What is Water Baptism?

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What is water baptism?  Whether you just accepted Christ or have been born again for a long time, it’s important to know what water baptism is. 

Really water baptism is just dedicating your life to be used for Jesus.

Main Point

Water baptism is an outward sign of an inward happening.  When you were born again by confessing Jesus as your Lord, you spiritually were made brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now you didn’t outwardly change or show any sign of being different.  Baptism is a public declaration of what happened on the inside.  You’re saying, “The old me is buried in the grave (when you’re dunked) and the new me has risen from the grave (when you come out of the water).” 

Our Text

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 KJV

You have to be Born Again

This term “born again” might sound pretty weird to someone who hasn’t grown up in Christian areas. It’s not talking about physically being born again.  Nicodemus didn’t understand this either and said…

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:4-5 KJV

Jesus was telling Him two things. 

  1. You have to be born on this planet.
  2. You have to be born of the spirit.

You have to be born on this planet

Now that sounds like a stupid thing to say, but it’s the truth.  The only people that qualify for the new birth are those who have been born on this Earth. 

That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “born of water”.

You have to be born of the spirit

This is talking about being born spiritually.  See we are all a spirit, but our spirits are separated from Christ (aka dead).  When we accept Christ Jesus as our Savior, our spirits are brought back to life because they are no longer separated from Christ! This is what it means to be “born again”. 

Performing a Water Baptism

Jesus tells us in the Great Commission to go into ALL THE WORLD and preach THE WORD.  

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:19-20 KJV

This is an outline that Jesus Himself gave us for how to baptize someone who has accepted the free gift of Salvation. 

I will outline some basic steps that you can use as a guideline when baptizing someone.  Jesus isn’t up in heaven judging to make sure you say all the right things and do all the right things. He’s looking for willing hearts.  In other words, what are your intentions behind what you’re doing? 

But these are some good basic steps to follow. 

Steps

  1. Teach on Baptism. Whoever your baptizing needs to understand what they’re doing.
  2. Find some form of water. This can be a lake, ocean, pond, bath tub, hot tub, pool…  you get the point.  The important thing is that it’s deep enough that you can dunk someone and submerge them in it. 
  3. Make a declaration. Have the person you’re baptizing say something like, I’m getting baptized because Jesus is my Lord and I dedicate my life to serving Him and telling others the Good News.
  4. Dunk the person. You don’t have to hold anyone under the water but have them pinch their nose with one hand and use their other hand to hold onto their wrist.  Then you can hold their arms while dunking them (kind of gives you a handle to pull them up out of the water). 
  5. Lift them up. Obviously you need to lift them up out of the water!

Water Baptism Symbolism

I mentioned in the last section that you will want to teach on water baptism before you actually perform it.  Well in this section I want to outline some of the things you should teach. 

The Water Represents the Grave

Our text for today says, 

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20 KJV

When you became a Christian, you dedicated your life to serving Christ.  That means YOU (your desires, passions, and wants) DIED.  Everything that comprises your life is now to be used in service to Christ.  

The water represents the grave that you placed your old self into.  All of your old desires to sin and behave immorally are now placed in that grave too.  (Even though it doesn’t always feel like it.)

When you come out of the Water

When you finish being dunked, you’re saying, “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,” (Galatians 2:20). 

You are dedicated to being a new man that behaves and walks and talks just like Jesus. 

Does that mean we’re perfect? Absolutely not!  

But water baptism is our declaration that we are going to live to the best of our ability for Christ Jesus now.

 Read More

If you missed my last post, check it out here.

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