Baptism: Meaning, Mode, and Manner

Download the full sermon manuscript on Union Community Bible Church Website

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On March 28, 2021, I preached a sermon on the topic of Baptism. Specifically, this topic is aligned to our sermon series, Defined: Understanding our Identity. In the previous sermons, we tackled about the Christian identity as an image of God, marred by Sin, redeemed by Christ, and promised with the Spirit’s indwelling. The church, also, realized the actualization of Christian identity into corporate identity as a locally covenanted family–the body of Christ, church.

To these topics, I have argued for the significance of an Immersed Identity, hence the title of the sermon, “Immersed Identity: The Essence of Baptism in the Church Perspective.” In the sermon, I discussed the three strands of baptism: meaning, mode, and manner.

In summary, Baptist Theologian James Leo Garrett explained the meaning of baptism as symbolic of “the believer’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; the outward sign of an inner cleansing or of the remission of sins; the sign of the eschatological resurrection of believers . . . and an act of obedience to Christ.” [1]

Indeed, this representation is biblical (Romans 6:4-5). Christians ought to follow Christ’s baptism as conforming to him, being in union with him, and being one with his body–the church. Baptism is insignificant to one’s salvation. It does not save nor cleanse our sin. But baptism is not optional; all those who profess as Christ’s followers ought to follow his ordinance.

It is one’s confession that “Jesus is Lord”. It is a communion. it signifies both vertical and horizontal communion. Vertically, communion with God in Christ; horizontally, in the body of Christ the regenerated church. One’s profession on submission to Christ’s lordship and personal redeemer. Lastly, one’s proclamation of the gospel—that the person was once sinner, dead to sin, died and buried the old self then raised up like Christ’s resurrection having the new self.

Moreover, I have noted that the biblical mode of baptism is immersion as it fully expresses its symbolism; additionally, this was the practice of the NT church and Jesus Christ’s model. Furthermore, the Greek word “baptizo” literally means “to dip” or “to immerse.” Biblically, etymologically, and logically speaking baptismal mode is explicitly immersion.

Finally, baptism is a church-act. This ordinance was given to the church by Christ. It is also the point of entry into the regenerated membership of the church—the new covenant family. Who can baptize? There is no explicit verse or any prescription to who will baptize. But since this is an act of the church, it is logically true that a representative of the body will be the one who will administer the baptism. This representative can be the pastor, one of the elders, or even a deacon, or any church leader-representative appointed by the church.

However, due to limited time, I have not discussed the broad topic of covenant theology concerning the relation of the new covenant theology–circumcision of the heart–to NT believer’s baptismal practice as representational as opposed to the classic new covenant theological argument of the other denominations.

If you have time, I have attached above the full sermon manuscript; also, below are full sermon video and audio that you can listen to. May the readers and listeners be spiritually edified through hearing God’s word with the Spirit’s illuminating power.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Play the Full Sermon (Audio only) Here
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References:

Hammett, John S. “Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” In The Baptist Faith and Message 2000: Critical Issues in America’s Largest Protestant Denomination. Edited by Douglas Blount and Joseph Wooddell. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Jamieson, Bobby. Understanding Baptism. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2016.

Norman, R. Stanton. The Baptist Way: Distinctives of a Baptist Church. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2005.

Schreiner, Thomas R., and Shawn D. Wright. Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2006.

[1] James Leo Garrett, Jr., Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical, and Evangelical
(Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 529.

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Published by JP Arceno

A Mere Christian, no other religion, but Christian church, call me a Catholic Christian ~ Richard Baxter

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