Before Jesus comes the entire world will be divided into two classes: those who reject His message of preparation and fight against Christ and His people, and those who accept His message and unite with His church.
Christ urgently appealed to His disciples in these words, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19, 20.
Christ commissioned His disciples to instruct people in the great principles of the Christian life and gave them the authority to baptize men and women in His name.
Let us study the subject of baptism very carefully. Here we will learn how to become a part of Christ's last day church.
1. How important is baptism? Mark 16:16.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
2. Jesus considered baptism so important that He was baptized as an example for us. Mark 1:9-11.
MY BIBLE SAYS: ". . . Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, 'You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' "
3. What are the conditions God desires His children to meet before baptism?
A. MY BIBLE SAYS: ". . Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; . . ." Acts 2:38.
Repentance is a deep sorrow for sin. It means a conscious desire to turn from those things that violate God's will and sadden His heart.
B. MY BIBLE SAYS: "And the eunuch said, `See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?' Then Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' " Acts 8:36, 37
This belief is more than simply an intellectual assent to a particular creed. It is a heart commitment to Jesus and His Word. It is a turning to Him with all the heart, a belief that He is the Saviour who alone can forgive sin and give victory in my life.
C. MY BIBLE SAYS: "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; . . ." Matthew 28:20.
Although learning is a lifelong process and one should never wait until he feels he has grasped all truth before baptism, it is necessary to understand basic scriptural truths before making such a significant decision.
4. What is the significance of baptism? Romans 6:3, 4.
MY BIBLE SAYS: ". . . Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
5. Since there are several methods of baptism practiced in our world today, what does the Bible teach regarding how an individual is to be baptized? Does it make any difference whether an individual is sprinkled, poured, dipped or immersed?
A. How many methods of baptism does the Bible recognize? Ephesians 4:4
MY BIBLE SAYS: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism; . ."
B. How was Jesus baptized? Mark 1:9, 10.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "It came to pass in those days that Jesus . . . was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, . . ."
It is quite obvious that Jesus was fully immersed by John in the Jordan River.
C. How did John the Baptist baptize? John 3:23.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized."
D. How did Philip baptize the Ethiopian eunuch? Acts 8:38.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him."
To correctly symbolize a death to the old man of sin, burial with Christ, and resurrection in Christ to a new life, the candidate must enter into the water, be completely covered by the water and rise from the water.
Therefore, baptism by immersion is the only Biblical method.
When Paul was miraculously converted on the Damascus Road, Christ led him to Ananias, a representative of His church. Ananias urgently appealed to Paul by saying, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16.
Have you been baptized by immersion? Have you become a part of Christ's last day church? Why not make that decision now?
MY DECISION: Loving Jesus completely, I desire to publicly testify of my faith in Him. I choose to follow the example of my Lord in Bible baptism by immersion.