What are the requirements for baptism?

What are the requirements for baptism? The Bible says a person should repent and be taught the basics of salvation. It also says we should believe with all of our hearts in Jesus. This requires that we be old enough to understand.
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Caller:  What are we to do before we are baptized?  Are there requirements for us to get baptized? 

Pastor Doug:  Very good question.  I’m glad you asked that.  We have a lesson that we will send you on baptism if you call, and I’ll answer your question, also.  Matter of fact we were just looking at that lesson a few minutes ago, with that picture on the cover, Harold.  We have a little study guide on baptism that you can ask for from Amazing Facts and very quickly, the Bible says, before baptism a person should repent of their sins, they should be taught—Jesus says in Matthew 28 “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them…” 

So a person ought to be taught the basics of salvation.  In addition, it tells us that we should believe with all of our heart.  And those are the main criteria on baptism.  Obviously, we have to be old enough.  Some people baptize babies but I don’t believe that’s Biblical.  I think a person needs to be old enough to be taught, to repent, to believe, and these things an infant cannot do.  The lesson is called:  “Baptism:  Is It Really Necessary?”  And if you call our resource number—it’s got a lot of what the Bible says on that subject.  Okay?

Caller:  Okay

Pastor Doug:  Does that answer your question, Juan?

Caller:  No.

Pastor Doug:  You wanted to know what to do to be baptized.  What else can I tell you?

Caller #2:  Pastor, he’s asking the question for me and what I wanted to know is often they preach that God does work in us that God helps us get victory over things.

Pastor Doug:  Yes.

Caller #2:  And I studied actually the Amazing Facts Storicles of Prophecy.

Pastor Doug:  Yes.

Caller #2:  And the pastor said I was ready to be baptized, but then he found out that I smoke and he wouldn’t baptize me.

Pastor Doug:  Good for him!

Caller #2:  And I want to understand if every time I go to church and they say that God’s doing a work in us and why does that hold me back?

Pastor Doug:  Let me—before we run out of time—let me, now what’s your name? 

Caller #2:  Carrie.

Pastor Doug:  Carrie, I’ve got Juan’s name here, I just want to know your name.  I smoked before I was baptized and I wanted the pastor to baptize me and he said “No”.  He said baptism represents a new birth.  It represents that you’ve gained the victory.  John the Baptist said “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance” in other words, there should be fruit in our life, that we’ve turned from certain behaviors, that the devil isn’t still controlling us, and basics would be something like a person who is drinking or smoking or some of these addictions that aren’t a good witness. 

If a person is baptized, and they say “Praise the Lord, I’ve accepted Jesus, my sins are washed away”, and then they’re still chained to a habit, like smoking, it’s not a good testimony.  And God will give you the power to get the victory over that.  Now that should not keep you from going to church, Carrie, you know, because the Lord wants everyone to come and to serve Him and to love Him, but when you’re baptized and your name is on the books, and you represent Christ, and—just be honest—if you saw Jesus smoking what would you think?

Caller #2:  Well, you know, my issue is more with that I know that other people are getting baptized and…

Pastor Doug:  And there’s things in their lives that aren’t consistent?

Caller #2:  Right.

Pastor Doug:  Well, there’s going to be hypocrisy, but you need to start with the basics we can see.  Some things in the heart we can’t see, but basic things like external, you know, addictions, like smoking, you need to lay that aside.  It really will hurt your witness.  Okay?  

Oh, friends, I’m sorry I’ve run out of time and that was a good question. Thank you for that call, Juan and Carrie, and I’ll be praying for you.  We have a lesson that we’ll send you on victory if you call the Amazing Facts resource number and ask for the little booklet we’ve got on The Life of Victory and they’ll send that to you.

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