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                          "REFLECTIONS"

                            On Baptism

INTRODUCTION

1. This is our eighth lesson in this series entitled "Reflections"...
   a. Devoted to simple meditations on various themes of the Bible
   b. The scriptural justification for such reflections is Php 4:8
   c. In which Paul concludes by saying "...meditate on these things"
      (NKJV)

2. In previous reflections on the Gospel of Christ, we observed that it
   contains...
   a. Commands to obey
   b. One of the commands of the gospel involves baptism

[Baptism is often neglected in much gospel preaching today, thus it is
certainly worthy of careful reflection.  Let's begin with a review
of...]

I. THE COMMAND OF BAPTISM

   A. COMMANDED BY JESUS...
      1. In His command to make disciples in all nations - Mt 28:19-20
      2. In His command to preach the gospel to every person - Mk
         16:15-16

   B. COMMANDED BY HIS APOSTLES...
      1. When preaching the gospel to Jews - Ac 2:38
      2. When preaching the gospel to Gentiles - Ac 10:48

[Since commanded by Jesus and His apostles, baptism must be very
important!  Looking at baptism more closely, let's consider the proper
mode or manner in which it is to be done...]

II. THE MODE OF BAPTISM

   A. INVOLVES WATER...
      1. Implied in teachings of Jesus and Paul - Jn 3:5; Tit 3:5
      2. Explicit in conversions of the Ethiopian and Cornelius  - Ac
         8:35-38; 10:47-48

   B. INVOLVES IMMERSION...
      1. The Greek word baptizo means "to immerse"
      2. Baptism is depicted as a burial, which suggests immersion - Ro
         6:4; Col 2:12

[Pouring and sprinkling as modes of baptism are traditions of men
adopted years later that displace the command of God to immerse (cf. Mk
7:13).  Now let's consider who should be baptized...]

III. THE SUBJECTS OF BAPTISM

   A. MUST HAVE FAITH IN CHRIST...
      1. Faith in Christ is necessary to salvation by the gospel - Mk
         16:16; Ro 1:16
      2. Faith is therefore requisite to baptism - Ac 8:36-37

   B. MUST HAVE REPENTED OF SINS...
      1. Jesus wanted repentance to be preached in His name - Lk 24:47
      2. Thus the command to repent was joined with baptism - Ac 2:38

[In the NT, only those old enough to realize they were sinners, who
confessed faith in Christ and repented of sins, were baptized.  But why
were they baptized?  What is its purpose or design...?]

IV. THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM

   A. REMISSION OF SINS...
      1. For (Grk., eis, unto) the remission or forgiveness of sins - Ac
         2:38
      2. To have sins washed away (by the blood of Christ) - Ac 22:16;
         Ep 1:7

   B. UNION WITH CHRIST...
      1. To be united with Christ in His death and resurrection - Ro
         6:3-4
      2. To be clothed with Christ - Ga 3:27

   C. NEWNESS OF LIFE...
      1. To be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life - Ro 6:5-6
      2. To be made alive together with Christ - Col 2:12-13; Tit 3:5

   D. FREEDOM FROM THE POWER OF SIN...
      1. To be freed from sin's power by dying with Christ - Ro
         6:7,11-14
      2. To be free to become servants of righteousness - Ro 6:16-18

   E. TO BE SAVED...
      1. In conjunction with faith as we respond to the gospel - Mk
         16:16
      2. As an appeal for a good conscience, through the resurrection of
         Christ - 1Pe 3:21

CONCLUSION

1. People often ask:  Is baptism necessary for salvation...?
   a. It is certainly commanded by Jesus and His apostles
   b. When we reflect on the purpose of baptism, we realize its
      necessity

2. For if when you are baptized into Christ...
   a. You receive remission of sins - Ac 2:38
   b. Your sins are washed away by the blood of Christ - Ac 22:16; Ep
      1:7
   c. You are united with Christ in His death and resurrection - Ro
      6:3-6
   d. You put on Christ - Ga 3:27
   e. You are made alive together with Christ - Col 2:12-13
   f. You experience the washing of regeneration and renewing of the
      Holy Spirit - Tit 3:5; Jn 3:5
   g. You are made free from the bondage of sin - Ro 6:7,11-14
   h. You make an appeal for a good conscience - 1Pe 3:21
   -- Then what is your condition without baptism?

Have you, as a penitent believer in Jesus Christ, been baptized for the
remission of your sins...?
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