THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM.
1. Why be baptized?
2. Different religious groups will answer this question in may different ways.
A. One says, "It is the outward sign of an inward grace."
B. Another says, "We should be baptized because we are saved."
C. Yet another says, "We should be baptized in order to follow the example of Jesus in His baptism."
D. One well known religious group says, "Baptism is not essential to salvation...but it is essential to obedience, since Christ has commanded it."
1) Is there any commandment of Christ, or act of obedience, non-essential?
E. Still another group teaches that baptism is to make one a member of that denomination.
1) This idea would make it harder to become a member of a certain denomination than it is to be saved.
F. Some people will say that you don't need to be baptized, while others will declare that you can't be saved without it.
3. Is God's teaching on the subject so indistinct that we are left in darkness? Surely not!
4. In that case, let us look to the Bible for an answer to the question, "Why be baptized?"
I. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO OBEY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
A. It is strange indeed that man, in all of his discussion on baptism, seems to have forgotten that the Lord commanded it!
1. When Jesus sent forth his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature, he said:
a. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Mk. 16:16; Matt. 28;18-20.
b. This was never taught by inspired men as on optional part of the gospel.
2. Jesus still asks us the question: "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Lk. 6:46.
B. When the apostles went forth preaching the gospel of Christ, they preached baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. By His authority. Upon His instruction.
1. When people believed their preaching and asked what to do, their answer was that given to them by the Lord: Acts 2:38; 10:48; 9:6; 22:16.
C. If one desires to obey Christ, he will be baptized because the Lord has commanded it.
II. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BE UNITED WITH THE LORD.
A. If we truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior, we will want to be united with Him.
B. But how is this done?
1. Look at what Paul says in: Rom. 6:3-5.
2. The same thought is found in Gal. 3:27.
3. There is no other action found in the Bible that puts one into Christ.
C. Just how important is it to be in Christ, to be united with Him?
1. Look at the following scriptures: Acts 4:12; Eph. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:10.
D. So, why be baptized? Because salvation and all spiritual blessings are in Christ, and we are baptized into Christ and united with Him.
III. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BECOME A CHILD OF GOD.
A. What a privilege it is to be a child of God!
B. No greater blessing is bestowed that this.
1. See what John says in: 1 Jno. 3:1.
C. But, how do we become a part of the family of God?
1. Paul says: "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God." Rom. 8:14.
a. The Spirit of God "leads" through the words by which He teaches. 1 Cor. 2:11- 13.
2. Paul tells us in Gal. 3:16, that Jesus is the seed through which the promise of God to Abraham, that through him would all nations be blessed, came to pass.
3. He further states in that same chapter that "we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as have been baptized into Christ did put on Christ." Gal. 3:26,27.
4. So, by faith, which comes through the Word of God, Rom. 10:17, we are led to be baptized, and thereby become sons of God.
IV. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BE BORN AGAIN.
A. When Nicodemus came to Jesus and questioned Him, Jesus told him:
1. "Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jno. 3:3.
2. Nicodemus was puzzled about this and said: "How can a man be born when he is old?"
a. Jesus answered: "Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Jno. 3:4,5.
B. In order for one to be born, he must first be begotten or conceived. The seed must be planted. The seed is the Word of God. Lk. 8:11.
1. Paul tells us that we are "begotten by the gospel", 1 Cor. 4:15.
2. James says: that God "begat us with the word of truth", Jas. 1:18.
a. This word came by the Spirit of God. Jno. 14:26; 16:7-13.
b. This word that came by the Spirit of God tells us to be baptized. Therefore, we are "born of water and the Spirit". We are born again.
V. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BECOME A NEW CREATURE.
A. It naturally follows that one who is "born again" is a new creature. Note Paul's statement in Rom. 6:3,4.
1. The same thought is given by Paul in 2 Cor. 5:17: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."
B. After explaining the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the means of our reconcili- ation, Paul tells of being baptized into Christ. See Col. 2:12; 3:1-3, 9,10.
VI. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BE SAVED FROM PAST SINS.
A. All controversy over whether or not baptism is necessary to salvation is resolved by the Lord Himself.
1. He says in Mk. 16;16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."
a. A person needs help to misunderstand that. And it seems there are multitudes of preachers standing by to help them misunderstand it.
2. The apostles all knew what Jesus meant and they taught the same thing later on.
a. When Peter was questioned by believers on Pentecost, he told them: "Repent and be baptized everyone of you...for the remission of sins." Acts 2:38; 22:16.
b. Later on, Peter said: "Baptism doth also now save us." 1 Pet. 3:21.
B. Remember, that salvation is in Christ, and that we are baptized into Christ. 2 Tim. 2:10; Rom. 6:17,18.
VII. WE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BE CLEANSED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
A. Just how important is the blood of Christ in God's plan of salvation for man?
1. The writer of Hebrews said: "Apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. 9:22.
2. Paul told the Ephesians: "In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses." Eph. 1:;;7.
3. John tells us in Revelation: "They washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb." Rev. 7:14.
4. Paul writes concerning the cleansing of the blood in: Rom. 5:8-10; 6:3,4.
5. The Lord died on the cross and shed His blood in His death. We are baptized into His death.
B. How important is the blood? That is how important baptism is!
1. Baptism is the beginning of the application of the blood of Christ to our lives.
C. When we are led by faith in the Lord to be baptized, Mk. 16:16, notice the results:
1. "Let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from and evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water." Heb. 10:22.
VIII. IN ORDER TO WORSHIP GOD ACCEPTABLY.
A. Read: Eph. 5:25-27; Acts 2:38-47; Heb. 10;25.
1. Why be baptized?
A. To obey Christ.
B. To be in Christ.
C. To be a child of God.
D. To be born again.
E. To be a new creature.
F. To be saved.
G. To be cleansed by the blood of Christ.
H. To be able to worship God acceptably.
2. If these reasons for being baptized are important to you, then we urge you:
A. "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16; 8:36-38.
By Jim Sasser
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