Water Baptism

Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Posted on: 2011-02-20
Series: Christian Basics


A drunken man stumbled along a baptism service on Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeded to walk down into the water and stood next to the pastor. The pastor turned and noticed the drunkard and said, "Mister, Are you ready to find Jesus?" He looked back and said, "Yes, pastor I am ready." The pastor then dunked the fellow under the water and pulled him right back up. "Have you found Jesus?" the pastor asked. "No, I didn’t!" said the man. The pastor then put him under water for quite a bit longer, brought him up and said, "Now, brother, have you found Jesus?" "No, I did not pastor." The pastor in disgust held the man under for at least 30 seconds this time brought him out of the water and asked in a harsh tone, "Friend, are you sure you haven’t found Jesus yet?" The drunkard wiped his eyes and said to the pastor..."Are you sure this is where Jesus fell in?"

This morning I want to talk to you about something that every believer in Jesus Christ should do, water baptism.

Baptism happens today because of what Jesus said just before He went to heaven.

Matthew 28:18-19 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Baptize is not an English word. Baptism came from the Greek word ‘baptizo.’ Baptizo means to immerse, immerse something by putting in the water so that it is fully covered.

Illustration: I remember the time when my grandmother used to make fantastic pickles using ripe mango. She would prepare the mango in the stove with all other ingredients. Once it is done she would take an earthen jar full of salt and vinegar. Then she would take the mango and carefully immerse it in the solution. The act of immersing or baptizing the mango in the solution produces a permanent change in the mango. The outcome of this immersion gives us a different product, a delicious home made pickle.

It is a same with baptism. Baptism is total immersion, once immersed the entire you is affected in baptism. In baptism we change from an earthly man to a spiritual man.

To understand baptism clearly we need to study the different kinds of baptisms mentioned in the Bible. The Bible mentions of three distinct types of baptisms.

  1. Baptism of John the Baptist
  2. Christian Baptism
  3. Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Baptism of John the Baptist.

Mark 1:1-4 1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”— 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Now John the Baptist is a key link in the Bible. He is the dispensational link between law and prophets and gospel and grace or John the Baptist is the link between the OT and the NT.

John the Baptist’s baptism required 2 things.

1. Repentance

Mark 1:4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

We saw repentance is a total change in one’s lifestyle. John baptized people only if a lifestyle of repentance was evidenced in them. When people did not change John refused to baptize them. Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John. John called them ‘brood of vipers.’

2. Confession of sins

Mark 1:55 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

For baptism confession of sins is a must. We need to confess sin our memory one by one to the Lord.

The only sins that God forgives are the sins we confess. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Many believers still have a pile of unconfessed sins behind us. Then they come for healing and deliverance and they do not get healed. David said that my sins are a heavy burden over me. Some of you have a heavy burden over you, you have piled up sins that you have not confessed. You need to sit in the presence of God and open you heart and ask God to show you what you need to confess. If you confess God will forgive.

Now we saw the baptism of John the Baptist. It was a baptism of repentance and confession of sins. Since this baptism was before the death and resurrection of Jesus, this baptism did not produce a new birth or born again experience.

After Jesus ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came the baptism of John was not relevant. Acts 19:1-5 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

John baptism was the baptism of repentance. Let’s study our present Christian baptism.

Christian Baptism

To study Christian baptism let us see the baptism of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 3:13-17 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Even though Jesus got baptized in the hands of John the Baptist Jesus’ baptism was not a baptism of repentance. Jesus never sinned and he never needed to repent and confess sin. Jesus’ baptism was to fulfill all righteousness. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the baptism of Jesus we have Jesus in person, the Holy Spirit descended as dove, and God the Father speaking form heaven ‘this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’

The purpose of our baptism is the same as the baptism of Jesus to fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” We are not baptized into repentance we are baptized to fulfill all righteousness.

Baptism is a commitment. It is identification with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Christian baptism is identification with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. We die with him in the watery grave, we are buried with him, and then we arise with Christ out of water to walk in the newness of life. A different kind of life from what we were before.

Romans 6:4 Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father.

Jesus was raised from the dead by God the father, through the Holy Spirit.

The Jewish people and the Roman court sentenced Jesus to death. He was crucified, buried in the tomb. But on the third day God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. In water baptism we go through the same process of death, burial, and resurrection. In other words water baptism is reenactment of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

Every time we see people getting baptized it points to us that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again from the grave. It also points to us that our sinful man was buried and we are living in the newness of life.

Once we are baptized our life is committed to be a disciple of Jesus. Matthew 28:19-20 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Requirements of Christian baptism.

1. Know and believe the Gospel. The first requirement for baptism is knowledge of the gospel. The gospel is 4 historical facts – Jesus came into this world, Jesus died for us, Jesus was buried, and Jesus rose again from the grave. Once you know the gospel you need to believe it. You need to believe that Jesus is the saviour, confess your sins to him, and accept him as your Lord and savior. This is called the born again experience. If you are not born again you cannot be baptized.

Mark 16:15-16 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Jesus never offered salvation to those who believe and never got baptized. You may say I will be baptized later sorry, there is no guarantee for you unless you are baptized totally by immersion.

2. Repentance. Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you. When we have the born again experience we are to repent and confess our sins to the Lord and decide to lead a lifestyle of repentance.

A born again person who decides to be a disciple of Christ can be baptized.

What does baptism do in us?

Baptism gives us a good clear conscience. 1 Peter 3:21 - and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.

When we are born again we say God I was a sinner, I repent, I believe in you. Then when we obey God in water baptism we fulfill all righteousness. That means we tell God, “I have done all that I can according to the Bible to have a good clear conscience before you, please accept me Lord by thy grace.”

When should I get baptized?

In the NT Church people accepted Christ and were baptized immediately.

a. In Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost people were baptized immediately after hearing the gospel. In one day 3000 people were baptized and became disciple of Christ.

b. In Acts 10 we have Cornelius who was the centurion in charge of more than 100 soldiers. Simon Peter was invited to Cornelius’ house and when peter reached Cornelius’ house there were a large gathering of people – the friends and relatives of Cornelius. As Peter was speaking to them about Jesus the Holy Spirit came down on all who were hearing the message and everyone spoke in tongues and praised God.

Acts 10:47-48 Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

c. In Acts 16 we have Paul and Silas who cast out an evil spirit on the way because of which they were dragged, stripped, and beaten with rods by the mob and thrown into prison. They were put in the inner cell and fastened their feet with stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. This awoke all the prisoners and all were listening to them.

Acts 16:26-28 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

In the Roman rule the jailer was responsible for all the inmates and if anyone escaped the ransom was the jailer’s life. The jailer knew he had to die so he tried to commit suicide. Paul said do not harm yourself we are all here.

Acts 16:29-33 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

For the jailer baptism was obedience, it was urgent. The jailer did not even wait for the morning. They were baptized in the night.

How should we be baptized?

In Acts 8 we find the Ethiopian finance minister went to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way back (as usual practice) he was reading from the book of Isaiah sitting in his chariot. The Holy Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot and stay near it. Then they started talking about the scripture they were reading and Philip starting with the very same scripture told him the good news about Jesus.

Acts 8:36-38 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 37 Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

Here we find that baptism was immediate after the Ethiopian treasurer came to know about Jesus. Baptism was the personal decision of the receiver. In true baptism both the minister and the receiver go down into the water.

Now listen many of us may debate baptism is only once and I was baptized as an infant, why should I be baptized again. Listen, an infant is incapable of any of these things.

Spiritual significance of baptism

Romans 6:3-7 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

When Jesus died on the cross our sins and our carnal nature died with him we need to understand that. If we do not understand this we can be baptized and still happily sin. We will just get in the water as a dry sinner get out as a wet sinner. But when we understand that baptism is the death of our carnal nature, then we will hesitate to sin.

Illustration: Have you been to a burial service. Once a person is dead and buried there is no way he can come out of the grave and do the same activities he did before his death. Likewise in baptism we are crucifying or putting to death and burying our sinful man or our desire to sin. Jesus already took our sins, our desires, our carnal nature on the cross. Then if we sin it is like a stinking corpse lying outside, it will stink.

Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Now Paul says that you know your sinful man has been dead on the cross then reckon or count yourselves dead to sin but alive in God. The outward process or the symbolic process of knowing our sinful man is dead on the cross is water baptism.

OT Pictures of baptism

1. Noah’s ark. 1 Peter 3:20-21 20 - to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.

In the time of Noah God destroyed the earth by water but God gave a provision for people to escape from the flood, it was the ark of Noah. When the waters started to raise all living beings on the earth perished except Noah and his family. Noah’s ark is antitype to water baptism. What is the message? Judgment was coming and there was only one way to escape, the ark. Flood represents God’s judgment and the ark is represented by Jesus Christ. In the ark you escape, outside the ark you perish. There is no other way, but Jesus Christ.

When Noah entered the ark and when Noah came out of the ark the life was never the same. His old friends are gone. His circumstances have changed.

2. Crossing the Red Sea. 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

When the Israelites crossed the red sea they had dry ground on the foot, pillar of water on to the sides, and pillar of cloud on the top. This signifies baptism.

See the change in them. They left behind everything in Egypt. In Egypt they were saved by the blood of the lamb but that did not separate them from the Egyptians but the red sea which symbolizes baptism separated the Israelites and the Egyptians for ever. Baptism is the cut off, blood saves you but water separates you.

The Israelites were baptized into Moses, Moses became their leader. We are baptized into Jesus and Jesus becomes our leader.

Hebrews 11:29 29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

The Egyptians were drowned because they did not have faith. The Israelites crossed the red sea by faith.


Baptism is a beautiful picture. It is a witness. It is Powerful. Today we have seen what baptism really means. Are you a Christian? Have you followed the Lord in this beautiful ordinance? If not, why not come and request baptism? Take your stand openly with Jesus in the waters of Believer’s Baptism.

Believers, are you living what you professed at the time of your baptism? Why not commit to living in the newness of life that you have received in Christ?

This sermon belongs to the series Christian Basics. Other sermons in this series:

  1. Are you building right (Part 2) by Rev. Shine Thomas. (Posted on 3-Jul-2011)
  2. Are you building right (Part 1) by Rev. Shine Thomas. (Posted on 26-Jun-2011)
  3. Water Baptism by Rev. Shine Thomas. (Posted on 20-Feb-2011)
  4. Repentance (Christian Basics) by Rev. Shine Thomas. (Posted on 5-Feb-2011)
  5. Salvation (Christian Basics) by Rev. Shine Thomas. (Posted on 30-Jan-2011)