"What Constitutes Scriptural Baptism?"
by Pastor K.B. Murray
Millington Street Baptist Church, Winfield, KS
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Text: Matthew 28:18-20
Many years ago as I began to explore Baptism and it's meaning and relevancy, I gleaned material from many sources but principally from the Word of God. I would like to say that I came out of BBC as strong in my convictions as I am today but that is not true with me nor I doubt with most others. Circumstances, need, experiences and a few other things puts conviction and strength into our lives, if we are willing and do not fight the Lord's workings. I am much stronger a Baptist and know why I stand where I stand than I did in 1961 when I graduated BBC.
Baptism is one of the two significant and important ordinances enjoined by Jesus Christ for his Church to practice. The other of course, being the Lord's Supper.
There is much confusion revolving around Scriptural baptism. Like everything else Jesus taught and presented for his Church to practice, men have mangled or changed it until the average individual doesn't have a clue as to what Christ taught.
Through Satan's deception, some have offered an easier form of administration, some have devised kinder methods, some have corrupted the purpose and teach that it saves and yet others have all but done away with it, attempting to make their religion palatable for the flesh.
Looking at religion's broad picture, about 98% are doing what makes the flesh feel good rather than teaching or practicing what the Bible declares.
Is it any wonder that the average individual doesn't know what to believe because he has never been taught what the Bible says and he is not grounded in thus saith the Lord.
When we take the Word of God for what it says, reject the traditions and tangled teachings of men, suddenly we get a clear and pure light upon the subject before us.
I want to present the Four Scriptural Qualification For Scriptural Baptism.
As an aside, allow me to say that no one has ever been rebaptized! There is no such animal. Either you have Scriptural baptism or you do not have.
I. SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM DEALS WITH A PROPER SUBJECT
One who is saved, born-again, redeemed and knows it.
A. Whether you listen to John the Baptist, Jesus the Christ or the Called-out Disciples, the message is always that baptism is only for repentant sinners who have received Christ as their Savior. Notice the Scriptures:
1. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Mat 3:2)
2. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4)
3. And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15) 4. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38) cf Joel 2:28.
B. Born again Believers are the only fit candidates. Notice:
1. Simon the sorcerer said he was a Believer but his actions quickly revealed otherwise and his baptism was of no effect. Cf Act 8:12-22.
2. Act 9:1-5 tells of some 12 who had been baptized but were not saved. Upon receiving Christ they were Scripturally baptized.
3. Act 16:14-15 reveals this devout woman heard the Gospel, she believed on Christ and was baptized as well as her household (because they too had received Christ).
4. Act 16:31 tells us the story of the Philippian jailer, who, after finding out how to be saved, believed in God with all his house and was baptized.
5. Acts 18:8 tells us that Crispus, a chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house and with many of the Corinthians, was baptized.
Without exception, baptism was only administered upon those that had repented of their sin and received Christ as their Savior.
II. SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM DEALS WITH A PROPER MODE - Immersion.
Mode deals with the method of Scriptural baptism. Surely if there was more than one way for baptism to be administered the Word of God would have revealed it to us in the Scriptures. He did not.
A. Every Greek lexicon will tell you that the meaning of baptize is to place under, to immerse and thus the Scriptures confirm.
1. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism... (Rom 6:4)
2. Buried with him in baptism,...(Col 2:12)
B. Every Scriptures example was by the mode of immersion.
1. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (Mat 3:16)
2. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: (Mark 1:10)
3. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:39)
4. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Rom 6:3)
a. As stated earlier, baptism pictures a burial and speaks of the Believer's death to the rule and reign of sin over his life.
b. Baptism illustrates the new life of the Believer as he rises from the watery grave to walk in that newness of life he has in Christ.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4)
III. SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM DEALS WITH A PROPER PURPOSE
- Obedience declaring I'm saved, not an effort to get saved.
A. The religious world is in a bog of confusion as to why one should be baptized.
1. Some make baptism necessary for salvation, stating that you must have theirs or go to Hell.
a. I declare to you, based upon the Word of God, such a statement is a lie!
b. The thief on the Cross was promised a place in Paradise, yet he had no baptism.
2. Some teach that baptism only consecrates one until they are confirmed, usually at age 12 whereby in some mystical way they become real Christians.
# No such teaching nor practice is to be found in the Word of God.
# Such is to be rejected as being Scriptural baptism.
3. Others teach that it is the act of being baptized where one's sins are literally washed away, but the Scriptures declare that it is:
...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
B. If you were told that your baptism saved you, you were told a lie.
C. If you were told that baptism was necessary for salvation, you were told a lie.
D. The Scriptural purpose of baptism is to:
1. Picture to the world that you have died to sin's rule and reign and authority over your life, and,
2. That because you have received Christ as your Savior, your obedience and allegiance is now to him.
3. You are willing to portray to the world that your intentions are to follow Christ and live for him.
IV. SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM MUST HAVE A PROPER AUTHORITY
- The Lord's local, visible, autonomous Baptist Church.
A. Jesus founded His Church, early in the days of his earthly ministry (Lk.6:12f; 1Co.12:28), leaving it as his Body (Eph.1:22-23) for a place (Heb.10:25) his followers could come, worship Him, fellowship with other Believers, be spiritually encouraged and receive divine instruction for spiritual maturity and strength against the wiles of the Devil.
1. He used only the material gather by John the Baptist and had his baptism.
2. That was John's ministry for he came as a preparer of the way. Cf Isa.40:3.
B. His Church can be defined from all the man-made churches that exist.
1. His Church preached Christ the only true Savior, holy, harmless and undefiled. (Every message in the book of Acts presents Christ as such).
2. His Church preached that such as received him are saved eternally and kept by the power of God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet 1:3-5)
3. His church preached and practiced that only Believers were to be baptized.
a. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
b. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19)
c. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37)
d. Acts 19:1-5 as we have earlier noted.
e. According to some Mk.16:15 ought to read, "...damned if your are not baptized." It does not!
C. Baptist reject those baptisms so-called by those organization who had their beginnings this side of Calvary and who have a founder other than Christ.
1. Such cannot possibly be the Lord's church.
2. This is the reason that Baptist do not accept others who have been baptiazed so-called, even those that have been immersed.
a. You may be saved, that's known only to you and the Lord.
b. You may be sincere in your worship and I could not question that.
c. But, measured Scripturally, I can declare that you do not have a properly administered baptism unless it meets these Scriptures qualifications.
3. Here are some practices that disqualify them from being that church that Jesus instituted.
a. Baptize infants - started in the second century after Christ by the followers of Rome.
b. Salvation by works - the premise being that man through good works can atone for his sins and save himself.
c. Baptize by sprinkling - adopted under a false premise of Roman Catholicism, and now being practiced by some Protestant church, that babies are lost and need some kind of saving grace administered on their behalf so that they might be saved should they die.
d. Fail to preach God's eternal work of grace that once saved is always saved.
e. Point with pride to their human founder, even showing you the shrine where he still lies buried.
f. Teach that baptism is necessary in order for one to really be saved.
g. Declare that you cannot know you are saved until you die (which makes it too late to do anything about it).
h. Lastly, almost all of these churches will accept people from another group who preach and practice error.
D. The Authority for baptism lies in the Lord's church and only in His Church which he instituted.
1. No mortal has the right to take upon himself the privilege of baptizing anyone apart from the authority of the Lord's church.
2. Such is an ordinance given to the Lord's church and it can only be acted upon by his church.
3. Normally, the pastor is delegated as the one to administer the Church's ordinance, but it does not have to be limited to him.
CONCLUSION: Do You Have Scriptural Baptism
It mattered to Jesus as to who baptized him and why he was baptized and how it was administered. It ought to matter to you.
1. Proper candidate.
2. Proper mode.
3. Proper purpose.
4. Proper authority.
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