Baptism (1)

THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS

We come now to the third of the "first principles" which constitute the Christian’s "foundation" (Heb. 5:12; 6:1,2). Usually, when we speak of baptism, we are referring to water baptism, and that is what we will be studying in this lesson. However, the New Testament makes reference to at least five baptisms:

  1. The baptism of John (Matt. 3:1; 21:25)
  2. Our Lord’s baptism of suffering (Luke 12:50)
  3. Christian baptism (Acts 2:38)
  4. Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16)
  5. Baptism of Fire (Matt. 3:11, Luke 3:16; 12:49, Mark 9:49, Acts 2:3, 1 Cor. 3:10-13, 1 Pet 1:7)

Since we are dealing here with water baptism, two of these baptisms shall receive our main attention: namely, the baptism of John, and Christian baptism.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD "BAPTlZE"?

"Baptize" is the Anglicized form of the Greek word "baptizo", and means "to dip, immerse, submerge." By definition and usage, the word means "to put into or under water (or other penetrable substance) so as entirely to immerse or submerge."

WHAT IS THE FIRST REFERENCE TO WATER BAPTISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?

Matt. 3:11 - "I (John the Baptist) baptize you with water for repentance....."

WHO AND WHAT WAS JOHN THE BAPTIST?

a. He was the son of Zecharias and Elizabeth. (Luke 1:5, 13)

b. He was the greatest of the prophets.

Luke 7:28 - "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

c. He was sent to introduce Jesus to Israel

John 1:31 - "I myself did not know him (Jesus) , but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." (see also Matt. 3:3-17)

Matt. 3:3 - "This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:    “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."

WHAT WAS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JOHN'S BAPTISM

a. He was divinely sent to baptize

John 1:33 - "And I myself (John) did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me...."

b. His ministry marked the beginning of a new age.

Luke 16:16 - "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it."

c. His ministry marked a new order of divine requirement.

Luke 3:2,3 - "during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."

d. It was "the counsel (purpose, will) of God" for that time.

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!"

Amp. - "But the Pharisees and the lawyers (of the Mosaic Law) annulled and rejected and brought to nothing God's purpose concerning themselves, by (refusing and) not being baptized by him (John)."

e. Those who were baptized, "justified God". (Declared God to be right in His demands).

Luke 7:29 - "All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John."

Amp. - "And all the people who heard Him, even the tax collectors, acknowledged the justice of God [in calling them to repentance and in pronouncing future wrath on the impenitent], being baptized with the baptism of John."

f. John's baptism was superseded by Christian Baptism

Acts 19:4,5 - "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."

Amp. — "And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, continually telling the people that they should believe in the One Who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus [having a conviction full of joyful trust that He is Christ, the Messiah, and being obedient to Him].    5On hearing this they were baptized [again, this time] in the name of the Lord Jesus."

WHAT WAS THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIAN BAPTISM?

The Great Commission

Matt. 28:19 - "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."

Mark 16:16 - "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

HOW DID THE APOSTLES OBEY THIS COMMISSION?

Acts 2:38 - "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Acts 8:16 - ".... they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

Acts 10:48 — "So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ ...."

Acts 19:5 - "On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

Study Questions for Lesson No. 7

  1. What are the five references to Baptism in the New Testament?
  2. Define the word Baptize.
  3. Where does water baptism first appear in the New Testament?
  4. Was water baptism John's own idea?
  5. In refusing to be baptized with John's baptism, what did the lawyers and the pharisees reject?
  6. What is the origin of Christian Baptism?
  7. How did the ministry of the apostles in relation to water baptism seem to contradict the great commission as contained in Matt. 28:19?

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