What is water Baptism?
Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to be baptised with water (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus Himself was baptised with water at the beginning of his ministry (Mark 3:13-15, Luke 3:21)
Being baptised with water is a demonstration of our obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Further more, water baptism is a practical demonstration of a spiritual reality that has already taken place.
"having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." Colossians 2:12 NIV
A personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only requirement for water baptism. When you received the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, you took part in his death, burial and resurrection. In other words, you became alive to God and a child of God (John 1:10 - 12).
Water baptism simply signifies what has already taken place in your life (Romans 6: 1-5).
When to get baptised
Philip the evangelist baptised the Ethiopian eunuch immediately after he received the gospel and Cornelius and his household were baptised with water after God poured out the Holy Spirit on them (read Acts 8: 26-40 and Acts 10:24-48).
Jesus however, was baptised with water at the very beginning of his early ministry (Matthew 3: 3-15).
In other words, there is no fixed order to follow to being baptised with water. It is an act of obedience we should fulfil as soon as time and opportunity permit.
How to get baptised
Water baptism in the bible involves total immersion (or dipping) in water (Matthew 3:16, Acts 8: 38-39). A river, stream, bath or even a tub of water can all be suitable . Many churches these days even have built in tanks for water baptism.
When going for baptism it is important to bring a towel and fresh pair of cloths to change into afterwards.
It is also wise to come along prepared to share your testimony of how you became a Christian. Invite friends and family along to the event if possible. This is an excellent opportunity to share the gospel.
Your Pastor or even a mature Christian can perform the baptism as long as they know what they are doing. It should be a public affair. If you are part of a church, which you should be, then allow the church to organise it.
The Bible says nothing about the 'baptism classes' prior to baptism. However, it would be good to talk with the person baptising you before the day so that you can know what to expect.
Sample of a confession during water baptism
Come to your water baptism prepared to answer these questions in the affirmative.
1. Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?
2. Have you repented of your sins?
3. Have you decided to live your life for Jesus?
The person baptising you then says: upon the confession of your faith, in the name of Jesus I baptise you in the name of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit.-Acts 10:46-48, Matthew 28:19 (Dips you in water).
Scriptural examples of water baptism
Now take time to read through the accounts of the following people who were baptised with water. Can you detect anything they all had in common.
1. The baptism of Israel unto Moses
1 Corinthians 10:2
2. The baptism of John the Baptist for repentance
Mark 1:4; Acts 13:24
3. The baptism of Jesus
4. At Pentecost - when 3,000 were baptized by Peter and the apostles
5. At Samaria - many were baptized by Philip the evangelist
6. At Gaza - the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by Philip
7. At Damascus - Paul was baptized by Ananias
8. At Caesarea - Peter baptized Cornelius and his friends
9. At Philippi - Paul baptized Lydia and the Philippian jailor
Acts 16:15, 33
10. At Corinth - Paul baptized Crispus, Gaius, Stephanas, and others
Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians. 1:14, 16
11. At Ephesus - Paul baptized some followers of John the Baptist
Questions for reflection
Read the following questions and attempt to answer them. They will help prepare you for the day. Please ask your Pastor if you have difficulty in answering any of them.
1. What is water baptism?
Matthew 28: 19-20, Mark 3:13-15, Luke 3:21
2. When is the best time to get baptised?
Acts 8:26-40, Acts 10: 24-48, Matthew 3:3-15
3. What things would you take along when getting baptised?
4. How did you become a Christian?
Prepare how you would share your testimony with a few friends?
5. Can you give four examples of people who became Christians?