Baptism, Pt. 5

Scripture: Acts 2:37-47, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Colossians 1:18
This is the fifth in a series on Bible baptism. This talk discusses the question, "Once I'm baptized, do I need to join a church?" Are we saved if we have our names on a church roll? Like a baby that needs to be in a loving family, so we all need to realize that growth happens in relationships. They also discuss being baptized into a church and being baptized in the name of Jesus only.
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Announcer: 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 your 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. It's good to be here. And I think we have an exciting topic today.

John: We've got a great subject today as we continue our discussion on Bible baptism. We've discovered that when it comes to baptism, the Bible recommends, in fact the Bible commands baptism by immersion.

Gary: And that's when somebody is actually put completely under the water. That's what the word "baptize" means, to totally submerge or immerse under the water.

John: You're right. It doesn't mean anything else. And so when the Bible says, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," it's saying there's one method of baptism, baptism by immersion. Christ was baptized that way, John the Baptist baptized that way. And when you look at what the Bible says about baptism, baptism by immersion is a symbol of what happens in the life of a sinner being transformed into a saint.

Gary: Very important ceremony in the life of a converted person, isn't it?

John: That's right, indeed. It shows that the old person has died, been buried, and a new creature has been raised up out of that water to walk in newness of life.

Gary: John, in our previous programs, we've covered a number of different aspects concerning baptism. Whether it should be infant baptism, the manner, whether it's sprinkling or pouring or immersion. And we have a study guide for those maybe who have not heard the previous programs. They can write us, can't they, and receive this? Or call us, toll free, and get this free study guide.

John: That would be easiest. You just call us, get our toll free number. You're going to hear it right after this study. We're offering you "Buried and Forgotten by God." And this is a comprehensive look at this subject. And especially if you've never been baptized or never really studied the subject in depth, you've got to get your hands on this study. It's 100 percent free, we're going to offer it to you right after we're done with our study today.

Gary: That's good, John. And they'll really enjoy that. Now, I have a question for you today. Now, I've heard asked me many times, and I think people of all different faith backgrounds and new Christians just coming to the faith ask this. And they say, "When I'm baptized, do I really have to join a church?" Do they, John?

John: Now, that's a good question, isn't it? What's the alternative to joining a church when you're baptized? Because the alternative is not joining a church, right?

Gary: Well, as long as I believe in Jesus Christ, I'm baptized into Christ, he knows I'm his. Why do I have to join a church? Aren't these pastors just out trying to get numbers and get people to fill their pews and make more money? I don't know that I want to get wrapped up in all that. I don't know if I want to join a church.

John: Now, nobody said you have to join a church in order to be saved. Saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and his shed blood. We're not saved because our names are on a church roll. But you know when a person comes to Jesus, Jesus himself said, "That's like being born again." Right? When a child is born, you don't just wipe that baby clean and place it on the floor and say, "Well, good luck."

Gary: No, you have to diaper it and feed it and everything else.

John: Yeah, you've got to place it in the arms of a loving family. Don't you?

Gary: That's right.

John: Sure. When a Christian is born again, that's a baby Christian you've got there. And it makes sense to place that Christian in the arms and the safety of a loving church family. No doubt about that, you see.

Gary: And I think a person grows more. There were two fellows that were buddies that I know of. And one of them is a real close friend of mine. And they were both convicted about Christ and gave their hearts to Christ at the same time. One joined a church. The other one said, "No, I can worship God out in nature." He lived in a beautiful place out in the mountains. And he said, "I feel closest to God in the mountains."

John: I could tell you, I could tell you what happened next. You want me to have a shot at it?

Gary: Go ahead.

John: The fellow who joined the church grew, developed in strength, came to know God better, and hung in with the Lord, probably still with the Lord today.

Gary: Well, he's a missionary overseas, his kids are in the church. They're working for God. He was a head elder of his church. He really prospered.

John: OK. And his brother, on the other hand? Just sort of withered, shriveled up and died spiritually?

Gary: He didn't grow. In fact, when I was holding meetings, and the both of them were coming to my meetings. And this man said, "Well, you know, I didn't want to join a church. But I look at my friend over here. He's grown the last nine years. I haven't grown at all. I want to grow."

John: OK.

Gary: And so he joined the church.

John: So, he didn't die, thankfully, but he never progressed and went forward.

Gary: That's right.

John: And that makes sense, because we're put in the church for our spiritual benefit and growth. And you've heard it said, when you come to Christ, you join the Lord's army, right?

Gary: Yes.

John: Now, tell me what government, when you join the army, gives you a gun and a pat on the back and says, "Go forward, defend the country."

Gary: Yeah, not many that I know of.

John: Well, what sort of rag tag army would you have if we went about it like that? No, you're put into a squadron or a platoon and you're trained and you're drilled. And you become proficient in this thing, you see. And it's the same for a Christian.

Gary: Now, John, though, can't we just baptize people and then let them go and let them find it, whichever church they want to? Or do they need to be baptized immediately into a church? Is there a biblical mandate or biblical insights that guide us on this?

John: Yeah, OK.

Gary: In the Bible.

John: Yeah, because so far, we've just kind of talked from a practical, common sense point of view. And this is Bible Talk.

Gary: It is.

John: OK. So, let's look at what the Bible says. In Acts 2, and down there at about verse 37, they were pricked in their hearts. They said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" And Peter answered and said, "Repent and be..." what?

Gary: Baptized.

John: Yeah, that's right. And then you come down to verse 47. It says, "The Lord added to the church daily, such as should be saved." They were baptized and they were plugged into a church.

Gary: Now, doesn't this mean, though, John, that it's just the church? Just the general Christian faith, you know? They became Christians.

John: You mean this ethereal nebula sort of a thing?

Gary: Yeah. Are we talking about an organized denomination here? I mean, which church, which denomination was this?

John: Well, back then there was one denomination, and that was the Christian church. And people have been trying to confuse that thing ever since, there's no doubt about that. But they were baptized and became part of an organized group that sent out missionaries and had elders and deacons and the whole thing.

Gary: And where do you read that at?

John: You read about that early Christian church. There was church organization in place.

Gary: All the book of Acts.

John: Absolutely.

Gary: So there had to be organized. They had regular meeting places, regular meeting times. And they met in their homes back then, didn't they?

John: Sure.

Gary: But it was not too long before they started building their own buildings.

John: Church buildings that's right. Let's look at this again from another sort of Bible study point of view. First Corinthians 12 and 13 says that we are baptized in to one body. Now I have been baptized and I had to join a church because I am a part of body of Christ, hey! Just a moment. Colossians 1:18 says the body is the church and again the church back then it is was organized Paul wrote to the church leaders people activities, he has said you want to administer the church these were organized, visible groups. And biblically when you come to Christ and baptized you want to become part of the church it's for your own spiritual good you got something to contribute as well and you know I think it just a privilege to be able to be part of the organized body of Christ.

Gary: And I imagine it matters which church we join as well because today it's not like it was in apostle's day where there was only one church, there are hundreds of churches, now you have a new denomination called non-denominational.

John: And boy that's a denominational that's growing rapidly.

Gary: So which church do we join how does a person choose which church to join as they are baptized?

John: It matters greatly, you know, if that you get this straight because I think the proliferation of churches doesn't bring a blazing, "Oh I have got a lot to choose from." I think it brings confusion. "Man, how I am going to find the right church?" Well you don't go visiting every one until you find the one that you like the best. You go to the Bible, find out what the Bible teaches. What does the Bible say about salvation, the way we live our lives, the way we relate to these principles. how do I live according to the Bible what are the correct biblical teachings that help me live with Jesus Christ. Then you say, "Which is the church teaching this?" So you go to the Bible to find the truth and then you say, "Who is teaching this truth?" And you go find that body that church.

Gary: That's an excellent suggestion and then we have a set of Bible study guides that people can call in and get enrolled in for free and it will help them learn what the Bible says and then they can take that information and they can find a church that teaches according to that.

John: That's right study through the bible study guide course, process that information and make your mind up. Or should I say, have the Holy Spirit help you make a spirit laid decision to be a healthy Bible-based truth teaching church. It is not true that all spiritual rivers run into the sea. Jesus said, "You will know the truth. The truth will make you free." So find that and follow that.

Gary: There you got, John in our remaining moments here, I have a question that is imposed to me. I want to share with you and see what your answer would be. What about baptizing in Jesus' name only? I was told one time that you are not baptized properly if you are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. You have to be baptized in the name of Jesus only, if you are going to receive the Holy Spirit. What would you about that. What does the Bible say about it?

John: I would say someone was baptized and the pastor used different words, that person is lost now. So you will not say by grace through faith, and even for those who think you save by baptism, you will not save by baptism you are saved by the right words. That doesn't seem even sensible, does it?

Gary: But doesn't it saying the book of Acts over and over again, baptized in the name of Jesus, baptized in the name of Jesus.

John: Well in the Acts 2:38 it says be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, another place be baptized in the name of Jesus, another place to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. No, man. You are not saved by some little formula that is uttered when you are baptized. The key is to be baptized and look at this way, Jesus said be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and so you want to pit the words of Jesus against the words of Peter or another of the apostles.

Gary: You don't want to pit them against. You want to intertwine them, don't you?

John: You got to find a harmony there.

Gary: So why did they make such an emphasis in the book of Acts in baptizing in the name of Jesus.

John: OK, Acts 2. Feast of Pentecost. Christ had been nailed to the cross just a few weeks earlier, isn't that right?

Gary: That's right.

John: OK they've all gathered together there, Peter is preaching powerfully under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, some of the very people that were responsible for Christ's death were there in the crowd. And he preaches this massive sermon and they're convicted in their hearts and they say, "Now what shall we do?" He says repent and be baptized, but he don't leave it there, he says in the name of Jesus Christ, in other words, he is saying repent and be baptized accepting this Jesus as the Messiah and as the lord of your life.

Gary: It was the testing defining truth. All their prophecies had pointed forward to the Messiah and so these people, I guess, were publicly proclaiming their faith that Jesus was the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies.

John: That's what was going on, Peter was not saying you got to get the little words, the formula right, and I don't mean to disrespect that, but it's not a magic saying or a proverb he is saying, "You come to Jesus and accept him, his name his lord ship his authority in your life." And it's important that we all do that, Gary.

Gary: It really is. John, what about the person who has not been baptized according to the Bible?

John: Friend, you need to pray. And as you do Jesus will say yes it's time for you. You need to be baptized. You get a Bible study guide, you get in wood have the Holy Spirit lead you. Give your life to Jesus now. There is no better time to do it but now. Join us again next time for more here. Thanks for being with us today on Bible Talk. [music]

Announcer: If you would like more information on what we have been studying today we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we would love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we just discussed and expands on the subject, including the information you'll want to know. To receive this free and 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. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678, or email us at Bible talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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