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Water baptism is not a hot preaching topic these days. Even though this powerful public act of commitment is highlighted throughout the New Testament in the Bible, it seems to have taken a back seat to other topics.  

When the Holy Spirit changes and transforms your heart when you practice repentance, the next step in following Christ is water baptism. 

Let’s pray this before you keep reading: Dear Father, thank you so much for your incredible kindness. Today, let the power of the Holy Spirit allow change to come in. Come and rearrange our lives so we may please you in a greater way. I ask you, Father, these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Why get water baptized? 

When I got baptized, back in 1982, it was a month after I had prayed to give my heart to Jesus. I remember how I overflowed with excitement because a month earlier Jesus had done something so deep and real in my life. I knew I had changed and water baptism was a public way to tell everybody that God had changed me. He brought me out of a life of atheism and transformed me from the foul-mouth person that I was. Water baptism is a public sign of inward change and that is why I was so open to it. Jesus has changed my life and I publicly communicated how proud I was to be a believer. 

Do you know how critical water baptism is? 

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18 tells us that we ought to go and preach the gospel to every nation, make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  

Do you know how to water baptize someone when you lead them to Christ? 

If not, keep reading. 

Are YOU water baptized? 

If not, keep reading. 

What we’ll learn from the Scriptures is that God is in the business of changing lives, no matter where you are in life, how old you are or what your race is. Whether you’re rich, poor, educated, uneducated, religious, irreligious, morally good, or morally bankrupt—God has the power to transform people. 

In fact, water baptism is an indication of that.

Let’s jump into the Book of Matthew, chapter three. There we see God loves to transform people by specifically using water baptism. In Matthew 3:1-6 (NIV) it says: In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”  

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 

John was saying that God is in the business of changing lives and He wants to change your life. People came from every direction to get baptized by John. Why? Because they needed to experience God’s great forgiveness. His forgiveness says, “I’ll remove your sin when you ask me to. I’ll wash you clean and take that heavy load of shame from you.” When John was baptizing people in the Jordan River, people kept coming. 

The people were overwhelmed with their sin so they asked God to forgive them and John baptized them. 

God wants repentance.  

The crowd continued to build and John took a break. In Matthew 3:7 (MSG) we see it captured this way: When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It’s your life that must change, not your skin!” John was angry at these two Jewish groups. These people were strict, self-righteous and religious. However, they were not right with God. They had never experienced the power of a transformed life. This is why John yelled at them when they wanted to be baptized too. We see clearly here how God needs REPENTANCE. 

John the Baptist was saying to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “What God wants is repentance.” He was telling them that religion doesn’t mean right-standing with God. In other words, he’s saying, “Look, we’re all sinners in need of salvation. No matter how good you may be, don’t deceive yourself. Your goodness is not good enough. You need salvation.” 

John was helping these religious leaders try to understand what it means to repent. When John chewed out the religious people, the rest of  the crowd started to ask him questions. Luke 3:10-14 (NIV) says this: “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you’re required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” 

John said the same thing to the regular rank that he did to the religious leaders. He made it clear that God wants repentance, which applies to everyone, everywhere. 

John was saying we’re all sinners in need of salvation. You need salvation. Repentance means that you don’t play with your eternal destiny. Heaven is real and so is hell. There’s one or the other, no in-between.

I need a SAVIOR! 

John the Baptist was clear on one thing: He was not the savior, Jesus was. The Scripture says in Luke 3:15-16 (CEV): Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?” John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” John was the forerunner of the Messiah. 

Jesus is the only one that can save you. 

Baptism doesn’t save you; it is simply a sign that declares you’ve been saved and have asked for forgiveness.

But baptism is more than just a ceremonial experience. 

The Apostle Paul gives us the richness of what it truly means to be baptized in Romans 6:3 (CEV): Don’t you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father. If we shared in Jesus’ death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with Him. We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies will no longer be the slaves of sin.”

Let that sink in.  

Paul is saying that when you get water baptized, you’re associating yourself with the death and burial of Jesus. When you come out of the water, you’re then aligning yourself with the resurrection of Jesus. 

You see? Baptism is not an empty ceremony. As we publicly demonstrate that we have experienced forgiveness because we recognize we need a savior, Jesus meets us in the water. 

Let’s close with this prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for changing lives. I ask you now to change my life. Wash away my sins and transform me so that I may walk with you every day of my life. I ask you this in the name of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.


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