Next Water Baptism - March 2018 (Date TBD)
If you are interested in being water baptized, please call the church office or sign up online by clicking below, and plan to attend a 1 hour baptism class. The next class is held on Wednesday March 7 at 7pm.
Understanding Water Baptism
Water Baptism is reserved for a person who consciously and knowingly understands his/her decision to receive and follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
The word baptize comes from a Greek word "baptizo", which means to submerge or immerse. Therefore, we baptize by full immersion under water. Baptism is an immersion into something. In this case, it's a public expression of our union or identification in Jesus Christ.
When Philip in Acts 8 was lead by the Holy Spirit to speak to the Ethiopian eunuch, we see that Philip preached and taught about Jesus. Philip shared the gospel (good news) with the Ethiopian man (vs.35). We can conclude by looking at vs.36, that Philip must have communicated the importance of being baptized in water because the man asked Philip, "what prevents me from being baptized?" Philip's answer to that question in verse 37 gives us the prerequistite to water baptism, "If you believe with all your heart, you may."
For this very reason, we don't baptize babies! We have parents dedicate them to the Lord. Then we wait for that child to come to a place of personal faith and understanding in their decision to follow Christ on their own, before baptizing them.
Born Again Before Baptism
We must also understand that water baptism is not a means of salvation, but rather an external expression of an inward work that has already taken place. In other words, one must be born again first, before being water baptized.
Rom.10:9-10 says, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation."
Notice that water baptism is not mentioned in these verses. Some might argue this point by referring to Acts 2:38 where Peter said, "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." But we must look at this scripture in context with other portions of scripture dealing with salvation, and we discover that people are saved when they change their belief (repentance) from trusting in their own ability to become right with God (good works), to trusting completely in what Jesus did for them at the cross when He took the punishment for our sin and gave us His life! When we believe that, and confess that, we are then saved ---- not by being water baptized! However, we see in scripture that once people made that decision to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and thus became born again, they were instructed, and even commanded, to be baptized. (See Acts 10:44-48)
Be reminded of one of the thieves who died along side Jesus. (see Luke 23:39-43). The thief who trusted in Jesus, literally hours before dying, didn't have the opportunity to get down off his cross to be water baptized, but Jesus said to him in vs.43, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Romans 6:1-11, helps us understand the significance of water baptism. In essence, we discover that when we commit ourselves to following Jesus Christ by faith, we take on a new identity. 2 Cor.5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
We are no longer sinners who are living a life of sin, we are now children of God, born again by the Spirit and Word of God, and who are now freed from the power of sin.
Therefore, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Water baptism serves as that public expression and commitment to a new life in Christ!
When we go under the water, we publicly declare that as a born again child of God, our old life is now dead to sin. We are buried with Christ. Then when we come up out of the water, we are declaring that we are resurrected in the newness of life in Christ, and we are no longer slaves of sin, but now alive unto God prepared and determined to live a life that is fully committed to obeying and following God!