Importance of Baptism
Baptism proves our submission to Christ's authority and represents His death and resurrection for our salvation. Only those born of the Spirit of God will esteem its foolish appearance. Many martyrs were killed for Bible baptism, which has made it the most visible identifier of the true worshippers of God.
1. Even Jesus came to Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. When John sought to excuse himself from such a task, Jesus told him that He needed the ordinance to fulfill all righteousness. And His glorious Father in heaven declared His approval (Matt 3:13-17).
2. When Jesus declared all authority in the universe was His and commissioned His eleven apostles, He emphasized water baptism as the identification of His true disciples (Matt 28:18-20). And He joined it to faith as the evidence of salvation (Mark 16:16).
3. When the day of Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit declared Jesus Christ the Lord of heaven and earth, the first act of obedience required was water baptism (Acts 2:33-39).
4. Whether the Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius, or the Philippian jailor, hearing the news of Jesus Christ resulted in eager baptisms (Acts 8:36-39; 10:44-48; 16:30-34).
5. Not all baptisms are valid. Twelve disciples at Ephesus were baptized unto John's baptism instead of unto Christ. Even though such baptisms were valid before Pentecost, they were unacceptable after; so Paul rebaptized these men in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:1-7), making himself the first Anabaptist. [See the study called "Rebaptism."]
6. The Lord God does not care about sincerity, when it comes to changing His commandments. He expects us to obey exactly as written. Moses and David were very righteous and sincere men, but they slightly altered His commandments and were severely judged (Num 20:7-13; I Chron 15:11-15; I Samuel 15:22-23; Acts 5:1-11).
7. Baptism is the first positive act of obedience in a believer's life. If he is allowed to compromise truth at this early stage, he will have little fear to compromise later in other matters. Men should always tremble before the Word of God, but they should surely tremble with the initial act of obedience to Jesus Christ (Isaiah 66:2; Proverbs 13:13).
8. Baptism is that act of obedience that identifies us with Christ (Gal 3:27). Regardless of our faith, we have not shown our submission and love of Christ until we are baptized; for faith without works is dead, and baptism is the first work of faith (James 2:14-26).
9. It is the way God has chosen for us to answer Him with a conscience made good by the blood of His Son (I Peter 3:21; Heb 9:14). It is a high privilege to answer God with love and devotion by being baptized in a picture of His Son's death and resurrection.
10. We show our love of Christ by keeping His commandments (John 14:15; I John 2:6). And our first commandment to keep after believing on Him is baptism (Acts 10:47-48).
11. As Elisha's word to dip in the dirty Jordan to cure his leprosy angered Naaman, even so we are told by Jesus Christ to be immersed in water to show our obedience to Him (II Kings 5:1-14). Being a fool for Jesus Christ is to be truly wise (I Corinthians 3:18).
12. It is our responsibility to prove all things, and hold fast only the good (I Thess 5:21). As Paul examined the baptisms at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7), we must do so also to obey Christ.
13. God ordained baptism to reveal His saints, by exposing the false worshippers of Jesus Christ. Belly worshippers, traditionalists, those fearing men, and closet Catholics will not submit to the Bible ordinance. Of two billion "Christians" on earth today, less than 5% practice God's baptism. Only those regenerated and converted by the Spirit will obey it.
14. For over a thousand years, many saints of all ages and sexes lost their lives for holding to Scriptural baptism (Revelation 12:17). The Great Whore of Rome and her daughters have tortured and murdered millions for not accepting her infant sprinkling superstition. Even John Calvin had Michael Servetus burned alive for denying infant baptism.
15. It is an honor to be a Baptist, though denominational names mean little. John was the first New Testament preacher, and God called him a Baptist. Jesus and the apostles were Baptists, for they were baptized by a Baptist. Being a Baptist is far better than following man-made religions with superstitious rites of infant sprinkling and baptism for the dead.