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Baptism | Northgate

Baptism by Immersion

If you are considering taking the next step in baptism, learn about what baptism means to us and why it is a great next step.

What is Baptism?

We practice what is called, Believer's Baptism. Water Baptism is a one-time act of a follower of Jesus Christ. (See Acts 2:41) Baptism is a beginning point not an end goal. We encourage baptism as one of the first acts of discipleship. It's never too soon. If you haven't been baptized yet, it's never too late.

Who should be Baptized?

The Biblical pattern is that baptism is for believers. (Acts 2:38-41, Acts 8:12, Acts 16:31-33) We baptize upon a person's "profession of faith". This means that it is your declaration of Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, that we acknowledge your faith and obedience to Him in discipleship. A believer is someone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness of sin and new life.

What is Water Baptism?

The Bible tells us of a number of aspects to baptism.

  1. It is an act of obedience: When people heard the message of the Gospel and asked how they should respond Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ..." - Acts 2:38
  2. It is a public declaration of our faith: When the people were baptized they did it publicly: "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and there were about three thousand added to their number that day" - Acts 2:38
  3. It is symbolic: Baptism is an outward act of an inner truth: "In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" - Galatians 3:26,7
  4. It represents a resurrection to a new life: As Christ was buried and resurrected our baptism reenacts that truth as it applies to our own lives: "We were buried, therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." -Romans 6:4

Why be Baptized?

While baptism is not required for our salvation (We are saved by grace) there a some very important reasons for being baptized.

  1. In baptism we identify ourselves with Jesus: It marks a starting point and a redirecting of the rest of our lives in following him. "And you were buried with Him in baptism in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, Who raised Him from the dead." -Colossians 2:12
  2. It serves as a benchmark for the rest of our lives: In times of uncertainty or feelings of defeat it is an event we can point to with certainty about our decision to follow Christ. "Baptism does not mean we wash our bodies clean. It means we are saved from the punishment of sin and go to God in prayer with a heart that says we are right." -1 Peter 3:21
  3. Because Jesus commanded it: If there is no other reason, those who choose to follow Jesus enter into a life of obedience. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." - Matthew 28:19

How should we be Baptized?

Immersion is the only form of baptism mentioned in the New Testament.

  1. John the Baptist immersed people: "They were baptized by him in the river Jordan confessing their sins." - Matthew 3:6
  2. Philip went down into the water with the Ethiopian: "They both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him." -Acts 8:38

A Baptism Story

So what's the big deal with going underwater for a second?

Chuck is a pastor in Southern California. In his congregation is a man named Jimmy from Indonesia. He was living legally in America, but his time was running out, and he was requesting asylum on the grounds of religious persecution. If he went back to Indonesia, he most certainly would suffer for being a Christian, and he would be abused and persecuted. The federal courts of the United States already believed that he would be persecuted. This was not a question for them. The question they were asking was this: "Is Jimmy a genuine Christian?"

So Chuck was asked to testify that he knew Jimmy to be a true Christian. In this setting, only the judge asks questions. He looked to Church and asked, "Do you know Jimmy to be a baptized believer in Jesus Christ?"

Chuck said, "Yes."
Judge: "Did you witness his baptism?"
Chuck: "No"
Judge: "Does your church accept his baptism?"
Chuck: "Yes."

Chuck has a speech ready about the character of this guy, but the judge said, "That's all I need to know." Chuck tried to tell him about how Jimmy read the Bible and prayed, but the judge just said, "No, that's all I need to know."

If Chuck had said he was not a baptized believer, he would have been deported. But the only question the federal courts ask is, "Are you a baptized believer in Jesus Christ?" They do this for two reasons. First, the federal courts of the United States, based on study and research, have it in their policy that entrance into the historic Christian faith is shown tangibly in baptism. The second reason this question is so important is because radical Islamic fundamentalists trying to enter America to do harm will say they are Christians to get in. But they will never say they are baptized. Baptism is too big of a deal. They can't bear to pledge that kind of loyalty to a Jesus they don't really follow. So the screening question for our government on whether you are a Christian or not is, "Are you a baptized believer in Jesus Christ?"

The U.S. government, radical Islam, and Jesus Himself all see baptism as important. the Bible mentions that Jesus went out to the River Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. For Jesus, this was a walk of about sixty miles. That's how important and significant baptism was to Him.

When we are baptized, we are in effect stating, "I've made my decision, I submit to God. I stand with Jesus Christ. From this moment on, I pledge to put him above everything else - money, achievement, family, pleasure."

Are You Ready?

After giving your life to Christ, one of the most important decisions you can make is to go public for Jesus by being baptized in water.

Baptism is an outward sign of an inward commitment that you made when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Baptism is not about being perfect, but rather, making a life-long commitment to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Benicia, CA 94510
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Page Last Updated: January 29, 2023 at 8:09 AM