Baptism

Great article on baptism. By Samuel A. Matthews

BIBLE BAPTISM - 1

The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)

The subject of baptism has long been one of controversy, especially in respect to its purpose and its action. We suppose that uninspired men have written at least hundreds of books and millions of words about baptism. Many of these things we could read to our profit, but those works will NOT be the subject of this study. Rather, our passion (our Want to) is to study the only book (with the only words) on this subject that really mattersthe word of God the Bible.


We will NOT quote from the Bible encyclopedias or dictionaries, the commentaries, the Greek Lexicons, or other books of that kind. This study will involve what the Bible teaches concerning baptism, rather than what men have taught and teach. Our plan (our Objective) is to examine what the Bible teaches about baptism. We will patiently persevere (our Resolve) and let the reader be the judge of the fulfillment of this aim.

Bible baptism is more than a ritualistic exercise. It is more than a mere point of theological curiosity or discussion. It is more than a sacrament, a ceremony or an optional religious act. It is more than a means of gaining admission to a humanly conceived and established religious organization.
Bible baptism is NOT an act of human merit or righteousness. Rather, the Bible teaches us that baptism is the very act in which the Lord Jesus cleanses and saves the sinner from his sins by His own blood. Those saved souls are then added by the Lord to His church (Acts 2:47; Matthew 16:18), which is His depository of those who are saved (Acts 2:3647).

Baptism, incidentally, also serves as a test of one’s allegiance to the authority of the Son of God and His New Testament. It is sad beyond description that multiplied millions of people have stumbled and continue to stumble to their own eternal destruction at this simple test. We pray (our Knee bends) that none of those who read these words will be among those millions. We have asked the Lord our God, for His sake, to give us success as we help you see more clearly the truth about Bible baptism.


Many have been baptized, but NOT in the way the Bible teaches. If a person was baptized, but was ignorant of the significance of baptism to his salvation, he was NOT baptized scripturally. If you have NOT been baptized in keeping with God's instruction given in the New Testament, then all you have done is gotten wet. You need to be taught right and baptized again (cf. Acts 19:1-5).

We learn from the Word of God that for baptism to be acceptable in the sight of God there must be the right person, the right process, and the right purpose. To be continued…
Bro. Samuel A. Matthews is the evangelism minister with the St. Thomas church of Christ, meeting at 7C Estate Hoffman. Send comments to email: samatm@comcast.net Visit his Baptism website: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/BAPTISM.htm

BIBLE BAPTISM - 2
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)

At the beginning of this series, we indicated that our study will involve what the Bible teaches, rather than what men have taught and teach, concerning baptism. We are simply going to examine what the Bible teaches about baptism. However, before we can study the subject of baptism we must narrow the field of study. Those who are familiar with the Bible know that it identifies several "baptisms."

1. Jesus referred to the suffering He would undergo in His death as a "baptism" (Mark 10:3839).

2. John the Baptizer preached and administered a baptism in water (Matt. 3:16, 11; Mark 1:4).

3. Jesus, during His earthly ministry, also administered a baptism through His apostles (John 4:12).


4. The New Testament speaks of baptism in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11).

5. The New Testament speaks of baptism in fire (Matt. 3:11).
6. Paul called Israel’s passing through the Red Sea when they left Egypt a "baptism" (1 Cor. 10:12).

7. Finally, after His death for our sins, His burial and His resurrection, Jesus commanded His apostles to begin preaching and administering a baptism in what we call the "Great Commission" (Matt. 28:1820; Mark 16:1516).


Of the above seven baptisms, which one is relevant to those living more than two thousand years since the time the New Testament discussed the subject? If you chose #7 you are correct. Number seven is the baptism with which we are concerned in this study. It is the one of which we read in Acts 8:36, where the man from Ethiopia said to Philip the Evangelist, "Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"
The baptism of this study (#7) is the one Peter commanded at the household of Cornelius: "Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized…? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:4748). The baptism now under consideration is the one that same Apostle Peter wrote about in 1 Peter 3:2021 when he referred to the eight souls that were saved through water in the ark in Noahs day, and then said: "Which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." To be continued…

Bro. Samuel A. Matthews is the evangelism minister with the St. Thomas church of Christ, meeting at 7C Estate Hoffman. Send comments to email: samatm@comcast.net Visit his Baptism website: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/BAPTISM.htm

BIBLE BAPTISM - 3
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)

Of the numerous baptisms we mentioned last week, we learned that number seven is the one relevant to souls living today. In about A.D. 62, the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, in which he said, "There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). Now he did NOT mean that he was unaware of the several other kinds of baptisms. Rather, he meant that at the time that he wrote only one of those baptisms was in force. He meant either that the six other baptisms had fulfilled their function and had passed from the scene into obsolescence, or that they were NOT yet in effect.


Obviously, only one baptism was in force at the time that he wrote. Again we ask, "Which baptism was that?" It was the one of which we have already read in Acts 8, Acts 10, and 1 Peter 3. It is also the very same one of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 28:19: "Go ye therefore, and make disciples (teach) of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: [now note carefully His words] and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 
The foregoing statement tells us the reason this baptism is relevant. If the world stands another two thousand or ten thousand years, it will be just as relevant to those people then as it was when Jesus uttered those wordsand as it is now. As long as the world enduresuntil Jesus comesJesus ordered His followers to preach and administer this baptism.

Mere men did NOT "invent" the New Testament act/doctrine of baptism. Jesus is its author, and as such, He alone has the right to determineand He has determined every facet of it, including its element, its purpose, those who are eligible for it, its antecedents, and every other matter pertaining to it. The only source of that information is the New Testament portion of our Bibles.


The only scriptural candidate for water baptism is a taught penitent believer who confesses his faith in Jesus (John 6:44-45; Luke 13:3; John 8:24; Romans 10:9-10). We assume that those reading these words accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and therefore believe that it is NOT a message from fallible, opinionated men, but one from God to man. We therefore turn to the New Testament to see what it teaches about baptism. We will pursue this study by asking questions about the subject and seeking their answers in God’s Word. To be continued…
Bro. Samuel A. Matthews is the evangelism minister with the St. Thomas church of Christ, meeting at 7C Estate Hoffman. Send comments to email: samatm@comcast.net Visit his Baptism website: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/BAPTISM.htm




BIBLE BAPTISM - 4
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)


Question #1: "Is baptism for everyone, or should everyone be baptized?" (We are referring to those who are accountable and responsible creatures before God, thus excluding innocent children and those who are mentally incompetent). Should all of those who are capable of hearing, understanding, and responding to the will of God be baptized?
Actually, there are two correct answers to this question. The first correct answer is "Yes," in God’s "ideal will" they should all be baptized. Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 demonstrate the fact that He desires all nations to hear and obey His Gospel message, which includes baptism. The parallel account in Mark 16:1516 has the same force: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned."


However, the second correct answer to that question is "No, baptism is NOT for everyone." God’s "realistic will" as revealed in the New Testament leads to the foregoing conclusion, specifically:

Baptism is NOT for unbelievers. It would do an unbeliever no good whatsoever to be baptized, except to bathe his body. Jesus said in John 8:24: "For except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Regardless of how many times an unbeliever might go through a religious act called "baptism," this act would NOT benefit his soul in any way. Therefore, unbelievers should NOT be baptized (including infants, the mentally handicapped, and those who deny the evidence and remain infidels).

Baptism is NOT for un-confessing believers. Even if one believes in Christ, if he is unwilling for any reason to confess his faith in Him in the presence of others, baptism will NOT profit him spiritually (cf. John 12:42-43). According to Scripture, such a believer is NOT ready to be baptized.
When the Ethiopian asked, "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" Phillip answered, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." The man responded: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:3637). Philip’s words imply that he would NOT have baptized the Ethiopian had he NOT confessed his faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. The same verse that teaches that one must believe with his heart unto righteousness also states, "and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10). To be continued…

Bro. Samuel A. Matthews is the evangelism minister with the St. Thomas church of Christ, meeting at 7C Estate Hoffman. Send comments to email: samatm@comcast.net Visit his Baptism website: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/BAPTISM.htm
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