Florida Bible Institute
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Scripture Reading: Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:1-22, John 1:29-34
Memory Verses: Matthew 28:19-20
Lesson Objective: To understand the significance of baptism, not only in its symbolism, but also as an act of obedience.
Introduction: Baptism is not essential to salvation! Read Luke 23. The thief that repented on the cross did not have an opportunity to be baptized. He simply believed in Jesus Christ, asked for His mercy, and received salvation. He never had the opportunity to be baptized. Nor did he have an opportunity to perform any kind of ministry or service for the Lord Jesus Christ. He simply hung there, died, and was welcomed into paradise by the Lord Jesus Christ on that very day.
Baptism is a commandment and, as such, should be obeyed like any other commandment. The believer who has an opportunity to be baptized, should be baptized. Our Lord set the example by being baptized Himself.
Baptism Defined: In its noun form it means: "baptism, consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto; to dip), is used (a) of John's baptism, (b) of Christian baptism, . . . " (Vine's New Testament Word Studies)
I. Water Baptism in its Symbolism
It is extremely difficult to breathe underwater. Without a supplementary breathing device, it is impossible to breathe underwater. When a believer goes into the baptismal waters, they are publicly identifying with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One identifies with His death by going under the water, and with His resurrection by coming up out of the water (symbolizing the grave). Symbolically, the 'Old Man' is buried with Christ in death, and the "New Creation" arises out of that which symbolizes death. For a new convert -- a new believer -- one of the very first acts of obedience and outward public confession of their identification with Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior and Master should be baptism.
II. Examples of Water Baptism in the Scriptures
1. Read Matthew 3:13-17 -- an account of the baptism of Jesus Christ. What does Matthew 3:16 indicate when it states: 'And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water...'?
2. Read Mark 1:9-11 -- Mark's account of the baptism of Jesus Christ. Mark 1:10 states: "And straightway coming up out of the water . . . " What does this indicate to you?
3. Did Jesus go down into the river Jordan to be sprinkled or to be immersed?
4. On what basis did you reach your conclusion?
5. At Pentecost, Peter preached a sermon that "pricked" the hearts of those who heard it. When they asked Peter what they should do, Peter told them they should do two things. What were they?
6. Read Acts 8:26-39. What transpired in the life of the eunuch before he was baptized?
7. What requirements did Philip indicate were necessary in order for the eunuch to be baptized?
8. In light of your answer to #7, what conclusions did you draw concerning
"infant baptism" which is practiced by
some religious movements?
9. Read Acts 9:1-18. At what point in his life was Saul of Tarsus (Paul the Apostle) baptized?
10. Read Philippians 3:4-6. Given Paul's personal testimony concerning his
religious background, why do you think
Paul the Apostle bothered with baptism?
11. Of what value would baptism have been to Paul before his Damascus Road encounter with Christ?
12. Explain your answer to #11.
13. Read Acts 10. What did Peter accept as criteria that the household of
Cornelius (and his near relatives and
friends) should be afforded the opportunity for baptism?
14. Read Acts 16:14-15. At what point was Lydia considered [by Paul] to be ready for baptism?
15. Read Acts 16:16-33. When was the Philippian jailer baptized?
16. Why would Paul the Apostle (given his physical condition) have gone to
the trouble to baptize the Philippian
jailer when he did?
1. Is baptism an elective action -- to be taken at your choice -- or is it a command from our Lord to
be obeyed when possible?
2. How did the Apostle view baptism? As significant, or not very significant?
3. In your opinion, how did the early church view baptism? As significant, or not very significant?
4. Is infant baptism proper or improper according to Scripture?
5. How is baptism an act of obedience and a testimony to others?
6. What does baptism symbolize?
7. Have you been baptized since you were born again?
If you have not taken this first step of obedience and identification with Jesus Christ publicly since you were born again, do so without further delay. Identification with Jesus Christ in the act of baptism is nothing to be ashamed of and it reveals a willingness to obey our Lord and to be identified with Him!