Text: Acts 2.37-38
Thesis: To prove that one must be baptized in order to access the grace of God whereby the
blood of Jesus Christ cleanses him/her of sins.
(1) Baptism is one of the most controversial religious subjects.
(2) One said, “Baptism is put at the door of the church to keep the unbeliever out and allow the believer in.”
(3) It seems as if everyone has an opinion pertaining to baptism.
(a) Early Catholicism taught the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, which teaches that baptism alone will save.
(b) Some teach that it is an outward expression of an inward grace and not essential for salvation but is for church membership.
(c) Others teach baptism for infants and it can be administered by the means of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.
i. The 1st case of sprinkling was that of Novatian in AD 251 on his deathbed, which was then called clinical baptism.
ii. Infant baptism came into practice in Christendom in AD 450.
(4) The most important question is, “What does the Bible teach?”
I. The DEFINITION of baptism will be examined.
A. “Baptism” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizdo.
1. It is defined as “to dip, to plunge, to submerge, to immerse.”
2. A correct rendering would be “immersion.”
B. There is simply no authority for sprinkling or pouring.
C. The Bible plainly teaches immersion only.
1. Jesus came up out of the water (Matt. 3.16).
2. Philip and the eunuch went into the water (Acts 8.38), and they both came up out of the water (Acts 8.39).
3. Paul stated that baptism was a burial (Rom. 6.3-5).
4. Again, it is called a burial (Col. 2.12).
D. Therefore, one seeking to do what the Bible authorizes (Col. 3.17) will be immersed.
II. The DESIGN of baptism will be examined.
A. What is its purpose?
1. It is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2.38).
a. The same phraseology is found in Matthew 26.38.
b. “For” is from eis, which means the same in both verses.
c. If it is the case that Acts 2.38 is to be translated “because you already have remission of sins,” then it would also be true in Matthew 26.28; thus, Jesus died because we already had remission of sins.
d. Further, Luke, with his vocabulary, would have known of and used gar if he intended to convey the thought of “because of.”
2. It is involved in accepting salvation (Mark 16.16).
3. It is not for membership to one’s certain “church.”
a. One is added to THE church when he obeys the gospel (Acts 2.47).
b. The Bible only teaches that there is one church (Eph. 4.4).
4. It is not a mere washing of the body (1 Pet. 3.21).
B. Who should be baptized?
1. Those who have sinned.
a. All that have reached the age of accountability have sinned (Rom. 6.23).
b. A baby is not born a sinner, because sin is a transgression of God’s law
(1 John 3.4).
c. Further, a baby does not inherit the sins of Adam (Ezek. 18.20).
2. Those who believe.
a. First, one must hear the Word of God (Rom. 10.17).
b. Second, one must believe that Christ is the son of Son (John 8.24).
c. Third, one must repent of his/her sins (Luke 13.3).
(1) One must exemplify godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7.10; Matt. 5.4).
(2) This is “a change of one’s heart brought about by godly sorrow resulting in a reformation of life and restitution wherein is possible.
d. Fourth, one must be willing to make of public confession of his/her faith (Rom. 10.9-10; 1 Tim. 6.12).
e. Fifth, one is then ready to be baptized for the remission of sins.
C. Who may administer the baptism?
1. The RCC teaches that baptism is one of the 7 sacraments, and that only a priest may administer it.
2. The Bible is silent about whom may administer baptism.
D. How is baptism to be administered?
1. The Biblical example is Acts 8.38-39.
2. Simply, one must be immersed.
III. The DEMAND of baptism will be noted.
A. Jesus commanded it (Mark 16.16).
1. One demonstrates his love for Christ by obeying His commandments (John 14.15).
2. One failing to be baptized is one who is failing to love Christ.
B. Jesus commanded the Apostles to baptize others, and to teach those who they baptized to go about teaching and baptizing (Matt. 28.19-20).
1. What about Pail’s statement in 1 Cor. 1.14?
2. He was dealing with individuals that had begun to divide into groups over whom baptized them (vv. 10-13).
3. He was thankful for the fact that not many of them were able to claim him as the one who had baptized them due to their division, and also he could not remember who all he had baptized since all that matters is whether they get baptized.
C. Peter told those gathered together on Pentecost to be baptized (Acts 2.38).
D. Paul was told to be baptized (Acts 22.16).
E. It is the only way to get into Christ (Gal. 3.27; Rom. 6.3-5).
F. It is the only way that we can obey a form of the gospel ( 1 Cor. 15.1-4; Rom. 6.3-5, 18).
G. It “saves” us (1 Pet. 3.21).
H. “I don’t see the reason for it.”
1. Many times our thinking is not God’s thinking (cf. Isa. 55.8-9).
2. For example, consider Naaman (2 Kings 5).
3. Also, what about the blind man in John 9?
4. There are so many other passages that teach the necessity of baptism (e.g., 1 Cor. 12.13, Eph. 5.26, John 3.5, Titus 3.5, et. al.).
5. Shall we argue against the truth (2 Cor. 13.8)?
(1) To whom will we go for salvation (John 6.68)?
(2) Jesus has done His part, will you do yours?