Ready to take the next step in your faith?
We follow the example Jesus set: water baptism is a public declaration of following Jesus.
Even before Jesus’ time, baptism was practiced among early converts to the Jewish faith.
Ceremonial washing with water was symbolic in Judaism, therefore baptism indicated a convert’s willingness to wash away one’s previous ways and identify with new beliefs and a new community.
Baptism was also important in the ministry of a Jewish prophet named John, who emerged about the same time as Jesus. The gospels and other ancient literature tell his fascinating story. John preached a compelling message to the Jewish people, drawing large crowds and creating quite a buzz. He claimed that God was about to do something new and thus people should repent of their sins and prepare for God’s saving work.
In keeping with this message, John urged the crowds who heard him to be baptized, thereby symbolizing their willingness to identify with and embrace his message. As many came forward, John became known as the Baptizer, or John the Baptist. Jesus was even baptized by John. Though he was not repenting of sin, Jesus was aligning himself with John’s message and ministry. After all, Jesus himself would be the fulfillment of the message John was preaching.
With this background, it’s no wonder that at the end of Jesus’ ministry, he told his followers: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, TNIV). In other words, as Jesus’ followers took his message of salvation around the world, other people would become disciples or followers of Christ. When they did, Jesus wanted these new believers to publicly identify with him. So by participating in baptism, a new follower of Jesus symbolically aligns himself or herself with new beliefs and a new community.
In fact, the apostle Paul underscored the symbolic picture that being immersed into water communicates. He suggested that baptism represents a person’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-8). When participants lie back or lean forward in the water, it signifies the death of their sinful nature. When they come out of the water, it illustrates their new life in Christ. This tradition has continued down through the centuries with all people who become Christians.
Simply put, baptism is an external sign of an internal change that has taken place in someone’s heart. It is not a means of salvation, but a response to salvation. This is why we celebrate baptism – it represents a life changed by God.
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It’s a public declaration of how Jesus changed your life. Being baptized shows others that you’ve decided to follow Jesus, and allows them to celebrate this decision with you. (Acts 16:31-34).
Baptism doesn’t save a person; it’s a symbol and celebration of salvation (1 Peter 3:21). The power that brought Jesus back to life is the same power Jesus uses to change our lives – and that’s worth getting excited about!
- To follow the example set by Jesus Christ.
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” Mark 1:9
- Because Christ commanded it.
“Jesus said, ‘Go then, to all people everywhere and make them my disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and then teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.’” Matthew 28:19-20
- It demonstrates that I really am a Christ-follower.
“…many of the people who heard Him believed and were baptized.” Acts 18 18:8
For these reasons – to follow the example of Jesus, to be obedient to Him and because it’s a visible demonstration of belief in Jesus Christ – Baptism is a requirement for membership at Midtown Church.
- It illustrates Christ’s burial and resurrection.
“For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism, you were also raised with Christ.” Colossians 2:12
“Christ died for our sins . . . He was buried . . . and He rose again.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
- It illustrates my new life as a Christian.
“When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“By baptism then, we are buried with Him and shared His death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . so also we may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
Baptism doesn’t make you a believer – it shows that you already believe. Baptism doesn’t “save” you; only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring – it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart.
Verse to memorize: “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith…it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
- Every person who has believed in Christ should be baptized.
“Those who believed and accepted His messages were baptized.” Acts 2:41 (see Acts 8:12)
- The one requirement for baptism is belief in Christ!
We do not baptize children until they are old enough to believe in Christ and fully understand what that belief means. Baptism is for those who have accepted Christ and made the decision to be baptized (approx. 8 years old).
There’s no greater moment when parents sense that children are a gift from God. Dedicating a child acknowledges God’s sovereignty not only over the child, but also Mom and Dad. Parents present their child before God and His people asking for grace and wisdom in carrying out their responsibilities. Parents also come praying that their child might one-day trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in their life. See our Children’s Pastor for more information.
As soon as you have believed! There is no reason to delay!
“Then Philip began with the Scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the man said, ‘Look, here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptized right now?’ Philip said ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The man answered ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So they went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:35-38 (see Acts 2:41)
Our church recommends that you be baptized again if you have not been baptized by immersion since you became a believer. It does not devaluate a prior experience but simply reflects your desire to be baptized in the same way Jesus was baptized.
Yes! If each family member fully understands the meaning of baptism and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, families may be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment.
- We are to be baptized in the same way Jesus was baptized – by being immersed in water.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16 (see Mark 1:10)
- Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion under water.
“. . . then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” When they came up out of the water . . .” Acts 8:38-39
- The word “baptize’ from the Greek word “baptizo”, means “to dip” or “to immerse”underwater.
We do not ask people being baptized to speak, however, we do ask that your brief testimony be included in the baptism registration form. Your baptism is a public profession of your new identification with Jesus Christ and although you may not say one word, your actions will speak louder than any words could!
The Pastor will briefly explain the meaning of baptism to the audience. Following, the Pastor will introduce you from the stage as you step into the baptismal water. Two other pastors or ministry leaders will then guide you to fall back into their arms as they briefly submerge you underwater. You may hold your nose closed with your hand and cross your arms over the front of your body. The Pastor will say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life.” (see Romans 10:9) When you come up, we will all be celebrating with you.
When being immersed, we advise women to wear shorts and a t-shirt or a t-shirt style dress rather than a swimsuit. Men may wear swimsuit trunks with a t-shirt. Remember to bring a change of clothes and a towel.
Our pastoral staff can perform a private baptism in special circumstances. However, we stress the importance of participating in the community celebration and witness that’s provided at the congregational baptism services.
Is baptism your next step?
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