Even the most profane murderer has one. It’s up to you whether you accept it or not and baptism is not the determining factor.

I will put this in question and answer format so its easier to follow. If you have questions not included please feel free to ask.

What age should you be baptized?
Its different for everyone but, I can tell you that infant baptism is not biblical. Nowhere in the bible is an infant baptized. Jesus was baptized at about 30 when He started His ministry. If infant baptism was necessary wouldn’t God have made it so Christ was baptized sooner? Acts 8:12 when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Men and women. No infants, no children.

Is baptism necessary for salvation?
No. The thief on the cross next to Jesus was not baptized yet he was able to be with our Lord on that day because he acknowledged his sin and believed Christ is the Messiah. What is necessary is that you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ Messiah that died for your sins and rose again the third day. Confess your sins and believe Him. Trust Him. Follow Him. That is all that is necessary. Simplicity in Christ.

What is wrong with infant baptism?
Number one, its not in the bible. We shouldn’t just make up stuff and call it God’s word. An infant and most young children are not old enough to understand or even remember why they were baptized. They do not understand the concept of sin so how could they ask for forgiveness? Baptism is symbolic of the commitment you have made with Christ. A personal commitment. How can one so young understand that?

Number two, one of the greatest gifts God gave us is the ability to choose. Free will. He never forces us to do anything. Infant baptism is a choice made by the parents or someone else, not the child. This goes against God’s plan.

Number three, we are all born into sin. Yes, even babies have sin upon them.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

However, our God is a merciful God. An infant or child doesn’t have the need to be baptized.
Luke 18:15-17 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Children and infants do not know any better. Picture the first sin of mankind. Adam and Eve in the garden. Running around together, naked. My boys had no shame in ripping off their diaper and running around naked. It wasn’t until Eve and then Adam ate the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that they learned they were naked and had shame. Before they knew any better it was forgiven by God. The same thing applies to us today.

The point of this is that when an infant or child is baptized without knowing what it means, as they get older they believe they are already saved since they have been baptized. This is false and dangerous to that child when its old enough to understand what sin is. It completely removes the personal relationship with God. I know this because I have seen it within my Lutheran family.

How should we be baptized?
John the Baptist didn’t baptize by sprinkling or pouring. He baptized by immersion. Everyone in the bible that was baptized was baptized in water. They went in the water and the came up out of the water. That is immersion.

What is the purpose of being baptized?
For one thing we are to follow Christ and learn from His words and actions. He was baptized. John was hesitant to baptize Jesus since Jesus had no need to wash away sin. But it was needed to fulfill His purpose of showing all who He was. Baptism symbolizes your commitment to follow Christ. Once you have accepted Christ into your life the next step is to be baptized. By doing so it “washes away” your sin. It symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection into your new life with Christ. It is a public sharing that you have turned your life over to God without shame. Showing all who you are.

There are two different types of baptism in the bible. One was with water and the other was with the Holy Spirit. You are baptized by the Holy Spirit by confessing your sins to God and asking Jesus to be in your heart.

Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

1 Chorinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

I hope this has helped anyone that may be struggling with this issue.

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