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WHAT is the purpose of baptism?
Sometimes there is confusion about baptism. The most prevalent misunderstanding is that baptism is a way to get to God. Baptism is just the opposite. We come to God by grace alone through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Then in response we proclaim our decision to follow Christ in baptism. So let’s explore the who, what, when, where, why, and how of baptism: 


WHO should be baptized? Everyone who commits their life to Jesus Christ and understands the meaning of baptism is commanded to be baptized. Baptism isn’t intended for super saints who reach a spiritual mountaintop, but for everyone who has genuinely received Christ. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 2:38)


WHAT does baptism symbolize? Baptism illustrates the death of Jesus as the person is immersed in water and the resurrection of Jesus as the person is raised up from the water, portraying the forgiveness of sins and new life in Christ. “We were buried with Christ through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we also may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)


WHEN should we be baptized? We are called to be baptized when we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and understand the meaning of baptism.“When they believed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)


WHERE should a we be baptized? Baptism can be experienced anywhere with water: church, lake, river, pool, etc. ”As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said: ‘Look! Here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ Then they went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” (Acts 8:36)


WHY should we be baptized? (1) God commands us to experience  baptism. (2) Jesus was baptized as an example for us. (3) Baptism is an experience to help us remember our salvation. (4) We proclaim our Christian faith to the world. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)


HOW should we be baptized? Scripture gives a portrait of baptism by immersion into water as an illustration of: (1) The death and resurrection of Jesus.  (2) The forgiveness of our sins and our new life with Christ. Our motive for baptism and the meaning of baptism is more important that the way we are baptized. “You have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)


What we experience makes deepest impact and we remember for a long time. Words fade from memory. Images can get lost in our minds. But experiences last a long time. Baptism is a multisensory experience to more fully grasp what Christ has done within us and creatively proclaim our faith in Christ.


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I understand that listening to the Baptism sermon (link above) is a prerequisite for baptism at FBC.