1 BAPTISM None would deny that there is much confusion and division in the religious world over the subject of baptism. But before we throw our hands up and surrender to hopeless disagreement rather than unity, we need to ask ourselves a serious question; namely, does the confusion and division over baptism exist because: 1. God failed to provide sufficient information to allow us to have a complete understanding on the subject of baptism? 2. Man refuses to accept what is revealed? Friends, I think that you know the answer to that question. God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33), nor has He failed to provide ample information about baptism. In fact, such an abundance of material exists; all that is necessary is an honest heart, and a ready mind to ascertain the truth. This lesson is intended to examine baptism honestly, by allowing the word of God to provide the answers on this tremendously important subject. Of course, a general study of baptism would be beneficial for all; however, our specific purpose tonight is to understand baptism as it relates to the salvation of a soul. That being the case, we need to narrow the focus of our study, for there are no less than six different baptisms mentioned in the New Testament. However, by the time you reach Ephesians 4:5, Paul would write by inspiration that there is only one baptism. This baptism would be for all men, for all time. Which baptism is that? It could not be the baptism of Moses (I Corinthians 10:2), for that baptism occurred some 1500 years before Christ. Nor could it be the baptism of John (Acts 19:1-7), for John’s baptism was preparatory in nature, to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. The baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11) is yet future, the second coming of Christ will usher in that baptism (II Thessalonians 1:8-9). The baptism of suffering is inseparably connected to Calvary (Luke 12:50). That brings us to the last two baptisms: The baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) and the baptism of the great commission or water baptism (Matthew 28:18-20). Well, both were in effect in Acts chapter two and again in Acts chapter ten, but one had served its purpose and was done away by the writing of Ephesians. Which one? The easiest manner in which to answer that question is to apply the rule of never and always. Holy Spirit baptism was never: 1. Commanded – it is a baptism of promise to a select few (Acts 1:4-5). 2. Administered by men – but by Christ (Matthew 3:11). 3. For the remission of sins. 4. Used to get into Christ. 5. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The baptism of the great commission (water baptism) was always: 1. Commanded (Acts 10:48). 2. Administered by men (Acts 8:35-39). 3. For the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). 2 4. Used to get into Christ (Romans 6:3-5). 5. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Therefore the baptism of the great commission is the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5, and it alone can accomplish want God desires for all men for all time! Now having established that the baptism of the great commission is the one baptism, let’s us examine together some passages in the Bible to see what the scriptures teach us about that baptism, while noticing some of the more common arguments used to avoid or minimize baptism. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). Argument: That verse does not say, “He that believeth not and is baptized not shall be damned”. Beloved, that is just a blatant attempt to make null and void the teaching of the Saviour of the world. Jesus did not say “he that believeth not and is baptized not shall be damned” for good reason, namely, it would be both unnecessary and redundant. Obviously, if one does not believe they would not want to be baptized, and if they did it would have no meaning. Let me give you an exact parallel. “He that eateth and digesteth shall live, but he that eateth not shall die”. Obviously, if one does not eat they cannot digest. It would be redundant and unnecessary to say; “he that eateth and digesteth shall live, and he that eateth not and digesteth not shall die. Friends, who said “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”? Jesus did, what do men say about it? Who cares! “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38). Argument: “For” (eis) means because of sins already forgiven. Those who believe that baptism is a demonstration rather than a condition of salvation comes to this verse with a bias, and in order to parry the thrust of Peter’s statement they define the word “for” (eis) to mean “because of” sins already remitted. Well, if “for” (eis) means “because of” in Acts 2:38, then it must mean the same thing in Matthew 26:28 where you have the exact same phase. “For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for (eis) the remission of sins”. Did Jesus shed his blood on Calvary “because of” sins already remitted? Friends, who could believe such a thing? Now this, what is the one thing that will keep one out of heaven? You know the answer, it is sin (Isaiah 59:1-2), and sin kills us spiritually (Ephesians 2:1). In this verse Peter, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), tells us that baptism is for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins. No wonder Ananias told Paul to “…arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, 3 See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:35-39). There is a marvelous simplicity in this account of conversion. There is a man who is lost but searching for the truth (Acts 8:28-34). God’s desire, of course, is that all men to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved (I Timothy 2:4). Therefore, He is interested in this honest man who is searching the scriptures, so much so, that Philip is sent to preach the gospel unto him. And Philip began at the very passage that the eunuch was studying (Isaiah 53), and he preached unto him Jesus. Now this question, how did the eunuch know to say, “…see, here is water what doth hinder me to be baptized?” There is only one possible answer, Philip preached unto him, Jesus! You cannot preach Christ and not preach about baptism, and the next part of our study shows us why. But before we leave this beautiful scene, please notice that we are permitted to hear the good confession. “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. Confession is unto salvation (Romans 10:10). “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:” (Romans 6:3-5). Argument: This is Holy Spirit baptism. Folks, there is no resurrection in Holy Spirit baptism. Beloved, so many people make every effort to run around the truth, but at some point in time you just need to stop and face it honestly. 1. When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death. No wonder baptism is for the remission of sins, Jesus shed His blood in His death, and we contact that blood when we are baptized into His death. 2. Baptism is a burial in water, the very word means to immerse, submerge, bury. 3. When one is baptized, they depict the death (to one’s self), burial (in water) and resurrection (to newness of life) of Christ. What have we seen? 1. Baptism is necessary for salvation (Mark 16:15-16). 2. Baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). 3. We must believe, repent and confess Christ to be baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:37). 4. Baptism is a burial in water (Acts 8:38; Romans 6:3-5). 5. Baptism puts one into Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-27).
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