Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Scriptural Baptism
Rom 6:1-6

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with {Him} in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also {in the likeness} of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; (NAS)

Introduction
As an eight year old boy I was advanced in my knowledge of the Bible. I could win a Bible drill with boys older than I. No boy between the age of 8 and 12 in our church could keep up with me.   Some of those older boy got baptized, and I felt like I should get baptized because of what I knew. I was allowed to participate in a baptismal experience.

At the age of 20 I realized I had never really made a commitment to Christ. I had it in my head but not in my heart. I was scripturally baptized at the age of 20.

What is require for a person Baptism to be Scriptural? I want to bring to your attention three area of Scriptural Baptism. They are:

The . . Requirements for Scriptural Baptism.
The . . Reproduction of Scriptural Baptism.
The . . Reporting of Scriptural Baptism.
 
 

1.    The . . Requirements for Scriptural Baptism.


A.    The Requirement of . . Persuasion. Acts 26:27-28
27 "King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do." 28 And Agrippa {replied} to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." (NAS)

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and (NAS)
 

B.    The Requirement of . . Performance.
Acts 11:26
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came about that for an entire year they met with the church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (NAS)
 

Illustration
A missionary in India was once teaching the Bible to a group of Hindu ladies. Halfway through the lesson, one of the women got up and walked out. A short time later, she came back and listened more intently than ever. At the close of the hour the leader inquired, "Why did you leave the meeting? Weren't you interested?"

"O yes," the Hindu lady replied. "I was so impressed with what you had to say about Christ that I went out to ask your driver whether you really lived the way you talked. When he said you did, I hurried back so I wouldn't miss out on anything."

Application

Can you go back to a point in your life and say this is where I gave my life to Christ? I know I was saved at that time? Have you been baptized since that time?
 
 

2.   The . . Reproduction of Scriptural Baptism.


A.    Reproducing Scriptural Baptism In . . Method.
John 3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. NAS

Illustration
Dr. Wayne Wood, my predecessor, came by my office this week. We talked about many things and in the course of the conversation, Dr. Wood shared that he went to a Methodist Church as a boy. Through the influence of that church and other churches and revival meetings that he went to and family members, he became a Christian.

He went to talk to the pastor of this Methodist Church and asked him if he could be baptized. The pastor said he would be delighted to baptize him and began talking about the arrangements. It was clear to Dr. Wood that the Methodist minister was going to sprinkle him and Wayne Wood as a young boy said, "No, wait a minute, I want to be immersed."

This particular Methodist preacher said, "Well, then if you want to be immersed, you're going to have to get somebody else to do it because I don't immerse." Now, friend that is the case in many churches today. They simply will not immerse. When the Bible talks about the word baptism it is always immerse.

Illustration
One Sunday, the Minister was giving a sermon on baptism and in the coarse of his sermon he was illustrating the fact that baptism should take place by sprinkling and not by immersion. He pointed out some instances in the Bible.

He said that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River Jordan, it didn't mean in - it meant close to, round about, or nearby. And again when it says in the Bible that Philip baptized the eunuch in the river, it didn't mean in - it meant close to, round about, or nearby. After the service, a man came up to the minister and told him it was a great sermon, one of the best he had ever heard, and that it had cleared up a great many mysteries he had encountered in the Bible.

"For instance," he said, "the story about Jonah getting swallowed by the whale has always bothered me. Now I know that Jonah wasn't really in the whale, but close to, round about, or nearby, maybe swimming in the water.

Then there is the story about the three young Hebrew boys who were thrown into the furnace, but were not burned. Now I see that they were not really in the fire, just close to, round about, or nearby, just keeping warm.

But the hardest of all the stories for me to believe has always been the story of Daniel getting thrown into the lions" den. But now I see that he wasn't really in the lions' den, but close to, round about, or nearby, like at the zoo.

The revealing of these mysteries has been a real comfort to me because I am a wicked man. Now I am gratified to know that I won't be in Hell, but close to, round about, or nearby.

And next Sunday, I won't have to be in church, just close to, round about, or nearby. Thanks. You have really put my mind at ease.
 

B.    Reproducing Scriptural Baptism In . . Meaning. Rom 6:1-6
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with {Him} in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also {in the likeness} of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; (NAS)

        1.    Jesus Baptized Already the Child of God.

Illustration
Baptism is like a wedding ring: they both symbolize transactions. A wedding ring symbolizes marriage, just as baptism symbolizes salvation. Wearing a wedding ring does not make you married any more than being baptized makes you saved.

To extend the parallel, if a person, especially a woman, does not wear a wedding ring you can almost always assume that the person is not married So it was in New Testament times. If a person was not baptized, you could probably assume that he or she was not a believer. On this we must be clear: baptism is a symbol of salvation and only a symbol. But, like a wedding ring, it is such an effective symbol that it should never be taken for granted.

Application

Have you been baptized by immersion for the purpose of symbolizing your salvation?
 
 

3.    The . . Reporting of Scriptural Baptism.


A.    A Changed Life Is Reported.
Acts 16:30-34 30 and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household."    32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that {very} hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his {household.} 34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. (NAS)

Illustration ReligionToday.com July 30, 1999
..."I am overwhelmed when I meet these people," Phillips told Religion Today. "They are such models of complete commitment. There are Chinese who have worked their whole lives to gain PhDs who will give it all up in a second" to follow Jesus Christ, he said.

..."I have heard reports that indicate more than 20,000 people a day . . . are becoming Christians in China," Phillips said. "Many say it could be more than that. Their fervency is amazing."

...Thirty-nine newly converted mainland Chinese were baptized during a "tremendous outpouring" at China '99, a conference for mainland Chinese students and scholars. Two hundred fifty-three
mainland Chinese attended the July 10-17 event in San Diego sponsored by ISI and Horizon Christian Fellowship, a San Diego church. Lectures were taught in the Mandarin language and attendees stayed with American families.

...By the end of the conference, 48% of the 90 students who arrived saying they were not Christians, or were not sure, had put their faith in Jesus Christ, Phillips said. Forty-seven percent of those present "committed themselves to do whatever God asked them to do. This was the deepest spiritual event we have had."

...The worship "was just incredible," Phillips said. John Woudenberg, an ISI board member and former San Francisco 49ers football player, "sat and wept all Wednesday morning."
 

B.    A Committed Life Is Reported.   Rom 5:1-3
1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; (NAS)
 

Illustration
A well-known Christian personality of our century, Eric Liddell, the Olympic Champion runner who was the hero of the movie Chariots of Fire, had a remarkably different experience in prison in North China during World War II. His biographer quotes a woman who was in the camp at the time and with her husband knew Liddell well: What was his secret? Once I asked him, but I really knew already, for my husband was in his dormitory and shared the secret with him.

Every morning about 6 am, with curtains tightly drawn to keep in the shining of our peanut oil lamp, lest the prowling sentries would think someone was trying to escape, he used to climb out of his top bunk, past the sleeping forms of his dormitory mates. Then, at the small Chinese table, the two men would sit close together with the light just enough to illumine their Bibles and notebooks. Silently they read, prayed, thought about what should be done.

Eric was a man of prayer not only at set times -- though he did not like to miss a prayer meeting or communion service when such could be arranged. He talked to God all the time, naturally, as one can who enters the "School of Prayer" to learn this way of inner discipline. He seemed to have no weighty mental problems: his life was grounded in God, in faith and in trust.

Conclusion
My wife, Christa has a similar experience to that of mine. As an eight year old child, she saw many children going forward and she went forward at invitation time. They simply had her sit down and then presented her as having made a profession of faith. The children were then just all baptized without anyone ever talking to them individually. It is sad the number of the times that something like that takes place.

A few years later, Christa did not have the peace that salvation brings and one night, being very afraid, she called for her mother. And her mother came in and shared with her a Bible verse. It's from Psalm 27:1 It says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the defense of my life, whom shall I dread." That comforted Christa and in the next few months, she understood what she needed to do to become a Christian and she privately prayed the prayer acknowledging Jesus as Lord.

She had never said anything like this to me.   When I pastored in Florida, Christa came forward at invitation time one night and said, "Jim, I taught a Sunday School lesson today about baptism and how it takes place after salvation and I do not have a peace that I was baptized after my salvation experience. And so I want to be baptized."

I expressed that to the congregation and we sang another hymn and a man came forward and said, "the moment you told me about Christa, I realized what's wrong with me. I do not have complete peace because I have not followed the Lord in baptism after my salvation."

As I look over the congregation today, I would dare say there as some who have a similar experience. You know that your salvation experience took place and you have either never been baptized or you went into the waters of baptism before you were actually saved. I encourage you to come and follow the Lord in Scriptural Baptism.

Have you been scripturally baptized?