Romans 6:1 – 11
What does Baptism mean?
I. The reason the church practices baptism: Obedience.
A. Jesus commanded the church to practice baptism.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:19 – 20]
1. Jesus noted the process of making disciples included baptism and teaching.
2. The idea of baptizing and teaching to aid in obedience.
B. The early church practiced it.
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." [Acts 2:36 – 39]
1. Baptism was a response to faith (believed that Jesus is Lord) and forgiveness.
2. Baptism was a sign of repentance.
II. The reason baptism is necessary: sin.
A. Because of Adam, we have a corrupted nature.
1. “Born in sin and inclined to disobey God’s will.” [Free Methodist Catechism]
a. (The) “inner bias to sin leads us into sinful acts.” [FM Cat.]
“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law;  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” [Romans 7:21 – 24]
b. “Because of our sinful condition inclines us to evil, we will not rightly obey God without His merciful deliverance; indeed we cannot.” [FM Cat.]
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;  the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” [Romans 8:5 – 8]
2. What is sin?
a. “A willful transgression of the known law of God.” [FM Cat.]
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” [Hebrews 10:26]
b. “Any violation of the law of God.” [FM Cat.]
B. Salvation is possible only through Jesus.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]
III. What does baptism do for us?
A. Baptism is an “outward sign of an inward grace.”
(John the Baptist said) “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” [Matthew 3:11]
(Peter said) “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” [Acts 10:47 – 48a]
1. Through the Holy Spirit we are changed.
“In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,  having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” [Colossians 2:11 – 13]
a. “putting off of the sinful nature.”
b. “dead in your sins/sinful nature... God made you alive with Christ.”
2. In the act of baptism, we symbolize physically what God has done for us spiritually.
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” [Romans 6:4]
a. The idea is we are “buried” to sin and live to Christ.
b. It takes a court order to dig up a buried body... the court of heaven will not give that order. Sin is gone, new life is here.
3. In baptism we identify with Jesus.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” [Romans 6:8]
a. (Ill.) A child who plays “dress up” to pretend to be an adult.
b. We identify with death (to sin) and a new life in the resurrection.
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” [Romans 6:10 – 11]
B. It confirms and nourishes our salvation. [FM Cat.]
1. It is an act of faith and obedience.
a. Our sins have been washed by the blood of Jesus.
b. We have new life through Jesus.
2. It is making a covenant with God.
a. We are promising to allow God to constantly wash us...
b. ... and constantly renew us.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” [Titus 3:4 – 5]