Mission Baptist Church. Baptism Preparation Packet

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1 Mission Baptist Church Baptism Preparation Packet 1

2 MISSION BAPTIST CHURCH 100 North Oval Hamilton ON L8S 3Z1 (905) Website: www. missionbaptist.ca Rev. Dieter P. Reda, (Lead Pastor) Rev. Michael W Powell, (Associate Pastor) Dear Friend, You are about to take one of the most important steps in your spiritual journey and walk with the Lord, and we here at Mission Baptist rejoice and celebrate with you. The materials enclosed in this packet will give you the details you need about the baptism process, and will help you to prepare for this very significant step in your life. We have also provided a FAQ to answer some commonly-asked questions about baptism. The enclosed My Spiritual Journey and application form provides a way for us to become acquainted with you and your spiritual walk. Please complete these, found on pages 6-7, and if possible bring it with you to the Baptism Preparation Session. Also, please remember to bring the Class Notes on page 5 with you to this session. I look forward to walking with you on this journey. Rev. Dieter P. Reda, Lead Pastor 2

3 ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT BAPTISM Please study this sheet carefully to prepare your heart and mind for your own baptism. 1. What does the word baptize mean? It means to plunge or immerse. At Mission Baptist Church, we baptize by immersion; that is, the entire person is immersed in water. We realize that other Christian groups baptize by pouring or sprinkling, but we do not because we believe that immersion was the way that Jesus followers in the New Testament baptized and were baptized, and because we believe that immersion best pictures the meaning of baptism. 2. Who should be baptized? While we understand that there are different positions on baptism depending upon the faith tradition from which one comes, we at Mission Baptist believe in and practice what is called believer s baptism. Believer s baptism means that only those who are able to articulate an authentic profession of faith should be baptized. In other words, only those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and received Him to be their Lord and Saviour are to be baptized. The reason for this is that baptism is a visual representation of the transforming power of the gospel. It is a visible, outward sign of an inner spiritual reality; it is an outward expression of one s decision to publicly identify with Christ. 3. Why Should a Believer be baptized? Because it is a commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). If a new Christian disobeys this simple command of Christ at the beginning of his or her Christian life, they are not likely to be obedient to other commands. Furthermore, it offers a unique opportunity to publicly affirm our devotion to Christ; as He said in Matthew 10:32-33, So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before me, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. 4. What does baptism actually picture? Since the believer is totally immersed in water, the action becomes a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection. When our Lord Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, He said, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). Christ s baptism in water was a picture of his baptism of suffering on the cross where He died for our sins (Luke 12:50). Our baptism in water is a picture of our inner spiritual experience: we have had the old life buried with Christ, and we are raised to live in resurrection power (Colossians 2:12-15). In Romans 6:3-4, Paul says, Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we too might walk in newness of life. In light of this passage, baptism is the perfect symbol of one s conversion. As we go down into the water, we are identifying with Christ in His death and burial; as we come up 3

4 out of the water, we are identifying with Christ in His resurrection and desire to walk in newness of life. 5. Does baptism have anything to do with our salvation? In the Book of Acts, no one was baptized in order to be saved, but all were baptized because they had been saved. In 1. Peter 3:20-22 we read that baptism does not save us by washing away our sins, for only the blood of Christ can do that. Obedience in baptism does save us from a guilty conscience, because we know that we have obeyed Christ s command. 6. Aren t there verses in the Bible that connect baptism with salvation? In 1. Corinthians 12:13 we read 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 and Galatians 3:27 says, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. Here we must distinguish between water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit. No amount of water applied externally can put a person into Jesus Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do this. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs the instant that you are saved through faith in Christ, and that is what makes you a part of His Body. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit enters your body to make it a temple of God (1.Corinthians 6:19-20) 7. I was baptized as an infant; do I need to be baptized again? Or What if I was baptized before I was saved? Because infants are not able to enter into a relationship with Christ through faith, their baptism is not a sign of spiritual rebirth. It usually was however, a sign of the parents desire and intent to raise the child in the Christian faith, but that is not the same as baptism as it was practiced in the New Testament. But Believer s Baptism expresses your decision to be obedient to Christ and to follow Him. We encourage those who were baptized as infants to follow in believer s baptism as a testimony of their own personal faith in Christ. This is the way to maintain a good conscience before God. Similarly, those adults who are baptized before they are saved are not indicating a new life. Baptism takes on new meaning for the believer because he or she knows this was done in obedience to God s command. 8. How many times should a person be baptized? Only once, provided it is a baptism as taught in Scripture (see above). We meet at the Lord s Table repeatedly to remember His broken body and shed blood, but we are baptized only once, since we are saved only once. If a person gets out of fellowship with the Lord because of sin, s/he can confess their sin and be forgiven (1.John 1:5-10), but it is not necessary to be baptized again. Water baptism is a once-for-all time public testimony of a believer s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. It is not a religious ceremony that washes away our sins. 9. I am new to Mission Baptist and have a baby or small child. Can I have my infant baptized here? No. Mission Baptist does not practice any other baptism but believer s baptism by immersion. This is available only to those who are able to articulate an authentic profession of faith which infants are obviously unable to do. We do however offer a blessing of parents and their young children as a part of public worship. This however is not a sacrament, and does not confer salvation, nor is it in any way related to baptism. 4

5 10. How old must a child be in order to be baptized? We treat the baptism of children with special care. When a child makes the choice to follow Jesus, he or she has the opportunity to declare his/her commitment to Jesus through baptism. The Bible has only one standard that is the same for every believer. Even though the level of comprehension and expression will be different for a child than it is for an adult, a child who wishes to be baptized must understand what baptism means and must be able to declare their intention to follow the way of Jesus, and be able to make a credible profession of having repented form sin and trusted Jesus as Saviour. When a child who is younger than teens presents himself/herself for baptism, we ask that a parent or guardian attend the baptism preparation led by the pastor(s). The parent will also be able to help the child to complete the material that follows, and will also be asked to give their permission in writing. 11. What about membership do I have to join the church when I am baptized? That is how it used to be; when people were baptized, they automatically became members of the church. Mission Baptist has divided this into two steps: Baptism is something that we do for Jesus, and Jesus alone. Membership is our commitment to a local body of believers other Christians with whom we wish to grow and serve God. Since people often process things at different rates, we allow you to take it one step at a time. First baptism, then membership when you are ready to commit to the local church. Baptism is a pre-requisite for membership however, because it is a step of obedience to Jesus. I someone is not willing to be obedient to the Lord in a simple step as this, then we wonder in what else they might not obey Him. Accordingly, we require that all who choose to be members of the church to first follow Jesus in baptism, however being baptized does not automatically make you a member, until you request membership. 1) To Follow the Example of Jesus. WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED? Here are four very good reasons: Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3: (NIV) Although the Baptisms that John the Baptizer did in the Jordan River were a baptism of repentance, Jesus had no sins to repent of. Still he insisted that John baptize Him. Why? To be an Example to all of us. Jesus never told his followers to do anything that He wasn t prepared to do as well. The best reason might be in the words, to fulfill all righteousness. Another way of saying this might be, because it is the right thing to do. This is confirmed in the voice that Jesus 5

6 heard after his baptism, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. We should not get baptized in order to please our friends, or any other people. Baptism is something we do in order to please God. 2) To Obey the Command of Jesus. These are the last words that Jesus spoke, before he was taken back into heave after his resurrection from the dead. They are often referred to as The Great Commission because they are stated in the form of a command. People who follow Jesus need to be obedient to Jesus. Again, this is not to please the church, or anyone else except Jesus. This obedience is not something that we do grudgingly. In John 14:15 Jesus said, If you love me, you will obey what I command. Of course, baptism is not the only thing that Jesus commands us to do. But it is an important step that proves that we are really serious about following Jesus. 3) To Show that My Life Now Belongs to Jesus When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 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 Acts 2:37-38 NIV The people who heard Peter preach, asked him what they must do to become Christians. Notice that Peter answered repent AND be baptized. He did tell them only to repent, and he didn t tell them just to get baptized. The two go together. Being baptized without repenting (that means turning from our sin) will not help us in any way. In Bible days, baptism always goes together with believing in Jesus, turning from our sin, and accepting his forgiveness. 4) To Experience a Sign of My New Spiritual Life. Another way of saying this is the baptism is a PICTURE or a SYMBOL. A symbol is a sign that stands for something. For example in mathematics, the + sign stands for adding, the x sign stands for multiplication and so on. In traffic, the sign means to stop, the sign means to let others ahead of you etc. In baptism, the sign is the water that we are lowered into and raised out of. This sign stands for three things that have already happened to us when we became Christians: Death and Resurrection 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- Romans 6:3-6 (NIV) 6

7 New Clothes Putting on Christ You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV) Being Washed Clean A clear conscience God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 1. Peter 3:20-21 (NIV) The water of baptism cannot wash away sins, only Jesus was able to do that by his shed blood on the cross, but baptism does help us to have a clean conscience because of our obedience. Once you have been baptized, you will always remember it, and it will remind you of God s power not only to raise Jesus from the dead, but also to cleanse our conscience. WHEN SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED? Sometimes we are asked, how old do I have to be? or how much do I need to know? The best way to answer this is to look to what the Bible says. There is no set age mentioned. But there is a pattern that we see when we read the stories about people who became followers of Jesus. They were baptized after they repented of their sins and believed in Jesus, and never before! That is why at our church, we do not baptize babies, because babies cannot believe, and they cannot decide for themselves to follow Jesus. A person must be old enough to be able to show that they chose by themselves and of their own free will to follow the Lord Jesus. They were baptized soon after they became Christians, often times the very same day... Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:41 NIV Or the middle of the very same night! At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. Acts 16:33 NIV Being baptized is not so much about how much you know or understand, but more about how much you believe and whether you are willing to be obedient to the Lord Jesus. Another way of looking at it is, Baptism is not a graduation, but an initiation into the Christian faith a sign of our relationship with Jesus, our Forgiver and Leader. 7

8 Baptism Procedure at Mission Baptist Church At Mission Baptist, we baptize when the church is gathered for worship, because baptism is a public confession of our faith. Often Easter is chosen as a date for baptism because it symbolizes Christ s death and resurrection, and baptism signifies our identification with those events, and our death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ. However, you don t have to wait until Easter, we will baptize in any Sunday worship service when someone is ready to be obedient to Jesus. Sometimes it is only one person, sometimes a group of people. What do I need to do to be baptized at Mission Baptist? 1. Read this booklet 2. Fill out the form on the next page and give it to Pastor Dieter 3. Meet with the pastor (after you have read this material to have your questions answered, and to receive help in preparing your testimony) 4. your testimony to the pastor before and you will receive suggestions if needed. 5. For baptisms on Sunday morning, arrive at the church no later than 40 minutes before the service. BRING with you a change of clothing. We no longer use special robes, but baptize people in ordinary clothing that will not be damaged by getting wet. Many people like to use the colour white because of its symbolism. If you use white, please have something underneath for modesty. For women a one piece swimsuit underneath the clothing works well, for guys a tee shirt with either a white shirt, or any other kind of shirt over it. HINT: If you arrive at the church wearing what you plan to wear in the water, then you will need to get changed only once! BRING A TOWEL a large bath towel works best, and also grooming aids like comb etc. BRING A BAG to put your wet clothes into The surface of the baptistery can get quite slippery. Bare feet give you better traction (the people will not see your bare feet) however you may wear socks if you prefer 6. During this meeting before the service, the pastor will explain what will happen; where and when you will enter the baptistery; where and how to stand in the water, where you will get changed afterwards etc. 8

9 REQUEST FOR BAPTISM Mission Baptist Church If you are interested in being baptized, please complete this and the following page and hand to one of the pastors. First Name Middle Last Address City Prov/PC Phone: Your Age and Birthdate (If you are under 18 years of age, you will need your parents permission to be baptized) How long have you attended Mission Baptist Church? Please check one: I have read this material and wish to be baptized I am interested in baptism, but need further teaching on it or have questions Signature: Date If you are under 18 years of age, please have a parent or guardian sign the following: I, being a parent or legal guardian of (Please Print Your Name) hereby give consent and permission for the above named minor child to receive the Sacrament of Believer s Baptism at Mission Baptist Church. Signature: Date 9

10 Please answer the following questions on the following page as completely as you can. Your answers will be the BUILDING BLOCKS of your testimony. Use the back of the page if you need more space. Be sure to number the question that you are writing about. 1. Describe how you became a Christian. Include as much as you remember: When, Where, How, were you alone etc. 2. Do you know that your sins have been forgiven? (Circle YES or NO) If so Why? Is there a Scripture that has been meaningful to give you that assurance? If so indicate it. 3. How is your life different, now that you are a Christian? 4. Briefly tell WHY you wish to be baptized. You may refer to reasons that are given in this booklet but don t just copy them; explain which one speaks to you personally. 10

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