The First Step for Believers
Jesus introduced water baptism in connection with His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). He said that new disciples were to be baptized in the Name of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus meant this to be a permanent practice, called an ordinance.
In New Testament times, baptism followed repentance and faith. Peter invited his listeners on the day of Pentecost to “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Three thousand people responded to the invitation, and “those who accepted his message were baptized” (Acts 2:41). When the Apostles took the gospel across the Roman Empire from Jerusalem, new churches were planted, and believers were baptized soon after they turned away from sin and put their trust in Christ for salvation. Acts 18:8 says, “Many of the Corinthians who heard [Paul] believed and were baptized.” Those who have repented of sin and put their faith in Jesus for eternal life are encouraged to take this step of obedience.
To believe in Jesus means that you are placing your hope and trust in Him and are fully convinced that he died on the cross, forgave all your sins and that you know that you will one day live with Him forever in heaven. Read John 3:16
Pray: “Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I trust in you and commit to follow you as my Lord and Savior. In your name I pray, Amen.”
What Does Baptism Symbolize?
The apostle Paul explained that baptism also symbolizes the believer’s union with Christ: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3,4).
Immersion in the baptismal waters symbolizes the end of the old way of life. Coming up out of the baptismal waters pictures the new life found in Christ. The person who was previously dead in sin has been made spiritually alive by the same power that raised up Jesus from the grave. United with Him, the believer is released from the power of sin in order to obey God. Paul portrays this life change as putting on new clothes: “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).
Water baptism publicly identifies a person as a disciple of Christ and celebrates the passage from an old life into a new life in Christ. Simply stated, it is an outward sign of an inward change.
How Should We be Baptized?
The Bible word for “baptize” means to “immerse, douse, or saturate.” In the two full descriptions of baptism found in the New Testament, individuals were immersed in water. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River to identify Himself as God’s Son: “As soon as he was baptized, [he] went up out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).
Because of the meaning of the word baptize and the mode of the first baptisms, Harvest Fellowship Church practices baptism by immersion. In cases where immersion is impossible due to personal limitations, an alternate mode is practiced.
Would you like to be baptized?
Next steps would be to read through this informational document about baptism. Once you read read through that pamplet, please complete this short form. Click here for the form.
If you have any questions or would like to talk more with a pastor at Harvest, we are here to assist is any way we can. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 260-627-2720.
For Parents and Guardians
Though the Bible does not state a minimum age at which a person may be baptized, a believer should be old enough to understand the significance of baptism. We ask that parents who are engaged in the spiritual life of their children to ask their child about their understanding and desire – and take them to key baptism verses in the Bible for instruction. Age is not as important as heart-felt desire. Please be careful about insisting or coercing a child to take this step based on their age. Faith and desire are critical, and it should be both personal and genuine. Remember, water baptism is not required to receive God’s salvation.