It is interesting to go back in time to see the church in its primitive state. . .when the Spirit was still directly instructing Christians on how God wanted religion practiced.

One of the most detailed cases of conversion is the Ethiopian whom Philip taught while traveling down a lonely back road (Acts 8:26-40). This treasurer requested baptism, and Philip conducted his baptism in the way God approves.

Note carefully how baptism was done in the New Testament.

  • The treasurer made a confession of faith before baptism. He said, “I belive that Jesus Christ the Son of God” (8:37). No one can be scripturally  baptized  unless  he  has  faith  in  Jesus (john 8:24; Mark  16:16) and is willing to make it known (Romans 10:9, 10). Note that he did not confess that God had for Jesus’ sake already forgiven his sin, since his baptism was for the  purpose  of  forgiving  sin  (Acts  2:38;  22:16;  1Peter 3:21).
  • The  treasurer  was  immediately  baptized. He did not hesitate nor procrastinate.  He was not told he would have to be voted on (unheard of in the New Testament)  or  that  he  would  be  on probation for some time.  He did not have to go through weeks of classes or have to wait for several others who also wanted to be baptized. Someone has noted that no sinner in the Book of Acts ate, drank, or slept before being baptized once he learned that he was lost.
  • Both the candidate and the administrator got in the water. They “both went down into the water” and came up out of the water (8:38, 39). Some have said that the eunuch was holding up a water jug when he said, “See here is water . . .”  (One older lady heard that and said, “My Bible says they both went down into the water. Are you telling me they both went down into a jug?!”) Baptism in the New Testament was always a burial-never sprinkling or pouring.  John Chose Aenon near to Salim as his place for baptisms “because there was much water there” (John 3:23; cf, Mark 1:10). Just as Jesus was buried in a tomb, “. . .we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like  as  Christ  was  raised  up  from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk  in newness of life” (Romans 6:4, 5; cf. Colossians 2:12).
  • Baptism  began a  joyful  journey  with  God. Acts 8:40 says this new Christian  “went on his way rejoicing.”  Why?  Because  his  sins  were  washed away  and  he  had  been  added  to God’s family, the church (Acts 2:47). Each of God’s steps to salvation is important:

.   Faith changes a person’s thinking (Hebrews 11:6);

.   Repentance changes his lifestyle (Acts 3:19);

.   Confession of faith forces him to “come out in  the  open”  (Matthew  10:32, 33);

.   Baptism changes his guilty state (from “outside” to “inside” Christ’s body, Galatians 3:26,27).

Study  the  other  cases  of  conversion in the Book  of  Acts  and  note  carefully  the  original  pattern.  Let’s  do  what  they  did.



Twenty-seven times the student  of  Acts  finds  the  words   “baptize,”   “baptized,”  and  “baptism.”  Over  and  over  again, the diligent  Bible student is impressed with what this book has to say on this subject.

First,  we  see  the  NECESSITY  of  baptism.

In  the  Book  of  Acts,  when  men  and  women  asked  what  they  needed  to do  in  order  to  be  saved, baptism was always a part of the answer (Acts 2:38; 16:39).  For example, on the Day of Pentecost,  the people who were  “pricked” by Peter’s preaching were told to ” …repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Did  Peter  tell  these  men  and  women  to  do  something  that  wasn’t necessary to their salvation?  Those  who  teach  salvation  by  “faith only”  have to say that he did. However, Peter’s language makes clear the essentiality of baptism. Notice that he told them to baptized for the “remission” of their sins  (Acts  2:38). Based  upon  Peter’s  inspired  statement,  we would have to say that baptism is as essential to salvation as having one’s sins remitted. To argue that baptism is unessential is to argue that having one’s sins remitted is unessential. Surely, no one would say that having one’s sins remitted is unessential.  After  all,  Jesus  shed  His  blood   “…for  the  remission  of  sins” (Matthew 26:28).  Was it necessary for Jesus to die?  Almost all would agree that the death of  Jesus  was  essential  to  man’s  salvation (Hebrews 2:9). Yet, many reject the essentiallity of baptism when the same language is used to describe it.  Later, in the Book of Acts, we find the word “must” connected with baptism on two different occasion.  On the road to Damascus, Saul was told to go into the city and there it would be told him what he “must” do in order to please Jesus (Acts 9:6).  In the city, Saul was told to arise and “wash away” his sins (Acts 22:16; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11). In Acts  16, the Philippian jailor asked what he “must” do in order to be saved (16:30).  A part of what Paul and Silas instructed him to was to be baptized (16:33).

Second, we see the URGENCY of baptism.

Those who learned the truth on the Day of Pentecost were baptized on that same day (Acts 2:41). The apostles did not delay baptizing these men and women into Christ.  They realized that until men and women were baptized, they were still in their sins (Acts 2:38). In Acts eight, the eunuch was baptized on his way home from worship. From the context, it is easy to see the urgency that the eunuch placed upon baptism.  When they came to water, he asked if anything was standing in the way of his being baptized (Acts 8:36). Based upon his confession, Philip commanded the chariot to stand still and baptized him into Christ (Acts 8:37-38).  The eunuch did not even wait until he got home to be baptized. He obey God immediately.  In like manner, when the Philippian jailor and his family were baptized the “…same hour of the night” (Acts 16:33). From the context, we know that their baptism took place in the early hours of the morning. After all, they were not taught until after midnight (16:25). Why didn’t Paul and Silas wait until daybreak to baptize the jailor and his household? What does this tell us about the urgency of baptism?

Third, we see the AUTHORITY of baptism.

Throughout the Book of Acts, baptism is done “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38; 8:12, 16: 10:48; 19:5). To do something in the name of Jesus is to do it by His authority. In giving the great commission to His disciples, Jesus connected baptism with His authority.  In giving the great commission to His disciples, Jesus connected baptism with His authority. He said “All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20; cf. Colossians 3:17). It is not surprising, then, that the apostles made this same connection between baptism and the authority of Christ throughout the Book of Acts.

Any Bible student who studies the Book of Acts must be impressed with what this great book says about baptism. Those who reject baptism as being essential to salvation put themselves in the unenviable position of rejecting the Book of Acts.

Note: not an actual picute of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist

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