Sabbath, November 14, 2015
“Baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan, and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. They have obeyed the command, ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate,… and touch not the unclean thing.’… 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 91.
Instruction, repentance and baptism
1. From whom did John the Baptist receive the commission to baptize people? What was required before he would baptize someone in the Jordan River?
John 1:33 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.
Mark 1:4, 5 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5And 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.
“It was the purpose of John to startle and arouse the people, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. In simplicity and plainness he pointed out the errors and crimes of men. A power attended his words, and, reluctant as the people were to hear the denunciation of their unholy lives, yet they could not resist his words. He flattered none; neither would he receive flattery of any. The people, as if with common consent, came to him repenting, and confessing their sins, and were baptized of him in Jordan.” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 48.
2. What was encompassed in the mission that Jesus gave to His disciples and thus also to His church of all time? As in the mission of John the Baptist, what precedes baptism?
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
“The gospel commission is the great missionary charter of Christ’s kingdom. The disciples were to work earnestly for souls, giving to all the invitation of mercy. They were not to wait for the people to come to them; they were to go to the people with their message.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 28.
“The preparation for baptism is a matter that needs to be carefully considered. The new converts to the truth should be faithfully instructed in the plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ The Word of the Lord is to be read and explained to them point by point.” –Evangelism, p. 308.
Faith, death of the old man, and new life
3. What is part of making a covenant with God? How does the experience of the Ethiopian eunuch show that belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is a prerequisite to baptism?
Mark 16:15, 16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Acts 8:36-38 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? 37And 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. 38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
“Repentance and faith are everywhere required as the condition of receiving baptism.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 238, 239.
“The steps in conversion, plainly marked out, are repentance, faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer, faith in His death, burial, and resurrection, shown by baptism, and His ascension on high to plead in the sinner’s behalf.” –Lift Him Up, p. 79.
“Repentance, faith, and baptism are the requisite steps in conversion…. As Christians submit to the solemn rite of baptism, He registers the vow that they make to be true to Him. This vow is their oath of allegiance.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 145.
4. What does a person experience before baptism? Just as Christ rose from death, what happens to a believer who is baptized into His death?
Romans 6:3-6, 11 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by 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. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin…. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
“Those who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life are the elect of God. They are holy unto the Lord, and are acknowledged by Him as His beloved. As such, they are under solemn covenant to distinguish themselves by showing humility of mind. They are to clothe themselves in garments of righteousness. They are separate from the world, from its spirit, its practices, and they are to reveal that they are learning of Him…. If they realize that they have died with Christ, if they keep their baptismal vow, the world will have no power to draw them aside to deny Christ. If they live the life of Christ in this world, they are partakers of the divine nature.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 133.
Baptism by immersion and rebaptism
5. How many kinds of baptism do the Scriptures present? How was this ordinance understood in apostolic times?
Ephesians 4:4, 5 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by 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.
Matthew 3:16 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.
“My mind was very much exercised on the subject of baptism. Young as I was, I could see but one mode of baptism authorized by the Scriptures, and that was immersion. Some of my Methodist sisters tried in vain to convince me that sprinkling was Bible baptism. The Methodist minister consented to immerse the candidates if they conscientiously preferred that method, although he intimated that sprinkling would be equally acceptable with God.” –Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 25.
6. What example of rebaptism is shown in the book of Acts? How does this example apply to individuals coming from other organizations into a fuller knowledge of Jesus Christ and His truth?
Acts 19:1-5 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? 3And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4Then 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. 5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
“There is still another lesson for us in the experience of those Jewish converts. When they received baptism at the hand of John they did not fully comprehend the mission of Jesus as the Sin Bearer. They were holding serious errors. But with clearer light, they gladly accepted Christ as their Redeemer, and with this step of advance came a change in their obligations. As they received a purer faith, there was a corresponding change in their life. In token of this change, and as an acknowledgment of their faith in Christ, they were rebaptized in the name of Jesus.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 285.
Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit
7. What great gift is connected with baptism when it follows faith, repentance, and conversion?
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Matthew 3:11 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.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“I entreat the church members in every city that they lay hold upon the Lord with determined effort for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Be assured that Satan is not asleep. Every obstacle possible he will place in the way of those who would advance in this work. Too often these obstacles are regarded as insurmountable. Let everyone now be soundly and truly converted, and then lay hold of the work intelligently and with faith.” –Counsels on Health, p. 548.
“We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” –Evangelism, p. 558.
“One reason that there are not more conversions now is because you yourselves need to be converted. Just as soon as you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you will see of the salvation of God.” –Peter’s Counsel to Parents, p. 34.
For additional study
Matthew 3:5, 6, 11
“All who enter upon the new life should understand, prior to their baptism, that the Lord requires the undivided affections…. The practicing of the truth is essential. The bearing of fruit testifies to the character of the tree. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. The line of demarcation will be plain and distinct between those who love God and keep His commandments and those who love Him not and disregard His precepts. There is need of a thorough conversion to the truth.” –Evangelism, p. 308.