The Commandment to be Baptized in Water:
- Water baptism is a baptism of repentance.
- It includes the confession and forsaking of sin. (Dying to it, never to return to it.)
- It is the first step of obedience in Faith in Messiah visible to all. (It is not done in secret.)
- It is a public declaration of “Death to Self,” and a declaration of faith in the “Resurrection of Life in Christ.”
- It changes one’s spiritual identity, spiritual values, spiritual directions and life goals, and spiritual loyalty.
- When we are baptized into the Name of Jesus, we are baptized into His Death, this is the message of water baptism:
Romans 6:1 – 7:1 (KJV) 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [being baptized into Jesus is water baptism] 4 Therefore we are buried with him by [water] baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once [and we are called to follow the same pattern]: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God [so are we to live unto God]. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Colossians 2:10-15 (KJV) 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in [water] baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Who baptized people (with specific references)?
- John baptized in water. (Mark 1)
- Jesus baptized in water. (John 3)
- Peter baptized in water. (Acts 2, Acts 10)
- Philip baptized in water. (Acts 8)
- Paul baptized in water. (Acts 16, 18, 19)
- The disciples/apostles baptized in water. (John 4)
- The early church baptized in water. (Acts 2, Acts 10)
- Corinth baptized in water.
- The church in Philippi was baptized in water. (The jailer and his whole family. (Acts 16) Lydia and her whole family.)
Who preached a baptism of repentance?
- John the Baptist.
- Jesus Christ.
- Matthew preached baptism in water.
- Mark preached baptism in water.
- John preached baptism in water.
- Luke preached baptism in water.
- Peter preached baptism in water.
- Paul preached baptism in water.
Matthew preached baptism:
Jesus commanded his disciples to preach and teach water baptism, in Matthew 28:
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them [that’s water baptism] in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe [to obey] all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway[s], even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew makes baptism in water the first sign of obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Note: Water Baptism is mandatory. Spirit Baptism, being filled with the Spirit, is encouraged, but is not made mandatory. It is a privilege. Some get it. Some don’t.
What did Jesus command? 1) To Go; 2) To Baptize (the word baptize means to immerse in water) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; 3) To Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.
Mark preached baptism:
Mark is a repeat of Matthew, with a couple more details added.
Mark 16:15-18 (KJV)
1) Go ye into all the world, and 2) preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues [that’s reference to Holy Spirit Baptism]; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark includes the obedience of baptism to the work of salvation and of faith. And Mark identifies the signs that will follow those that are believe.
So who was baptized in water in the New Testament?
Every Jewish person that accepted Jesus as their savior was apparently baptized.
- Those who accepted John’s Baptism, accepted Christ.
- Those who rejected John’s Baptism, rejected Christ.
Luke 7:28-30 (KJV) For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
Jesus was baptized, this is taught by all 4 gospels :
Matthew 3:11-17 (KJV)
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Mark 1:1-15 (KJV) 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. 9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Luke 3:21-23 (KJV)
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph …
John 1:26-51 (KJV) John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
All the apostles were baptized: that’s a given.
Jesus baptized others:
John 3:22 (KJV)
2 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
Jesus’ disciples baptized others (more than John the Baptist, and all of Judah went out to baptized by John, Mark 1:4-5):
John 4:1-3 (KJV)
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
Note: Water baptism did not end after the resurrection of Christ
Water baptism is taught throughout the New Testament.
- Those who were not baptized, rejected Jesus.
Matthew 21:23-27 (KJV)
By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
- Those who were baptized, accepted Jesus.
Peter commanded both Jews and Gentiles to be baptized:
1. The Jews were commanded to be baptized:
Acts 2:37-41 (KJV)
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you [that’s a command, not a request, not a personal preference, not an optional choice, not a personal interpretation, but a plain and simple direct commandment in the Name of Jesus Christ, it would be as Jesus himself were making the Command himself] in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
2. The Gentiles were commanded to be baptized:
Acts 10:44-48 (KJV)
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
An Important Side note: If Jesus, the Apostles, and the Body of Church were all commanded to baptize new believers in water, who am I to say something different? To insinuate anything different? To make excuses for not obeying the commandsment? Yes. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the Rule. But to make excuses because of exceptions and extenuating circumstances, is not good faith, nor good practice, nor wise. One must never denigrate the rule, nor complicate, nor confuse the pure and simple faith to obey the commandments God has passed down to us for our own benefit and protection.
Please Note: The absence of an argument is not an argument.
- Paul never made a case against water baptism. In fact, he did the opposite. He personally obeyed water baptism. He taught on water baptism. He Practiced Water Baptism. Only he did not baptize others in his own name–as he was falsely accused of doing. [Just as Paul never made a case against speaking in tongues. In fact he did just the opposite. He promoted all the gifts and especially the gift of tongues and its proper application in the community worship experience. He devotes almost a whole chapter to this one gift, where the others only get a line or two.]
- No other apostle ever made a case against water baptism.
- Whenever baptism is mentioned it is most often in the context of someone getting baptized, or doing baptisms. (They are “doing” the Word of God.)
More Examples, that establish the Rule and the Command:
- The Samaritans wanted to be saved, so they were baptized in water.
Acts 8:12-13 (KJV) But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. [Note: Luke and the Holy Spirit are not making a case against water baptism here!]
- The Ethiopian Eunuch wanted to be saved … so he was baptized in water.
So he obeyed the first step of salvation, entering into the covenant of repentance of sins, through the water baptism of repentance.
Acts 8:35-38 (KJV) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
- Paul wanted to be saved … so he was baptized in water
Acts 9:17-18 (KJV)
Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Acts 22:14-16 (KJV) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
- Lydia and her whole household wanted to be saved … so they were baptized
Acts 16:14-15 (KJV) 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
- The Phillippian Jailer and family wanted to be saved … so he was baptized
So they were baptized in water.
Acts 16:29-33 (KJV)
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
- 12 Ephesus wanted to be saved … So they were baptized in water, and then in the Holy Spirit with the signs to get to tongues and prophecy following.
Acts 19:4-8 (KJV) 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve. 8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
- The Corinthians wanted to be saved … so they got baptized (not in the name of Paul, but in the name of Jesus) The whole message below is against division, not against water baptism.
Paul preaches against division, against being accused of baptizing people in his own name. Paul is preaching against the lies that he has been accused of. Paul is not preaching against Water Baptism! That would be stupid. He has already declared that He himself is water baptized, and that he himself has water baptized, many, yet only 2 converts in Corinth, Crispus and Gaius. If he were preaching against water baptism, he would be preaching against himself, his own baptism, and all the baptisms he has performed, even those of Crispus and Gaius. That would be utterly stupid and completely undermine his own testimony and credibility.
And the only negative point he is making about baptism is that he was accused of baptizing believers in his own name, of that he would never do, because he was commanded to baptize people in the name of Jesus not his own name.
1 Corinthians 1:10-19 (KJV)
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize
[this is a statement of degrees, his primary purpose is to preach the gospel, not baptize, although he clearly does do baptisms. One must use common sense when interpreting blanket statements versus statements of a good degree, this is not a not a blanket all inclusive statement, if it were then he would be a false witness to himself and to his own ministry],
but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Important note: Water baptism throughout the New Testament is often referred to simply as baptism. Holy spirit baptism is regularly and specifically designated as being filled with the Holy Spirit. And regularly giving a description of speaking in tongues, as a sign that one has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Typically, the believer is baptized in water first, and then baptized in the Holy Spirit after that by the laying on of hands. This is evidenced throughout the New Testament. The sequence is reversed when Peter takes the gospel to the gentiles in Caesarea, to the house of Cornelius. As Jesus (the gospel) is being presented, the Gentiles get filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and prophecy so that the Jews clearly understand that the Gentiles have received the holy spirit, as a result, Peter asked the question, who can forbid these the waters of baptism since God has already proven they have been accepted and filled by the Holy Spirit?