Baptism, Pt. 4

Scripture: Mark 16:16, Acts 19:2
This is the fourth in a series on biblical baptism. We've learned that baptism is done by immersion and that it is done to someone who has been taught and clearly understand the decision they are making. One of the questions tackled in this broadcast is re-baptism.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our host Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned, because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

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

Gary Gibbs: Hi John, it's good to be here today. We have been talking about baptism.

John: And we've learned just how important the Bible tells us that baptism is.

Gary: It really does. In fact, Mark 16:16 says, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved."

John: And it goes on to say, "He that believeth not shall be damned," in contrast to being saved. So Jesus himself thought that baptism was very, very important.

Gary: Now, John, you have walked us through what baptism is, and you pointed out that the word baptism itself doesn't mean sprinkling, doesn't mean pouring, but the word itself actually means to immerse underneath.

John: Absolutely, and in Ephesians you read, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." And when you want to figure out what that method is, well, you want to understand even just by the Word itself, not only was Jesus baptized by immersion, not only is that the way John baptized. The Ethiopian eunuch was baptized that way. But the word baptize itself means nothing else than to immerse, to be plunged totally and completely under the water.

Gary: And we've explored that that immersion that you're talking about there is really reserved for somebody who's mature enough to make a decision to follow Jesus with their life. That you're not going to immerse an infant, of course, you're going to drown them if you do that. We're not talking about infant baptism here. What we're really talking about is a more mature person who believes in Jesus, aren't we?

John: Yes, we are, because when you read in the Bible, it says that baptism is reserved for people who are disciples of Christ, people who have been taught the Bible. That doesn't mean you need a Doctor of Divinity. I personally think that too many doctorates in divinity are floating around out there anyhow.

But anyway, then you got to accept Jesus as you personal Savior, and repent of your sins, and an infant can't do that. That's what a mature person ought to do, so we take out babies, like we did with Jacob, and what you've done with your little princess. Take them to church and dedicate them to the Lord.

Gary: So there's nothing wrong with a parent taking their child, and having a special ceremony, and dedicating them to the Lord?

John: No, that's appropriate. That's very much the right thing to do. And any parent that does that is to be commended.

Gary: But baptizing is reserved for an older child or adult who makes that decision to follow Jesus.

John: Sure, because when you look at what the Bible says, and particularly Romans Chapter 6, it shows us that the experience of baptism signifies that a person has come to Christ. The old sinful person has died; that person is being buried in really what is a watery grave, and then being raised up in a resurrection to walk in newness of life. You've got to be a Christian who is really having an experience with Jesus to get into that.

Gary: Definitely. Now, John, we have a Bible study guide called "Buried and Forgotten by God" that we're offering our listeners today, don't we?

John: We really want to promote this. I want you to encourage you to get this. It's completely free, listen for and then call our toll-free number and then get this bible study guide which goes into the subject exhaustively. "Buried and Forgotten by God." You want to get this. Now we mentioned before: One Lord, one faith, and how many baptisms?

Gary: One baptism.

John: One baptism.

Gary: John, I want to talk to you today about a fellow that I met. He came to me - I'm a pastor -, and he came to me, and he said, "Pastor, will you baptize me?" And I said, "Tell me, why do you want to be baptized?" "My life has not been right with God, and I want to be baptized." And I said, "Have you ever been baptized before?" He said, "Yes," and I said, "How many times have you been baptized?"

He said, "Nine times."

John: Nine times?

Gary: Nine times. In fact, I don't think he dried off from the previous time he was baptized.

John: And he wanted to be baptized again.

Gary: When were you last baptized, he said, "About two months ago." And here he was coming to be baptized again, and so I said... Let's talk about what it was is obviously here the problem in his life that he wasn't getting victory over, and every time he had fallen to that sin, he had to be baptized again.

Let me ask you a question: Is it OK to be baptized again? We just read in Ephesians where it says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." Does one time do it?

John: Well, when he said, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," I don't think he's talking about one time and that's all. The Bible shows us that. Let me talk about your friend for a moment. He must have felt like the water of baptism had some magical power.

Gary: He was certainly hoping it did, because he was struggling with something.

John: Right. And everybody needs to realize that the power is not in the water. The power is in the savior Jesus Christ and his blood shed for us.

Gary: I think sometimes we miss that, don't we? Because pastors and evangelists really build up baptism so large that they make people think that it will just wash away all your problems. It doesn't wash away your problems, but it does symbolize your sins being washed away.

John: That's right. There's no magic in the water, and even after you've been baptized, now the devil isn't going to give up on you. He may even redouble his efforts as he sees you slipping away from...

I don't mean to scare anybody by that. But that may be what happens. Rebaptism - well, I don't know the Bible says you have to be re-baptized or baptized nine times or whatever the case is. We don't read about a magic number, but we do read in the Bible about people who were baptized again after they've already been baptized by immersion.

Gary: Really, where's that out?

John: In the book of Acts, you read about this. Acts Chapter 19; and let me read here at the beginning of the chapter where it says, "It came to pass that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus: and finding certain." Finding certain what now?

Gary: Disciples.

John: OK, disciple as a what?

Gary: It's a follower of Jesus. These are people who'd been taught somewhere along the line, and had made a decision to follow God actually, in this case.

John: OK, so they were already...

Gary: Followers of God.

John: Saved followers of God, we'd have to assume. Verse 2, he said, "Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?" And they said, "No, haven't heard of such a thing." Paul said, "So under what then will you baptize?" They said "John's baptism."

Paul said "John merely baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying under the people that they should believe on him which would come after him. And that is on Jesus Christ."

And so when they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. They hadn't been baptized into the name of Christ and there were certain things that were missing from their experience. They needed to be baptized again.

Gary: When you read this, obviously there's two baptisms going on here.

John: Yeah.

Gary: But also, I get the impression from this that these people had never even heard of Jesus before.

John: You know when John was preaching down there by the river Jordan, he wasn't preaching and saying "Now you all come down here and believe in Jesus Christ of Nazareth." He didn't say Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Son of the carpenter. He wasn't doing that. He was calling people to a repentance experience to experience a new heart and live a new life.

But he wasn't calling them to except Jesus Christ of Nazareth. So if you hadn't accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth, when you did so it was necessary, it was incumbent upon you to go forward in baptism and accept Christ as your Savior.

Gary: So this is what people did as they found the new truth, the further truth about Jesus Christ. Were they all re-baptized or just these people?

John: Well I don't know that every one of them was re-baptized and we need to clarify that. But certainly these ones were. And there was something missing from their experience. They hadn't received the Holy Ghost, they just really weren't where they should have been experientially in the walk of Christianity.

Gary: So then what would be the prerequisites, John, I guess is the question? For somebody who is considering re-baptism?

John: Well, if you haven't been baptized biblically in the first place. Now when I came to Jesus Christ and looked back at my life, I had been baptized as an infant, you know I had my head sprinkled with a bit of water. Actually I didn't need to be re-baptized, I had to be baptized, right?

Gary: But in your thinking at that time, it was really baptism...

John: Really, yeah. If a person has fallen away from Jesus, I think as we studied in an earlier Bible Talk program, you talked about baptism being a symbolical marriage. Run me through that again.

Gary: Well, it's the ceremony. When you're uniting your life with Christ, like at a marriage ceremony you're uniting your life with your spouse to be.

John: OK. Now let's pick up on that. Let's say a couple gets a divorce. And then they reconcile. So what do they do? Do they just move back in with each other or what?

Gary: Well, if I guess...let's say one of the spouses runs of with someone else, has an affair, there's a divorce there and they live with this someone else and ultimately they repent it. And they go back to their former spouse and they reunite the relationship. They have to get remarried.

John: Or they'd be remarried, right? Because even if you've been married, after you've divorced if you move back in not remarried, you're just shacking up.. You live in sin.

Gary: That's right. That 's right.

John: OK. So if you've come to Christ and let's say you've gotten married to Christ. If you divorce yourself from Christ and turn your back on Him and renounce Him and walk away, when you come back to Jesus it might be appropriate under those circumstances for a person to be baptized again.

Gary: Oh, I think it would be very appropriate. Because you've lived according to the old ways of sin and now you need to symbolize putting that sin to death again.

John: Right.

Gary: And living for Christ.

John: Sure.

Gary: OK. So that's number one is, is you haven't been baptized by immersion. Number two, prerequisite for re-baptism is if you've gone back in a major way on your vows to Christ and now you're returning to Him. Is there a third prerequisite for re-baptism?

John: Well, the third that I can think of would be this. Let's say you're a Christian and you love the Lord and you're baptized. And you follow Jesus and you grow in Him. And then at a later stage you're experience deepens significantly. Let's say you're a surface Christian, a genuine but a surface Christian. And then let's say you learned about the Sabbath. You hadn't been keeping the Sabbath, you've been breaking the Sabbath.

And let's say at the same time you learned about several other significant Biblical truths that you were ignorant of. You might, and I'm not saying you would have to, but you might choose to say well, I have learned something significant. I had been in sin even though it was ignorant. I feel now that the best thing for me to do as I deepen my experience, would be to be re-baptized and signify to Jesus that I'm starting all over again and washing away even these sins that I perhaps wasn't that conscious of that I was committing.

Gary: I think that's what happened in my life. I'd been baptized, by immersion, the correct way, when I was younger. But when I really came to faith, it changed my view of Christ so much and changed the whole tenor of my life. That my Christian life wasn't going to look like what it looked like before. And I wanted a line of demarcation, I wanted a special ceremony where I'll sing "I am going to follow Christ completely in all these new things." The Sabbath was one and there were other things. It was a whole different Christian life for me.

Still loved the Lord but it had a different look to it. And I wanted a memorial of baptism to look back to for that.

John: And you know, that's appropriate. Baptism is a starting all over again point. It's a cleansing of the slight, it's a washing and making thoroughly clean. And you know, in Colossians two it says "We are buried with Him in baptism." Roman six says the same thing. An awful lot of people are being buried alive. They come, really, they don't come to Jesus but they baptize without their sins being repented of.


John: Many people, when they come to true repentance, they look back on that and say "Now that really wasn't right. I need to be re-baptized. Really bury the old person that I was." We've covered a lot but there's more to cover, isn't there?

Friend, we're going to do it again next time. Join Gary and me for more as we study this subject again here on Bible Talk.

John: 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 that 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.

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