Water Baptism

Jesus calls each and every one of his followers to be water baptized as an act of faith and obedience (Matthew 28:18-20). Water baptism is more than merely a religious ritual. It is a declaration that you believe that Jesus Christ is who he said he was, that you have repented and turned from your sin, and that you have chosen to follow Him as your Lord and King for the rest of your life. If you'd like a PDF version of this guide, please click here.

What is the meaning of water baptism?

  • It illustrates Christ's burial and resurrection.
Christ died for our sins... He was buried... and He was raised on the third day. --1 Corinthians 15:3-4
...having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him --Colossians 2:12
  • It illustrates my new life as a Christian.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! --2 Corinthians 5:17
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. --Romans 6:4

Baptism doesn't make you a believer - it shows that you already believe. Baptism does not "save" you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring - it's the outward symbol of the commitment you have made in your heart.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith... it is the gift of God -- not by works so that no one can boast. --Ephesians 2:8-9

Why be baptized by immersion?

  • Because Jesus was baptized that way.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. --Matthew 3:16
  • Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.
Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water... --Acts 8:38-39

The word 'baptize' means "to dip under water". The Greek word 'baptizo' means "to immerse or dip under water". It best symbolized a burial and resurrection.

Who should be baptized?

  • Every person who has believed in Christ.
Those who accepted his message were baptized... --Acts 2:41
But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. --Acts 8:12
Simon himself believed and was baptized... --Acts 8:13
  • For baptism to be more than merely a religious act it must reflect your heart.
The difference between a bath and a baptism is your motive. Thus a person should be old enough to make a personal decision to turn from their sin and to follow Jesus Christ before being baptized.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. --Matthew 28:19

Note: If you were baptized as an infant, we believe that you are not discounting that event, but you are now personally affirming your parent's commitment.

Also, if you were baptized after becoming a sincere follower of Jesus, then you don't have to be re-baptized if you struggled with your faith for a time afterward -- our security as God's children is not dependent upon our personal performance.

But, if you realize that you were baptized before you fully turned your heart over to Christ, then you should mark your decision to follow Him by being water baptized.

When should I be baptized?

  • As soon as you have believed!
Those who accepted his message were baptized... that day. --Acts 2:41
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?" Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." The eunuch answered, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. --Acts 8:35-38

There is no reason to delay. As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, you can and should be baptized. Some people want to wait until they have cleaned up their life enough to be worthy of baptism. But the Bible makes it clear that it is what Jesus has already done and not what we do that makes us worthy.

What should I wear when I am baptized?

You should wear shorts and a top which will preserve modesty. Bring a change of clothes, a towel, and a plastic bag for your wet articles of clothing. 

What can I expect on the day of my baptism?

At the beginning of the service, one of the pastors will briefly explain the meaning of baptism. The pastor will then introduce you and the others being baptized that day. You will introduce yourself and briefly share why you are being baptized (see the 'Two-Minute Miracle' section on the next page to help) After each person has shared briefly, the pastor will lower you under the water, and then you can go dry off, and watch the others. Later you will be given a copy of your baptism certificate.

How do i write my two-minute miracle?

Here are some questions to help write the short testimony you'll be sharing.
  • Life before Jesus (30 sec) - What was your spiritual background? What was missing in your life?
  • Meeting Jesus (60 sec) - How were you introduced? What was appealing about Him? What did it feel like to be saved?
  • Life with Jesus (30 sec) - Why are you glad you're following Him?

should i invite friends or family to my baptism?

Yes! We highly encourage you to invite your relatives and friends to attend your baptism. This is an important day for you. And, it is a powerful witness to others of the fact that God has done a change in your heart. God may use your baptism to move on the heart of someone watching to help them take this step of faith and obedience also.

what's next?

If you have further questions or would like to be baptized, please talk to the person discipling you, your Community Group Leader, or the church office.

Purple Book Lesson

Chapter 4: Water Baptism

If you take a trip across Israel and tour the ancient land where Jesus lived and ministered, you’ll discover that the world of the Bible included the concept of ritual bathing. Men and women would wash ceremonially to cleanse themselves from the dirt and defilement of the outside world. Jesus and his disciples came preaching and calling people to be baptized in water to symbolize the cleansing that takes place through their faith. In the Great Commission, Jesus would command his disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)

1. What happened to those who accepted Peter’s message? (Acts 2:41)

2. What did the men and women who believed Philip’s message do? (Acts 8:12)

3. After hearing the good news about Jesus, what did the Ethiopian eunuch want to do? (Acts 8:35-36)

4. Jesus told his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. What did he say to do with those disciples? (Matthew 28:19-20)

The New Testament uses four different illustrations to help us understand the significance of water baptism:
  • Burial and resurrection (Romans 6:4-5)
  • The Israelites crossing the Red Sea when they escaped from Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:1-2)
  • Circumcision (Colossians 2:11-12)
  • The flood (1 Peter 3:20-21)

5. Paul compares Christian baptism to a burial. In order to be buried, a person must first die. What must we die to before we can be baptized? (Romans 6:1-4)
6. The Israelites’ passing through the Red Sea is a picture of baptism for us. Why were the Israelites fleeing from the Egyptians? (Exodus 2:23; 3:7, 9)

7. What happened to the Egyptians? (Exodus 14:22-28)

In the same way the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians, we were all slaves to sin. The Israelites were freed from their bondage by passing through the Red Sea. Baptism pictures the freedom from sin that Jesus purchased for us on the cross.

8. Paul says baptism is like a circumcision not done by human hands, but a circumcision done by Christ. What is put off during this spiritual circumcision? (Colossians 2:11-12)

9. What did Peter say the flood water symbolized? (1 Peter 3:21)

10. What is baptism a pledge of? (1 Peter 3:21)

Peter teaches that it is not the “removal of dirt from the body” that saves us. In other words, it is neither the act of baptism nor the water of baptism. Rather, it is “the resurrection of Jesus Christ” that saves us. Once again we see the Scriptures teaching that we are saved by what Jesus did (his death and resurrection), not by what we do (water baptism). Peter goes on to say that baptism is the pledge of a clear conscience.

Each of the Bible’s pictures of baptism shows the old life being put away and a new life emerging. In baptism we publicly display what Jesus did through his death and resurrection. We also show that we have identified with this. By obeying his command to be baptized, we identify with the power of the cross and resurrection to deliver us completely from the power and authority of sin. “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” (Acts 22:16)

Application & Reflection
What did you learn from this lesson? How will you apply it to your life?