Baptism is a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ. We call it “going public” at Coastal. It’s the next step after your salvation. The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is the first step of obedience after making a commitment.
1. To follow the example set by Christ. Mark 1:9 “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.” Why was Jesus baptized? In order to save Him? No, He didn’t need to be saved. He was perfect. Baptism doesn’t save you. It is a symbol of obedience and it’s an example that we are to do what He has done.
2. Because Christ commands it. Christ commands that every Christian be baptized. “Jesus said, `Go then to all people every and (1) make them My disciples, (2) baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and (3) teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Many people think, “I’ll be baptized after I’ve grown up. After I know about the Christian life, then I’ll be baptized.” No, it’s right after you make the decision to follow Christ. Notice the order: You make the disciples; then you baptize them; then you spend the rest of your life growing as a Christian.
3. It demonstrates that I’m really a believer. The Bible says, “Many of the people who heard Him believed and were baptized.” Baptism doesn’t make you a Christian. It just shows that you are a Christian. A wedding ring doesn’t make me married; it symbolizes the commitment that I made. It is an outward symbol of an inward commitment.
That’s what baptism is. Baptism doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s just an outward symbol of an inward commitment. It is your commitment to Christ that saves you. Baptism just says to the world, “I’m not ashamed to tell the whole world what’s happened to me. I’ve given my life to Christ.” The Bible says, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” How do you prove you’re a Christian? You obey His commands. One of His first commands is, “Be baptized.”
Baptism does two things.
1. It illustrates Christ’s burial and resurrection. “Christ died for our sins. He was buried and He rose again.” The Bible says “For when you were baptized you were buried with Christ and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.” At Coastal we baptize the way they did in the Bible — putting people all the way under the water. It is a symbol of a burial and resurrection. Just like Jesus Christ died and was buried in the ground for three days and then rose again.
2. Baptism illustrates my new life as a Christian. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “When anyone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun.” In the Bible, there was no such thing as a person claiming to be a Christian and not being baptized. It was automatic. You were baptized as soon as you gave your life to Christ.
There are lots of ways. There are some churches that sprinkle a little water on your forehead. Some pour a little water. Some dip a little bit. Other churches put you all the way under the water. Why do we believe and practice baptism by immersion at Coastal? Four reasons.
1. Because Jesus was baptized that way. We want to do it the way they did it in the Bible.
2. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.
3. That’s what the word means. “Baptize” literally means “dip under water.”
4. It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection.
You will be given a t-shirt as a gift. You can wear that t-shirt or bring your own. Women should wear shorts and a top or a swimsuit. Men may wear shorts, t-shirts or a swimsuit. Bring a change of clothes, a towel, and a plastic bag for your wet clothes.
Yes! If each person understands fully the meaning of baptism, and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage families to be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment. However, it is important to remember that baptism is a personal statement of faith, not a family or group tradition. It is usually not wise to delay your baptism while waiting on others to join you. This puts an undue pressure on them, and delays your obedience.