Program Air Date - 11-7-04



In Ecclesiastes 12:13, the wise man Solomon said, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all." Today, it is my hope and prayer that we have all come together, before the throne of God as complete servants. Which means we are all those who fear God and keep His commandments.

How glorious it is to assemble this morning, and to come before such a mighty and awesome God, to worship and praise His name, as He has commanded. So thank you for joining us and for doing your part as we offer these sacrifices to our God.

At this time, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer:


Our first song of the day reminds us of the opportunity we have as Christians to proclaim God's message to the lost of this world. So at this time, let me encourage us all to join together in this song of praise, the name of the hymn, "Seeking the Lost!"

(SONG # 1)


Isn't that a beautiful song? And what an encouragement it should be to each of us to do what God commands of us! And not only because we have a great opportunity and privilege to do what God says, but because we are commanded to do so as a duty of those who obey the will of God. Think about those two concepts for a moment, commands and duty - what comes to your mind? The sad reality is, people don't like these types of ideas today, do they? In a world of "don't tell me what to do," and "mind your own business," people tend to get really upset and defensive, when we say that we are commanded to do something or that we have a duty to fulfill as children of God.

Well, brethren and friends, like it or not, we are commanded of God to labor according to His will. We are given a duty to fulfill if we are to be found pleasing in His sight. And why would we have a problem with that, have we forgotten what our God has done, is doing, and has promised to do for us? Have we forgotten the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We all need to get that chip off our shoulder, humble ourselves and submit completely to the will of our almighty God.

So I ask you today, what type of commitment are you willing to make to your God? How much are you willing to submit? The facts are, we only are doing enough when we are doing our best, and giving our all to the Creator. Choose today to humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, determine to do all that He commands, and God will lift you up - as well as give you a final and eternal reward!

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our topic of study will again focus on, whether the things we do in religion are "from Heaven or Men." Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, "Baptism: Sprinkling or Immersion." So please stay with us for this study from God's Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let's join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Ring Out The Message."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for staying with us and now we go to God's Word and looking at baptism today in really the relationship as not so much as the need for it, although we certainly see that it is essential in scripture, but really more the question as to what it is. Why? Because so many around the world have different ideas and really present different ideas about what it takes to be baptized or how one should be baptized.

Well originally as we go back to the text, we're going to see what God's Word has to say, but over time, we certainly see that in history man began to use different maybe methods such as pouring or sprinkling. In fact, as I was a missionary over in Africa for some time, I know that it is said there in Uganda that some would even sometimes, for baptism, dig a hole, would spit into the hole and jump over the hole and that basically was the requirement that they felt was the same as baptism. And so kind of what we are looking at is really, as we look at baptism, does it matter how we perform or how we carry out the command of baptism and if so then what is it that God really wants? What is it that God really requires?

Baptism certainly was a common practice in the Bible and that's where we'll start today in the book of Mark. In fact, in Mark chapter 1, we begin to have an introduction to Jesus Christ as the gospels all focus on the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus, but there as it introduces us to Jesus there in verse 1, it secondly tells us something the prophet says in verse 2. It says, "Behold, I will send my messenger before your face who will prepare your way before you the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare the way of the Lord, make His pass straight." Now who was that? Who was that one sent before Jesus to prepare the way, the voice in the wilderness? The man mentioned there in verse 4, John. In verse 4, he mentions John in this context. He says, "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching of a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Here we see that as John came to preach the Christ, he was as well preaching repentance and baptism. In fact, the baptism he was preaching was directly connected to one's repentance. What is repentance? You and I know that after we acknowledge that we have sinned or we have done wrong and we turn away from it in order that we might turn toward Christ. So John was a preacher. He was sent of God according to prophecy to prepare the way for Christ and he came, as we read here, baptizing.

Not only John, but if you'll turn over in the book of John, we find as well there's someone else who baptized that we often don't talk a lot about in connection to being one who baptized, Jesus. There in John, if you'll look with me in chapter 3, we find that it says there in verse 22 that Jesus had come and that Jesus was one who was baptizing. Verse 22 , the Bible says, "After these things, Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea and there He remained with them and baptized." Jesus, His disciples, they came to Judea and they came and what? They came and baptized.

In fact, we see further down in the same book, John, but in chapter 4 and verse 1, that it again tells us something that is very interesting about the Lord's baptisms compared to John's baptisms. There in verse 1, it says, "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John." Notice that, that Jesus had baptized more disciples than John. Who heard it? The Pharisees. They had heard that this Jesus was worse than John because He had come not only preaching as John had, but He was baptizing even more individuals. And then in verse 2 of chapter 4, it tells us that who was actually helping Jesus was His disciples. People were responding to baptism and the desire to be baptized unto remission of sins to Jesus and the disciples were sharing in the great act of carrying out that really wondrous command of God to be baptized in His name. So we do see that baptism was practiced in the New Testament times before the church was established. John baptized and preached baptism as well as remission of sins, baptism for remission of sins and Jesus came and did the same even baptizing more than John Himself.

Now as we go to the next point, what was the method then of baptism? I want you to look back up in chapter 3 of John with me, as we had just read earlier that "Jesus came baptizing." In verse 23, it tells us that "John also had been baptizing," but notice also what it says in connection to the baptisms that John was performing. "Now John also was baptizing," it says there, "in Enon near Salim because there was much water there and they came and were baptized." Before he was thrown into prison, the next verse tells us, "He was still working for the Lord administering the Words of God to the people and encouraging them to be baptized for the remission of sins because Jesus had come and the kingdom was about to be established." And what was he doing? He was baptizing them. Where? Around much water. Isn't it interesting that much water was mentioned here, that the requirements seem to have been much water if simply all we needed was something maybe out of a bucket of water, out of a cup of water to sprinkle or to pour? Isn't it strange here that it talks of John and Jesus going to the Jordan River or going to places where there would have been sufficient water in order to maybe submerse or to put a body under and into the water? Well we're going to talk about that a little bit more in just a moment, but we see that the method of baptism during this day certainly was one that was immersion. Why was there much water needed? Because they needed to actually put the body into the water.

I want you to look further with me into the book of Matthew. Matthew helps us to see another great baptism that was done, for example, Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus was baptized of John and that John was very reluctant to do so, but in the fact that He was baptized, He gave an example. You see, John said, "You know, you are the Christ. You are the Son of God. You are worthy. You are not a sinner. You don't need to repent. You don't need to correct things." Jesus said there as we read together beginning in verse 13 that "John had to baptize Him to fulfill all prophecy," "a fulfillment of all righteousness," furthermore in verse 15. John had to do it. He needed to be baptized to show man the essential and important fact that baptism really bears to one who loves God. Notice with me, if you will, in Matthew 3 and verse 16 what it says that they did there. "And when he had baptized Jesus, Jesus came up immediately from the water." Notice that it says that Jesus had been in the water. We know that because it says that He then came out of the water immediately. If he was going to sprinkle or pour, why didn't he just go and get a cup and why on earth would they have got their clothing wet if that still would have sufficed what God's command had given? They both went down into the water and John baptized Jesus and in fact, every depiction that we have ever had of any denomination that has ever made it or anyone who loves the Lord always shows Jesus and John standing in the water. Why? Because Jesus went into the water and then came out of the water after the Spirit of the dove had come and made clarification that "this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Why was the Father pleased? Because Jesus here did exactly what the Father commanded according to His Will.

Another example of the method of baptism is given clearly in Acts 8. If you'll turn over there to the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. We read about a man here, a Eunuch, a treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia who was traveling now to worship God under the old law, but must not have been right because the spirit of God sent Philip to teach him more perfectly the things of Jesus. In fact, in chapter 8 and verse 35, Philip actually went there and it says, "Preached Jesus to him from a prophecy" that is found in the book of Isaiah. Well after he had preached to him, notice the reaction of the Eunuch. It says, "Now when they had went down the road, they came to some water and the Eunuch said, "See here is water. What doth hindereth me to be baptized?" And Philip said, "If you believe with all of your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still and both Philip and the Eunuch," verse 38, "went down into the water and he baptized him. And now when they came up out of the water, the spirit of God called Philip away and the Eunuch went on his way rejoicing." Why did they both go down into the water? Why did they both come up out of the water? Because the method of baptism was immersion. If you will, study the Greek word "Baptizo". Baptizo, the original language using the word "baptizo" means to submerge, put under. It actually means to have this idea of being one who really is immersed in water.

That's why we really consider the need to be baptized, to be put under and that's why we must ask the question, "What is it for then? What does it mean?" You and I certainly know that what it means is that we have obeyed God. What it means is Galatians 3:26-27 that "we put on Christ." What it means as Ananias told Paul, Acts 22:16, that "he was baptized and he washed away his sins." Acts 2:38, "Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

We know as to why they were told to be baptized. But what was the symbolic nature? Look with me to a beautiful passage in Romans chapter 6 beginning in verse 3 of chapter 6, the Bible says, "Or do you not know that as many of you as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death." Why are we baptized? Because we are commanded first and foremost. But why are we baptized? Because as Jesus died and was buried and rose again, guess what. Baptism is a symbolic thing for us to do the same, to die, to be buried as the old man and to rise to walk as a new creature.

You're still not convinced? Read again with me verses 3-6. "Or do you not know that as many have been baptized into Christ were baptized into His death, therefore being buried with Him through baptism into death that just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," there in verse 4, "even so we also should walk in newness of life," for if we have been unified together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also will be unified in the likeness of His resurrection knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him and done away that sin might be done away with and that we might no longer be slaves of sin.

The Corinthian letter talks about how that we put away the old man and we put on the new man in Christ Jesus. What is it that baptism means? It is that point in our lives where we have finally said, "I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. I'm tired of sin. I no longer want to serve Satan. I want to relinquish that and bury it and die to it and I want to put it in the grave of baptism and when I die to it there and I rise up, I know that I now am a new child, a new creature, a new creation of God, one who is a faithful individual, one who is a saved individual, one who is a forgiven individual. Why? Because of the water? Certainly not. Why? Because someone baptized us specifically? Certainly not. Why? Because we were faithful enough to obey the command of God and to be baptized and immersed in the watery grave just as Jesus died, dying ourselves to the old, just as Jesus resurrected, resurrecting ourselves to a new and perfect man, striving to be Christ-like. Oh how wonderful it is then to look at places like when the church did begin in Acts 2 and verse 38 when they cried out, "What shall we do?" Again the answer was, "Repent and be baptized." For what? "For remission of sins." And why? "For the gift of the Holy Spirit to be received. But then furthermore in verse 41, how wonderful it is to see that 3,000 that day who gladly received the Word were baptized. How was it done? In water, just as John did, just as Jesus did and just as we are commanded to do.

Have you submitted to the command of God to be buried with your Lord and Savior in baptism so that you might put on Christ and so that you might in likeness be one who is now a part of the family of God?

(SONG # 3 - "Did You Think To Pray!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!

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We thank God for His Word that always teaches us the way to go and shows us what to do. May we ever be satisfied with doing God will in His Way, rather than serving self or others!

(Program closing)