As a new person in Christ, ruled over by the renewed spirit within, you have learned the need to turn to God in repentance and trust Him in faith. One of the great commands Jesus gave us was to follow Him. In baptism we follow Him in the sense of identifying with Christ in death, burial and resurrection, and to begin again in/with a new life.
(Luke 9:23 NRSV) Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Why water baptism?
i. Jesus commanded it.
(Mat 28:18-19 NRSV) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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,
ii. To follow Jesus.
(Mat 3:14-16 NIV) But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” Then John consented.  As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
iii. The Apostles also commanded it.
(Acts 2:38 NIV) Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized , every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
iv. This is faith in action.
(James 2:18 NRSV) But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
v. It is an act of love and obedience.
(John 14:15 NRSV) ” If you love me , you will keep my commandments.
What does baptise mean?
To baptize means, “to dip, to plunge, to immerse.” It symbolises burial and hence requires that our whole body be immersed in water. (not sprinkled with water). Water baptism is a symbolic act but a real spiritual experience. By this act we identify with Jesus: i. In …………………… Rom. 6:3-5, 11. ii. In ……………………. Col. 2:12. iii. In ……………………. Col. 3:1.
Who should be baptised?
i. Whoever believes (Mark 16:15-16).
ii. The Samaritans believed and were baptized (Acts 8:12-15).
iii. The eunuch believed and was baptized (Acts 8:35-38).
iv. Peter commanded that they be baptized (Acts 10:47-48).
v. The Ephesians believed and were baptized (Acts 19:4-5). Water baptism required a confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-10).
(Rom 10:9-10 NIV) if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Before baptism there must first be true repentance, faith towards God and confession of sin to the Lord. (N.B. Infants cannot fulfil these requirements. Any rite as an infant may be called dedication or christening, but cannot be Bible baptism.) Baptism is an essential part of obedience; it is NOT optional. To refuse water baptism is to live in disobedience to the Word of God.
The old man and the new man
When we are immersed the old man (the Adamic, selfish, proud, lustful, sinful nature with which we are born.) is buried in the waters and left behind us. Our sins are remitted, that is released, delivered, liberated, sent away and let go from our nature.
(Rom 6:3-7 NRSV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.  For whoever has died is freed from sin.
Now as we rise up out of the water we are free to walk in the liberty of the Spirit as we continue to obey God’s Word. N.B. This is a good time to reach out in faith and receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking in other tongues (languages).
The Name and water baptism
In water baptism we receive the invocation of the name. There is called upon us the name of: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.
The words that are spoken
“I baptise you IN THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so you also shall arise to walk in newness of life.”
Why these words are used
i. They quote the command of Matt 28:19, the words of Jesus, from the Gospel.
(Mat 28:18-20 NRSV) And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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,  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
ii. They invoke the Triune Name as declared and invoked in Acts 2:36,38.
(Acts 2:36 NRSV) Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:38 NRSV) Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
iii. They show the spiritual truth of baptism as set out in Roman’s 6:3 and 6:4 and in other New Testament Scriptures.
(Rom 6:3-4 NRSV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.