Christian Life and Growth - Baptism

Dr. Steve Viars December 31, 1999

Baptism Our Lord commanded His church to make disciples and baptize them. It is quite clear that the early church understood His teaching and obeyed it. Numerous references tell us of their immediate baptism after their salvation. Unfortunately, Christ's disciples today do not seem to be as faithful to hear, teach, and obey His commands regarding baptism. Since baptism is our Savior's imperative, and was faithfully practiced by the New Testament church, every believer must carefully study and heed Christ's teaching on baptism.

1. What kind of confusion exists about baptism?

2. How might one’s view of baptism impact his view of salvation?

I. Who Should Be Baptized?

A. Christ Commanded Baptism of Believers.

1. What are Christ's four commands in Matt. 28:19, 20?

a. _______________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________

d. _______________________________________________________

2. What must precede baptism according to Mk. 16:14-16? 3. Baptism is not related to salvation. Salvation cannot be of human merit, for it is a work of God--not of man. Read the following verses, and note how we are saved. a. Jn. 1:12, 13 b. Titus 3:5 c. Eph. 2:8, 9 B. The Apostles Practiced Baptism of Believers. According to the following verses, what occurred before baptism took place? 1. Acts 2:36-40 2. Acts 8:9-13 _______________________________________________________________

3. Acts 16:30-34 _____________________________________________________________

C. If one holds to the belief that baptism is a part of salvation, then what are the implications of this on the rest of scripture?


D. If someone were to die having truly believed in Christ, but not yet been baptized, would that person go to heaven? ____________

E. Try to interpret, using sound hermeneutics which were introduced in Lesson #2 the following “difficult” passages. 1. Jn. 3:5 2. 1 Pet. 3:21

II. Why Should a Believer Be Baptized?

A. Obedience to God's Word

1. Christ commanded baptism in Matt. 28:19, 20.

2. Baptism was practiced in the New Testament church.

B. Identification with Jesus Christ Read Rom. 6:3-16. Baptism is not a ritual; it is an identification with Jesus Christ. Baptism is an outward expression of your inward faith in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection; it is a reminder that you are dead to sin and arisen to walk in newness of life. C. Church Membership Read Acts 2:36-42 and notice the events which preceded membership to the local church:

1. Conviction

. Repentance and faith

3. Baptism

4. Membership

III. How Should a Believer Be Baptized?

A. The Greek word for "baptize" is "baptizein," which means "to dip or immerse." This is the word used in the New Testament.

B. Which mode of baptism fits the thought of the following passages: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion?

1. Jn. 3:23 2. Acts 8:36-39 3. Rom. 6:3-5 4. Col. 2:12

C. Biblical immersion symbolizes our identification with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3, 4).

It consists of excluding the person from sight (in posture or repose of death) once in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and rising to newness of life.

D. What would you say to a person who says, “I’m a disciple of Christ, but have no desire to be baptized?”

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video