Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself was baptized in water by John the Baptist. John the Baptist at first did not want to baptize Jesus because he new that He was the Messiah. We read in Matthew 3:13-17 “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? 15 But Jesus answering said to him, permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he permitted Him. 16 And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him. 17 And behold, a voice from heaven saying, this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Jesus did this as an act of obedience to the Father as an act of fulfillment of righteousness. He also gave a command to His Disciples, we read in Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Baptism is obedience to Jesus Christ. When is a person baptized? A person is baptized when he has decided to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said to Nicodemus we read in John 3:5 “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The baptism in water is the obedience to Christ. After Jesus was baptized in water the Holy Spirit came on Him. Now if a person follows the Lord Jesus, becomes obedient to Him, believes in Him, commits himself to Jesus, then only can he be baptized because he is born again, he decides to die to himself to live for Christ. We read the meaning of baptism in Romans 6:3-7 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 knowing this that our old self was crucified with Him that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.”
When you accept Jesus Christ and you become born again, you died to sin you died to yourself. The old man is buried in the water, he is crucified with Christ. Therefore it is under the water, he is buried symbolically under the water from where a new man comes up out of the water. It is to obedience, and a token of my unification with Jesus Christ that as He died for my sins I also died to myself and I am baptized into death, I come out of the water to live a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. We read in Romans 6:6 “knowing this that our old self was crucified with Him that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” That obedience forgoes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that’s why many people are not baptized in the Holy Spirit. They never became obedient to Jesus and therefore they are not baptized in the Holy Spirit. However the Lord baptized many people in the Holy Spirit before they were baptized in water. We read that in Acts where Peter went and while he was preaching the gospel the Holy Spirit fell on these people and they were baptized. He said who can prevent these people from being baptized after the Lord Himself has baptized them in the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is an act of obedience; there is only one baptism. We read that in Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Many people ask about baptism, do you need to go to church to be baptized. What do you need to do to be baptized? The first thing is you must accept Jesus Christ you must commit yourself to die to yourself, to live for Jesus Christ. Baptism is a public declaration of your decision and your commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Now who can baptize you? Any other believer who is following the Lord Jesus Christ, who believes in Jesus who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, any brother in the Lord can baptize you. You don’t need to go to any special church or whatsoever. Yes, there are brethren in the church that can baptize you so that is your choice. Either you go to a church and you ask the Pastor or whoever to baptize you, you don’t need to go through any classes to be baptized. The important thing is that you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that you started a relationship, that you repented of yourself that you made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, by your own decision because you have decided to Jesus Christ. You make a public declaration of your obedience to Jesus Christ and you are baptized.
Where can you be baptized? Any place, you can be baptized in a dam, in a river, in a bath, wherever there is water, it is a public declaration, obedience to Jesus Christ. Jesus said we must be baptized. The best thing to do is to get on with it, get over with it, be obedient to Jesus Christ and follow Him. Many people get stuck on this.
The question often arises whether a person should be immersed once or three times. You die once, to my mind I understand the baptism is a public declaration of my death being crucified with Christ. I go down into that water I die I come out of the water and I am resurrected with Christ to live a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. I am baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit according to the commandment to the instruction of Jesus Christ. Whether I baptized once or three times; does it matter? I wouldn’t know, but I am baptized. If I am baptized three times maybe I died three times it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that in obedience to Jesus Christ I have followed Jesus to fulfill all righteousness, to clear my conscience, that I have been obedient to Him. Then I can go to Jesus and I can say: Lord I am following You with all my heart I have obeyed. I have been baptized, I made a public declaration and I can ask: Lord Jesus please baptize me in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a free gift from God to those who believe, who follow Jesus Chris. Jesus baptize you in the Holy Spirit as promised.
One day we shall will stand in front of His throne one day and say: Lord I have been baptized like You were baptized, in obedience to You. I was baptized, I followed You, the way that You commanded me to fulfill all righteousness. I became obedient like Jesus Christ was obedient to the Father.
That is the correct way to be baptized, under water by whoever is a child of God, after you have made a commitment to Jesus Christ, as a public declaration, a token, obedience to Him. To show to the world and to myself that in obedience to Jesus, I am dying to self, I died, I have been crucified with Christ, I have risen out of the water and I now expect to walk in newness of Spirit, following Jesus Christ. I can also with confidence ask the Lord for the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the fullness of the Holy Spirit as He has promised to those who follow Him and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.