Baptism, Pt. 2

Scripture: Ephesians 4:5, Matthew 3:13-17, John 3:23
This is the second part in a series on what the Bible says about baptism. Jesus states that a person, in so far as possible, should be baptized. But what is the manner of baptism? And what is the meaning of baptism?
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It's time now for "Bible Talk". Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the "Amazing Facts Ministry", as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect you life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: Hi friends, and welcome again to "Bible Talk", where we talk about what the Bible has to say to us today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me again is Gary Gibbs. Hi Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi John, last program we were talking about Baptism and whether it is necessary or not.

John: And what we discovered is that, in the Bible, Jesus strongly recommends Baptism. He says, "He that believeth and is baptized will be saved. The one that believeth not won't be saved." Being baptized is an expression of our love relationship with Jesus Christ. And if we delight to do his will, then we will be baptized, no doubt about it.

Gary: In fact, if I heard you correctly, it was even a notch up from a strong recommendation. It is really an imperative for a healthy person who hears the Lord and can be baptized. They need to be baptized, don't they?

John: It is indicative that there is something wrong with the person's spiritual walk when they know God's will and decline, openly, to do God's will - something is not right there in your relationship with Jesus.

Gary: Now last time we did not get the chance, John, to really go into the manner of Baptism. We talked about it being necessary, it's an imperative, people ought to be baptized. But when we start talking about manner, boy I tell ya', there are all sorts of ways to be baptized out there.

John: Baptism means different things to different people. I've heard of some good ones, how about you?

Gary: Yeah, in fact, you were telling me, one that just blew my mind. I had never heard about this.

John: I saw this on the Television news. A church in Charlotte, North Carolina, not far from where I live, and they had a big baptism there. What they did was they got all of the folks who wanted to be baptized, and got them together in the parking lot...

Gary: Now, what are we talking about, 10 people? 15 people?

John: Oh now,this is... you're more like in the hundreds...

Gary: OK, wow, hundreds of people out in the parking lot...

John: One hundred, two hundred, three hundred people. There were a lot of people out there.

Gary: That's a lot of people to baptize!

John: Oh sure!

Gary: Must take a long time to do that.

John: Well, they sped up the process a little bit. They got them into the parking lot, now, now if you are used to people getting baptized maybe by going under water or having water poured on their head or something...

Gary: .

John: are wondering what they are doing in the parking lot. Well, they called the fire department.

Gary: OK.

John: OK, you know where we are going with this?

Gary: I think I see where you are going.

John: They got the fire department, parked a couple of fire trucks, hooked up those fire hoses...

Gary: Oh no...

John: I hope they... they must have put it on sprinkle you know?

Gary: Yeah, otherwise they'd blow them away!

John: Blast them right out of there! But they put the water on that sprinkle and hosed these people down.

Gary: Wow!

John: Soaking wet from head to toe, and the minister said, ...

Gary: "I now baptize you".

John: "You're being baptized", is what he said. Now, that's a creative way of taking the Biblical ordinance of Baptism and applying it in the life of a believer. All these people baptized at once from water coming out of a... fire-hose?

Gary: Well, is the fire-hose, not holy enough? Did he need to bless the truck or something first? And then that would have done it?

John: Well the Bible says, in Ephesians 4..., I don't think they had any blessing service for the truck...

Gary: Well, holy water, you know, I've been over to the Middle East and Israel, and you can buy these little vials of holy water - out of the Jordan River. You can bring it home and sprinkle it on people, and they are baptized - presto! - ready for Heaven.

John: Used to be able to get that sort of thing at my old church - Holy Water. The priest would bless it and make it special, you know.

Gary: So what is wrong with the fire-hose, the guy blesses the fire-hose, and these fire-men are great people.

John: No doubt about it! They are heroes. But the Bible says that there is one Lord, that there is one faith, and there is one baptism - Ephesians chapter four. Now you've got people today being baptized by sprinkling, by pouring, by... I heard of some kid who was baptized in a tub full of rose petals, and some say put a little oil on the forehead and all this kind of stuff. The Bible says: one Baptism. So there's not dozens of different methodologies when it comes to this thing.

Gary: In fact, I've seen movies, "Jesus of Nazareth", I think is the name of the movie I saw, and wasn't Jesus baptized by having water poured over his head? Because, if I remember correctly, Jesus walks down into the Jordan, John the Baptist... or maybe John the Baptist goes in the Jordan gets the seashell, wasn't it? He has this water, and he pours it over Jesus' head - presto - he's baptized.

John: I've seen that too, but you know we don't take our Theology from Hollywood represent- or misrepresentation of what the Bible says. We've got to go to the Holy Scriptures themselves and find out how exactly Jesus was baptized.

Gary: Well, why don't you take us there, and, as you're taking us, what texts are you going to take us to?

John: Let's go to Matthew chapter three, because this records where Jesus was baptized. Now let's understand a couple of things. The Bible says that Jesus is our example, yes or no?

Gary: Oh, definitely.

John: Is He our example in some things, most things, or all things?

Gary: For a Christian, they're named after Him - Christ - He's our example in all things.

John: OK. In Matthew 3:2, it says that John the Baptist came and said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." We'll drop right down, because this just sets the scene, that John was baptizing.

Gary: M hm.

John: And you come on down to about verse 13, it says, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John to be baptized of him." So Jesus went over to the river.

Gary: M hm.

John: "John forbade him saying, 'I have need to be baptized of thee, and yet you're coming to me?' Jesus said to him, 'Suffer it, or allow it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.' And so then he, John, suffered him." And you notice they're at the river.

Gary: M hm.

John: It says, "Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water."

Gary: OK.

John: "And lo the heavens were opened", and I will read this, so bear with me", and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him, and lo a voice from heaven say, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, and after he was baptized he came up out of the Jordan", indicating very strongly that He was baptized by immersion. He was plunged under the water.

Gary: Now why do you say that? Why didn't He just walk down in the water and they splash a little water on Him and He is baptized? What is it about this word "baptized" that you say it means immersion?

John: Well, another thing to buttress that. In John 3:23, it says that John the Baptist was baptizing near Salem, because there was a lot of water there. Now if he didn't need to baptize by immersion, man he could have been baptizing folks out in the middle of the desert. But think of this word baptize, think of just what it means now. If someone is going to be baptized, they simply have to be immersed! That's what the word baptize mean.

Gary: What do you mean by that?

John: The word baptize comes from the Greek word "baptiso" and that word baptiso means quite simply, to immerse, to dip under, to plunge something under water. It's like in Biblical times when they were dying cloth or wool or something. They take it and put it into a tub or a vat or a bowl of dye and they would plunge it under the water, they would baptiso it. They'd baptize the cloth or the wool. They weren't washing away its sins, they were immersing it. That's what baptism means. The word baptize doesn't mean pour a little, it doesn't mean sprinkle a little. It means to immerse thoroughly and completely.

Gary: In fact, I understand from ancient literature that comes out the same time-period as the Biblical period, that this extra-Biblical literature actually describes the process of dying cloth and it uses the same Greek word to describe that plunging the cloth under the water in the dye as baptiso.

John: So that just supports...

Gary: It means immersion.

John: Yeah, it supports what we're saying about baptism. If it's true baptism, it's baptism by immersion. We've got another example of a fellow who was a man from Ethiopia, an official in the government of Queen Candice. He was with Philip. He said "Here is water, what him does me to be baptized?". They went down into the water. He was baptized in there, they came up out of the water. There is no doubt about it that Biblical baptism entails immersion, full immersion in the water.

Gary: So you're saying then is that whenever I read in the Bible, or any of our listeners read in the Bible that a person is baptized, we all really substitute the word immerse there because that's the literal translation of that word?

John: Sure!

Gary: The Ethiopian unique went down into the water and he was immersed. Jesus went down into the water, he was immersed.

John: You know, you could substitute another word there, Gary.

Gary: What's that?

John: You could substitute the word "buried". In Colossians two it talks about being buried with Christ in baptism.

Gary: Well, let's talk about that. Really, we brought this up in our last program. What is the meaning of baptism? Because is there something holy about the water? Is there something that we're doing there where we were sinners before, now all of a sudden it makes us holy, righteous and ready for heaven? Why baptism? Why immersion?

John: If you're an unconverted sinner and I baptize you, you're going to come out of that water a wet, unconverted sinner. The water has no mysterious power in it to change anybody at all. But what goes on in baptism is a symbol of what goes on through the operation of the Spirit of God. You got to read about it in the sixth chapter of the book of Romans.

Gary: Well, why don't you tell me about that because I'm really interested, why so much water? Why so much mess?

John: Romans 6:3 "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His..." What's that next word?

Gary: Into His death!

John: His death! Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death! That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. There is more and maybe we'll get to it. Baptism is a symbol that when we come to Jesus, the sinner that we were, dies. That old man, the Bible calls that sinner, is put to death. We symbolize that aerial of that old person by being buried in the waters of baptism.

Gary: Now John, are you saying then that represents the symbolism by immersion?

John: Oh, absolutely!

Gary: Buried under. I've never been to a funeral where we left the person laying on top of the ground.

John: Or you don't put a person on the ground and sprinkle dirt on them, right?

Gary: No.

John: And a person who comes to Jesus is to die to their sins. What did Paul say? "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live." So when you've got a dead body there, or a dead person spiritually, area that person. And then the one wants to come back to life, right? You want that one to life again. For a dead person to come back to life there has to be a...

Gary: A resurrection.

John: A resurrection. And we read in Romans 6:5 "If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Knowing that our old man is crucified within that the body of sin might be destroyed. That henceforth we should not serve sin." Do you see the richness in the symbol here?

Gary: You know, I do because what it's saying, it's like a marriage ceremony. The person's really converted before they ever got to the baptistery.

John: That's right.

Gary: And two couples, they're already in love before they ever go to the altar.

John: They better be!

Gary: Bu they go to the altar and they have this ceremony where they formalize their covenant relationship that they're going to unite their lives together forever.

John: That's what baptism is like!

Gary: So the baptism ceremony is the marriage ceremony between us and God!

John: Absolutely 100%! You come to Jesus Christ, you're converted, you repent of your sins. The old person is dead, we bury that old person. But now that person comes back to life as a completely new creature! That's exciting to have that opportunity to be a new creature in Jesus Christ!

Gary: And we're pledging our allegiance now to our one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We're not going to live according to the old man, the old ways of sin. We've set our feet on a path to follow God and only God.

John: That's what we've done. What a joy! And when you can enter into that experience, why would you delay? Why would you wait? You'd say "Lord, I'm ready and I want to follow You." Oh, there's more to discuss, We'll talk about more of this next time here on Bible talk. [music]

Recording: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free! This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for BT109, Buried and Forgotten by God. The toll-free number is 866BIBLESAYS. That's 866 242 5372.

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