Water Baptism:


Water baptism is for all believers (Mark 16:16), and is a public confirmation of what has already taken place in the heart of the new believer. The Bible makes it clear that water baptism is not an optional extra. Jesus Himself was baptized, even though He had no need to repent of sin (Mark 1:9). Also, Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize all new believers (Matthew 28:19).

Before a person is baptized, they must have first repented of their sins, and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation (Acts 16:30-33). This is why water baptism, or baptism by full immersion, is also called the "Believer's Baptism".

In water baptism, we identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we are lowered into the water, our old sinful nature is put to death. The water is a type of grave, and symbolises being buried with Christ. As we rise from the water we testify that we are now a new creation, rising to newness of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12). Our past life is now dead (2 Corinthians 5:17).

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).


Holy Spirit Baptism

After a person becomes a Christian, God has a wonderful gift for them - the gift or baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Bible speaks much about this experience. John the Baptist spoke of it, and revealed that Jesus is the Baptiser of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is described in several different ways, each referring to a unique aspect of this wonderful event:

  • baptism in the Holy Spirit (John 1:33) - meaning immersion in the Spirit;
  • gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) - emphasizing the gift aspect;
  • receiving the Spirit (Acts 19:2) - referring to the actual moment of reception; and
  • being filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4) - suggesting something poured into a person.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is also spoken of as the promise from the Father, which the disciples were to wait for (Luke 24:49), and which they received on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33). It is when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, the living Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to minister to others. Jesus promised His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would receive power to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). After receiving the Holy Spirit, all the disciples become powerful preachers. Being baptised in the Holy Spirit enables us to witness with much greater joy, freedom, and boldness. It also opens the door to a richer spiritual awareness of the Lord.

One of the signs that we have been baptised in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues (Mark 16:17, Acts 2:4). This is not a language learnt with the mind, but one that God gives us.

The Bible says that God gives good gifts (James 1:17a). The Holy Spirit is one such good and perfect gift, which is available to all believers upon their baptism in the Spirit. Jesus said "If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13)

When Jesus baptises us with the Holy Spirit, He does so in a very personal way, to suit our particular lives and personalities. For some it happens at home alone, and for others after they have been prayed for by other Christians (Acts 8:17, Acts 10:44-46, Acts 19:6). To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, it helps to be exercising the following steps of faith and obedience:

  • repentance;
  • water baptism (Acts 2:38);
  • seeking the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-38, Matthew 5:6, Luke 11:13); and
  • being submitted to God (Romans 6:13).

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:13-16

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