The Importance of Baptism

Mark 1:1-5

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You." 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'" John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. NKJV

When Jesus gave the great commission to the disciples He wanted them to continue baptizing those who became disciples. Baptism was just a part of becoming a disciple. There was no question as to if you should, it was an accepted fact. But today baptism means so many things to different people. Baptism for some is practiced in a much different way than it was in the New Testament. And also some have completely abandoned the teachings of the New Testament.

Over the next few weeks we are going to look at what the Bible says about baptism, it's importance and other vital elements. As Baptists we hold a somewhat peculiar view from many other church around us. So for Baptists, these things are essential to our existence. If there were no differences between us and the other churches, as some people think, then there is no reason for our separate existence.


  1. Important enough that baptism was a major part of John's ministry.
    1. We do not know the hows and the whys except to say that John the Baptist had a direct commission from God.
      1. It was foretold that when the Messiah came that He would be preceded by one who would prepare the way.
      2. John was to come in the spirit of that Old Testament prophet, Elijah.
      3. And although he did not do miracles like Elijah did yet he had the same mannerisms and appearance.
      4. His message was plain, the Messiah is coming and you need to repent.
      5. And repent they did by the hundreds and thousands.
    2. But in his commission from God, God had commanded him to baptize those who would follow him.
      1. This he did with unwavering regularity.
      2. There were man who refuse the will of God and were not baptized.
        1. Luke 7:29-30; 29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John . 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. NKJV
      3. He refused to baptize those religious leaders who were more interested in going with the crowd than getting right with God.
    3. It appears from Acts 1:21-22 21 "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." NKJV
      1. From this I understand that all the apostles had been baptized by John
      2. They thought it was so important, that it was required for Judas' replacement.
  2. Important enough for Jesus to walk 60 miles to be baptized by the Baptist.
    1. When Jesus was about 30 and He began His public ministry, the first thing that He did was to walk, from Nazareth to the lower end of the Jordan to find John and to be baptized by him.
    2. John's baptism was such that no one but John had the authority from God to do it.
    3. So the only way to get God's baptism was for Jesus to travel the distance, not to become a disciple of John but to fulfill all righteousness.
  3. Important enough that Jesus continued to baptize His followers although it was the disciple who did the baptizing.
    1. There is not much said about it but there is a reference to the baptizing that Jesus' disciples did.
      1. John 3:22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. NKJV
      2. John 4:1-4; Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2(though Jesus Himself did not baptize , but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. NKJV
  4. Important enough that it is an intricate part of the great commission.
    1. Matt 28:18-20; 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. KJV
    2. Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. NKJV
    3. Baptism was the public profession of one's faith.
      1. They did not have church buildings where you could do this in private.
      2. Instead it had to be done at public pools or rivers where everyone could witness you making this public testimony to being a follower of Jesus Christ.
  5. Important enough that we do not know of a single convert in the New Testament that was not baptized.
    1. John baptized all those who repented.
    2. Jesus' disciples baptized followers during Jesus ministry.
    3. Two thousand were baptized on the day of Pentecost.
    4. Whenever more were saved they too were baptized.
    5. The Samaritans that were saved at Philip's preaching also were baptized.
    6. Even the lone Ethiopian was baptized before he returned home to Ethiopia.
    7. All those who heard and believed the message of Peter at Cornelius' house were baptized.
    8. Everywhere Paul went he made and baptized disciples.
    9. There was such an emphases on baptism that everyone who believed in the New Testament was baptized.
  6. It keeps the gospel pure.
    1. Death
      1. You cannot have scriptural baptism without picturing the death of Jesus.
      2. Paul says we are buried with him in baptism.
      3. You only bury they dead.
      4. We died with Jesus and are dead to the world through our connection with Him.
      5. Only baptism pictures that.
    2. Burial
      1. Baptism is a burial.
      2. Tell the story of the little boy who buried the rooster with a couple of clumps of dirt.
      3. Being buried with Him identifies us with Jesus.
      4. It witnesses that we are His.
    3. Resurrection
      1. Only immersion can picture all three.
      2. We are raised from the waters of baptism as Jesus was raised from the dead.
      3. As He was raised from the grave to never die again so we are raised from the death of sin, never to live again according to the flesh.
  7. It is a mark of obedience
    1. It is a command just as other commands.
    2. We are not the ones to judge what God says, but we are simply to obey.
    3. To not obey is disobedience and rebellion.
    4. Samuel told Saul that rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft.
    5. The command for the church to baptize has never been rescinded.
    6. Your command to be baptized if you are a believer has never been recalled.
     This message was preached at FBC Toulon,
    1. by Albert Harmon. See it at