What is Baptism? - Smyrna International Church

What is Baptism?

Following God’s Direction In Baptism

Most people love to do what they want to do but find it hard to do what other people want them to do.  In the same way, many people have a hard time doing those things they know they should be doing – those things that God tells us we should do.  True peace and happiness in life comes not from following our own road map in life but from following the path that God sets before us.  Knowing and doing the will of God are two separate things.  We can know the will of God and choose not to do it, or we can choose to do what He commands us to do.  We hope that the following information will help you in understanding how Baptism fits into God’s plan for your life.  If you have not followed God’s direction in believer’s baptism you will find some information here that will help you to both know and do what we believe is God’s will for your life.

1.  Why people get baptized?

People should be baptized out of an act of obedience to Jesus!

The Bible says . . .

“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.”
Matthew 28:19-20

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
John 14:15

People who want to follow God should do what God wants them to do!  Simple enough.  Jesus was baptized.  He asked his disciples to be baptized.  He asked his disciples to baptize others who believed in Him.  When we love him we want to follow him and do what he commands us to do.  He commands that everyone who chooses to follow him and to call themselves “Christian” should be baptized.

People should be baptized because it is a way of telling their family and friends that Jesus is in their life.

The Bible says . . .

“The Philippian jailer brought Paul and Silas out of the prison and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved’ . . . He and all his family were baptized . . . The whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God.”
Acts 16:30-34

All of us can remember an occasion when we attended a wedding or watched one on T.V.  A wedding is simply a symbol of a man and a woman’s love for each other.  This symbol is an outward sign of their inward love.  The ceremony is a way of showing friends and family how much they love each other.  The wedding is not when they fell in love, just a sign that they are in love and commit themselves to each other.

In the same way getting baptized is not “the” moment you fall in love with Jesus, it is an outward sign of the inward commitment that you have already made to follow Jesus.  Baptism should take place quite soon after you make a commitment to follow Jesus.  When it does happen, it must happen AFTER you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and it is only a SIGN of what has already happened in your heart – that is the act of obedience to Jesus.  This sign is for your friends, family, and the church to witness.

People should be baptized because it is a way of telling others that Jesus washed their sins away.

The Bible Says . . .

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9

Baptism, as an act of obedience, is only a symbol of what God has already done in your life.  It has no magic power or ability to wash away sins.  Only Jesus can wash away your sins.  This happens when you ask Him into your life to be your Lord and Savior.  The symbol of water is a cleansing symbol of what Jesus did when He saved you.

2.  What you should know before you are baptized? 

Being Baptized does not save you or wash away your sin.

The Bible says . . .

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved . . . “
Acts 16:31

Only by confessing that you are a sinner in need of a Savior will you receive salvation.  Once you have received salvation you are ready for baptism.  You do not have to be a bible scholar to be baptized, you don’t have to be sinless to be baptized.  You don’t have to finish a church study course to be baptized.  You don’t have to have permission from anyone to be baptized.  You just have to trust Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour!  He is the one who washes away your sins, not the act of baptism.

Not being baptized does not keep you from being saved.

The Bible says . . .

“Jesus replied, ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’”
Luke 23:39-43

Two thieves were crucified next to Jesus, one on the left, one on the right.  One their believed in Jesus and asked Him to allow him to be saved.  The other did not.  To the one who did, Jesus promised that he would be with Jesus in paradise.  Did this thief have a chance to get off the cross and get baptized before he died?  No.  He died and then went to be with Jesus in paradise.  He was never baptized.  Baptism is not required for salvation, just as a sign of obedience.  Should we get baptized?  Of course, certainly, yes, and yes again!!!  If something prevents us from being baptized will we still go to heaven?  Of course, certainly, yes, and yes again!!!  Should we purposely delay our baptism out of fear, procrastination, or disobedience?  NO!

Baptism is a symbol of what happens in someone’s life after they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The Bible says . . .

“We are buried in his death and raised in life.”
Romans 6:3-8

Baptism is a sign of being buried with him in death to our former sin-filled life as an unbeliever AND raised with him into a new life as a born again believer going to heaven!  Baptism does not make that happen, it is just a symbol that we are obedient to Jesus and that we share with Him His death and His resurrection.

Have you invited Jesus to come into your life?

This is the most important question that you need to answer.  If not you can pray this simple prayer right now and know that you are saved and ready for heaven and for baptism.  Simply pray . . .

Jesus, I am a sinner.  I want to ask you to come into my life and save me from my life of sin.  I want to be re-born as a Christian.  I want you to become the Lord and Savior of my life.  – AMEN

If you prayed this prayer today or sometime before today Jesus will honour His word and will come into your life.  Now it is important that you listen to Him and begin to obey His commandments to live the life He is calling you to live.  The first step in this process is to be baptized as a sign of your obedience to Him.

3. How do you get baptized?

The first step in being baptized is to indicate a desire to do so.  You can do this in a variety of ways.  First of all you can come forward after a Sunday meeting and tell the pastor that you would like to be baptized.  Or, you can call the church and speak with someone anytime during the week.  However you contact us we will help you to understand how you can arrange to be baptized.

The second step is to agree on a time to be baptized.  We normally offer baptism on the 3rd Sunday of every month at 15.00.  In some cases we can arrange another time for you to be baptized.  This would depend on the circumstances.

The third step is to arrive at the church prepared for baptism. All you need to bring is a fresh change of under garments.  We provide the outer wear and towel.  You need to arrive 1 hour before the service and ask an usher where to go to prepare for baptism.  We will give you all the instructions you will need at that point.

The word Baptize in the original Greek language literally means to go under the water.  When you are dressed and ready for baptism, at a given point during the service you will enter the baptism water.  The pastor will ask you a simple question something like this: “Have you trusted Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?”  You will reply “yes.”  At that point you will be lowered under that water and immediately raised back up.  You will exit the baptism water, change back into your church clothes and be seated in the audience for the remainder of the service.  At the end of the service you will be prayed for.

At Smyrna International Church we believe that it is important to be baptized.  Because it is so important we want to offer you every opportunity to follow Jesus in obedience by being baptized. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?  If so, have you been baptized since you made a decision to follow him as Lord and Savior?  If not, can we invite you to join us in doing this?  Please contact us in the event you would like to follow through with this decision.