Why Should You Be Baptized
I want you to take your Bibles if you have a copy of God’s Word. Turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 6. Today’s a special day in the life of our church. We’re having a baptism Sunday today. We’ve got a number of people already ready and lined up to be baptized in this service in just a little while. But you know something? There are some of you who came today not expecting to be baptized, not planning to be baptized, but today the Holy Spirit of God is going to speak to your heart and you’re going to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized.
I want you to know: We’ve gotten everything ready for you to be baptized today. Here’s why: We believe here at Quail Springs Baptist Church that being baptized is a significant part of following Jesus Christ, and that it will help you to follow Him and help you to grow in your relationship with Him when you’ve been obedient to Hm by following Him in baptism. So we’ve got everything ready today for you to be baptized. If you came, you weren’t planning to get baptized, everything’s ready. We’ve got a change of clothes for you; we’ve got towels; we’ve got hair dryers; if there are other things I haven’t mentioned that you’re thinking about, we’ve got those things. Everything that you can imagine to be baptized, we’ve got ready. We’ve got nice people who are there to help you, private changing areas – all of those things.
Here’s why: We’re trying to make it just as simple as we can for you to say yes to Jesus in following Him today in baptism.
For most of us, it’s a simple thing to follow Jesus. It’s a simple thing to say yes to Him. And by that I mean that we don’t usually face a lot of danger or persecution. But you know there are those in our world, even today, especially in certain parts of the world where it’s a dangerous, dangerous thing to follow Jesus and be baptized.
There’s a refugee highway that travels through Athens, Greece. And over the years millions of people who have been escaping violence or catastrophe in their homelands – persecution in their homelands – have made their way through the city of Athens.
In 2003 there was a Muslim man from Iran – we’ll call him M. M had to leave Iran because a 7.45 magnitude earthquake that just wiped out his home. So he wound up first going to Afghanistan, and shortly after he found himself in Athens, Greece. He’s a Muslim from a Muslim family.
But while he was in Athens, he began to see the crosses on the churches. And those crosses just intrigued him. He began to ask questions about Christianity. Along the way someone gave M a Bible, and he began to read his Bible every day. Now, he lived in his uncle’s home. His uncle was a strong Muslim and would not have even allowed that Bible to have been in the house if he had known about it. But M kept it hidden, and every night when everyone else was asleep, he would take his flashlight and he would read his Bible. He read the Bible every day for two years.
And as he read the Bible, God began to show him that he needed Jesus Christ as his Savior. So he found his way to a refugee ministry center there in Athens. There were other Iranian believers who were there and he told them that he had trusted Christ as his Savior. He arranged to be baptized in May of 2006. There was a certain day when he was going to get baptized.
He set his alarm for 6:00am that morning. He was going to wake up, read his Bible, and then go and be baptized. Before the alarm went off, his cousin, who had found out what was going to happen – his cousin took a saucepan and boiled water in that saucepan, and then went to where M was sleeping and poured that boiling water onto him to try to keep him from being baptized.
He had severe burns on his arm, on his thighs, but he went to be baptized anyway. He got there at the place where he was to baptized, surrounded by other Iranian believers, and here’s what he said: “No matter what they do, they cannot stop me. I will always love Jesus.” And then he was baptized.
Baptism is a way of saying that we belong to Jesus, that we follow Jesus, and that we have a new life in Jesus Christ. So today as we look at the pages of Scripture in Romans, chapter 6, we’re going to look at one of the most powerful Scriptural passages that describe the spiritual significance of baptism.
I want you to stand with me as we read God’s Word together, beginning in verse 1 of Romans, chapter 6. Paul writes these words:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
This is the Word of God. Will you join with me as we pray.
Father, I thank You for every person in this room today. Thank You, Lord, for the new life You give us in Jesus. And today, God, I pray for boys and girls who need to say yes and follow Jesus in baptism. I pray for teenagers in this room who need to say yes and follow Jesus in baptism. I pray for men and women who need to say yes and follow Jesus in baptism. And Lord, I pray that You would just remove every barrier; remove every mental boundary – every spiritual thing that would keep someone from following Jesus in salvation, and then baptism today. God, I pray that You would do a mighty work among us in this place. For we pray these things in Jesus’ precious Name.
Church, if you agree with that prayer, will you say amen? Amen. You may be seated.
FOUR QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
I want you to think about four questions as I begin today – four questions I want you to think about. I’m going to come back to these questions at the end of my message, as well. Here are the four questions. First of all, have you been saved? Have you been saved. There are people in this room who have never trusted Jesus for God’s gift of salvation. Today, Jesus wants you to say yes to His free gift of salvation – to call on Him to save you; to be saved, and then to follow Him in baptism. Have you been saved?
A second question to ask: Were you baptized after you were saved? And that’s an important question to answer because if you say, “Well no, I was baptized maybe when I was a little baby,” or, “I was baptized because a lot of other people were being baptized, and I thought it was the thing to do but I really didn’t understand it,” or, “I was baptized but I got saved later.” Listen, if you were baptized before you were saved, you haven’t been scripturally baptized, because in the Bible the pattern is always the same: It’s always get saved and then get baptized. Get saved, and then get baptized. So were you baptized after you were saved?
A third question to ask: Were you baptized by immersion into water? That’s an important part of the biblical picture of what it means to follow Jesus Christ. Baptism in Scripture is by immersion into water. You’re plunged into the water, you’re brought out of the water. Were you baptized by immersion in water?
Some of you are here and you say, “Well yeah, I went through something that was called baptism.” Maybe it was water being poured, or water being sprinkled, and you thought, “That’s no big deal.” From a spiritual, scriptural, symbolic position, it really is significant that you be baptized by immersion in water.
A fourth question to ask: Is the Lord leading you to be baptized? Some of you are here today and you just know. God has been leading you to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized, and today you need to say yes to Him.
I want us to look in the pages of Scripture today; I want to talk to you about four reasons every Christian should be baptized. We see that in the passage of Scripture we read in Romans, chapter 6. Four reasons every Christian should be baptized.
REASON 1: YOU SHOULD BE BAPTIZED BECAUSE YOU’VE PUT SIN BEHIND YOU
Number one: You should be baptized because you have put sin behind you. Baptism is a picture of death and burial to the old dominance of sin in our lives.
Now look in verses 1 and 2 of our text. Paul asked some questions: He says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” In other words, are we just supposed to keep on sinning, and keep on sinning so that we can get more and more of God’s grace? He says, “By no means!” That’s not what we should do. Instead, he says, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
Listen to me: To be saved means that you have died to sin as the master of your life. It means that you have said, “I am done with sin.” Now, does that mean that you never sin after you get saved? No. We all stumble; we all struggle; we all have times that we slip and fall into sin even after we’re saved. But to be saved means that you have said no to sin as the master of your life. Before you get saved, sin was your master. But when you get saved, Jesus becomes your master and sin becomes part of your past. If you are still saying yes to sin, if you’re still saying maybe to sin, if you still say, “Sometimes. Sometimes when it just feels right and I want to do it” – if that’s your attitude toward sin, you have not died to sin the way God commands you to as believers.
To be saved means to say, “I’m dead to sin.” And baptism is a picture of death to sin as the dominating force in your life. Baptism is a picture of burial. That’s why baptism by immersion in water is such a significant thing. When we put someone under the water it’s like a burial. We’re saying that person has died to the old life; they’ve died to the old sin; they’ve put sin behind them.
I heard about a church that had a funeral service for sins that people were struggling with in the church. They did it in a big way. They dug a grave six feet deep and they had a wooden coffin that they had purchased – a beautiful wooden coffin. And they had a headstone, a granite headstone that was inscribed. That day the pastor got up and he preached a funeral service for sins, and called everybody to count themselves dead to those sins and to bury those sins. Everyone in the congregation was given a sheet of paper – a little slip of paper – just to write down the specific sin, or the sins that they were burying that day.
After the worship service was over everyone just filed out. There were hundreds of people. They filed out and they went to the gravesite where they had dug the grave, and they had the open coffin there for sin. And as they filed by, the people put their little pieces of paper representing the sins that they were burying. There were all kinds of things that they listed.
You know, a sin is anything that you say or do, anything you think, anything that you fail to do – anything that displeases God in your life. And so people were writing down those sins and they were putting them in that coffin. Sometimes they had written down, “I want to bury the sin of profanity,” or, “I want to bury the sin of greed,” or pride, pornography, or sexual immorality, or dishonesty and lying. Whatever the sin was, they put it there. And after they had all filed by and put in those little pieces of paper with their sins, they sealed the coffin and they lowered it into the grave. And some people with shovels began to shovel dirt on top of that coffin. They piled up the dirt, and they tamped it down. At the head of the grave was the gravestone, and it said, Our sins, buried by God’s grace, and then the date.
It was a powerful service. But can I tell you something? Baptism is an even more powerful symbol than that, because when you’re baptized it shows, not just that you’re burying individual sins that you struggle with; it says you are dying to sin yourself, and saying, “From now on, I count myself dead to the sin in my past, and that sin is no longer going to dominate my life.”
There’s some people in this room today who need to come and need to be baptized because you know that you have left sin in your past and you want to say no to that sin so that you can say yes to Jesus.
One reason to be baptized is because you’ve put sin being you.
REASON 2: YOU BELONG TO JESUS
Number two – a second reason that you should be baptized as a believer: because you belong to Jesus Christ. Baptism is a picture of our identification with Jesus Christ. It’s a picture that we belong to Him one hundred percent.
Look in verse 3 of the text. There Paul writes this: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” We’ve been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ. We’ve been baptized, or immersed, into Jesus, Himself. Baptism is a picture of total identification – total union with Jesus.
That’s why immersion is such a big deal. The Greek word for baptize is actually the Greek word baptizo. It looks just like baptize with an o at the end of it: baptize. It just sort of came right into our language almost untranslated. The word baptizo or baptize literally, in the Greek language, means to plunge in or to be immersed. To be saved means to be immersed in Jesus.
When you’re baptized in water it’s a picture of being baptized into Jesus. You’ve bot water on each side of you, and above you, and below you, and above your head, and beneath your feet. When you come to Jesus you give yourself one hundred percent to Him, and every part of you becomes His. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for every part of you – not just a few aspects of your life; not just a few hours of your day; not just the first day of your week. Jesus purchased every part of you when He died on the cross of Calvary. Baptism shows that you belong to Jesus.
A guy named Jim sold his car to a neighbor named Bill. Bill test-drove the car and he liked it, so he bought it. Jim gave him the car and the keys and the title; it was his. Then a few weeks later, Jim was out working in his garage and he came across a box. Inside that box were the floormats to that car. He’d taken them out and put them in that box, and just hadn’t put them back in. As soon as he saw them, he knew immediately that he needed to take those floormats and to give them to his neighbor who had bought the car. Why? Because when his neighbor bought the car, he bought every part of it. If any part was found that hadn’t been given to him, it was already his.
Listen to me: When you were saved Jesus paid for every part of you. When you come across some area of your life that you haven’t surrendered to Him, it already belongs to Him. So you must give it to Him if you belong to Him.
For some of you today, baptism is an area where you’ve sort of been holding out, for whatever reason. Whatever your reason’s been, it may have seemed to you like a good reason, but today Jesus is saying to you, “Don’t hold out. Don’t hold out on that,” because I promise you this: If you’re holding out on Jesus in baptism, then you’re holding out in other areas of your life, too. If you’re not being obedient to Him in something as simple as baptism, then there are other significant areas of your life where you’re probably not being obedient, as well.
And make no mistake: Jesus commands you to be baptized. This is not just something that the church talks about. This is not just a tradition. It’s what Jesus commands us. Over in the Gospel of Matthew, the last chapter – chapter 28, verse 29 – right before Jesus left earth and went up into heaven, here’s what He told His disciples; He said, “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.” If you haven’t been baptized scripturally, after salvation, by immersion, then you’re not being obedient to Jesus. Baptism shows that you belong to Him.
REASON 3: YOU ARE READY TO LIVE A NEW LIFE IN JESUS
A third reason that you should be baptized as a Christian: You should be baptized because you are ready to live a new life in Jesus Christ. Baptism is a picture that we want to live a new life in Jesus Christ.
Look in verse 4 of the text. There, the Bible says this: “We were buried, therefore, with Him by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Baptism is a picture, not just of burial, but also of being raised up to live a new life in Jesus. We’re immersed into the water to show that we’ve died to our old life. But we come out of the water to show that we’ve got a new life to live in Jesus. Jesus wants us to be baptized to show that we have been changed by Him.
I came across something in my study this week that if I knew it before, I had forgotten it. But there are actually two words in the Greek language that they used to talk about dipping something in the water, or dipping someone in the water. One word is the word bapto, and the other is the word baptizo, which we already talked about. The word bapto just means to dip something in the water – to put something in the water. The word baptizo – baptize – means to put something, to immerse something in order to change it. Both of those words are used in one place by someone who wrote about two hundred years before the time of Jesus. He was a poet; he was a physician. But in this particular writing he was talking about how to make pickles.
(Is everybody still with me so far? Say amen if you are. I’m talking about pickles. But I’ll take it back to something spiritual if you’ll just hang on with me.)
He was talking about making pickles. And he used both words. He talked about taking the vegetable, the cucumber, and he used the first word. He said, “Bapto – dip it – into water,” and then the recipe, the next part of the recipe was, “Baptize it – baptize it – in vinegar.”
Now, think about this: If you put a cucumber in water, and you take it out, and you dry it off, it’s just like it was before you put it in that water. If you take a cucumber and put it into vinegar – baptize it in that vinegar – when you take it out, it’s no longer the same. It’s changed into something else.
The word that the Bible uses is that word baptizo. It means to be plunged into something and changed.
Now here’s what happened to you spiritually when you trusted Jesus as your Savior: You were plunged into Jesus and He changed you. Listen: Jesus never touches a life without changing it. I said, Jesus never touches a life without changing it! (I knew you all wanted to say amen to that!) He never touches a life without changing it. So when you were saved, you were baptized into Jesus and He changed you. Baptism is a picture that we’ve been changed. It’s an outward expression of the inward change that comes in our lives because of what Jesus Christ has done in us.
Yesterday I was doing a pastors workshop in McAllister, Oklahoma, and got done around three o’clock, and I was driving back home. As I was getting off of the Indian Nation Highway onto Interstate 40 – had just gotten on Interstate 40 – and I found myself in the worst hailstorm that I have ever experienced. I was baptized in hail – h-a-i-l. I was baptized in hail. It was on every side of me and in front of me. I couldn’t see anything but the hail. I called Michele and I said, “Can you hear it?” She could hear it, but she couldn’t tell how bad it was. It was for twenty minutes. It was like twenty minutes of being pelted constantly with gravel, and then every now and then with baseballs. I don’t know how big the hail was, I’m just telling you how it sounded. It sounded like twenty minutes of pelting with gravel and then every now and then a baseball.
Finally the hail subsided and I began to drive off, and I thought, “Man!” Now, my car’s got high mileage on it, and so, you know, I was sort of upset that I knew it wasn’t good for my car. But as I pulled out, I saw a guy on the side of the road in front of me in a brand new Porsche. And I thought, “Man; he’s having a bad day.” But I drove on down the road.
Now, there was rain with the hail. The raid dried off, and I was driving into Oklahoma City into blue skies and sunshine. I drove for about an hour more. I got home. As soon as I got home, I opened up the garage door and Michele came in. If I had just been in a rainstorm, the rain would have fallen, and would have dried up, and my car would have been the same. I wasn’t in a rainstorm. I was in a hailstorm. And as a result, that car was changed. There was a difference. Things were different.
Now, I realize I’ve just compared getting saved to being a pickle, and to being in a hailstorm. I’m not saying that being saved is like being in a pickle or being in a hailstorm. I am saying this: When Jesus touches your life, He doesn’t just touch your life and then leave you like you were. He changes you. Just to be baptized in water – you go down in the water and come out of the water, and you dry off and you’re the same again. But to be baptized in Jesus means that He changes everything about you. He changes your attitude. He changes your relationship with God. He changes your habits. He changes your words. He changes your outlook. He changes everything about you.
And baptism is an outward way of showing that Jesus has changed us on the inside. He’s commanded it of us. He’s commanded us to be baptized to show that He has changed us – that you’re ready to live a new life in Jesus.
REASON 4: YOUR FUTURE RESURRECTION IS CERTAIN
I want to show you a fourth reason that every Christian should be baptized. Number four: The Bible says you should be baptized because your future resurrection is certain.
Look in verse 5 of the text. The Bible says, “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” Yes, baptism shows that we’ve come alive to a new life right now in Jesus, but it also points forward to our future in Jesus, and it says that because we have been united with Him in death we also have a future resurrection.
Baptism is a word of prophecy. Listen: When you are baptized, it’s like you are proclaiming a word of prophecy about yourself. You’re saying, “When I lay my body down in death, I’m not going to stay in that grave!” One day Jesus Christ is coming back for His own, and the Bible says the dead in Christ shall rise first. Baptism is a word of prophecy saying, “When I die in Jesus Christ I’m coming out of that grave to live with Him forever.” When you’re baptized, you’re proclaiming to everyone the eternal life and the certain future you have in Jesus Christ.
Baptism’s a picture. It’s a picture of death to sin. It’s a picture that you belong to Jesus. It’s a picture that you have a new life – that you want to live in Him. It’s a picture that you have a future that’s sure with Him forever in heaven. It’s a picture.
You say, “It’s a picture, but it’s just a picture. It’s not the spiritual reality. It’s just a picture.” I realize it’s just a picture, but, you know, a picture’s never just a picture.
This morning I was getting ready. I looked across the room in our living room, and I saw pictures Michele has on display of our family. I saw a picture of our son – a picture of our son and his wife; a picture of the four of us at their wedding. I walked around the corner; there was a picture of Michele’s mom and dad, and a picture of my mom and dad. And they’re pictures. They’re just pictures – ink on glossy paper. But I’m going to tell you this: It’s not just ink on glossy paper. Those pictures mean something to me because they remind me of the ones I love most.
Jesus Christ has given us the picture of baptism to show the One we love most – that we’re identified with Jesus; that we belong to Him; that we’ve died to our old life; that we’ve risen to a new life in Him; and that we have a future forever with Him.
QUESTION 1: HAVE YOU BEEN SAVED?
So I ask you the same questions today: Have you been saved? If you’ve never been saved, in just a moment when we bow our heads to pray, I’m going to give you the opportunity to call on the name of Jesus and ask Him to save you. Today, if you pray and ask Jesus to save you, the next thing you need to do is to come forward at the end of our service, and I pray that you’ll be baptized today. We’re ready for you. Just come forward and say, “I prayed that prayer.” There’s going to be someone here today who will help you follow Jesus in baptism. You say, “I want to wait until I can bring my friends to come.” Let’s get it scheduled then for next week or the week after that. But come today and say yes to Jesus.
Have you been saved?
QUESTION 2: WERE YOU BAPTIZED AFTER YOU WERE SAVED?
Second question: Were you baptized after you were saved? Some of you are here and your baptism’s not in order. Maybe someone had you baptized, or maybe you came to get baptized because it was just the thing to do in your church, or because your friends were doing it, but you know that you got baptized and then were saved later. You need to get baptized on the right side of your salvation. You need to come today. You’ve put it off long enough. Don’t put it off anymore.
QUESTION 3: WERE YOU BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION INTO WATER?
Third question: Were you baptized by immersion into water? Pouring or sprinkling is not the same thing as scriptural baptism. Scriptural baptism is by immersion in water because that shows death, identification, and resurrection in Jesus Christ.
QUESTION 4: IS THE LORD LEADING YOU TO BE BAPTIZED?
Then the last question: Is the Lord leading you to be baptized? I don’t know what it is; some of you are here today and you just know this is something you need to do. Maybe to say, “I want to begin living for Jesus in a new way.” Maybe to say, “I want to put my past behind me.” Maybe to say, “I want to give myself one hundred percent to Him.” But today the Lord is leading you to be baptized.
Here’s what someone said to Paul, who wrote these words that we read today. Paul got saved when He met Jesus on the Damascus Road. When he got to Damascus, he met a man named Ananias, a Christian there. Ananias ministered to Paul and just sort of helped him. He couldn’t see because he had been blinded by a vision of Jesus, a bright shining light on the Damascus Road. Then as he was ministering to Paul, who was called Saul, Ananias said this to him, in Acts, chapter 22, verse 16 – he said, “Why do you wait? Arise and be baptized.”
I believe that’s what God is saying to some people today: “Why do you wait?” You’ve put it off long enough. You’ve made excuses that don’t hold up before God and you known that for too long. Why do you wait? Today’s the day to say yes to Jesus.