* All quoted Scripture is from NIV™
I. Biblical Background of Baptism
A. What is baptism?
Baptism is the way of proclaiming a person’s Christian faith to the public that the person believes in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior. Our church’s Baptism is immersing the believer under water and then raising in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Colossians 2:12 Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
B. Why be baptized?
1. Jesus commanded it
Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (The Great Commission)
2. A symbol of the new life in Christ
It is a symbolical way for a believer to declare a new life in Christ, who died and resurrected.
- Romans 6:3-4 “Or, don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
C. Who is qualified to be baptized?
– Anyone who repents and believes in Jesus Christ as the LORD and Savior.
- Acts 2:38-39 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all who the Lord our God will call.”
D. What is ‘Believing in Jesus Christ’?
‘Believing’ is ‘receiving Jesus Christ into the person’s heart as the LORD and Savior.’ Upon believing in Christ, the person will have a new life (= eternal life.) Therefore, the person becomes a born again Christian (Child of God), born of God.
- John 1:12-13 Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
- 1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Once you believe in Jesus Christ, you become a citizen of the kingdom of God. You are saved from eternal punishment.
- Galatians 3:26-27 “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ has clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Attending church is very important. It helps you to know more about Christ and to enjoy the Christian fellowship, but it does not mean that you are a Christian, no matter how long you attend, unless you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
II. Christianity and Church
E. Knowing Yourself
1. Knowing our sinful nature
Even though we don’t realize and may not want to admit, we are born with a sinful nature and evil desires, which causes us to commit sins and leads us to live in guilt against God.
- Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned.
- * Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus;
2. The way to be justified
Because of sin, every one shall die and face judgment after death. Through Jesus Christ, God had provided the only way of being justified by cleansing our sins.
- Hebrews 9:27-28 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
- * John 3:16,18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life… Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
F. Knowing God
One God in three persons (‘Trinity’) – Father God, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit.
1. Knowing Father God
Godhead as Holy, Almighty, and Sovereign God who is the creator of the universe. He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (everywhere.)
- Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
2. Knowing Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ (Son of God) is Godhead who has manifested as a human; He died on the cross to give himself as a sacrifice for all sinners, and prevails the consequence of sin – death – through the resurrection. When one believes in Jesus Christ, the person will be justified. This is called ‘salvation’ or ‘redemption.’
- Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
- Isaiah 28:16 Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.
- Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
3. Knowing the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit: Godhead as an invisible helper in the believer’s heart, and as a guarantee of salvation. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be with you. – John 14:17. You will receive the Holy Spirit when you repent and believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit:
a. Guarantees your salvation
b. Helps you to believe in Christ
c. Gives the power to perform your spiritual gifts
d. Helps you to have joy and peace in Christ
e. Strengthens you to overcome both spiritual and physical challenges
- Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
G. Being a Christian
1. Declare Jesus Christ as the Lord
You must declare Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior to be His disciple by believing God sent and sacrificed Jesus Christ to cleanse your sin.
- Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
When you believe and declare that Jesus is the Lord and Savior, then you will be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. You will be saved by faith, not by good deeds.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Here is a sample prayer to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior: “Father God, I sinned against you because I did not believe you as my Lord and Savior. My ego was my Lord and made me commit sins. Please forgive me as I accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord. I will listen to you and follow you for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
2. Believe the Bible as the Word of God
The Bible is the Word of the living God. It includes the Old Testament (39 Books) and the New Testament (27 Books). When you read it, take it as if God is communicating with you about yourself.
- Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The main theme of the Bible is Jesus Christ and God’s provision of salvation through Him.
- Romans 1:2-4 The gospel he (God) promised beforehand through his (God’s) prophets in the Holy Scriptures (OT) regarding his (God’s) Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
H. Christian Life
As you declare to be a disciple of Christ by faith, you become a Christian.
The Christian should demonstrate the love of Christ by being a faithful parent and/or member at home, a good brother/sister in the church, and a reputable worker/student/citizen who demonstrates generosity. The Holy Spirit will help you and empower you to produce good fruits.
- Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
The following is the guideline to live as a Christian empowered by the Holy Spirit.
1. Keep up the ‘Greatest Commandment’ in Christ
- Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ … ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
2. Love the church family and neighbors with the love of Christ
- Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
3. Deny yourself when evil desire from your ego overpowers
- Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross (where your ego was crucified) and follow me (Christ).”
4. Read the Bible daily
Read the Bible (the Word of God) daily because it leads and teaches you to have eternal life.
- 2 Timothy 3:15-17 … the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture (both OT and NT) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
5. Pray in the Holy Spirit as often as possible
You may pray at any time even when you are driving, walking, or talking to someone. No need to close eyes.
- Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
6. Show your good deeds to the people around you in Christ
- 2 Thessalonians 2:14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Attend a local church and have Christian fellowship
- 1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8. Give talent and money to support the church
- 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people … On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
H. What Is Church?
1. Jesus told His disciples to build His church on Peter’s confession
- Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church (ekklēsian: people called out from the world and to God), and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Hades: This is a Greek word; out of sight, the state or place of the dead; Equivalent to the Hebrew: Sheol; English: Hell)
2. The church is Christians’ gathering, not a building
1 Timothy 3:15 …God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
3. The church is the body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
4. Jesus is the head of the church
Ephesians 1:22-23 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
5. The church represents the oneness in Christ
- John 17:21-22 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.
6. Christ brings people who are thirsty in spirit and gives the free gift of living water for the church
Revelation 22:16-17 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. … “Come! Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
7. Christ has called us to worship Him in church
- John 4:23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”