I walked down an aisle when I was 9 years old and was baptized by immersion. Years later God revealed to me, after an internal struggle, that I really didn’t know him at the time I was originally baptized. All I did when I was 9 was get wet. Here I was, an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Mableton, GA, when God revealed to me I had not been baptized “the right way.” The right way is the way the early Church baptized. Baptism always occurred after a personal experience of salvation and was done by immersion. You may not baptize this way, but I think the Scriptures are clear that this is the way the early church did it.
So, on November 21, 1999 at First Baptist Church of Mableton, GA, I was baptized ”the right way.” God led me to do it and I did it.
I was reading Acts 8 this morning and the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Philip, upon the Holy Spirit’s leading, had an encounter with this man from Ethiopia. Philip shared the gospel with this man and he came to salvation through Jesus. In verse 36, the eunuch asked what prevented him from being baptized. Philip stopped the chariot and baptized him there on the spot.
This is the New Testament model of baptism. First, a person comes to salvation through Jesus. Next, they are baptized by immersion. This pattern occurs over and over throughout the book of Acts. The New Testament never supports the idea of baptizing babies. The New Testament never supports the idea of sprinkling. Just saying!
The Greek word used for baptism is baptizo. The word was used in the terminology of the day when someone would dye a piece of cloth. They would baptizo the cloth into the dye. The picture is that of submerging the cloth into the dye. Have you ever tried to dye a cloth by sprinkling it? You get tie dye not dyed cloth! The word baptizo was clear to the original readers that this was talking about immersion.
Baptism is just a picture of what Jesus has done for us. There is no saving merit to baptism but Jesus did command us to do it as a rememberance of what he did for us. When you go under the water in baptism, it is a picture of our identification with Jesus’ death. When you come out of the water, it is a picture of your identification with his life. The picture is you have gone from death to life with Jesus. What a great testimony to the world!
If you have a relationship with Jesus, and have never been baptized “the right way”, maybe God is stirring in your heart to be obedient by being baptized. Don’t wait, just do it! You will not regret it if God is leading you to do it. If you are in the New Orleans area and God is leading you to be baptized “the right way”, we are having baptism at Vintage Church’s Metairie campus on August 26th. I would love to help you follow God’s leading in your life.
Question: Have you been baptized “the right way”? What is holding you back?.