Monday, August 15, 2011

Baptism: For the Saved or for the Lost?

What Baptism Will and Will Not Do

Matthew 28:19-20

Written by George Goldman

  1. Why discuss it? Why harp on it so much?
    1. Some prefer not to discuss it.
    2. The religious world is divided on the subject.
      1. The majority regard it as non-essential. They say that baptism is not a definite part of one’s salvation from sin.
      2. If the religious world said prayer was non-essential I would preach sermon after sermon on prayer. The Bible encourages us to be both fruit inspectors and wolf detectors (Mt. 7:15-20).
    3. Baptism is a Biblical word, therefore I’m obligated to preach on it and to explain it to anyone who will listen.
      1. The Lord has given us enough information on this subject to remove all doubts from our minds.
      2. Today we’ll search the Bible and find what baptism will not do, what it will do, and is it for saved people or lost people.
  1. The Bible does not teach that baptism will do everything. Nor does it teach it will do nothing. It is not a matter of all or nothing. There are some things that baptism will not do and there are some things it definitely will do. First, six things that baptism will not do:
    1. Baptism will not give you a license to sin.
      1. To the contrary the Bible teaches that baptized people are not to serve sin. Rom. 6:1-6; 12, 17-18
      2. God endeavors to keep man from sin, but not give him a license to sin.
    2. Baptism will not make you immune to sin.
      1. A baptized believer needs to be continually on guard.
      2. The Bible teaches that one can fall from grace.
        1. Gal. 5:4 --You are severed from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
        2. 1 Cor. 10:12--Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
        3. The Bible gives both warnings and examples about falling away (Heb. 6:4-6).
        4. The Bible says we can fail to inherit (Gal. 5:19-21 read).
        5. That weak brothers can perish (1 Cor. 8:11).
        6. That we can fail to bear fruit (Jn. 15:1-6).
        7. So baptism will not make you immune to sin.
      3. We are not only told that we can fall but also how to keep from falling.
        1. 2 Pet. 1:5-10
        2. Jude 24--Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing.
      4. In fact the Bible tells us how to come back when we fall (Acts 8:22-24).
        1. James 5:16--Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
        2. 1 Jn. 1:7-10
    3. Baptism will not remove the scar of sin.
      1. Sin often leaves a scar even though its guilt has been forgiven.
      2. A person through sinning can ruin his body and destroy his health. He must bear the brunt of his sin even though its guilt has been forgiven.
      3. The Bible promises the remission of sins but it does not promise the removal of the bad consequences of sin.
    4. Baptism will not keep you from being tempted.
      1. 2 Tim. 3:12--Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
      2. Mt. 11:28-30--This passage teaches us that Christ can make our burdens easier to bear.
    5. Baptism will not relieve you from further responsibility.
      1. Baptism is the beginning of one’s Christian responsibility.
      2. A person arises from the watery grave of baptism to walk in newness of
        life (Rom. 6:4).
      3. Eph. 2:10--For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good
        works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
      4. Baptism will not cover up one’s lack of faith or repentance.
      5. Baptism will not save the man who does not believe (Jn. 8:24).
      6. Baptism will not save the man who will not repent (Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38).
      7. Baptism will not save a man without his consent. Every act of obedience must be from the heart (Rom. 6:17f; Acts 2:41).
  2. Now these six points do not rule out baptism altogether. Just because there are some things baptism will not do does not mean that baptism is non-essential to salvation. Baptism may not do everything, but it will do some things.
    1. The Bible mentions baptism (a N.T. word not an O.T. one).
      1. There are over 100 references to the root word baptiso in the New Testament.
      2. It would be valuable for you to underscore every place where the New Testament mentions baptism.
    2. The Bible defines baptism in at least two places.
      1. Rom. 6:3-4
      2. Col. 2:12--You were buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him for the dead.
      3. Literally the Greek word baptiso means to immerse.
    3. The Bible gives examples of baptism.
      1. About 3,000 were baptized on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2)
      2. The Samaritans were baptized (Acts 8)
      3. There is the example of Simon the magician and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8)
      4. Saul of Tarsus is another example (Acts 9)
      5. People at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10)
      6. Lydia and her household (Acts 16)
      7. The Corinthians (Acts 18)
      8. About 12 men from Ephesus (Acts 19)
    4. Baptism will do something. It has some purpose; it is mentioned, defined, and exemplified in God’s word. What will baptism do? Baptism will remit sin (Acts 2:38) "because of" or "in order to."
      1. Our English word "for" has two opposite meanings. We might say a man went to town for a loaf of bread or in order to get a loaf of bread. On the other hand we might say that a man was put in jail for stealing, or because he had stolen.
      2. The Greek language is more exact. There are different prepositions for each of these words.
        1. "because of"
        2. on account of
        3. In order to obtain
        4. Baptism because of the remission of sins was never at say time authorized by God.
        5. In Acts 2:38 both repentance and baptism are for the same thing. "In order to obtain the remission of sins.
      3. There are many good people who believe that baptism plays no part in one’s salvation from sin. They believe a person is saved before he is baptized.
        1. But if so he is saved before his sins are remitted.
        2. Acts 22:16--If so he is saved before his sins are washed away.
      4. It is just as wrong to be baptized the wrong way by sprinkling, etc., as it is to be baptized for the wrong reason. (Acts 19:1-5) There is a biblical example of people who were immersed a second time after they had found out the true reason for baptism.
    5. Baptism will save a person from his past sins (1 Pet. 3:20-21) "by or through water."
      1. If you have never been baptized in order to be saved, then you have never become a Christian in the Bible way.
      2. If you were taught that you were saved before you were baptized, then you were saved before you were in Christ; because baptism puts you into Christ (Rom. 6:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27). Salvation is only in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:10).
    6. Baptism is to fulfill all righteousness.
      1. Mt. 3:15--But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.
      2. In the New Testament sinners never ate, slept, or drank until they were baptized into Christ. The Philippian jailer was baptized even at midnight (Acts 16:25). If baptism were optional, non-essential, and if there were no danger to the soul, then surely he would have waited until morning.
      3. Baptism is not a mere ceremony because you are already saved. It is not a church ordinance. But it is a solemn act of obedience to God. To reject the command to be baptized for the remission of your sins is to reject the gospel of Christ and the council of God (Lk. 7:30)
  1. The Bible mentions baptism, defines it, gives examples of it; tells you what it’s for, its purpose; it even tells you when to be baptized.
    1. A person should be baptized when:
      1. He heard the word with any open heart (Acts 16:14f)
      2. He believes with all his heart (Acts 8:12)
      3. He repents after being cut to his heart (Acts 2:37f)
      4. He confesses with a sincere heart (Rom. 10:10)
    2. If you have not been scripturally baptized, please consider what baptism will do for you.

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