Bible Baptism

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, Mar. 26, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal                            Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                                     Albany, Georgia


Scripture Reading: Acts 19:1-5

Text: Acts 19:5

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Introduction: Although there is only one SAVING, indispensable baptism in the Bible, there are several baptisms, among them:

  1. the baptism of Moses
  2. the baptism of John the Baptist
  3. New Testament water baptism
  4. baptism by the Spirit
  5. the baptism of martyrdom or of Christ’s death
  6. the baptism of fire
  7. the baptism of Naaman for cleansing of leprosy

The one SAVING baptism is that of the Spirit. This is the one baptism that unites ALL believers. When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God baptizes him into Christ, into His body, making him a new creature:

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

I was baptized into Christ Feb. 11, 1968. Two weeks later I was baptized in water.

Many churches practice baptism, but not all of them practice SCRIPTURAL baptism. You may have been baptized in some shape or form, but I want you to consider tonight, have you been SCRIPTURALLY baptized?

A mandate is an authoritative command

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Matthew 28:20 Teaching 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.

This commission was never rescinded. Even after the gospel of the grace of God was revealed to Paul, the command to teach unsaved people about Jesus, baptize them, and instruct them how to be obedient disciples of the Lord, was still practiced.

A. It was pronounced by Jesus Christ

  • This was a post-crucifixion or New Testament proclamation.

B. It was performed by those who heard Him

  • They preached the word to the lost.
  • They baptized converts.
  • They taught their converts to win the lost and to baptize them.

C. It was practiced by the early church

D. It is a priority today

  • It is a mandate!
  • It is not just a nice thing to do; it is a COMMAND to be OBEYED!
  • New converts need to be baptized in order to be OBEDIENT Christians.


Even before the New Testament went into effect, water baptism pointed people to the atoning work of the Son of God.

John 1:29-31 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Like the Great Commission of Matt. 28:18-20, nothing happened during the transition from the Old to the New Testament changed the basic principle of baptism, in that it has one message: JESUS CHRIST.

A. Baptism identifies Christ

  • His death for our sins according to the scriptures.
  • This is signified by the convert crossing or folding his arms as in death.
  • His burial.
  • This is portrayed when the convert is immersed, covered in the water. We do not bury the dead face down, we do not bury them three times, and we do not sprinkle dust on them, so baptism is done by complete immersion in water.
  • His resurrection.
  • This is pictured when the convert is brought up out of the water.

B. Baptism identifies the convert

  • He is identified as one who has placed his faith in the gospel — the fact that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
  • He has died, been buried, and rise spiritually with Christ when he trusted Him as Savior.
  • He is testifying of his faith in Christ, as well as to what happened to him at his conversion.


Acts 8:35-39 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 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? 37 And 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. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

A. Who should be baptized?

  • Only a believer. That is why we sometimes call water baptism, “believer’s baptism.”
  • Phillip required that the man TRUST Christ and TELL him so before baptism. This rules out infant baptism.
  • EVERY believer must be baptized, not in order to BECOME a Christian, but in order to be an OBEDIENT Christian.

B. When should a believer be baptized?

  • This man was baptized as SOON as he had the opportunity after salvation!
  • In Acts 2:41 – 3000 were baptized the same day!
  • Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
  • Acts 10:47-49 – Cornelius was baptized immediately upon trusting Christ.
  • Acts 16:33 – The Philippian jailer and his family were baptized “…the same hour…” (midnight)

C. How should a believer be baptized?

  • By immersion. It is scriptural baptism and portrays the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Phillip and the eunuch went down
    into the water. That would not have been necessary if a little sprinkling would have sufficed.
  • With joy!
  • With witnesses, as possible.


Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Water baptism does not save, contrary to the teaching of Roman Catholicism, the Church of Christ, and many other groups. However, it DOES result in:

A. A good conscience

  • You know you did what you should.

B. A grand fellowship

  • God will be pleased with your obedience. Your fellowship with Him will then be sweet.
  • Likewise, it brings you into fellowship with believers of the last 2,000 years, who have been baptized in similar fashion.

C. A glowing testimony

  • Every baptism is a sermon. It preaches Jesus.
  • It preaches salvation through Christ’s work.
  • It is also an encouragement to new believers to publicly identify themselves with Christ.

D. A glorious reward

  • There will be a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ one day.
  • God will bless you greater in this life, as you obey Him.


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