BAP-02 - Who May Be Baptized?
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The Ethiopian eunuch said, “See here is water. What hinders me from
being baptized?” Acts 8:36.
Implied from the question by the eunuch is that one must be prepared
to be baptized. Today we want to think about, who is a candidate to be
baptized? Is anybody who just walks up off the street a candidate? Is an
atheist or agnostic a candidate to be baptized? What about a young child?
When are they ready to be baptized?
Who's ready to be baptized? Is just anybody off the street who comes
up and says ‘I'm ready to be baptized,’ really ready be baptized? Can you
then take somebody off the street, who knows nothing about Christ and
dunk them in water and that be baptism? What about somebody who's
living an immoral lifestyle? Maybe somebody was a murderer and is never
changed his mind on that, maybe somebody who has robbed a bank it is
living it up off the funds and is still living in sin, is that person a candidate to
be baptized? What about a young child? At what point does a person
become ready to obey the gospel? Is just knowing the facts, the five steps
in the plan of salvation, and who Jesus is, does that qualify one to be
These are the questions we're going to consider today from the word
of God and think about: Who is really ready to be baptized?
Friend it's true that sometimes people who are not good candidates,
who weren't ready, have been baptized. Maybe for example of a young
child saw a brother or sister who was ready obey the gospel, and then he
thinks ‘well I may as well do that too.’ He hadn't really thought about it
before. Maybe he isn't to that maturity point yet, and maybe he doesn't
understand fully. But he might think, ‘well they got a lot of praise for being
baptized, so I will too.’ Is that person really ready to obey the gospel?
Maybe a young person does it to be like other people. Maybe he wants to
be like his parents. Maybe he wants to be like some other friend he saw,
and so he says ‘I think I obey the gospel too.’ Was he really ready to obey?
That's a serious commitment. Was he ready to do that?
You know sometimes I've seen this happen in my own life. You got a
large group of kids at camp, and camp's a good thing, learning the Bible is
a good thing, teaching them the Gospels a good thing, but you've got a
large group of kids at camp and maybe one or two who are really ready do
obey the gospel and that causes a domino effect. Where the rest of those
really ready? Maybe they were, or maybe it was just they wanted to do
peer pressure. They wanted to do what others and were doing as well.
And then I've seen situations like this of people who maybe weren't
quite ready to obey the gospel but pressure caused them to. Maybe you've
got a husband or a wife who's a Christian and maybe that husband or that
wife to make their spouse happy says ‘I think I'll obey the gospel that'll
make my wife really happy.’ Well were they really ready? Were they doing
it for the right motive? Do they understand what they needed to do to
become a Christian?
You know when we think about who's ready to obey the gospel and
who is a proper candidate to submit to Christ's teaching on baptism, let's
ask some questions that we really need to consider relating to this subject.
Number one: What is faith? Is faith something that is essential to
obey the gospel? The Bible says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by
the word of God,” Romans 10:17. And the Scripture says, “Without faith it's
impossible to please God,” Hebrews 11:6. I must have faith in Christ. I must
believe to be baptized, Mark 16:16. So if faith is hearing the word of God
and having a conviction a belief in Jesus, then friend that's something the
individual has to possess. He has to read the Bible for himself. He has to
study the Scriptures. He has to develop his own conviction based on the
word of God. It can't be just because somebody said so, or somebody else
wanted you to, or because of pressure, or trying to please others. I've got
to have, one's got to have, his own faith in Christ.
A second question to consider is: What is baptism? Does a person
understand the correct mode of baptism? Do they understand what baptism
is for? Jesus said “You'll know the truth and the truth will make you free,”
John 8:32. Have they been taught on the subject of baptism? Do they
understand its importance? Do they understand the commitment and the
change that one is making in their life? If not, then friend there not yet a
candidate to obey the gospel.
A third question to consider: What does it mean to repent? Now
here's how that relates to baptism, the Bible teaches that repentance
precedes baptism. Remember Acts 2:38? They were told when they
wanted to know ‘What can we do to overcome the sin of killing our
Messiah?’ ‘Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins,’ Acts
2:38. Does a person understand what it means to repent? You know
sometimes I think people don't because they are baptized, and that's all
good and well, they think and then go right back to living the same way.
Maybe they did. But maybe they weren't taught that repentance means I've
got a turn from sin. Repentance means I've got a do my best not to go back
into that lifestyle, and it's something necessary before baptism occurs.
Another question to consider before one obeys the gospel, the
question needs to be addressed: How do you intend to live your life
differently? Romans 6:4 says this, “When we come out of the waters of
baptism we're raised to walk in newness of life.” How's this going to change
your life? What are you going to do differently? Are you going to talk the
same? Are you going to act the same? Are you going to be involved in the
same things? Or is there going to be a genuine change in one's life that's
evident by all who see them?
Another question to consider, and this is especially true as it relates
to young people, you know sometimes I talk to people who may as we
mention see a brother or sister who is ready to obey the gospel. Maybe this
child is five or six or seven and they say ‘I think I need to be baptized too.’
Well let's ask them this: What is sin? Have you ever sinned? Do you realize
right now, do you understand, that without Christ you are lost? They may
have an idea of what sin is, but do they understand the consequences and
the gravity of it? Are they able to distinguish between good and evil? Do
they have that maturity that goes along with that as well?
You know, I remember talking to a young person one time and he
wanted to be baptized. I said to him ‘Are you saved right now?’ and he said
‘Well sure.’ Well wait a minute now, if we don't understand ‘Hey I've sinned
that's personal. I'm lost. I need Jesus to overcome the sin problem,’ then
friend, we're not yet to the point where we're ready to obey God's plan of
A third question or another question to ask is: Why do you want to be
baptized? ‘Well I saw my brother do it, or I saw a friend do it, or it'll make
my wife happy.’ No, I want to be baptized because I realize I cannot contact
the soul saving blood of Jesus without it, Romans 6:2-4. I want to be
baptized to obey Christ, to commit my life 100% to Him, Luke 9:23, and so
that I can ‘Be faithful unto death and one day I'll receive the crown of life,’
You know another question we ought to ask is: Why did Jesus die on
the cross? Are you lost at this time? What does it mean to really be lost?
And do we understand the seriousness of that commitment?
When we think about obedience to the gospel we want to ask: Do you
understand the steps in the plan of salvation? Have you heard the word of
God? You've got to have done the understanding, the intellect, and the
maturity to process the gospel message. Once you've heard that, do you
believe it? Do you really believe? Are you willing to make a lifelong
commitment until death that Jesus is the Savior? Are you willing to repent?
Would you stand before others and make the good confession? Are you
going to be baptized into Christ for the remission of one's sins?
Leading up to baptism there are some things that one seriously
needs to consider before he's a candidate to be baptized.
Now let's talk about some of the qualities that are necessary, some
traits or characteristics, or qualities that are necessary to obey the gospel.
One for sure is that of maturity. Is the individual who is considering
obedience to the gospel mature enough to make that decision? This is
what we mean by maturity, in Romans 7:1-4 there is an illustration used
unto which my relationship with Christ is like and that is of marriage. Is this
person ready to enter into a serious commitment to Christ like unto
marriage? Are they ready to make that type of commitment? You know just
because somebody reaches the age of puberty, reaches the age of
puberty, doesn't mean they're ready to be marriage married. Just because
somebody turns 16 doesn't mean they're ready to get their driver’s license.
Just because one may turn the legal age of 18, doesn't mean he's mature
enough to join the military.
Just because you know certain factors may be there, the maturity
also has to be there. You may have a young man is 18 years old and has
never had much responsibility, never had much a training in that, are you
going to take that 18-year-old person and say ‘You're 18 go join the Army’?
Well maybe, but he's likely not mature enough to really follow through with
that decision. You know one has to reach a maturity level where some of
these things are necessary, where I'm ready to make a lifelong daily
commitment to put the Lord first.
Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If any man desires come after me let him deny
himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” You've got to be ready to
make a commitment that I'm going to be ready if I'm called upon to die for
the Lord. Revelation 2:10 “Be faithful until death. I'll give you the crown of
life.” Friend during the times of the first century when someone became a
Christian that was a very serious commitment because the knock may have
come on the door, ‘Are there any Christians here?’ If you raised your hand
and you signified you were, you could be put in jail and you could be killed
for that. Are you ready to die for your convictions to Christ? Is this person
ready to be convicted of sin and the consequences that go along with that
when we fail to follow Christ and His teaching?
Now another question to consider and this directly relates to
someone who may be of the right age and maturity level and that is: Is the
person is this person accountable at the age, what we think of as the age,
of being accountable for their own actions? Now let's understand there's a
time when children are not saved but safe. Here's what we mean by that
Matthew 18:3 Jesus said this, “Bring the little children to me and do not
forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” There's an age and point
in time when little children are pure and innocent and their characteristics
and qualities are clearly identifiable of someone in the kingdom. They're
safe in the arms of God. Ezekiel 28:15 God says to the king of Tyre “You
were perfect in all your ways from the day you were created,” listen to this
now, “until,” adverb of time, “iniquity was found in you.” There was a point
time when the king of Tyre was pure and innocent and right in the sight of
God, until he became accountable for his own actions.
Now we know that adults, those who've reached the age of
accountability, they do have to give an account of their actions. 2
Corinthians 5:10, “We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and
give an account for the things done in the body.” We ask the question,
where does the Scripture teach that there is that age of being safe and
there is that age of accountability?
The passage is found in Isaiah 7. Listen to these words in Isaiah
7:16. The Scripture says, “For before the child shall know to refuse the evil
and choose the good God says the land that you dread will be forsaken by
both her Kings.” Now God's making a prophecy there about what's going to
happen to the land and to the Kings who are going to take it over. I want
you to listen to these words again God says, “There is a time before which
a child knows to refuse evil and choose good.”
When we say age of accountability that's what we're talking about.
Let me illustrate. Let's say you got a 2-5 month-old baby and that baby is
throwing a fit about something. He can't get his bottle, can't find his pacifier,
whatever. Now we want to try to teach him. We want to try to help him. We
want to try to do what we can. That baby at that age, does he know it's
wrong to act that way? Does he know that? When you take even a toddler
and somebody steals his toy, got little toddler here we're try to teach him
and somebody steals his toy, and he just hauls off and waylays somebody
over it, kid next to him. Well that isn't right and that is good, isn't good and
we want to teach him proper traits and characteristics. Are we going to say
that kid is at the age of accountability? He sinned we better teach him right
and wrong and get them in the water? He's accountable for that. He's going
go to hell, because he did that? Of course not! He's in an age of learning.
He's in an age of training. But he is not to the point where we're going to
say, ‘He's ready to refuse. He's at that point where he can refuse the evil
and choose the good.’ He's in an age of learning and being trained but not
necessarily accountable for those sins in the eternal aspect of that and so
we've got to realize related to that.
Now let's ask another question as it relates to God's plan of salvation,
in visiting with someone who may want to be baptized we want to ask
them: What do you understand? What do you know about the gospel plan
Now let me illustrate it this way. Here's why this is so important, let's
say that somebody comes in off the street and they don't know anything
about Christ, they don't know anything about the church, they don't know
anything about the gospel, but they say ‘Do you folks baptize people?’ And
we say ‘Sure we baptize folks.’ He says, ‘You know I never really thought
about a whole lot, but I think I probably better go ahead do that just to be
safe. Don't know about Christ really, don't know about the plan of salvation,
don't know a whole lot, but just as a get out of jail free, just as a safety idea,
I think I'll go ahead and do it.’ Is that person ready? Is he a candidate to be
Must you know certain things before you're ready to be baptized?
Indeed the Scripture teaches you must! Ephesians 5:17 says, “Do not be
ignorant but understand the will of the Lord.” I've got to have an
understanding of God's will as it relates to plan of salvation. You've got to
know the truth before the truth can make you free when the John 8:32.
When the Ethiopian eunuch said, ‘Here's water. What hinders me?’ was
there any condition that Philip laid forth? Absolutely! “If” that's a condition.
“If you believe with all your heart you may.” Was it essential before baptism
that he understand understood and was able to believe the message of
salvation in Christ? Absolutely!
And so, what is a person need to know? Do they know they're lost in
sin? Friend I'm I truly believe if people more people realize without Jesus I
am lost in sin, I'm headed down the road to hell, and if I don't make my life
right with God I might spend eternity with the devil if I die this way, do we
really understand the personal responsibility and consequences of our sin?
“The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23. Do we really understand about
the Lord's church and His plan of salvation? In Acts 8, when they taught
them about Christ, they taught them about the things concerning the
kingdom, Acts 8:8-12. Do people understand you're going to be added to
the Lord's church? You you've got to obey the plan of salvation and
become a Christian to be right with God.
Then we want to emphasize as Jesus clearly did in the Scripture: Are
you willing to change? You know somebody has a problem whatever that
problem may be that problem may be lying or stealing or cheating. Let's
say a person has a problem with lying and that person says ‘You know, I've
got this problem with lying and I think I need be baptized.’ Well that's good
that they're thinking about the plan of salvation, but we then say to them
‘Are you willing to repent?’ He says ‘Repent what you mean?’ ‘Are you
willing to stop lying?’ ‘You know I've never really thought about that let me
think about it.’ Well that person my friend, if he's not willing to change, his
heart and his mind and let the Scripture convict him, if we're not willing to
repent, then friend we're not a candidate for baptism.
How do we know that? Listen to Acts 2:38 again, “Repent and be
baptized for the remission of your sins.” Jesus said in Luke 13:3, ‘Unless
you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 3:6 John said a certain now
listen to this here's a classic example, certain religious elite but looks like
everybody else is doing it, they came out to John to be baptized by him in
the Jordan. John said this to them, “You brood of vipers!” What harsh
language a bunch of snakes in essence. “Who warned you to flee from the
wrath to come?” Then John said this, “Bring forth fruits worthy of
repentance.” They were going out to do it because everybody else was.
And John said ‘You change your life and commit to making this decision
before I'll baptize you.’ John refused to baptize them because they would
not or had not repented. They were not at the point of doing that before he
was going to baptize them. Is repentance a part of something you've been
considering before baptism?
Then we surely want to consider this friend, have you counted the
cost in obeying the gospel? Wouldn't you argue that anything that is really
valuable usually has a cost involved in it? Any of us would agree that
anything that's really important has some type of cost associated with that.
Obedience to the gospel will cost you something. It'll cost you time.
It'll cost you cost you commitment. It'll cost you sacrifice. It may cost you
friends, family, jobs, and other things that one cannot continue in if he is
going to obey the gospel and live true to Jesus. It may cost sacrifice. It may
cause persecution. It may mean that some of your friends no longer like
you. It may mean that the job that you have where you’re popular and that
may not be the case anymore. We’re not saying necessarily, but have you
really considered the costs?
Jesus taught us to count the cost, Luke 14:25-33. I'll assure you
whatever cost one may incur in obedience to the gospel; it's surely worth it
for all that we can receive.
Do you remember Romans 8:18? Paul said this, “I consider the
sufferings of this present world; they’re not worthy to be compared with the
glory which shall be revealed in us.” Let's say I have to give up on some
friends who've got some moral problems that I can't hang around anymore,
let's say that the family no longer wants to associate me because I don't do
some of the things I used to do, or let's say I receive persecution even
serious persecution, and there's a cost to it. Is that cost worth it?
Absolutely! If heaven is going to be my eternal home a place where the of
sorrow, pain, crying, death, and all these former things that we have here
have passed away, Revelation 21:3-4. If I'm going to be with God and
Christ for eternity and live a life of service to God and others, then friend
that surely would be worth it.
And so, we hope today that you'll think about the things that are
required necessary to be baptized. Maybe you're thinking to yourself and
maybe you're asking yourself, ‘You know was I really ready to be baptized
when I obeyed the gospel?’ If you didn't understand the right things, if the
motivation if you didn't do for the right motive, or have the knowledge that
God requires, or maybe you didn't change your life and just wanted to do it
to be popular, then friend one needs to be immersed into Christ for the
But as we think today about God's plan of salvation, friend we want to
make clear what God teaches one must do to be saved. You first have to
hear the word of God. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of
God,” Romans 10:17. Have we heard and made a commitment to the
message of the gospel? If we have, do we really believe “Jesus is the way
the truth and the life no man comes to the Father except by Him,” John
14:6? If I believe Christ is the truth and the life and the way, am I willing to
change my life and repent? Remember Acts 3:19, “Repent and turn again
that your sins may be blotted out.” “Unless you repent you will all likewise
perish,” Luke 13:3.
Would you make that good confession? The Ethiopian eunuch said,
‘Here's water. What hinders me?’ ‘If you believe with all your heart you
may.’ And he plainly said, ‘I believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living
God,’ Acts 8:36-38.
Would you be immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins?
Listen to how plain Jesus made it. Jesus said, “He who believes and is
baptized will be saved,” Mark 16:16. Peter said “Repent and be baptized for
the remission of sins,” Acts 2:38. And our Lord said in John 3:5, ‘Unless a
man is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
And so as we think about the plan of salvation and who is ready to
obey the gospel, friend we assure you we want men and women to obey
the gospel. We want them and God wants them to be ready to make that
commitment, to understand and know what they're doing, and be of an
accountable age, so they can follow that up, so they can follow that great
commitment up with being faithful unto death giving God the glory with
every day of their life.
Study Questions for: “Baptism Lesson 2: Candidate”
1. What question did the Ethiopian eunuch have in Acts 8:36?
2. What does Romans 10:17 tell us about faith?
3. What must we have to please God according to Hebrews 11:6?
4. According to John 8:32, what will make us free?
5. What were they told to do in Acts 2:38?
6. According to Romans 6:4, we’re raised to walk in the newness of what?
7. According to Revelation 2:10, we should be faithful unto what? Why?
8. What is our relationship with Christ compared to in Romans 7:1-4?
9. According to Luke 9:23, what must we do if we desire Jesus?
10. According to 2 Corinthians 5:10, what will we all do?