Read Matthew 28:18-20
We are exploring these three aspects of what it means to be a disciple:
A disciple is:
- A sent missionary (going/sharing/engaging culture)
- Baptized into a family (relational/church body/fellowship)
- A learner of the Word (knowledge/doctrine/study)
Or we could also say that a disciple loves Jesus with his or her:
Yesterday, we saw that we are to be “goers”—living as sent missionaries to the culture God has placed us in.
But we are not only “goers”—sent missionaries—but a disciple is one who has been baptized into the family of God.
Once a person has trusted Christ for salvation, first act of obedience is to follow Him in believer’s baptism. This is done by immersion (or dunking under the water) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Baptism is a wonderful visual picture of two glorious realities.
First of all, it is a picture of the gospel—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. When a person stands in the waters of baptism and goes under the water and comes back up, he or she visually depicts what Jesus underwent for our salvation.
Secondly, it is a picture of our new identity!!
Read Ephesians 2:1-3
Look at the all the descriptions Paul uses to describe our identity BEFORE we were saved. Spiritually dead! Following the world! Enslaved to Satan! Engaged in pleasing our flesh! Children of wrath.
But when God’s grace invaded our hearts, He did something amazing in giving us a new identity.
Read Ephesians 2:4-10
Through God’s sovereign grace, He took us from spiritual deadness to spiritual life. He has given us a resurrection where we are now new creations and have this wonderful new identity.
Read Romans 6:3-4
Baptism is a symbol of this spiritual reality of dying to our old life of sin and being raised to a new life with Christ and being granted this new identity.
So baptism is not absolutely necessary for salvation, but it is crucial in our act of obedience to Jesus as a disciple. Following Jesus in baptism means that you are identifying with His death, burial, and resurrection. It shows the world that you have died to your old self and have been raised with a new identity. It is a way of visually showing your profession of faith in Christ.
I need to stop and urge you that if you are a true believer in Christ and have been saved by grace and yet have not followed Jesus in obedience by being baptized, please contact me right away so we can discuss this.
Spend some time thinking about what Jesus has done to our old identity and how He has given us a new identity. Think about how this picture of dying to our old life of sin and being raised to newness of life is fully expressed in baptism.
Thank you that you raised me to new life. I was spiritually dead and you caused me to be born again. My old life is dead and gone, and I am a new creation in You. Thank you that your amazing grace brought about this glorious resurrection. Thank you that I am a baptized believer who has identified with your death, burial, and resurrection and have publically declared my allegiance to You.
In your Name,