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Baptism 101

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Baptism Class for Adults and Parents

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Infant Baptism begins with the family and extends to the spiritual family, the church.

Baptism is not just about one person and their God but about a person surrounded by their family and the church in the context of God’s grace.
Baptisms are church events in which the church surrounds a family’s decision to bring their infant into the fellowship of the church.
In bringing our children to church for baptism we are following in the path God established for His people when God first established a covenant with Abraham. God made a legal obligation to be faithful to His promise to Abraham and his descendants and gave Abraham the ritual of circumcision to be a sign of that covenant. And that sign was to be passed down to Abraham’s children. Why? Because throughout the Old Testament, covenant formation is a family affair. Abraham’s faith meant that he would usher his children into the faith through circumcision and example, instruction, and ritual.
At the core of the biblical story is the family. Abraham and Sarah and their children; Moses instructed Israel through its family leaders; the family was to celebrate the various feasts and festivals together; Joseph, Mary, and Jesus with his brothers and sisters. Paul applies his gospel message by instructing Christians how to live as family - fathers, mothers, children. Family-centered faith was the plan of God from the beginning. The children are brought into the faith on the basis of the parent’s faith.

The Commitment within Baptism

1) The first commitment is to raise your family in the faith.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

2) The second commitment is for the parents and godparents to publicly commit to their conversion.

3) The third commitment is to the creed, the historic faith of the church.

Notice how the creed emphasizes what God has done and how absent is anything that we can do or have done. This further shows that baptism is something that God does.

4) The church, in prayer, commits to raising and instructing the child being baptized.

Biblical Basis of Infant Baptism

Themes of baptism:

A. Union with Christ: Romans 10:9-10 - Baptism is focused on Christ, and on what God has done in Jesus. We are united with him in

Romans 10:9–10 ESV
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
(1) his person - “baptized in the name of Jesus” - bring yourself into relation and into union with that person. United in him.
(2) his death - Romans 6:1-14; Colossians 2:9-15
Romans 6:1–14 ESV
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 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. 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. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Colossians 2:9–15 ESV
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 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. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
(3) his resurrection.
B. Leads to Spirit and Church Reception: Acts 2:38; John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “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.
John 3:5 ESV
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
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.
C. Leads to Forgiveness and Redemption:
Baptism is connected to forgiveness: Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “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.
Acts 22:16 ESV
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
Galatians 3:27 ESV
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Titus 3:5 ESV
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Five terms in defining what happens at baptism for our redemption:

Sign - connects baptism to circumcision in the grand story of the Bible. Gen 17:10-11
Genesis 17:10–11 ESV
This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Seal - again connects us to Abraham. Romans 4:11. Baptism completes faith and sets a seal of approval by God, the family, and the church on the person being baptized. It is the visible word of God’s grace and love for us. It confirms the redemptive love of God on the child.
Romans 4:11 ESV
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
Symbol - Baptism illustrates the grace and love of God for us.
Sacrament - It is a rite that points us to God, and through that process it becomes for us a means of grace. It is an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as a sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. Through these effectual signs of grace, God works in us to quicken, strengthen, and confirm our faith. Baptism launched the child into Christ, the Spirit, faith, the church, and redemption.
Seed - a seed of God’s redemptive love and grace that is planted in the child in the context of the family and church. Baptism is a seed of grace, of the Spirit, of faith, of public profession, and of discipleship.
Baptism is “a physical act in water in which God mediates multiple blessings of grace to the one being baptized (in the context of family-centered church fellowship as a pledge to nurture the baptized into spiritual formation). “ - McKnight

Household Baptisms:

No text in the New Testament explicitly reveals the practice of infant baptism in the apostolic church, but the practice is very implicit in household baptism.
Household baptisms: Acts 16:15; Acts 16:30-31; 1 Corinthians 1:16; Acts 18:8
Acts 16:15 ESV
And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
Acts 16:30–31 ESV
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
1 Corinthians 1:16 ESV
(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
Acts 18:8 ESV
Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
Every Jew was entitled to participation in the covenant on the basis of their parent’s covenant membership.

Circumcision and Baptism:

Additionally, a theology for infant baptism is found in the New Covenant, as baptism correlates with the role of circumcision in the Old Covenant. Colossians 2:11-12
Circumcision was the entry rite into the covenant God made with Israel, so baptism is the entry rite into the new covenant God makes with the church.
God thinks that the best way to form children into the covenant faith is by way of birthright entrance into the covenant.
Circumcision looked back at what God had done long ago. It was a sign of something that God did, not what the people did.
The gospel is presented and embodied in baptism.
It is about what God has done, not what we are qualified to do.
We respond to the gospel with repentance and faith - what we mean by the word “conversion.”
Conversion need not be a sudden act, but rather a lifelong process of surrendering, grace, and returning to Jesus. For an infant, baptism is the first step in the journey into the Christian faith, where they will be spiritually formed and matured by the practices, prayers, and people of the church.
39 Articles:
“Baptism is (1) not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian persons are discerned from others that be not christened, (2) but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, (3) whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly grafted into the Church; (4) the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the [children] of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.”
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