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Solus Christus: Baptism: How? Who? Why?

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Introduction

Since the beginning of this year we have been in a sermon series unlike any I’d ever heard before. We are Eccelesia Reformata, a Reformed Church. We are celebrating the Protestant Reformation, and looking at the five Solas of the Reformation. We are a church that believes in Scripture Alone as our final authority. We believe that salvation is by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone. And ultimately, glory goes to God and to God Alone. We are finishing up our section on Christ Alone next week, and then we will look at Soli Deo Gloria, Glory to God Alone. These are the truths of the Protestant Reformation. We can summarize this entire series under one phrase: Why we are not Catholic.
Now, the majority of this series is one that all Protestants can substantially agree on. Today will be different. If the series as a whole can be summarized as ‘Why we are not Catholic’, then this morning’s message can be summarized as ‘Why we are Baptist’. Why is this body called Highland View Baptist Church, and not Highland View Presbyterian Church? Now, let me say this. Orthodox, Confessional, Reformed Presbyterians are some of our closest brothers. I love my Presbyterian brothers and sisters in Christ. Though we are Baptists, we are Reformed Baptists, and in many ways we are closer to Presbyterians in our theology than we are to a large number of Baptists! But we are called Baptists for a reason. We hold views on Baptism that many in the church do not share. Does that mean we are wrong? I don’t think so. So today I want to explain why we believe what we believe as Baptists. That means that this will be a sermon to think about. This is heady stuff, and I want you to know that before we begin. We will be looking at three questions this morning, and the first two will get the majority of our time. How do we baptize? Who do we baptize? Why do we baptize? Let’s immerse ourselves into the first question, pun intended.
We are diving headfirst this morning into a very important aspect of being in Christ this morning: Baptism. We are Baptists, and thus it probably isn’t surprising that we hold pretty strongly to beliefs on baptism. This morning I want us to look at three questions. How do we baptize? Who do we baptize? Why do we baptize? The first two questions will take up the majority of our time this morning. But this is Highland View Baptist Church, and I want us to firmly understand why we are Baptist, and not Presbyterian. There are reasons for those denominational lines, even as we acknowledge each other as beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, and we’ll be looking at some of those this morning. But that means that it will be heady. Get ready to think.

How Do We Baptize?

The first question is “How do we baptize?” There are traditionally three methods on baptism. Just about everyone agrees that we have to use water. But how that water is applied is where we have some difficulty.
Some maintain that we should baptize by sprinkling water over a person.
Others believe that water should be poured over a person.
Still others believe that we should immerse a person entirely in water. How should it be done? Does it even matter?

By Immersion

As Baptists, we believe that baptism should be done by immersion. We believe that the mode of baptism is important. Think about it. The Lord Jesus Christ gave us two ordinances to perform in the Church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. How we handle these is of extreme importance. How we view baptism is not a minor thing. People who believe like us have been drowned for that belief. We will see next week that people have been stretched out on a rack and killed for holding to believer’s baptism. These are not small things. We are Baptists, the inheritors of doctrines fought for and died for by our Baptist forebears. We cannot view it lightly.

Βαπτιζω

So why do we baptize by immersion? We will see later this morning that immersion best portrays the spiritual realities that baptism signifies. But for now I want to go into the Greek. In Jesus gives us the Great Commission. Look at what it says.
Matthew 28:20 HCSB
teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19–20 HCSB
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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus commands us to baptize disciples. The Greek word for ‘baptize’ is βαπτιζω.

ῥαντιζω

The first word we will look at is the word.
Thankfully it sounds about the same in Greek and in English. But what did Jesus mean when He said βαπτιζω? Whatever He meant is something that is commanded from Christ our Captain Himself. So what does it mean? I don’t want to get so deep in Greek that I lose your attention. So let me say this. I’ve mentioned a few times before that the Bible of the early church was the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament. This is very helpful here, because it gives us a hint as to what people thought about Greek language. In the Old Testament, we have Hebrew words for pouring, dipping, and sprinkling. The people who translated the Old Testament into Greek never used the word βαπτιζω to translate the Hebrew word for ‘sprinkle’.

ἐκχεω

βαπτω

They never used it to translate the Hebrew word for ‘pour’, either.
But they did translate the Hebrew word for ‘dip’ or ‘immerse’ as βαπτιζω. I personally looked up over thirty uses of the word βαπτιζω in Greek literature outside the New Testament, and never once did it give the idea of pouring or sprinkling. But every time where the mode was clear, it was always something like ‘dipping’ or ‘drowning’. If such immersion is what was in the mind of Christ when He commanded us to baptize, and I believe we can reasonably assume it was, then we should baptize not by pouring or sprinkling, but by immersion.

Exceptions and the Didache

But is there ever a time where we might not baptize by immersion, and still be biblical? Can there ever be exceptions to the rule? Now, some Baptists say no. They say that there is no situation that exists that would allow for any other kind of baptism. Pastor Chris and I have talked, and we agree that there can be situations where another form could be necessary. The elderly and infirm, who cannot leave their bed. The prisoner who will never see a large body of water for the rest of their lives. As far as I’m concerned, if a prisoner comes to faith in Christ, and all the evangelist has is a cup of water, I can see nothing better to use that water for than to pour it over the new believer’s head as baptism. The problem I have is not making due with one’s surroundings to do what is possible to obey the Lord. The problem I have is when a church is building a sanctuary, and chooses not to build a baptistry because they plan on pouring or sprinkling for baptism. There is a major difference in pouring because it is the only option and pouring because it is what the pastor prefers.
Even in the beginnings of church history we see something like this. One of the most useful documents of the early church is the second-century Christian document called the Didache. It is basically an early guide to church order, and it explains how people should be baptized. Now remember, this is not inspired Scripture. But what it is is helpful writings to let us better see how the early church viewed baptism. This is what the Didache says on baptism.

And concerning baptism, baptize in this way: having reviewed all of these things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 1 in running water. 2 But if you do not have access to running water, baptize in other water. And if you are not able to baptize with cold water, then baptize with warm water. 3 But if you possess neither, pour water on the head three times, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

So we see here that even in the second century, they baptized, first off, believers (but we’ll get to that in a second), but they made every effort to baptize by immersion. Only when you physically could not baptize by immersion was pouring allowed. I would hold to the same belief.

Who Do We Baptize?

So let’s move on to our second question. We’ve dealt with the How. Now we’ll deal with the Who. Who do we baptize? Some say believers and believers alone. Others say that not only believers but also their families, even down to infant children. But before we look at our view, let’s look at the Presbyterian view.

The Presbyterian Argument

It will do us well to understand the Presbyterian view of baptism. One might ask, “Why? This isn’t Highland View Presbyterian Church!” That’s true. But in the course of church history, from at least the time of Constantine on, the fact is that infant baptism has been the default view. The burden of proof is on us, as Baptists, to explain why we don’t baptize our infants. The best way to do that is to compare our view with our theologically closest brothers, the Presbyterians.

What Presbyterians Do Not Believe

Unfortunately, many of us in the Baptist denomination have misconceptions about what our Presbyterian brothers and sisters believe concerning baptism. Before we get into the Presbyterian view of baptism, we need to first rid ourselves of these misconceptions.

Baptismal Regeneration

First, I have heard over and over again that Presbyterians believe that the actual act of baptizing infants saves them. This is called baptismal regeneration, and it is not what Presbyterians believe. We will see shortly exactly why Presbyterians baptize their infants, but they don’t view infant baptism as salvation. The Lutherans do believe such a thing, but the Presbyterians do not. They understand the possibility of someone being baptized as an infant and leaving the faith.
They do not believe in what is called baptismal regeneration. Unlike Lutherans, Presbyterians do not hold that infant baptism actually saves infants.

Paedocommunion

Secondly, Presbyterians, as a whole, do not hold to what is called paedocommunion. They do not believe that just because they baptize infants that they will allow young children to partake of the Lord’s Supper. They recognize that it is a terrible thing to partake of the Lord’s Supper unworthily. Now, there are some groups that call themselves Presbyterians, like the Federal Vision, that endorse paedocommunion. But solid, Reformed Presbyterians want to be just as disassociated from those groups as we want to be disassociated from churches that deny the inerrancy of Scripture!
Also, even though they baptize infants, Presbyterians do not allow infants and young children to partake of the Lord’s Supper. That is not what they believe.

Covenant Continuity

So what do they believe? There is no way I could give an exhaustive explanation of Presbyterian thought on infant baptism and the Baptist argument in only one sermon. So this is a general overview. The biggest piece of the puzzle is about the relationships between covenants.
The key is around something called “the Covenant of Grace”. According to Presbyterians, this Covenant of Grace was formally instituted after Adam fell, and broke what is called the Covenant of Works. Inside this Covenant of Grace are multiple different covenants. We would call them the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, or the Old Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we went through these covenants a couple months ago. The Presbyterian view is that within the Covenant of Grace, there is continuity. In other words, there is going to be a similarity between how covenants in the Covenant of Grace work. The focus here is to compare the Abrahamic and New Covenants. Let’s look at what we see in the Abrahamic Covenant. Specifically, , which says, Abraham was circumcised, and so was his son Ishmael. When his son Isaac was born, even as an infant Isaac was circumcised. Because there is continuity between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant, then just as in the Abrahamic Covenant children were considered part of the covenant, so also children born to people in the New Covenant are a part of the New Covenant. This leads us to the second piece of the puzzle.
Now that doesn’t sound like that would connect to baptism, but the fact is, how you view the relationship between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant has a huge role in your view on baptism!The key is around something called “the Covenant of Grace”. According to Presbyterians, this Covenant of Grace was formally instituted after Adam fell, and broke what is called the Covenant of Works. Inside this Covenant of Grace are multiple different covenants. We would call them the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, or the Old Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we went through these covenants a couple months ago. The Presbyterian view is that within the Covenant of Grace, there is continuity. In other words, there is going to be a similarity between how covenants in the Covenant of Grace work. The focus here is to compare the Abrahamic and New Covenants. Let’s look at what we see in the Abrahamic Covenant.
“I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you.” Abraham was circumcised, and so was his son Ishmael. When his son Isaac was born, even as an infant Isaac was circumcised. Because there is continuity between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant, then just as in the Abrahamic Covenant children were considered part of the covenant, so also children born to people in the New Covenant are a part of the New Covenant. This leads us to the second piece of the puzzle.
Specifically, , which says, “I will keep My covenant between Me and you, and your future offspring throughout their generations, as an everlasting covenant to be your God and the God of your offspring after you.” Abraham was circumcised, and so was his son Ishmael. When his son Isaac was born, even as an infant Isaac was circumcised. Because there is continuity between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant, then just as in the Abrahamic Covenant children were considered part of the covenant, so also children born to people in the New Covenant are a part of the New Covenant. This leads us to the second piece of the puzzle.

Circumcision = Baptism

According to Presbyterian thought, circumcision is directly linked to baptism. According to them, the sign of the Abrahamic covenant was circumcision, and the sign of the New Covenant is baptism. Since, as we just saw, there is continuity between these two covenants, the practice of these two rites should be equivalent. Because infants were circumcised as members of the Old Covenant, so then infants, as members of the New Covenant, should be baptized. These two pieces, that the Abrahamic and New Covenants are connected within the Covenant of Grace, and that circumcision is equivalent to baptism, form the theological basis of infant baptism.

New Testament Passages

Finally, we look at the New Testament. Now, Presbyterians do not view the New Testament as the primary source for instituting infant baptism. They acknowledge that, in the New Testament, there is not one explicit reference to an infant being baptized. There are, instead, passages that imply infant baptism.
Denault, Pascal (2014-12-13). The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology: A Comparison Between Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism [Revised Edition] (Kindle Locations 3104-3105). The Barnabas Company. Kindle Edition.
Even the great Presbyterian theologian B.B. Warfield admits this, saying, 'The warrant for infant baptism is not to be sought in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament.’ But Presbyterians will bring up some New Testament passages that they believe allow or demand infant baptism.

Household Passages

The first group are what are called the household passages. In the book of Acts, on a number of occasions we see that not only is an individual baptized, but so is their whole household. I’ll briefly read these passages.
Acts 16:14–15 HCSB
A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Acts 16:30–33 HCSB
Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized.
Acts 18:7–8 HCSB
So he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed the Lord, along with his whole household. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized.
The Presbyterian view is that, since these households likely included children and infants, that children and infants were baptized alongside of their newly believing parents.

Second, and probably most common, is . After Peter preaches the sermon on Pentecost, people ask him what they are to do. He says, ‘Repent’. And then he says this,
Acts 2:39 HCSB
For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The promise is not only for those who have just believed, but it is for their children as well. Thus, children are a part of the New Covenant.

Lastly, we’ll look at .
1 Corinthians 7:14 HCSB
For the unbelieving husband is set apart for God by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart for God by the husband. Otherwise your children would be corrupt, but now they are set apart for God.
The idea here is that, even if only one parent is a believer, the rest of the family is brought into the New Covenant, and thus their children should be baptized.
Again, this is not an exhaustive argument for Presbyterian Infant Baptism. But this is their case in a nutshell, and gives us an arena to explain why we, as Baptists, withhold from our infants the ordinance of Baptism.

The Baptist Counterargument

We’ll be going back through all those same arguments, but Baptists believe that there are some issues with the Presbyterian view.

Abrahamic Covenant Not CoG / Two Covenants

First is covenant continuity. The Presbyterian says that the Covenant of Grace spanned from the moment Adam fell to the moment Jesus returns. Baptists historically believe something different. Here is the Baptist version of the image from before.
Don’t try to understand it all at once, what I’m saying will explain it. We would say that the Covenant of Grace started not in the Garden, but at the Cross. The Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and the Davidic Covenants are not a part of the Covenant of Grace. There is grace there, but they are all conditional covenants, covenants that can be broken. The Covenant of Grace was only conditional for the purchaser, Jesus Christ. He kept the covenant that we could not keep. He is the Covenant Keeper, and He drank every drop of the wrath that we’ve earned. The only thing left in the cup for us is grace. The New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace. Furthermore, the New Covenant is the first covenant that offers eternal life since the Covenant of Works back in the garden. The Noahic covenant offered temporary life, having refrained from justly destroying everyone for their sin. The Abrahamic covenant offered land and offspring, not eternal life. The Mosaic covenant offered long, but not eternal, life, as well as the right to stay in the land that was promised to Abraham, as long as the conditions were met. The Davidic covenant offered kingship to Israel so long as it stayed in the land, and promised a future King, but eternal life was not a part of it. But in the New Covenant, what is offered is not primarily land, even though we will inherit the new heavens and the new earth. What is offered is life, and life eternal. And this not of works, like in the covenant made with Adam. That’s why we call that covenant the Covenant of Works. No, it is of grace, and so we call the New Covenant, unlike the others, the Covenant of Grace.
So, looking at the Covenant of Grace. We would say that the Covenant of Grace started not in the Garden, but at the Cross. The Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and the Davidic Covenants are not a part of the Covenant of Grace. There is grace there, but they are all conditional covenants, covenants that can be broken. The Covenant of Grace was only conditional for the purchaser, Jesus Christ. He kept the covenant that we could not keep. He is the Covenant Keeper, and He drank every drop of the wrath that we’ve earned. The only thing left in the cup for us is grace. The New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace. Furthermore, the New Covenant is the first covenant that offers eternal life since the Covenant of Works back in the garden. The Noahic covenant offered temporary life, having refrained from justly destroying everyone for their sin. The Abrahamic covenant offered land and offspring, not eternal life. The Mosaic covenant offered long, but not eternal, life, as well as the right to stay in the land that was promised to Abraham, as long as the conditions were met. The Davidic covenant offered kingship to Israel so long as it stayed in the land, and promised a future King, but eternal life was not a part of it. But in the New Covenant, what is offered is not primarily land, even though we will inherit the new heavens and the new earth. What is offered is life, and life eternal. And this not of works, like in the covenant made with Adam. That’s why we call that covenant the Covenant of Works. No, it is of grace, and so we call the New Covenant, unlike the others, the Covenant of Grace.
Now, this is deep stuff, and it may be that this raises a bunch of questions. Perhaps the most important question that might pop up in your head is this: If the Covenant of Grace didn’t begin until the Cross, how were people saved before the Cross? What about the saints of the Old Testament? Here’s the answer: Even though the Covenant of Grace was not officially instituted during the Old Testament period, some of Abraham’s children were saved by means of the Covenant of Grace. Now, you might be thinking, ‘how does that makes sense? How can you benefit from a covenant that doesn’t exist yet?’ Let me share with you the example that made it make perfect sense to me. I like video games. There’s something in the video game world that I think really lines up with this. It’s called ‘pre-ordering’. I’ll use an example. I have a game that I can play right now. But the people who make that came have announced that they are going to release extra content that I can purchase later. But, today, I can pre-order that content, and pay for it now. So when the content is released, I will have guaranteed access to it. Not only that, but if I pre-order this content, it will unlock extra content in my game today! So I can go home, buy content not available yet, and be able to benefit from my future download now. The content is already and not yet. Today, the Kingdom of God is already and not yet. In Abraham’s day, the Covenant of Grace was already and not yet. Ishmael was only a part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Isaac not only was a part of the Abrahamic Covenant, but he also shared in the Covenant of Grace. There are two covenants. The Old Covenant is made up both of children of the flesh and children of the promise, but the New Covenant is made up only of the children of promise.
There also is not just one posterity in Abraham, but two. If this doesn’t seem like it’s talking about baptism, just hold on. I admit, we’re dealing with deep stuff here. But it’s important stuff, too. The whole of the Presbyterian argument is that God made with Abraham one Covenant, and all of his children are a part of the covenant. I disagree. What happened is that there were two covenants in view. There was the covenant of the flesh, what you could say is the covenant of circumcision, and there was a promise. All of Abraham’s children were circumcised as a part of that covenant. But some of Abraham’s children took hold of the promise, and benefitted from the Covenant of Grace, even though it hadn’t been officially instituted. Now, you might be thinking, ‘how does that makes sense? How can you benefit from a covenant that doesn’t exist yet?’ Let me share with you the example that made it make perfect sense to me. I like video games. There’s something in the video game world that I think really lines up with this. It’s called ‘pre-ordering’. I’ll use an example. I have a game that I can play right now. But the people who make that came have announced that they are going to release extra content that I can purchase later. But, today, I can pre-order that content, and pay for it now. So when the content is released, I will have guaranteed access to it. Not only that, but if I pre-order this content, it will unlock extra content in my game today! So I can go home, buy content not available yet, and be able to benefit from my future download now. The content is already and not yet. Today, the Kingdom of God is already and not yet. In Abraham’s day, the Covenant of Grace was already and not yet. Ishmael was only a part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Isaac not only was a part of the Abrahamic Covenant, but he also shared in the Covenant of Grace. There are two covenants. Abraham had two posterities, one of the flesh and the other of the Spirit and of promise. This is exactly what we see in . It’s a long quote, but it demands that it be read.
Galatians 4:22–31 HCSB
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery—this is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, childless woman, who does not give birth. Burst into song and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband. Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now. But what does the Scripture say? Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never be a coheir with the son of the free woman. Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
What that means is that those who were saved in the Old Testament were not saved by circumcision, or by obedience to the Law. They were saved the same way we were: by grace, through faith. But how can that be? How can people be saved by a sacrifice that hasn’t happened yet?
There is no continuity between the covenant of the flesh and the covenant of the Spirit. It isn’t that the covenant of the flesh leads into the covenant of the Spirit. It is that the covenant of the flesh is opposed to the covenant of the Spirit. The New Covenant is made up only of the children of promise.

Entrance by Faith, not Birth

But how does one become a child of promise? Even then, could we not baptize infants, calling them children of promise? We cannot, for one does not become Abraham’s child by birth. The whole point of the second half of the book of Acts is that genealogy doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile, you can be saved! You can belong to Christ?
Paul says in , “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” How do you become Abraham’s sons?
Again, in , Paul says, “those who have faith are Abraham’s sons.” It is not through physical generation that the New Covenant spreads, but by faith. I love my Presbyterian brethren, and I love that they reject Jewish genealogy requirements to be a part of the New Covenant. They agree with us that you don’t have to be a part of Abraham’s physical genealogy in order to be a part of the New Covenant. But it honestly makes no sense to me that they can say, on the one hand, that genealogy doesn’t matter in becoming part of the New Covenant, but then turn around and say that genealogy is exactly why we are to consider our children part of the Covenant. You can’t have it both ways. It is by faith, and by faith alone.
One enters the New Covenant not by birth, but by new birth.

New Testament Passages

Lastly we will take another look at the New Testament passages we looked at earlier.

Household Believes

Earlier I mentioned those household passages. Let’s look first at .
Acts 16:14–15 HCSB
A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Now does the text explicitly prohibit infants from being baptized? No, the text all by itself doesn’t. But all it does she is that she and her household were baptized. It doesn’t say that there were unbelievers in the household who were baptized. It doesn’t say that the household included infants, or even children! It is just as likely that everyone in her household became believers, than that there were young unbelieving infants. This is not a safe passage from which to build the doctrine of infant baptism.
Acts 16:30–33 HCSB
Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized.
The last sentence sounds like at least children baptism, right? ‘Right away he and all his family were baptized.’ But those who quote this passage usually forget to quote the next verse, which says,
Acts 16:34 HCSB
He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household.
The entire household believed! Of course the entire household would be baptized if the entire household believed.
Acts 18:7–8 HCSB
So he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed the Lord, along with his whole household. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized.
This last one suffers from the same as before. It explicitly says that Crispus believed the Lord, along with his whole household. And then it points out that many Corinthians believed, and were baptized. In these last two passages, we see that baptism comes after belief.

Promise of Holy Spirit

Let’s move on to . This is the big daddy of infant baptism verses. And yet, I find it completely irrelevant to the discussion. I mentioned this once in Sunday School a month or so back, but let’s read . First let’s look at .
Acts 2:33 HCSB
Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.
Look, we see the connection between the promise and the Holy Spirit. These two are connected. So let’s look at and 39.
Acts 2:38–39 HCSB
“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Again we see the Holy Spirit and promise right next to each other, only mere verses later. Is it a coincedence? No, rather just like in , here the promise is the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit, whom Presbyterians do not believe is bestowed upon infants at baptism, is the promise made, again from Acts, “for you, and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call. This further qualifies the statement. Said another way, the text means “The promise of the Holy Spirit is for you, as many as the Lord our God will call. It is for your children, as many as the Lord our God will call. It is for all who are far off, as many as our Lord will call. Presbyterians themselves affirm that the Holy Spirit is not given to all of their children, but only their children who are called, those who have faith. This passage is therefore irrelevant to the debate.

Inconsistency and non sequitur

So to answer the question. Who do we baptize? We baptize believers, and to the best of our ability, believers alone. It is believers who make up the New Covenant, it is believers who make up the universal church, and thus it is believers who should make up the local church. But we have one more question to ask.

Why do we Baptize?

The majority of our time today is about why we as Baptists believe what we do. But it would be so easy to walk away and ask, ‘so what? Why get baptized at all?’ What is the meaning of baptism? Let’s open up to .

Romans 6:3–4 HCSB
Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.

It is a symbol of the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus

We see that baptism is a symbol. Christ died. Christ was buried. Christ was raised. Baptism, especially by immersion, shows this spiritual reality. Just as one physically looks different when they are dry or wet, so inwardly we change as go go from spiritual death to spiritual life. Our burial under water buries us with Christ, and our raising from the water is like Christ’s raising from the grave, that we may walk in a new way of life.

We are baptized into one body (both universal and local)

We also see that we are baptized into one body. This body is both universal and local. Last week, Pastor Chris showed us how we are baptized into the universal Church. But we are also baptized into a local church. It may not be the same local church, but we become a part of the local church. Look at .
1 Corinthians 12:13–14 HCSB
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many.
The body is not one part but many. Paul spends the next ten verses dealing with the relationship between parts of the human and church body. But since we are coming to a close, let me skip to the end.

1 Corinthians 12:24–27 HCSB
But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:24–27 HCSB
But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.
These are our bonds as church members. There are two applications from the text I want to briefly speak on, and a third application that we will close with.

Our bonds as church members

No division
We are one, therefore let their be no division. We don’t all have to agree on everything. We don’t all have to do everything the same way. Feet are not hands. Eyes are not ears. But we must move as a unified body, not as a divisive body.
Same Concern for each other
This happens by showing concern for each other. When someone mourns, mourn with them. You are part of the same body. When someone rejoices, rejoice with them. You are part of the same body.
Extra: Accountability within the church
As we end, I want to make one more application. We are part of the same body. That means that if one part of the body is unhealthy, it will affect the rest of the body negatively. That doesn’t just mean, “don’t be unhealthy.” That also means, “look out for others”. If someone is in sin, it is not nice to ignore it. It is damaging, not just to them, but to you too! We need to have accountability in the church. There is something called church discipline, and that isn’t a negative, it’s a positive! One of the reasons I joined this church is because I saw leadership that, if they saw me in sin, would not leave me there to rot. They would tell me I’m in sin, and work to get me out. And if I absolutely refused, then like cancer, I would be surgically removed from the body so that I can no longer affect it. So please, be accountable to one another. Look for sin in one another, not out of pride, or to make someone feel worse, but out of love. To that end, let me finish by reading .
1 Timothy 3:16 HCSB
And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
2 Timothy 3:16 HCSB
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16–17 HCSB
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
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