16 November 2014 am – Acts 8:26-39 –Scott Childs
Introduction: (Read text). Of all the subjects in the Bible, few have caused more conflicts down through history than the subject of baptism. In his booklet “Trail of Blood”, J.M. Carroll states, The rejection of baptismal regeneration and infant baptism have, “according to the testimony of well-established history, caused the shedding of more Christian blood, as the centuries have gone by, than all other errors combined .” Since there is much confusion about baptism, it is important that we find and follow the truth.
Transition: This morning we are going to see that the baptism confusion will clear simply by studying the Bible and taking it literally.
1. The Bible is Our Authority for Baptism
a. The Bible is our authority for doctrine and practice.
1) The Bible reveals God’s mind concerning what we are to believe and do.
V (2 Peter 1:2-3) “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”
V (2 Timothy 3:16-17) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
2) Religious tradition is not to be our authority.
b. God commands us to sift all that we believe and do through the grid of the Bible.
V (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
1) These verses teach us to test every belief and activity with the Bible and reject anything that fails.
2) Thus, our beliefs about baptism must pass the Bible test. It is wrong to base our belief about baptism on men’s opinions or church tradition.
2. The Bible Answers Our Questions About Baptism
a. How often do we find baptism in the Bible?
Excluding the word “Baptist”, “baptism” in all its spellings occurs 100 times in the Bible.
1) 7 x it refers to baptism in the Spirit
2) 15 x it refers to baptism in a trial
3) 64 x it is clearly water baptism
4) 14 x water baptism is implied
b. What does the word baptise in the Bible mean?
1) The Bible word for “baptize” is baptizo which means to immerse, to dip, to submerge. This means that the person baptised was dipped under the water.
V (Acts 8:38-39) “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
2) “Baptizo” never means to sprinkle or pour water over. The Greek language uses other words to describe sprinkling and pouring. Every water baptism in the Bible was by immersion.
c. What is the biblical purpose of baptism?
1) Baptism is a picture of the death and resurrection of Christ (Ro 6:4). Only immersion gives this picture.
2) Baptism is a testimony of one’s salvation (Ac 8:37).
3) Baptism is an act of obedience to Christ’s command (Mat 28:19). The Bible never says that baptism is a sacrament that gives special merit with God.
4) Baptism does not regenerate. In other words, it has nothing at all to do with being saved from our sins. Some people use six “unclear” verses to connect baptism with salvation, but these are outnumbered by hundreds of “clear” salvation verses that do not mention baptism.
d. Who was baptised in the Bible?
1) After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, only those old enough to receive Christ personally and who professed to know Him as their Saviour were baptised. The Ethiopian eunuch is a typical example (Acts 8:37).
2) No, babies were ever baptised in the Bible. Here are eight reasons that infant baptism is not biblical baptism.
a) Infant baptism is never mentioned in Scripture.
b) Every baptism in the Bible follows a person’s salvation. Infants are incapable of getting saved.
c) Infant baptism (by sprinkling) does not picture the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
d) It is impossible to disciple and teach a baby as Jesus required in Mt 28:19-20.
e) Those who claim that infants were baptised when households were baptised only assume babies were present. The Bible does not mention babies.
f) Infant baptism could not replace Jewish circumcision as many claim it did.
(1) If it did, only boys would be baptised.
(2) It was never mentioned during the Acts 15 church counsel on circumcision.
(3) The Apostle Paul frequently argued that the need for circumcision ended, not that it changed into infant baptism (Gal 6:15).
g) Infant baptism gives multitudes a false hope of eternal life. Baptism does not save (e.g., the thief on the cross; Paul’s testimony, 1Co 1:17).
h) Infant baptism is a tradition taken from erring churches not from the Bible. The Catholic Church catechism states, “The practice of Infant Baptism is an immemorial TRADITION of the church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the Second Century on…” Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 319, Paragraph 1252 (emphasis added)
e. Will an unbaptised Christian go to heaven?
1) The Bible clearly teaches that salvation and baptism are not linked. Therefore, a truly saved person that is not baptized will still go to heaven just as the thief on the cross went to heaven.
2) However, if a Christian refuses to be immersed, he is disobeying Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19. He will still go to heaven but he will have to answer to God for his disobedience.
3. The Challenge of a Biblical Baptism
a. A biblical baptism encourages believers
1) Seeing a Christian get baptised brings joy and praise to the Lord in the hearts of believers.
2) A baptism reminds unbaptised believers of their need to obey the Lord. If you have not been immersed, you need to obey the Lord in this area.
b. A biblical baptism proclaims the Gospel
1) A baptism testifies of the death and resurrection of Christ that provides forgiveness and eternal life.
2) It reminds the lost of their need of a Saviour. If you have never repented of your sin and trusted Christ alone to save you from hell, that is your greatest need today.
V (John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Conclusion: If you have trusted Jesus to save you but you have not been baptised by immersion after salvation, you need to do so. Jesus commanded it.
If you have never trusted Jesus to save you, consider all He did for you. He died to pay for your hell and forgive you, and He rose again to give you eternal life. He offers this priceless gift to you, but you must admit your need and receive His gift. I urge you to do it today.
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388