One of the most important things for a child of God is to be obedient to Him. The Bible says obedience is better than sacrifice. Baptism is a step of obedience for the believer to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ as found in Matthew 28:19-20 "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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Henceforth, water baptism is not a personal choice, but a command for all believers (Mark 16:16).

The English word baptism, a substantive noun, is a translation of the Greek word baptismos. In the verbal form it is baptizein means “to dip into or to immerse”. The word baptizo means: I baptize or I immerse and can never be translated as anything else. Whenever the New Testament refers to baptism, the word bapto is used in one form or another-and this always signifies immersion.

You cannot be baptized simply to become a member of a church or because somebody may think it’s a good idea. Mk.16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Acts 2:38 "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” Baptism is an ordinance of the church, because it is something that Jesus Himself ordained. This is how during Bible days believers were accepted when they make a public statement of their faith on Christ Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Peter makes comparison with Noah and his family going through the flood in the ark (1Pet.3:20-21).The water of the Flood brought judgment on then world that was full of corruption and full of violence (Gen.6:5, 11). Therefore, water symbolizes judgment that Jesus in His death took upon Himself for the people of all ages. The water did not cleanse Noah and his family, but the faith that caused them to believe and obey God and build the Ark. So the water baptism does not cleanse us, but the faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ prior to baptism which leads us to obey this command.

Before you decide about who is qualified to take baptism you should answer the following questions:

Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Have I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior?

Have I repented of my sins and asked forgiveness of my sins?

Have I become a new person in Christ?

(Mk. 16:15-16; Acts16:31–33; 18:8).

Infant and Child Baptism

Now infant and children cannot repent of their sins, they have no idea about having faith in Christ. John the Baptist refused to baptize the religious leaders as they had not repented of their sins and they had not been born again. Therefore, only those who have ability to repent and are saved can be baptized. Children are dedicated unto the Lord and when they reach to the age of accountability then they should repent of their sins and then be baptized. Baptism by itself will not save anyone. It is repentance of sins and faith in Jesus Christ will save us. Jesus says children are already part of the kingdom of God. Mk.10:14 “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Infants should not be baptized because:

1. There is no Scriptural basis for this practice.

2. Babies cannot repent of their sins.

3. They cannot confess the faith as Jesus is the Lord and Savior of their lives.

4. They cannot be taught all the commands that Jesus commissioned to His disciples to teach after their baptism (Matt.28:19).

5. Baptism must be taken willingly and infants cannot choose to obey God in Baptism. They do not understand about sin and walking in spiritual victory.

Importance of Baptism

1. It was commanded by Jesus Christ. Matt. 28:19-20. He says in John14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

2. Christ set an example. He did nothing without purpose, He himself took baptism to set an example for us to follow in His footsteps (1 Pet. 2:21; Mt 3:15).

3. To fulfill all righteousness. Mt 3:15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

4. The Apostles commanded believers to be baptized (Acts 2:38).

5. Baptism is for all those who believe. Baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward faith. (Acts 8:5, 12; 35-38).

6. In baptism, the believer identifies with Christ. When I am baptized I demonstrate what Christ did for me in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-6). I die to sin. I am buried like Christ... I am raised in the power of the Holy Ghost as a brand new person.

7. Baptism is a very important confession of faith to enter into the body of Christ. 1Cor. 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

8. It is dangerous to reject this command. Luke 7:30 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Mode and Formula of Baptism

Immersion is the mode that was practiced in the New Testament Church. Sprinkling or pouring of water has no scriptural basis. The word sprinkling known as Christening comes from the Greek word “rantizo” and is never used in terms of any form of New Testament baptism. When Jesus was baptized, He came “up out of the water” (Mk. 1:10). When Philip baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch, both of them went “down into” and came “up out of” the water (Acts 8:38-39). And the formula has to be what Jesus commanded to His disciples in Matt. 28:19-20. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Any other assumption (in the name of Jesus.) taken will not be biblical. Some references given in Acts is not formula but simply a differentiation from the Baptism of the Jewish, heathen and the baptism of John the Baptist. (Acts 19:3-5). Any other baptism is not correct or complete baptism. In Acts 19:1-7, there were 12 disciples who had only taken the baptism of John the Baptist hence Paul explained to them the way of the Lord and they were re-baptized.

Who can perform the ordinance of water baptism?

A person who himself is saved and baptized by immersion in the water and who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit should minister the rite of water baptism (Acts 2:38-42; 8:14-17; 10:44-48).

The Bible tells about seven kinds of Baptisms

This does not mean that you have to take seven baptisms but these are for you to understand that there are other baptisms also. Study of these scripture will help you to follow the Word of God in its full meaning and completeness. Ephesians 4:5 says, “…one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

1. Baptism in the cloud and in the sea. 1 Cor. 10:1-2
2. Baptism of John the Baptist in water. Mk. 1:1-8
3. Baptism of Jesus in water. Lk. 3 & Matt. 3
4. Believer’s Water Baptism Acts 2:44-48
5. Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Lk. 3:16; Acts 11:16.
6. Baptism into the body of Christ (Church). Gal. 3:27; 1Cor. 12:13
7. Baptism of suffering/Fire. Lk. 12:50, Phil.1:29

Procedure of the Service

1. Prayer.

2. Song or hymn which conveys the meaning and importance of Baptism.

3. Scripture reading. Matt. 3:1-17, 28:18-20; Mk. 1:1-11, 16:14-17; Acts 2:38-42; 8:26-39; 10:44-48; Rom.6:1-13 etc.

4. Short message by the minister.

5. The Pastor first enters the water, and then candidates appear individually.

6. Holding the candidate individually Pastor asks the candidate basic questions about his born again experience, faith in the triune God and on the life, death, burial, resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ.

7. Then the candidate says I do. Then Pastor shall say: “Upon the confession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I now baptize you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

8. When the candidate comes out of the water, the Pastor admonishes, “Be faithful until death and you will receive the crown of life.”

The service is ended with the song or hymn and with final prayer and benediction.

My Responsibility After Baptism.

In Acts 2:38-42 we find detail about a believer’s responsibilities after baptism.

1. Devotion to Apostolic teaching/doctrine.

2. Regular fellowship with other believers.

3. Participation in the Holy Communion.

4. Prayer.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James version [NKJV].

Bethlehem Punjabi Church