What is the meaning of baptism?
Baptism does three things:
1. It illustrates Christ's burial and resurrection. "Christ died for our sins. He was buried and He rose again." the Bible says "For when you were baptised you were buried with Christ and in baptism you were also raised with Christ." At Weymouth Baptist Church we baptise the way they did in the Bible -- putting people all the way under the water. It is a symbol of a burial and resurrection. Just like Jesus Christ died and was buried in the ground for three days and then rose again.
2. Baptism illustrates my new life as a Christian. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "When anyone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun." In the Bible, there was no such thing as a person claiming to be a Christian and not be baptised. It was automatic. You were baptised as soon as you gave your life to Christ.
3. To follow the example set by Christ. Because Christ commands it and it demonstrates that I'm really a believer.
Three Reasons why I should be baptised:
1. To follow the example set by Christ. Mark 1:9 "At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptised by John in the river." Why was Jesus baptised? To save Himself? No, He didn't need to be saved. He was perfect. Baptism doesn't save you. It is a symbol of obedience and it's an example that we are to do what He has done.
2. Because Christ commands it. Christ commands that every Christian be baptised. "Jesus said, `Go then to all people every and (1) make them My disciples, (2) baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and (3) teach them to obey everything I have commanded you." These are the three things the church is commanded to do: Make disciples -- help people come to know Christ; baptise them; Help them grow up. Many people think, "I'll be baptised after I've grown up. After I know about the Christian life, then I'll be baptised." No, its right after you make the decision to follow Christ; you spend the rest of your life growing as a Christian.
3. It demonstrates that I'm really a believer. The Bible says, "Many of the people who heard Him believed and were baptised." Baptism doesn't make you a Christian. It just shows that you are a Christian. A wedding ring doesn't make me married; it is a symbol of a commitment that I made that made me married. If I were to lose this ring, I'd still be married. It is an outward symbol of an inward commitment.
Baptism doesn't make you a Christian. It's an outward symbol of an inward commitment. It is your commitment to Christ that saves you. Baptism just says to the world, "I'm not ashamed to tell the whole world what's happened to me. I've given my life to Christ." It’s an advertisement for Jesus, saying, "I'm not ashamed of Jesus Christ." Jesus once said, "If you're ashamed of Me in front of the world then I'll be ashamed of you in front of My Father in heaven." Are you that ashamed of Jesus Christ? The Bible says, "We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands." How do you prove you're a Christian? You obey His commands. One of His first commands is, Be baptised.
Why should I be baptised by Immersion?
1. Because Jesus was baptised that way. We want to do it the way they did it in the Bible. It says "As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water." He went down to the Jordan river . John the Baptist baptised Him in the river. He set the example.
2. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion. Example "Then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptised him. Then they came up out of the water."
3. That's what the word means. The Greek word "Baptise" literally means "dip under water."
4. It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection
If you were baptised as children or babies, I'm sure that was very significant for your parents, but you don't even remember it. So it didn't mean anything to you. We've had many people say, when they got older and they accepted Christ, "I want to be baptised the way Jesus commanded, the way Jesus talked about." We're not talking about the baptism of confirmation but a baptism of confession. "I want the world to know I'm a follower of Christ." You can't do that until after you are a follower of Christ.
Who should be baptised?
Every person who's believed in Christ. "Those who believed and accepted His message were baptised." Acts 8:13, "Simon himself believed and was baptised." Acts 8:12, "But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women."
At Weymouth Baptist Church, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptise them. There is only one qualification in the Bible to be baptised. You've got to believe in Christ. Obviously you've got to be old enough to understand what that's all about.
We warm up our baptism pool so we can have Jacuzzi for Jesus!
When should I be baptised?
As soon as you become a believer. Or as soon as you realize its importance. Maybe you've been a believer for a while but you didn't realize how important it was. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." In Acts it says those who believed were baptised that day. There's nothing special about the water. The water in the pool is not holy. What is holy is the faith of the people. It's not where you're baptised. It's why you're baptised. -- to publicly say, "I am a consenting follower of Christ." There's no reason to delay. After you've decided to receive Christ you ought to be baptised.
Will you have to say anything at your baptism? Yes – the minimum will be “I do” to the confessional statements that are read out on the day. However we encourage as many as possible to give a short testimony of how they came to this place in your life. This will be your way of giving God the credit and being a witness for Him.
In the Bible there's no such thing as a Christian who hasn't been baptised. Let me mention another thing, you may have a special circumstance which needs to be addressed, phobias about water, surgery or anything that would cause you to be embarrassed, we are understanding and sympathetic.
If you would like to be baptised or just find our more about it, please contact the Senior Pastor Peter Mockett.