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Jesus' Baptism: "Jesus needs to change our hearts."


A. Jesus commanded his followers to baptize people (new converts/disciples).

  1. During Jesus' ministry on earth, his disciples baptized people.
  2. After the resurrection, the practice continued: new disciples were to be baptized.


B. In (or into) whose name are we to be baptized?

  1. "NO" - Who NOT to be baptized into:
  2. "YES" - Who to be baptized into:
  3. What does this mean?


C. The context: What is this baptism associated with?

  1. Preliminary Comments: Two issues are involved here: 1) What God does in salvation (including baptism by the Holy Spirit), and 2) what the person does in salvation (including the obedience of baptism in water). Most of these passages focus on the people's responsibility, rather than what God does. This should not be wrongly interpreted as a denial of what God does. God will do what he needs to do; our duty is to do what he tells us to do... and to let him take care of the rest. Since our response will be an expression of him living within us, we will give him, not ourselves, the credit for our salvation.
  2. Accepting the good news (also called the "gospel") about Jesus and what he has done for us.
  3. Repentance
  4. Receiving the Holy Spirit (Spirit-baptism)
  5. ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT UNIQUE EVENTS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS (From the section about "Believing the Good News," above)

Back up to the section about "Believing the Good News"


D. The meaning: What does baptism mean?

  1. Note: Since the New Testament doesn't divide Spirit-baptism and water-baptism into two separate, only distantly-related events, some of these passages do not specifically point to one or the other. The specific passage and its context will indicate whether it is focused on the reality, the symbol, or the entire baptism "event."
  2. "Baptism into Jesus' name" - This general statement was mentioned in a previous section. Some of the specific details about this union with Christ are explained below.
  3. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection now apply to us. Water-baptism illustrates this spiritual reality. Salvation is a reality for we who are in Christ, because what happened to him also happened to us: It is a reality that affects our lives even now.
  4. Unity and oneness with Christ's "body" (the total group of all people who are united in/with him).
  5. "One Baptism" - as one dimension of the great "oneness" of the Spirit


Back to the "Baptism" title page

Dennis Hinks © 1999