Bible study lesson 21 - Baptism
Purpose: Baptism by immersion is the public declaration of faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Theme: In baptism we embrace the death and resurrection of Jesus in our place.
Bible verses to read:
- Acts 22:3-16
- Matthew 3:1-17
- John 4:1-2
- Matthew 28:19
- John 3:1-8
- Romans 6:3-4
- Acts 8:26-40
- 1 Corinthians 12:13
- Ephesians 5:23
- Actions 16:25-34
- Ephesians 4:5
- Matthew 28:19-20
- James 2:19
- Acts 2:38
- Acts 8:36
- 1 Corinthians 15:29
Good to see you again, friend. Today we are going to talk about baptism. In the New Testament, baptism and repentance go hand in hand, so it it very important to understand fully the concept of baptism.
Baptism is a physical demonstration for an inward spiritual reality characterized by repentance. By being baptized, we are making a declaration that we are turning away from sin and moving towards Jesus. We believe the death Jesus died in our place is ours and represents that we were once alive in sin, but now, we die in baptism and are resurrected in Jesus to a new life in Him.
Let's turn to Acts 22:3-16
- According to these verses, what happened to Saul when he accepted Jesus Christ into his life?
- Answer (highlight to read): Saul was baptized.
Let's turn to Matthew 3:1-17.
- According to these verses, what happened to Jesus at the Jordan River
- Answer: He was baptized by John in the Jordan River.
Jesus was baptized as our example. Jesus was not baptized because of sinfulness, which is why John the Baptist said that he should not baptize Him. Rather, Jesus was baptized as an example for us.
Let's turn to John 4:1-2.
- According to these verses, did Jesus allow His disciples to baptize people?
- Answer: Yes
Jesus sanctioned the ministry of baptism. He had His disciples baptize others.
Let's turn to Matthew 28:19.
- According to this verse, what did Jesus tell His disciples to do?
- Answer: He told them to baptize disciples in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In this verse, Jesus gives His disciples the great commission to continue to baptize people.
Let's turn to John 3:1-8.
- According to these verses, what did Jesus say must happen first for a person to see the kingdom of God.
- Answer: A person must be born again.
In Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus told him that a person must be born again by water and Spirit. Baptism therefore symbolizes an inward spiritual renewal.
Let's turn to Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 2:20.
- According to these verses, what does baptism symbolize?
- Answer: Baptism symbolizes Jesus' death and resurrection.
Let's turn to Galatians 2:20.
- According to this verse, what happens when we accept Jesus' crucifixion?
- Answer: Jesus now lives in us.
Baptism symbolizes our acceptance of Jesus' death in our place and the new life that we will now live in Him.
Let's turn to Acts 8:26-40.
- According to these verses, how was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized?
- Answer: The Ethiopian eunuch was immersed in the water.
Notice that Philip and the eunuch both went into the water (verse 38) and came out of the water (verse 39). Sprinkling or any form of "baptism" besides immersion would not be sufficient to symbolize death and resurrection. This Ethiopian eunuch was a Gentile and would have been looked down upon in the eyes of the Jews, but these verses show that baptism is available for everyone, regardless of past circumstances.
Let's turn to Ephesians 4:5.
- According to this verse, how many types of baptism are there?
- Answer: One
There is only one Biblical method of baptism. The Greek word for "baptize" literally means to immerse, so immersion would be the only true method of baptism. Other methods like sprinkling or anointing with holy water are not Biblical methods of baptism.
You might be asking yourself at this point, "Is baptism just between me and the Lord?"
Let's turn to 1 Corinthians 12:13
- According to this verse, how is this question answered?
- Answer: When we are baptized, we are baptized into the body of Christ.
The Biblical perspective is that the body of Christ is the church and we are to be unified together through baptism.
Let's turn to Ephesians 5:23.
- According to this verse, who is the Head and Savior of the church?
- Answer: Jesus
We find here that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the body that we are baptized into. Therefore Jesus is the Savior of His people.
Let's turn to Acts 16:25-34.
- According to these verses, what happened to the jailer and his family after they believed in Jesus?
- Answer: They were baptized.
"What must I do to be saved?" Baptism is an outward evidence that the believer has accept Jesus Christ.
- According to these verses, how did Paul answer the jailer's question of what must be done that he could be saved?
- Answer: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A person has to be cognitive enough to express repentance and demonstrate a turning away from sin, which are the prerequisites of baptism. The Bible does not state what age a person can be baptized, only that they meet the aforementioned criteria. Therefore, infants should not be baptized, since they would be unable to make that kind of decision at that age.
Hopefully, at this point, you have come to see that baptism is a serious issue and that it should not be done haphazardly. Baptism is a marriage to Christ.
Let's turn back to Matthew 28:19-20.
- According to these verses, what else did Jesus command His disciples to do, besides baptizing others?
- Answer: He commanded them to teach others what He taught them.
Baptism was not divorced from discipleship. Followers were to work in the ways Jesus worked. Jesus says that there must be an understanding of what baptism involves.
Let's turn to James 2:19.
- According to this verse, is belief in Jesus enough for one to be saved?
- Answer: No
Belief and intellectual assent are not enough. We have to be reaching out in faith to Jesus.
Let's turn to Acts 2:38.
- According to this verse, what do we need to do first before we are baptized?
- Answer: We need to confess and repent of our sins.
Preparation for baptism must involve a sorrow for sin and a turning away from it.
Let's close this lessons and turn back to Acts 8:36.
- According to this verse, what question did the eunuch ask?
- Answer: "What hinders me from being baptized?"
Friend, you have been doing these lessons with me for quite some time now. You have been following Jesus and putting your faith in Him. Are you willing to turn away from your sins? Is there anything keeping you back from being baptized?