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Why Baptism Matters

Charlie Boyd - 7/23/2023


Baptism matters because Jesus commanded it (Matt 28:8-20), and the early church practiced it. Baptism is the way a believer publicly identifies with Jesus and His church. It is the way a Christ-follower goes public with their faith.


When it comes to the topic of baptism, different people have different opinions and beliefs concerning what baptism means, how it should be administered, and why it matters. For some, it can be an emotional issue, especially if some preacher tries to tell them something different from what they were taught and experienced earlier in life. Today, we are going to look at two things: (1) We will talk about the “mode” of baptism—why we immerse rather than sprinkle and what the Bible says about that, and; (2) We will talk about the “meaning” of baptism and why it matters, and what the Bible says about that.

  1. The Mode of Baptism — The Greek word “baptizo” never got translated into English differently from the Greek, so “baptizo” = “baptize.” In the ancient world, “baptizo” was simply a common, everyday word, not a religious word, and it meant to dip, dunk, plunge, submerge, sink, immerse, or drown. So, the first reason we immerse new believers is because that’s what the word “baptize” means. There is no evidence in the NT that anyone ever sprinkled someone and called it “baptizo.” The idea of sprinkling babies arose as a tradition in the church; it has no biblical support whatsoever. When it comes to baptism, the key issue is the meaning YOU attached to your baptism.
  2. The Meaning of Baptism — The reason we baptize is because Jesus commanded it (Matthew 28:18-20). The sequence of Jesus’ command is: go and tell; baptize and teach. Baptism is a part of the disciple-making process. Baptism is a public, symbolic act of identifying yourself as someone who believes in Jesus and belongs to His church. When you are baptized, you are going public with your faith. In Acts 19:1-5, we read a story about a group of people who get “re-baptized.” This passage helps clarify the meaning of baptism. In Ephesus, Paul ran across a group of “believers” who had only heard John’s message about the coming Messiah. They had been baptized in “John’s baptism” in preparation for Messiah’s coming. As a result, they had no knowledge of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. So, when they heard the Good News that Jesus had come, they were re-baptized, symbolizing their identification with Jesus and His church. A person isn’t saved when or because they are baptized. Baptism is simply a symbol on the outside of something that has already happened on the inside. Like a wedding ring—baptism is an outward sign of a deeper reality. A ring symbolizes your decision to join yourself with your spouse. A ring doesn’t make you married. Baptism doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s a way to show people that you have become a Christian. Baptism isn’t about your parent’s faith or your church’s faith, or your friend’s faith—it’s about your personal faith in Jesus. Jesus emphasized over and over that faith in Him alone is the sole condition to receive new life and the forgiveness of your sins (see John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47). You see this in Acts 16:31 and Acts 18:8—people believe in Jesus and then they are baptized. Baptism follows belief. Baptism without belief/faith is meaningless. The consistent teaching of the NT is that baptism follows belief.

*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.