I. FIRST, IT IS AN IMMERSION IN WATER.
1. Three modes practiced today: (1) IMMERSION, (2) sprinkling, (3) pouring. Which is the scriptural mode?
2. The meaning of the word baptize is: immersion, dip, plunge, submerge.
3. John baptized where there was much water (John 3:23; Matt. 3:1-12). John baptized Jesus and He “went up straightway out of the water” (Matt. 3:16).
4. Figures of speech used in reference to baptism mean immersion (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:12).
5. Sprinkling and pouring do not fit the symbols, and destroy the figures.
6. Some objections noticed:
a. John could not have immersed all who came to him (Matt. 3:5).
b. John could not have had time to baptize all who came to him. John refused some (Matt. 3:7,8). How much longer does it take to immerse than to sprinkle?
c. John baptized with water (John 1:33).
d. It is claimed that infants were baptized, therefore could not be by immersion (Matt. 19:14 is used). Nothing is said about baptism in this scripture. Jesus used children to teach a spiritual truth (Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:13,16). Advocates of infant baptism cite the case of Cornelius (Acts 10), and the jailor and his household (Acts 16:31-33). In all these cases the subjects baptized were old enough to hear the Word, believe and receive the Holy Spirit.
e. All infant baptism arguments fail when the scriptures are examined.
f. Not enough water in Jerusalem to immerse all who came on day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 42). There was plenty of water for immersion at: upper pool (II Kings 18:17); lower pool (Isaiah 22:9); Pool of Hezekiah (II Kings 20:20) was 240 feet long and 144 feet wide; Pool of Bethseda (John 5:2); Pool of Siloam (John 9:7); plus many fountains and pools mentioned in Nehemiah 2:14; 3:15.
g. There was not time enough to baptize all in one day. How long did Peter preach? Two hours? He began at 9 a.m. (Acts 2:15) and probably ended by 11 a.m. There were at least twelve to do the baptizing. How long does it take to baptize one person? Allow one minute, and it would take four hours and ten minutes to baptize those who came on Pentecost. It is ridiculous to reject plain Bible statements.
II. THE ELEMENTS OF SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM.
1. A proper subject – a believer (Acts 2:41, 42). John refused some (Matt. 3:7-10).
2. Scriptural authority – a New Testament church (Matt. 28:19, 20; Madrk 13:34; I Tim 3:15). John received authority from God (John 1:6, 33). Jesus gave authority to the Apostles (John 4:1). Jesus gave authority to the church (Matt. 28:19, 20). Apollos baptized without authority (Acts 19).
3. A scriptural design declares death and resurrection (Rom. 6:4,5). Is an act of righteousness (Matt 3:15).
4. A scriptural mide – immersion (Matt. 3:16; Acts 8:38).
III. BAPTISM’S MESSAGE.
1. Declares one to be a child of God (Rom. 6:4, 5; John 1:31).
2. Expresses symbolically that one is dead to sin and alive to righteousness.
3. Symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. In essence it is a picture of the gospel (I Peter 3:21; I Cor. 15:1-4).
4. All who hear it and see the message pictured in baptism should be reminded that Christ died for our sins and lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).