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1. What does God desire for every person? 1 Timothy 2:3, 4 NKJV
“God our Savior .. . desires all men to be and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Jesus died to make it possible for every single person to be saved. God doesn’t arbitrarily choose some for heaven and leave others with no hope. His Holy Spirit and angels are constantly working to “guide us into all truth” and to salvation (John 16:13). They rejoice when we respond to their labor of love (Luke 15:10). And we can only imagine how they must be saddened when we don’t.
2. What must happen for a person to receive salvation? John 3:5 NKJV
“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of and the he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’”
We must be born again by the Spirit and water if we are to be saved. Our first birth as humans offers us only death. We are born with faulty genetics, affected by thousands of years of sin, and pre-wired to be tempted, decay, and die. Our only hope for eternal life is to be born again and have a new life put within us, the power of God to make us new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). Even though we continue to live in this “sinful flesh,” the new birth gives us new motives and desires that transform our lives (Galatians 5:22-25). We become more heavenly minded and fit for the companionship of angels (Colossians 3:1-4).
3. What does it mean to be “born of the Spirit”? John 16:8 NKJV
“And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
The Spirit’s work is to convict us of our sin, of the right things to do, and of the judgment that holds us accountable. We are “born again of the Spirit” when we admit the conviction is accurate. Then we repent and confess this to God and surrender our lives in faith and obedience (Ephesians 2:1-10). The Spirit is invisible like the wind—He convicts us in our conscience where no one can see it (John 8:9). But the result of the Spirit’s work is visible to all in a changed life.
4. What does it mean to be “born of the water”? Acts 2:37, 38 NKJV
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.’”
As people learn the teachings of God’s Word, as they did on the Day of Pentecost, conviction causes an intense discomfort of spirit. This is normal and is a good sign the Holy Spirit is working with us. He causes us to feel uncomfortable in our sin and transgressing God’s law (1 John 3:4). The proper response to conviction is repentance and action. The devil tempts us, however, to cover our sin by not admitting our guilt and delaying repentance and change (Proverbs 28:13; Acts 24:24, 25).
Jesus said the new birth experience is a combination of the Spirit’s unseen work on our heart and its visible evidence in a changed life and baptism. He makes it clear that to receive eternal life we must respond to the Spirit and take a visible stand for Him.
5. What three simple steps to eternal life precede baptism?
(1) Learn the teachings of the Bible. “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, them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NKJV).
(2) Believe and accept Bible truth. “He who and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 NKJV).
(3) Repent and forsake the sin the Bible points out. “Then Peter said to them, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.’… Then those who gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:38-41 NKJV).
Baptism is preceded by teaching, believing and repentance. This means those who are baptized must have sufficient maturity. While infants are incapable of this, the Bible provides a special service for dedicating them to God that doesn’t include water baptism (Luke 2:25-28 NKJV).
6. Does baptism always follow these three steps?
a. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this , preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” Acts 8:30-38 NKJV
b. “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and Christ to them. When they Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” Acts 8:5, 12 NKJV
c. “And he … said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘ on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Acts 16:30-34 NKJV
Each of these converts followed God’s steps to eternal life. God is doing the same work in hearts today. As we study the Bible it convicts us of things that we need to repent of and change. We respond to the Spirit’s conviction by saying “Yes” to Jesus and showing our love to Him by our baptism.
7. What does baptism mean and represent? Romans 6:4-6 NKJV
“Therefore, we were with Him through baptism into that just as Christ was from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
Baptism symbolizes death to sin, burial of the old sinful life, and resurrection to walk in a new relationship with God. The baptism ceremony can also be compared to a wedding. It is a sign that we forsake all other loves to completely unite our life to Jesus.
8. What does the Bible say about how we are to be baptized? John 3:23 NKJV
“Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was water there. And they came and were baptized.”
John needed “much water” to baptize, because the word “baptism” literally means to totally immerse or submerge. Immersion is the only way to properly represent the burial of the old man of sin.
9. Was Jesus baptized by immersion as an example for us? Mark 1:9-11 NKJV
“Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘You are My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ “
Jesus went down into the river and was “baptized” or immersed. Then He came “up from the water.” The Father was very pleased with Jesus, as He is with us, when we are baptized by immersion.
10. Did the disciples baptize by immersion? Acts 8:36, 38 NKJV
“And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ … So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down the water, and he baptized him.”
In order to baptize, Philip and the Ethiopian “went down into the water” where the Ethiopian was “baptized,” literally “immersed.”
11. Does the Bible say there is only one method of baptism? Ephesians 4:4, 5 NKJV
“There is one body and one Spirit, … one Lord, one faith, baptism.”
God’s Word declares there is only one method of baptism—immersion. This is the only method that rightly portrays death, burial, and resurrection. Sprinkling and pouring water cannot fulfill the meaning God has given to this vital ceremony.
Methods other than immersion were not accepted by the church until the Council of Ravena in A.D. 1311. The Roman Catholic Church built churches with baptistries for immersion into the 13th century. The leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, built in the 12th and 13th centuries, was a church bell tower. Nearby, as part of the same facility, tourists can still see a sunken baptistry three to four feet deep and twenty feet wide. Sprinkling evolved as a gradual compromise of Bible teaching. God calls us today to return to His Word.
12. Is it ever appropriate to be re-baptized?
The Bible gives two reasons when re-baptism is appropriate and necessary.
a. “And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:1- 5 NKJV
The Ephesian believers had already been baptized once in a baptism of repentance; but the truths Paul introduced to them were so life-changing that they were re-baptized. Likewise, when we accept substantial new Bible truth, we may choose to be re-baptized to symbolize our renewed dedication to Jesus and all His Word.
b. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?… knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be of sin.” Romans 6:2, 3, 6 NKJV
Baptism represents death to serving sin. If a person, who has been baptized, returns to a life of flagrant sin, they need to be re-baptized when they repent and come back to God.
13. How important is baptism in God’s sight? Mark 16:15, 16 NKJV
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’”
Baptism is vitally linked with salvation because it is our response to God’s leading us to Him. God will do all the saving, but we have to say “Yes” to Jesus.
There are times, such as when a non-baptized person is dying, that baptism is physically impossible—similar to the dying thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43). In these rare occasions, Jesus credits His baptism to them because they would be baptized if it were possible.
14. Have you been baptized like Jesus, by immersion?
Nothing makes Jesus and angels happier than when we submit to Him completely. As you follow the teachings of God’s Word, you can know the decisions you make for Jesus today are part of His wonderful plan “to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11).
15. Is it your desire to follow Jesus and would you like to begin preparing to be either baptized or re-baptized?
This response will be awarded full points automatically, but it will be reviewed and possibly adjusted after submission.