Discover what the Bible has to say about baptism and why it requires more than simply being sprinkled with water as an infant. Watch this presentation to learn the reasons why!
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Do you feel that your church has left you? That it has moved so far away from what the Bible teaches that you feel as though you are a stranger in a foreign land? Are you seemingly one of the few left who believes in absolute moral truths? Are you out of step with mainstream because you believe God reveals the standards of right and wrong through His book, the Bible? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you are part of a shrinking breed, as modern Christianity moves away from the Bible as its guide.
Dr. George Barna, Director of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, revealed these findings in The American Worldview Inventory 2020 regarding American Evangelicals:
The most startling realization regarding the theological reformation in progress is how many people from evangelical churches are adopting unbiblical beliefs….
Perhaps the most alarming of the shifts is that a majority of adults aligned with an evangelical church (52%) contend that there is no absolute moral truth; in their view, truth is uniquely determined by each individual according to their preferences and circumstances. That perspective equates to most evangelicals believing that the Bible is either not inerrant or trustworthy in its content—or that the Bible is neither completely true nor reliable. That stand is a radical and critical departure from the traditional teachings and biblical reliance of evangelicals. (“American Worldview Inventory 2020 Results – Release #11: Churches and Worldview,” Arizona Christian University, November 10, 2020).
The picture is even more bleak among Pentecostals, mainline Christian denominations, and Catholics. What is happening, my friends? And where is this leading?
[Dr. Barna] surveyed 51 beliefs and behaviors among Christian groups and [he] found that rather than transforming the culture around them with biblical truth, the opposite is happening. American Christianity is rapidly conforming to the values of the post-Christian secular culture.
What we see today is a generation that worships a God of their own image, rather than seeing God as He reveals Himself. And does any rational person think that such an idol of the mind can bring life after death? Perhaps you are among the increasing minority who believes that the Bible is God’s instruction book for mankind. If so, this program is for you. While some claim there is nothing you have to do to be saved, on today’s Tomorrow’s World I’ll give you three biblical requirements as explained from the Bible, so stay tuned.
A warm welcome to all of you joining us [here today] at Tomorrow’s World, where we help you make sense of your world through the pages of the Bible. On this program we will take a look at where truth and morality are heading in our Western world, and what you should do about it.
The Cultural Research Center released these findings about the state of religion in their American Worldview Inventory 2020:
Evangelicals are embracing secularism: 52% of evangelicals reject absolute moral truth; “A majority (61%) do not read the Bible on a daily basis….” The study found that one-third to one-half of evangelicals in the survey embrace a variety of beliefs and behaviors counter to biblical teaching and longstanding Evangelical beliefs (“American Worldview Inventory 2020 Results – Release #11: Churches and Worldview,” Arizona Christian University, November 10, 2020).
The report looked at four different groups. The second one was Pentecostals and charismatics. Regarding this group they reported that:
Two-thirds [that’s 69%] reject absolute moral truth; 54% are unwilling to define human life as sacred, with half claiming the Bible is ambiguous in its teaching about abortion.
It’s difficult to believe that any individuals claiming to be Christian, no matter which group of Christianity they may be roughly placed into, can reject the Bible as their guide to truth. After all, is it not the Bible that informs us about the life of Christ, from which the term Christian is derived? Either the Bible is true or it’s not. And if it’s not reliable, then why pretend to be a believer in it? But when it comes to what are broadly called mainline Protestants, the report found that:
Sixty percent (60%) of mainline Protestants’ beliefs directly conflict with biblical teaching…. truth and morality are relative; life has no inherent value or purpose, so individuals should pursue personal happiness or satisfaction; and traditional religious practices are no longer seen as central or essential to their Christian faith.
It should be obvious by these results that religion in America and in the rest of the Western world is more and more a feel-good exercise with no transcendent value beyond the here and now. So it should not surprise us that people are living their lives for today only, as shown by the report’s analysis of the state of Catholics in America, [who] were similar to mainline Protestants but even less restrained in behavior:
Today’s Catholics are more permissive than other groups, being most likely to accept sexual relations outside of marriage, lying, speeding, and refusal to repay a loan as morally acceptable behaviors.
If you’re discouraged by what you see happening in your denomination, perhaps it’s time to step back and ask some important questions.
Why have you chosen the denomination or church that you have?
Was it because you were born into it?
Was it because it was convenient to where you live?
Was it because there was a wonderful youth program or choir?
Was it because of friends and associates?
What exactly do you believe and why?
And have you been deceived about what God requires of you?
We’ve all seen the bumper sticker with religious symbols spelling out “coexist.” And yes, we need to be at peace with those who believe differently from us, but can all religions be correct? Do all roads lead to the same destination? Think about that. And fundamentally, has God left it up to each of us to decide right and wrong and how He is to be worshiped?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. More and more people who claim to be spiritual today are forming God in their own image. The Bible is no longer the standard of truth. Spirituality has become an exercise in making you feel better about yourself, and for many, religion is no more than entertainment. The Biblical standards of right and wrong have been subjugated to shifting societal trends.
What does a sincere seeker of truth need to do in this current state of affairs? You can’t change the state of the world, but you can make sure you are personally in line with God.
You may have been told, “There is nothing you need to do other than profess Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior. It’s ‘all been done for you.’” But is that what the Bible really says? The answer is an emphatic “no”! There is more to professing Jesus Christ as Savior than you may have been told, and I’ll prove that to you in the remainder of this program.
For example, do you realize that Jesus, His Apostles, and others, commanded people to be baptized? Yes, baptism is a requirement given by Jesus, and in the remainder of this program I’ll show you why baptism and two other requirements are so important. But for now, let’s begin with:
Requirement #1: Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
For far too many, religion is something that we each make up in our own minds. Instead of looking to God to tell us what He expects of us, we see mere men trying to tell God what He should expect of us. But how can this please God if He truly exists? As Dr. Roderick C. Meredith asks in his treatise, Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning:
If Jesus and the early Apostles do not represent the “standard “ for true Christianity, then what is that standard? (Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning, p. 2).
There was once a man named Saul who sincerely thought he was doing right, until God struck him down. He was on his way to persecute Christians at Damascus when a blinding light knocked him to the ground. This was the beginning of a dramatically changed life for the man that was later known as the Apostle Paul. What followed three days later is recorded for our instruction. Still blinded from the light, Saul was visited by a man named Ananias, who was commanded to come to him…
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and [note this] he arose and was baptized (Acts 9:17–18).
Notice that among other things, Saul submitted himself to the humble ceremony of baptism. We also read of a group of several thousand people who followed the traditions into which they were born, but one day they also had their feet knocked out from under them and their eyes were opened. It was on the Day of Pentecost shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus. God got their attention while they were assembled at the temple in Jerusalem. This was when the Apostle Peter preached a powerful sermon to the Jews. They were looking for the Messiah and Peter convicted them that they’d murdered Him. Notice his words and their response in Acts 2, verses 36 and 37:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:36–37).
How many people ask themselves that critical question: What shall I do? Have you, my friends? Or have you simply gone along with human traditions—perhaps the religion of your parents, your spouse, or your friends—but never genuinely read the Bible for what it says? Notice Peter’s response in the next verse. Here is what he instructed these people who were convicted of grievous sin…
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).
This was a clear command to be baptized, that our sins may be forgiven. So why is it, dear viewers, that some think baptism is unnecessary? Do they not want their sins forgiven? We see that Saul, later known as the Apostle Paul, was baptized. We see from that first Pentecost following the crucifixion that 3,000 people obeyed Peter’s command and were baptized. And further, we see that Jesus Himself was baptized, not because He needed sins forgiven, but to set the example for us.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
That’s from Matthew 3:13–15.
Now if Jesus set the example, have you followed His example? Further, we’ve seen that Paul was baptized, that Peter commanded baptism to those present on Pentecost and some 3,000 responded. I could show that Jesus’ disciples baptized more than John the Baptist, that the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized, and there are many more examples like these.
Baptism is not something you should view as optional. It is found as a command throughout the New Testament scriptures. But should you run out today and dunk yourself in the river? Or is there more to it?
Perhaps you were baptized as an infant. I was told that I was, though, as with most others, I can’t remember it. Is that what Jesus expects of us? The late Dr. Roderick C. Meredith makes this confession in Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning:
I was baptized as a helpless little infant—unable even to discern my left hand from my right hand, let alone able to grasp the enormity of sin and deeply repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Was I, then, a true Christian? Of course not!
Perhaps you have noticed a word that is closely associated with baptism, so it’s time to look at the second requirement:
Requirement #2: You must repent of your sins
I know that my parents were no doubt sincere when they had me baptized as an infant, but that is simply not what God expects, as anyone who searches the scriptures may discern. An infant cannot meet this requirement to repent of his sins. The reasons behind baptizing infants is another story based on false assumptions and false doctrines, but that’s a whole different subject that I don’t have time to cover on this program. Again, I don’t say this to condemn anyone, but as an act of love to inform you.
Repentance is found throughout the New Testament, but notice once again Peter’s command on the Day of Pentecost as found in Acts 2:38:
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).
And if that is not authoritative enough for some, notice this command to repent from Jesus at the very beginning of His ministry. Notice it in Mark 1:14–15:
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15).
My friends, have you repented of your sins and have you been baptized? If not, why not? And what does it mean to repent of your sins? Many think they know, but they have never looked into the biblical definition of sin. Notice it in 1 John 3 and verse 4. Where it says…
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).
Or as the Old King James puts it in a little more archaic language, but in a way that leaves no doubt as to the meaning,
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, King James Version).
Now why is this important? Few realize today how far Christianity has strayed from that of Jesus, the Apostles, and original Christianity. As I wrote in the November/December 2020 edition of Tomorrow’s World magazine, in an article titled “Should You Recite the Sinner’s Prayer?”,
The drunkard or adulterer may recognize his or her need to say a “Sinner’s Prayer,” but does either one realize that turning around and going in another direction also involves turning away from a false Christianity that has sought to change the laws of God (Daniel 7:25) and has effectively turned “grace “ into an excuse to break God ‘s law (Jude 4)? (Tomorrow’s World, November/December, 2020, p. 27).
So far, we’ve looked at two fundamental truths for those who hope to inherit eternal life.
Requirement #1: Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the of sins
Requirement #2: You must repent of your sins
Neither of these negates grace. But as Paul states in Romans 4:15,
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression (Romans 4:15, King James Version).
No, the law was never intended to forgive its own transgression. One can never obtain salvation by his own efforts at keeping the law since we all fall short, but does that negate the law? Let’s let the Apostle Paul answer that question. Notice it from Romans 3:31,
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law (Romans 3:31).
Paul went on to say in the sixth chapter and verse 15…
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! (Romans 6:15).
False ministers have twisted the scriptures, confusing the issue and offering a cheap grace, where nothing is required, where Christ has done it all for you. But notice how Paul describes the purpose of the law:
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
No, dear friends, the Bible is clear. We must repent, meaning turn around and go a different direction. There is much more that can be said on this subject, but I want to give you one more requirement, given by Jesus Himself, a requirement that is almost universally overlooked.
It’s found at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. These are the words of Jesus Himself as recorded in Mark the first chapter, and verses 14 and 15…
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, [and notice this] and believe in the gospel.”
So here we have a third New Testament requirement.
Requirement #1: Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
Requirement #2: You must repent of your sins
And the third requirement is:
Requirement #3: Believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God
How many students of the Bible read right over this, without recognizing its importance? Why would Jesus command us to believe a message about the Kingdom of God? And what is the Kingdom of God?
Many think the gospel is a message about Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, but what was His message for three-and-a-half years prior to his death, burial, and resurrection that He preached wherever He went? Notice Luke 4:42–43:
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:42–43, King James Version).
Time and again, Jesus began a parable by saying something similar to this:
“To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?” (Luke 13:20).
People of His day wondered if He would set up His Kingdom at that time, and the Apostles preached the message of the Kingdom of God after His resurrection. Do you know what that Kingdom is that Jesus preached? And do you deeply believe it?
Many concerned citizens see our world going in a bad direction. Some church-goers see their life-long denominations changing to conform to ever-changing social mores. Perhaps you are one of them but don’t know what to do about it. Now might be a good time to step back and ask yourself: Why do you belong to the denomination or the church that you do? Maybe it is time to actually prove from the Bible what to believe.
If you believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, if you have repented of your sins and want to be baptized, we invite you to contact us and ask for a true minister of Jesus Christ to counsel with you about these matters.
Thank you for watching! Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video, and if you would like a copy of our booklet Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning, remember, it’s free of charge, click the link in the description. See you next time.
What do you see when you look at yourself?
How badly do you personally need God’s
forgiveness? Do you really stand in need of a Savior?
Perhaps you have already been baptized
as a child, or maybe as an infant. You might
not even remember the event. Is your
baptism really valid and acceptable in God’s sight?
This is a truly vital question, because
your very salvation depends on the answer!