On the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem, Peter stood up and preached a powerful message, and the hearts of many were pricked with conviction. They asked what they should do, and Peter’s answer was “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Acts 2:38-41
The message on Sunday dove into the subject of what it looks like to believe in Jesus Christ. As Peter preached, the first step is repentance, a 180 degree turn from the lifestyle previously lived. I accepted Christ into my life as a child, so I really didn’t have a life of sin to repent of. But all through my life I’ve had to make the decision over and over to not engage in sinful behavior. I’ve had to choose to walk in love and forgiveness, in longsuffering, in joy and peace. So, in this sense there has been a 180 degree turn from sin.
The second step that Peter preached, was to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Often times people say baptism is “an outward show of an inward work.” And it is that, but it is so much more.
Baptism is recorded in all four Gospels, the Book of Acts and the Epistles. Hebrews 6:1-2 calls baptism an elementary teaching; in other words, one of the first foundation stones that we build upon.
The word “baptize” means “to dip, to plunge, to immerse.” That is why at Canvas Church we use a baptismal, and submerge candidates completely in water, rather than sprinkling or pouring water on their heads. (I saw a picture in an old Bible of Jesus standing in the River Jordan and John the Baptist pouring water on his head!!! Scripture says “when he came up out of the water” the heavens opened and God, the Father spoke). Mark 1:10
Baptism is a very real, spiritual experience. Col. 2:12 KJV “Buried with him in baptism, wherein you also are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God who has raised him from the dead. The NIV version says “your faith in the power of God.” Just as the Holy Spirit brought transformation in your life when you accepted Christ at salvation, so there is a working of the Holy Spirit (an operation) in your life at baptism. Death (Rom. 6:3-11), Burial (Col. 2:12), Resurrection. (Col. 3:1i-4, Rom. 6:4-5)
Baptism is identification with Christ. In salvation we accept Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. In baptism we are identified with this threefold fact. By baptism we stand as “dead.” By immersion we bury the “dead,” and by rising out of the water, we rise to walk in newness of life.
May we learn to live as Paul when he says “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20.NLT Baptism is a step in that direction.