From Death to New Life
Baptism is nearly universal.
Christian churches worldwide are extremely diverse in their beliefs, practices, and styles of worship. Despite the diversity, every Christian tradition in every part of the world has some belief and practice regarding baptism.
This universal practice of baptism gives us some idea of the importance that the New Testament places on it. There is probably no real-life picture that more clearly demonstrates the new life that we have in Jesus Christ.
At Venture Church we refer to baptism as an ordinance. This is simply a way of saying that baptism is a command of Jesus to the church. Matthew 28:19-20 gives us the command.
“19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”
Baptism is a Sign
The Second London Baptist Confession (the Baptist version of the Westminster Confession) describes Baptism this way:
“Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.”
The key word to describe baptism is sign. We practice baptism as a command for all who have faith in Jesus. It is a dramatic outward confession of inward faith and repentance.
A longer article by Guy Richard about the significance of baptism can be found here
Now read Romans 6:1-11, consider what your baptism means for your life in Christ.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set freefrom sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- How do you identify with Jesus Christ?
- Have you been baptized?
- Did you understand what you were doing at the time?
- What part of your life died when you received Christ?
- In what way do you feel as if you have been buried with Jesus (Romans 6:4)?
- Do you feel as if your new life in Christ is a foretaste of your resurrection (Romans 6:4-5)?
- What do you think a resurrection-centered life looks like in the real world?
- Why do we sin if we are no longer slaves to sin?
- How do you feel to hear that “death no longer has dominion over you” (Romans 6:9)?
- Give an example from your life that shows you are “alive to God” (Romans 6:11).
- Who would you like to see baptized?
Pray this week for the Project 658 Street Soccer League. This is a ministry in Charlotte that uses soccer to disciple young people from many nations into faith in Christ. Over the next 6 weeks, your small group can go meet and cheer on the players in this league Saturday mornings. Contact Jonathan for more information.