To follow the example set by Jesus: “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.” 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 illustrates Christ’s burial and resurrection: “Christ died for our sins… He was buried… and He rose again.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.” Colossians 2:12
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 our baptism then, we were 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 does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring – it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you make in your heart. “For it is by grace 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
Because Jesus was baptized that way: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16 Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion: “…then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water…” Acts 8:38-39 The word Baptize means “To dip under water”
The Greek work baptizo means “to immerse or dip under water”. It best symbolized a burial and resurrection!
The founders of denominations agree: Martin Luther… “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the work imports and the mystery signifies.” John Calvin… “The word ´baptize´ signifies to immerse.
It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.” John Wesley… “Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
Every person who has believed in Christ: “Those who believe and accepted His message were baptized…” Acts 2:41 Simon himself believed and was baptized…” Acts 8:13 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News… and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
At Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them.
Some churches practice a “baptism of confirmation” for children. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own personal confession of Christ.
This custom began about 300 years after the Bible was completed. This is different from the baptism talked about in the Bible, which was only for those old enough to believe. The purpose is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ. At Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, every member must experience baptism the way Jesus demonstrated, even though some of us may have been “confirmed” as children.
As soon as you have believed: “Those who believe…were baptized…that day!” Acts 2:41 “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
There is no reason to delay. As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, you can and should be baptized. If you wait until you are “perfect”, you will never feel “good enough”!
Yes! If each family member understands fully the meaning of baptism, and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage families to be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment. Young children who wish to be baptized are asked to meet with one of our ministers for a pre-baptism conversation.
However, it is important to remember that baptism is a personal statement of faith, not a family tradition. It is usually not wise to delay your baptism while waiting on other family members to accept Christ, particularly children. This puts an undue pressure on them, and delays your obedience.
Though there may be some variations, here is the basic schedule of a baptism service:
- The pastor meets with baptism candidates 45 minutes before the ceremony to distribute baptism robes, talk through the ceremony, and allow time to get changed.
- At the beginning of the baptism service, the pastor will say a devotional word about baptism.
- The pastor will ask the candidates to join him at the front to share their names, their testimonies, and why they want to be baptized.
- The candidates join the pastor one at a time at the baptismal pool.
- The pastor will ask three questions of each candidate:
- Are you now trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the fulfillment of all God’s promises to you, even eternal life?
- Do you forsake Satan and all his works and all his ways?
- Do you intend with God’s help to obey Jesus’ teaching and follow him as your Lord?
- The pastor will then say these words of baptism and immerse the candidate: “On the profession of your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and in obedience to his command, I now baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
- After everyone has been baptized, the pastor generally will invite people to come forward and pray in huddles around the baptized people.
- The pastor closes with prayer.