I will never forget that one Wednesday night!
My sweet honey and I went out for a date night, enjoyed a beautiful dinner, and enjoyed watching fireworks by going on a cruise. We celebrated her birthday together, prayed and read God’s Word together, walked beside the beach together, and talked and laughed together.
After an evening filled with fun activities, I got down on my knees and asked her to marry me. By God’s grace, she said yes! That’s when I gave her the ring. We were officially engaged and nine months later we were married. When we think about it, a wedding ring is a symbolic declaration that a marriage relationship has been entered into.
Baptism is the same. It’s a symbolic declaration that a covenant with Christ has occurred. With or without the ring Kennedi and I are just as married. But the ring is a very special, beautiful memorable declaration.
We are linked together in a covenant. We are identified with one another as husband and wife. Out baptism is the same kind of pronouncement.
Here are 6 reasons why baptism is important and why baptism truly matters.
1. Baptism Celebrates Believers Have Been Linked to Christ.
“On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19:5).
When the Bible says “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” it is saying that when these first-century Christians were baptized, they were identifying themselves with Jesus Christ. All that He was, and all that His name represents.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Rom 6:3).
Our baptism is a proclamation that we are connected to Jesus. We are united with Jesus. Our sin has died with Him and we have been raised with Him in His resurrection to live a new life. When Kennedi walked down the aisle on our wedding day our lives became linked in the covenant. She became part of my family. She took my name. We become co-heirs of life together. Our wedding rings were testimonies to our union.
When you place your faith in Christ, you become linked to Christ in a covenant. You became part of His family. He gave you His name. You became a joint heir with Christ. Your baptism is a testimony of your union with Christ.
2. Baptism Celebrates Believers Have Been Linked to the Local Church.
The church of Jesus is the amazing, grace-covered, eternal church that Jesus loves with all His heart – the Bible calls us His body. Baptism is a statement of identification with Christ’s Body as expressed in a local body of baptized believers.
We are more into being individuals in our culture. We aren’t all that interested in being linked to Christ’s body. But that is God’s will. We are individuals, yes, but we are also to see ourselves as one body linked to one another through Christ. When you are baptized you are saying, “I celebrate my link with Christ’s body as expressed in this local body.”
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:12-13).
3. Baptism Celebrates Believers Have Been Linked to God’s Covenant.
In the Old Testament, if you were part of the people of God and a male you would be circumcised a few days after birth. Circumcision was symbolic of the cutting away of sin and a sign that you were linked to the covenant of God. It was a physical act that had no impact on the heart. It was unthinkable for a Jewish male to be uncircumcised.
Under the covenant of Christ, however, circumcision became spiritual. Jesus Christ performs circumcision on our hearts.
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Col 2:11-12).
4. Baptism Celebrates Believers Have Been Linked to a New Life.
Baptism is a wonderful and easy way to remember the outline for a powerful new life that Christ has for us. How are we supposed to live for Christ day by day? How can we break sin habits? How can we put the past behind us and live a new life?
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.” (Rom 6:3-4).
“Walk in the newness of life.” What does that mean? It means that this is a way to remember how to live the new kind of life God wants you to live and be free from the sinful nightmares of the past.
Here’s what we act out in baptism. The death of Christ, going down into the water, which represents the grave, and then we become alive to God, as we come up out of the water, symbolically resurrected. Faith in Christ is powerful. We are saved by faith in Christ! But also, we live a new kind of life with the ability to overcome old sinful habits by faith in Christ too!
5. Baptism Celebrates Believers Have Been Linked with a Death-Defying Future.
“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.” (Rom 6:5).
“Shall be.” That’s talking about a future event – our resurrection. The Bible tells us that one day we will be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. This is a little confusing to some. Let me explain what’s going to happen to you in your future.
One day your body will cease to function. You’ll die. At the moment of death, your spirit will be with Christ. The Bible says clearly, to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. Then someday He will come again. He said, many times, “I will come again.”
Those of us who love Jesus and have died will come with Him, and at that moment you will receive a resurrected body. Christian graveyards reflect this amazing truth by lining up the casket to face the East because the Bible tells us that Christ will come in the eastern sky. When He comes there will be a spectacular resurrection. The Bible tells us that we will receive bodies link to His resurrection body.
6. Baptism Celebrates Believers Have Been Linked to a Worldwide Mission.
What an incredible honor we have – to share Christ to make disciples and then to baptize them.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20).
Baptism Portrays the Story of the Gospel
The Bible makes it clear that we are made right with God through faith in Christ alone, not by anything that we do.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9).
You don’t have to be baptized to get to heaven. The thief on the cross next to Christ is the perfect example. Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise that very day, He didn’t say, “If you can figure out a way to get down off your cross and get baptized then I’ll let you into heaven.”
But it’s clear in the Bible that Baptism is important. We read over and over again about folks in the first century who would repent of the sins, place their faith in Jesus Christ, and then get baptized.
Baptism is for those people who say….
- Needs to hear the gospel.
- Needs to learn key principles for dealing with selfishness
- Needs to bury the past.
- Needs hope for the future.
- Needs to see Christ full of love, humility, and glory.
For those who are being baptized communicate that….
- I’ve died with Christ.
- I’ve been buried with Christ.
- I’ve been raised with Christ.
- I’ve got a new life in Christ.
- By faith, it is so.
What an incredible honor we have – to share Christ, to make disciples, and then to baptize them! Baptism does matter and baptism is crucial.
Celebrate today the goodness of our God as we commit to this task as a church.