The following is a sermon transcription that will help reaffirm your understanding of Baptism and the promise of Salvation.
The Reaffirmation of Baptism
(adapted from a sermon by Pr Chin Aun Quek)
A Promise of Salvation
“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself” (Hebrews 6:13)
In the very early times of the Old Testament, God had already chose Abraham, He made a promise to Abraham. It was also an oath which He swore to Himself since He could swear by no one greater. He wanted to tell Abraham and all His descendants that His will to choose Abraham and have a chosen people for Himself will never change – a promise of salvation.
Salvation was prepared even before the foundation of the world; and Baptism is very important because it links directly to our salvation.
Why must we be baptised?
On the day of Pentecost, when the people heard the sermon of Peter, they were cut to the hearts. They asked Peter, “What should we do?”
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38
Thus we must be baptised for the remission of our sins, so that we will also receive God’s promise and the Holy Spirit.
A Physical Act with Rich Spiritual Meaning
Although baptism has a physical aspect of it, God uses the physical visible baptism to signify a very meaningful event spiritually.
Why must there be a physical impact? But didn’t God make us physical beings? The Old Testament is full of physical impact. The temple must be built exactly in the same format, dimension and materials and Jesus must die a physical death. That was how God worked so we can image what crucifixion is. That is why baptism has to give us a visible impact.
That is why the method is very important.
The Correct Mode of Baptism
God’s words do not change because God does not change; our belief in God’s words must not change. Our faith in biblical baptism must be accurate and must not change. If we get our basis wrong, then everything that we build on it becomes useless.
The doctrine of baptism is the one of the elementary principles of Christ. In the True Jesus Church, we define baptism according to the teachings in the bible.
In whose Name?
It is very important in whose names are we are baptised. Peter said, “Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus.”
From that time on, we read that in all the baptisms in the book of Acts, they were conducted in the name of the Lord Jesus. Likewise in the True Jesus Church, baptism must be conducted in the name of Jesus.
We are to believe what the bible say about Jesus. Acts 4 tells us that there is no other name given under Heaven by which we can be saved except this name Jesus.
We also receive life in His name because Jesus is the one who died and resurrected for us. It is the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins. It is Jesus who is at the right hand of God interceding for us and giving us the Holy Spirit. That is why when we are baptised, we need the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins, so the baptism must be conducted in the name of Jesus.
The English word “baptise” means “to be immersed”.
Baptism is new life, being reborn; the bible’s rebirth has these steps:
1) The old self that is the one condemn by sin must die
2) It is buried.
3) It is risen to new life.
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” – Rom 6:3-4
Verse 4 says we were buried with Him through baptism into death. That is the reason why we need to be immersed. Besides the fact that the word means immerse, it also means to be buried with the Lord Jesus into death.
We say that our head must be bowed in baptism. Churches that practice immersion say that because it is burial, they will squeeze the nose of the baptism candidate and put his head down. People do not bury a corpse with the head down.
Let us look at Romans 6. The emphasis is on death. If you were to read verse 3 all the way to verse 14, you will count how many word “death” or “die” is being mentioned. The word “burial” is only mention twice. The emphasis is dying with Christ. Verse 5 says “if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” So the emphasis is dying in the likeness of Christ.
So how did Jesus die?
“When Jesus had received the drink, he said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19:30
It is not that He died and then His neck muscles became limp and then His head dropped. Jesus is the prince of life. Nobody can take away His life. In John 10, He says, “I have come that they may have life, and they will have it more abundantly.” How can the giver of life lose His life?
John 10:18 says, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus laid it down because He said, “I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again.” So Jesus bowed His head, gave up His spirit and voluntarily surrender His life because no one can take it from Him. He says. “I give it up so that I can take it back.”
If He could take it back on the third day, He could take it back on the first day immediately. Thus Jesus has the power to take back His life voluntarily.
Likewise in baptism, we bowed our heads and voluntarily submit to God. Nobody can force submission. We submit to baptism.
In Living Water
Baptism must be conducted in natural flowing water.
Zechariah 12:10 says “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
When John saw the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus in John 19 and saw blood and water flow down from His side, he became very excited. He said, “Let me tell you, this is true! This is true!” “I tell you my testimony is true, so that you might believe it.”
John 19:37 says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” When John remembered this verse, he realised the Old Testament testimony and the one who died on the cross is Yahweh is God. Zechariah says, “God says, ‘You will look on me whom you pierced.’”
How can God be pierced? Here John saw the answer. When Jesus was pierced, God was pierced – fulfilment of this prophecy. And out of the side of Jesus, God incarnated blood and water.
That is why Zechariah 13 verse 1 says, “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David, for sin and for uncleanness.”
It was opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This connects back to verse 10. Jesus died outside the gates of Jerusalem and the fountain was opened there.
But the will of God was to save the whole world, so in Zechariah 14:8 – “On that day it shall be, that the living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter it shall occur.”
After the fountain was opened in Jerusalem, it is opened and water flowed from Jerusalem. On that day, water will flow from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea. Summer and winter, it shall occur. Everywhere we go, the fountain is available to us. Summer and winter, it is not restricted by time. 2000 years today, the fountain is still there. That is the beauty of baptism in living water.
Hence this mode of baptism cannot change. There is a testimony in Sarawak which we can watch in YouTube. The place of baptism could not be found because it was dry. But they had to be baptised in living water. Then they found a waterfall and crystal clear water at the foot. They conducted baptism there. When they return to the church, an old member asked, “Where did you find water to be baptised? The place was described to him but he said there is no water there. The next day, the preacher who conducted the baptism went there to take a look again. And lo and behold, it was dry. God had specially provided for baptism because it has to be conducted in living water.
One God, One Promise, One People
“In that day the Lord will be King over the earth. In that day the Lord is one. And His name shall be one.” – Zechariah 14: 9
This brings us back to the first point about baptism. When we are baptised in the one name of Jesus we all become one people under God. That is the beauty of the baptism that we practice. The One baptism, under one name. And we are the one people.
Paul in Galatians said that when we are baptised, we also became the same heir and have an inheritance promised to us. This is the benefit that we have entered into which God had made a promise and confirmed it with an oath – a promise of Salvation and Eternal Life.
Only if we accept the importance of baptism and carry it out in the right way will we be partakers of this promise.