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FIRST STEPS (Appendix 1)
In this lesson we are going to be talking about one of the most important steps that every born again believer should take after surrendering their life to Jesus. There are many steps we take in following Jesus Christ in our Christian walk. You have already taken the most important step of all in receiving Jesus as your Saviour and according to the Word of God, you are now a child of God. Your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life. Now it is time to consider being baptised in water.
(If you have already been baptised in water, this will help you to understand the significance of what has taken place.)
In Acts 8, we read of a Christian called Philip who met and talked to an important official from Ethiopia as he was travelling along the road in his carriage. It says in vv. 35-39 that “
… Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptised?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
What’s important to note is that baptism took place immediately upon believing in Jesus, and it was by full immersion in water.
In this study, we are going to examine the significance of water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Write down the following scriptures:
It is plain from the Bible that baptism was by total immersion in water, and no good reason exists for changing that method.
Who should get baptised?
Look up the following verses and write down who should be baptised, or who was baptised.
Baptism is for all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why should we get baptised in water?
(a) The Bible tells us to
What command did Jesus give to His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20?
These followers of Christ took this command literally and after they had received the power of the Holy Spirit immediately began preaching the gospel.
What happened in Acts 2:1-4?
You can read the Apostle Peter’s sermon in verses 15-37. As a result of His preaching, a great number were convicted of their sin and asked Peter, “What shall we do?”
What answer did Peter give them in verse 38?
We refer to water baptism as ‘believers baptism’. They believed FIRST and were baptised to tell the world that they had become followers of Jesus Christ. If that were the only record in the Bible, it would be sufficient. However, there are other reasons why we should be baptised in water.
(b) Jesus was baptised in water.
When Jesus was 30 years old, He came to the Jordan River where John the Baptist was preaching. John was warning the people to repent and be baptised in water. Jesus made His way to the front of the crowd.
Read Matthew 3:13-17 and take note of what took place.
“The heavens were opened to Him”, speaks of access into God’s presence through prayer.
“Holy Spirit descended” – can you expect this to happen when you get baptised? – ABSOLUTELY YES!!
(We would be believing for God’s Holy Spirit to powerfully come upon you at your water baptism.)
God spoke His approval upon His son Jesus, because of His obedience. God also speaks His approval on us when we are obedient to Jesus’ command to be baptised in water (see Matthew 28:19).
What is Baptism?
(a) Baptism is a symbol of the forgiveness of sin.
John the Baptist was the first to use water baptism as a symbol of forgiveness of sin. Matthew records that “They were baptised on Him in Jordan, confessing their sins”. (Matthew 3:6) We will see that there are other meanings as well, but this basic meaning remains as the foundation of them all.
Sin is described as a stain (Isaiah 1:18) and forgiveness is spoken of as ‘cleansing’ and ‘washing’. In baptism, just as dust is removed from the body of the action of the water, so the symbolic meaning is that the sins that stained your life are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ who died for you (1 John 1:7)
(b) Baptism speaks of death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection separated His earthly life into 2 parts (ie before He died and after He rose from the dead). He was different before and after these events.
When you grasp and understand the significance of water baptism it will change your life.
When you are baptised, you testify that you are ‘dead’ and buried to your old sinful life. When you are put under the water, the water is like a ‘grave’ to you. This signifies that you are ‘buried’ with Christ, and declares to the enemy that his reign has finished. This can be a very powerful time of being set free from his control. It’s little wonder he kicks and screams in protest.
The good news is that Jesus did not stay dead and buried. On the third day, He rose from the dead, alive and victorious over sin and death, to live forevermore. As you rise from the water, you signify that you are ‘alive’. You rise in the strength and power of Christ into a new and glorious life. We demonstrate to ourself, the world and the devil by this faith step of obedience that we have ‘died’ to the old life of sin, and we are determined to walk in an exciting and marvellous way of life through Jesus Christ our Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit. At baptism you can expect to receive the Holy Spirit, and begin to speak in tongues as the initial evidence. (We will talk more about this shortly).
(c) Baptism is a profession of faith in Christ.
When we are baptised in water we confess to the world that we believe certain things. We believe that Jesus came into the word 2000 years ago. We believe that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. We believe that He was buried, but rose again from the dead on the third day. He ascended into heaven and today He is alive.
When we get baptised we are declaring to the world that we are truly a disciple of Jesus. Not only do we believe that God is real and that He exists, but we are saying that we know Him to be real in our own lives and we want to follow every one of His commandments in simple obedience.
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