We are excited that you have made the decision to be water baptized in your desire to follow Jesus Christ as Lord. Please read and study this page. Once you have finished and believe you understand well enough to move forward, complete the water baptism questionnaire at the bottom of this page. A Pastor from Church at The Gate will contact you with further instructions and of our next scheduled water baptism celebration.
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Baptism is the public celebration of immersing a professing Christian in water according to the command of Christ and as an outward sign of His love and grace in our lives. Baptism publicly testifies before God and other witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12) that we identify ourselves as a “follower of Jesus Christ.” In baptism we testify that we have placed our faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and have made a commitment to submit our life to God. Baptism is our public rite of initiation into the family of God (John 3:5; 1 Corinthians12:13; Galatians 3:27-28) after salvation. It declares to the world we have repented from our sins, turned to God in faith, and made Him our Lord and Savior (Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:4; Acts 2:37-38, 16:31-34; 22:16). Baptism testifies as an outward sign of our union with Christ and God’s gracious work in us. It illustrates we have died to our old life of sin, been buried with Christ, raised to a new life in Christ, and washed from a guilty conscience (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:10-12; Titus 3:4-5; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21). Baptism also signifies that God will give us all that He promises, especially the gift of His Holy Spirit – who is called the guarantee of our inheritance (Acts 2:38-39; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; Ephesians 1:13-14).
WHY IS BAPTISM IMPORTANT?
One of the most important pieces to our Christian walk is Baptism. Although it is not essential to salvation. The Bible clearly teaches that a person cannot be saved by doing any kind of good works – including the “work” of being baptized (Romans 3:20, 28; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:4-5). Although baptism does not save us, it is still important for at least three reasons:
Reason #1: Jesus Christ commands us to be baptized. Acts 2:38 says, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for [in view of] the forgiveness of sins.”
Reason #2: It is part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus Christ gave the church the mission of making disciples, which includes baptizing them. We know from this passage that being baptized is part of being a disciple. In fact, if a person has not been baptized how can they faithfully obey Jesus’ command to disciple others? How could they encourage someone else to be baptized if they have not been baptized themselves?
Reason #3: It is a declaration that we are committed to living a life of holiness before God and that we are empowered by God to do so. Here is how Romans 6:1-14 explains it: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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…For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin…In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
WHEN SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?
It is to be done after a person makes Jesus Christ Lord. Believer’s baptism follows the “born again” experience at conversion (John 3:3), symbolizing the death of our old way of life (going down) and our “first breath” (raising up) to a new life in Christ (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17). This is the pattern in the New Testament. New believers were commanded to be baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Whenever possible baptism should immediately follow one’s conversion. Acts 2 describes the first converts in the first church. Acts 2:41 says, “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” The account of Philip and the eunuch also shows this same pattern. Acts 8:35-38 says, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went alongthe road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.” (For other examples read about the Apostle Paul in Acts 9:18, Cornelius in Acts 10:48, and new converts in the city of Corinth in Acts 18:8.) Although one who desires baptism must first be “born again” (John 3:3), he does not need to feel worthy, perfect, or sinless. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the only perfect and sinless person who became the worthy sacrifice for the sins of all men (John 1:29; Romans 5:1-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 3:18).
HAVE YOU IDENTIFIED YOURSELF WITH YOUR LEADER?
Just as we are called by James to question the validity of our faith if we have no works to back it up (James 2:14-26), so we have reason to question the validity of our claim to be a true disciple of Christ if we resist getting baptized. We have already seen that we are commanded to be baptized (Acts 2:38). 1 John 2:4 says, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” It could be that we have never understood what baptism is and why it is important until now. We are certainly not alone. Though we may have been unaware of God’s will in this matter, we can praise God for leading us to take this important step of obedience! Remember, baptism is a wonderful opportunity to identify ourselves with Christ. It is a powerful way to communicate an important message. In being baptized, we are telling others in a powerful way that…
• We have committed our life to Christ.
• We are determined to turn from our old ways of serving ourselves to a new life of serving Jesus Christ.
• We are trusting in Christ’s death on the cross as the substitute for our sin.
• We have determined in our heart to do whatever Christ wants us to do.
• We want to be a part of the body of Christ.
• Jesus Christ, as our Leader, is worth following – even though it may be uncomfortable to do so.
CAN CHILDREN BE BAPTIZED?
Certainly, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. We do require that you wait until your children are at least 6 years old (preferably older) so they can make an intelligent and believable profession of faith that is their own. We believe that a younger child can be saved, but the older a child is, the more they will understand, and the more meaningful baptism will be for them. Remember that children do not need to be baptized in order to be Christians.
WHEN SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted Jesus Christ for salvation and been born again. However, remember that you are not baptized in order to become a Christian. Rather you are baptized because you are a Christian.
HOW SHOULD I BE WATER BAPTIZED?
We baptize by submersion (as opposed to sprinkling or pouring) because we believe it most clearly fulfills the biblical form. The term “baptize” literally means “to submerge, immerse, or plunge”. In addition, going under water best represents what happens when you become a Christian.
While the submersion mode of baptism best illustrates the work of Christ, the Bible does not mandate how much water should be used. Therefore, we would not argue with those who believe they have a valid baptism in another form. We will always baptize by submersion unless there are other extenuating circumstances that would guide us (physical handicap, sickness, etc.).
Again, the next step is to complete the Water Baptism Questionnaire which will alert Pastor that you are ready to move forward and have read and understand the information on this page. He will contact you with further instructions and details of our next scheduled water baptism celebration.