The Apostle Peter commanded the crowd gathered in Jerusalem: "Repent,andbebaptizedeveryoneofyou......Butisthiscommand relevantinthe20thcentury? JustwhatISbaptism,anddoesGod require it for salvation?
The New Testament practice of water baptism seems outdated to many today. There
are Christian-professing churches that no longer require baptism, dismissing it as
merely an antiquated ceremony of a primitive church.
The most direct biblical passage concerning water baptism is found in Acts 2:36-41.
In his inspired sermon on thedayofPentecost,A.D.31,theApostlePeterconvictedhislistenersfortheirpartinhavingputtheMessiah todeath. Severalthousandbecamefilledwithguiltandshameonthatmemorabledaymorethan1,900years ago.
When a person comes to recognize, as this first century group did, that he has been
in rebellion against the laws andpurposesofhisCreator,whatshouldhedo?
Noticetheinspiredanswertothatquestion:"AndPetersaidtothem,'Repent,andbebaptizedeveryoneof you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your
sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"' (verse38,RSV).
Water baptism, as we shall learn from this study of the Bible, is also required by
God for salvation. With the help of this eye-opening lesson, we will come to understand
exactly what God commands concerning water baptism. We will begin by learning the
symbolic meaning of baptism. Then we'll study the Old Testament events that prefigured
New Testament baptism, noticing also the practice of John the Baptist, Jesus' personal
This lesson will answer such questions as: What is baptism? What is its biblical
history? What is its purpose? What is its meaning for us today? Why is it indeed
a vital step in becoming a member of the very Family of God? Let’s begin!
Much symbolism surrounds the subject of baptism. We need to understand that symbolism
to know why God requiresbaptismofthosewhowanttobecometrueChristians-Spirit-begottenchildrenofGod.
1. Did Jesus Christ condemn sin in the flesh? Rom.8:3-4. How? Heb.
4:15. Why did He die? ICorinthians.15:3. WhathappenedtoHisdeadbody? Verse4; Rom.8:11
Comment: Christ "condemned" sin by living a sinless life throughthepoweroftheHolySpirit.
Then He died for our sins - His death paid the penalty of sin that we have incurred-and
was buried. After three days and three nights He was "quickened" by God's Spirit-that
is, made alive and given spirit life. His resurrectionshowsHetriumphedoversinanddeath.
2. Is baptism symbolic of one's death, burial and resurrection from a "grave"? Col.
2:12-13, Rom.6:3-6. Also readverses7-13ofRomans6.
Comment: Just as Christ died for our sins and was buried, our baptism-being plunged
into a watery "grave"-is symbolic of the death and burial of our old sinful life.
And as Christ was resurrected in newness of life, our coming up out of the waters
of baptism is symbolic of our rising up from our "grave" to live a new life free
Baptism, as these verses show, pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
It also pictures the death andburialofthesinnerandhisrisinguptobeginlivingaChristianlife.
Let'selaborateontheabovealittlefurthertobesureweunderstandtheimportantsymbolismofbaptism. Going down into the water clearly pictures the death of Christ,
and of our old self. Likewise, being "buried" (immersed) in the water pictures the
burial of Christ, and of our sinful life. And coming up out of the water picturesChrist'sresurrectionandourcommitmenttowalkhenceforth"innewnessoflife"-obediencetoGod's law. After baptism we reckon ourselves as dead, so far as sin is concerned,
but alive through God and His Son JesusChrist (Rom.6:11).
The Apostle Paul said: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not
I, but Christlivesinme:andthe life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal.2:20).
Water baptism is simply an ordinance of Christ by which we symbolically express our
faith in Him as our personal Saviour-our belief in His death, burial and resurrection.
Baptism is also a symbolic expression of our repentancefromsinanddesiretototallydestroyand"bury"ouroldsinfullife. Baptismclearlyshowsour realization of
our own sins, our vanities, our wretchedness. It is an outward acknowledgment that
our selfish, vain and sinful old self must die so that we might rise to live a new
life of spiritual obedience to God as made possiblethroughthepowerofHisHolySpirit.
BaptismshowsourtotalsurrendertoGod. Itsymbolizesthecompleteburialoftheoldsinfulselfandour beginning a new life surrendered to the will and authority
The Old Testament contains significant types that prefigure New Testament water baptism.
These foreshadowing events are important to our understanding of Christ's and the
apostles' teachings concerning baptism. We will begin with Noah and the Flood.
1 . Does Noah's escape from the Flood-a watery "grave" for the sinning world-typify
our deliverance from sin's penaltythroughthesymbolicmeaningofwaterbaptism?
Comment:NoticehowtheRevisedStandardVersionrendersverses20-21:"....eightpersons,were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves
you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience,
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ ' " Let's closely examine howtheFloodisatypeofbaptism.
2. After men had begun to multiply upon the face of the earth, did they sin grievously
against God? Gen.6:5,11-12. JusthowcorrupthadmankindbecomeinGod'ssight?
5. GodtoldNoahtobuildanenormousvesselsohe,hisfamilyandnumerousanimalscouldescapethe great Flood He would bring on rebellious mankind (Gen. 6:14-17).
How did Noah demonstrate his belief-his faith-in God's promise of salvation from
the Flood? Gen. 6:22;Heb.11:7.
Comment: Manyarduousandtryingyearswererequiredtocompletetheark. ThepreFloodworldhad about a century to repent of their sins before God sent this worldwide
deluge. (Compare Genesis 5:32 with Genesis7:11).
God provided a way for Noah and his family to escape the old world of sin and the
penalty it had incurred for disobedience to God. Noah believed God when He warned
him of the Flood, and Noah obeyed God by building theark. Hedemonstratedhisfaithbyhisobedience(seeJames2:17-26). Thisisthesamekindofactive, LIVINGfaithGodrequiresofustoday!
Noah was brought up out of the water that destroyed the sinful world and was saved
physically a type of our being saved spiritually from the penalty of sin, eternal
death, if we really believe Christ died for our sins and if we symbolicallyburytheminthewatersofbaptism.
InEgypt,theIsraeliteswerePharaoh'sslaves-helplessandpowerlessunderhistaskmasters-justasasinneris the slave of sin (Rom.6:16).
Egyptwasasymbolofsin(Heb.11:24-27;Rev.11:8). PharaohandhisarmycanbecomparedtoSatanand his demons, who try to keep us in captivity to sin. And just
as God commanded Israel to come out of Egypt, He commandsustocomeoutofsin.
Under the leadership of God, through Moses, the Israelites began their exodus out
of Egypt the night after they had applied the blood of the Passover lamb to theirdoorposts(Ex.12:1-13;30-37). TheirdeparturefromEgypt is a type of our departure-our
repentance-from sin! The blood of the lamb, which protected them from the death
angel, is symbolic of the blood of Christ-"our Passover" lamb (ICor.5:7;John1:36)-whichwasshedforthe remissionofoursinstosaveusfromthepenaltyofeternaldeath.
1 . Whom did God commission to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage? Ex. 3:10-12;
Acts 7:35. Is Moses therefore referred to as a type or prefigure of Christ? Acts
7:37; 3:20-22. What did God send Jesus Christ to deliver us from? Rom.3:24-25;6:23.
Comment:TheIsraelitesthoughttheywerecompletelyfreefromthebondageofEgypt-untilPharaohbegan to pursue them! For us, just accepting Christ and His shed blood for
the remission of past sins does not make us forever free from sin.
Verses13-14. Did Godtellthemtogoforwardinobedience,trustingHimandHispowertodeliverthem? Verses15-16.
Comment: GodlikewisetellsChristianstogoforwardinobediencetoHim,trustingHimandHispower-the Holy Spirit-to deliver them from Satan and sin!
Comment: The angel of the Lord in the cloud had gone before the Israelites to show
them the way. Now the angelwentbehindthem-betweenthemandtheirenemies-toprotectthem. Wealsoneedhelp-verydesperately! WeneedGod'sHolySpirittohelpusresistthesinfulinfluenceofSatan afterourpastsinshavebeencoveredbyChrist'sshedbloodandforgiven.
Comment: Pharaohandhisarmy,whorepresentedthesinsofEgyptinwhichIsraelhadlived,wereburiedin awaterygrave. Howwonderfullythistypifiesthesymbolismofbaptism! ForasPaulsaidinRomans6:6:"We knowthatourold[sinful,carnal]selfwascrucified[killedandburiedbybaptism,verses3-5]withhim[Christ] so
that the sinful body might be [symbolically] destroyed, and we might no longer be
enslaved to sin" (RSV).
8. Therefore, isn'tlsrael's deliverance from Egypt (sin) through the waters of the
Red See clearly referred to as symbolicofChristianbaptism? ICorinthians.10:1-2.
Note: God required many of His prophets, including Moses, to act out the things He
would bring to pass (seeEzekiel4:1-17;5:1-4,12). Likewise,thosewhosincerelywanttohavetheirpastsinsblottedoutand covered by Christ's blood are required
by God to perform the deeply symbolic act of baptism! It impresses the MEANING of
baptism upon us, and is an outward sign of our repentance and belief in Christ's
sacrifice in paymentforoursins.
And so the passing of the Israelites through the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh
and his army in a watery "grave" (symbolizing the destruction of our "old man", or
past life of sin) clearly typify New Testament water baptism.
Note: John was commissioned by God to baptize repentant believers in water. Baptism
then, as it is today, was an outward sign of repentance. And it pictured being washed
and cleansed from past sins. After Christ'ssacrifice,baptismtookonevengreatersymbolicmeaning(Rom.6:3-6;Col.2:12-13),asexplained earlier in this lesson.
4. Exactly what was the message John preached? Mark 1:4-5; Matt. 3:2, 11.Whatwasthepurposeofhis message? Luke1:16-17,77.
Comment: John's inspired message was the "baptism of repentance for the remission
of sins." It was exactly what it implied. Those John baptized had responded to his
preaching by repenting of their sins. And they were forgiven by God. But they did
not receive the holy Spirit at that time because it was not yet made available (except
in a very few cases from the time of Adam, which we'll discuss in Lesson 11) until
after Christ's resurrectionandascensiontoheaven(John7:38-39).
Luke 1:77 clearly states that John was sent "to give knowledge of salvation unto
his people by the remission [forgiveness]oftheirsins."Johnwassimplypreachingrepentancefromsin. Hismessagewaspreparinga people to receive and obey Jesus
Christ when He began His ministry.
Now that this foundation of understanding has been laid, let's learn exactly what
Jesus Christ commands us to doconcerningwaterbaptism.
of all the nations in my name.” The extra words were added by Catholic believers
in the doctrine of the Trinity, introduced only after AD 80, without any biblical
Comment: The true Gospel ("gospel" is an Old English word meaning "good
news:) Christ commandsHisChurchtopreachincludesmorethanjustthegoodnewsthatHeisourSaviour. Aswelearned in Lesson 1, Christ's Gospel is the message
He brought and preached-the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.
OnemusthearandbelievethetrueGospelbeforebeingbaptized. ThosewhobelievetheGospel,accept Christ as their Saviour, repent of their sins, are baptized and
remain faithful to God, are the ones who will be saved. They will be born of God
as spirit beings when Jesus Christ returns, and will inherit the Kingdom of God,
having then become members of the divine Family of God!
3. What was Peter's command to believers on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:38.
Were those who repented thenbaptized? Acts2:41;8:12.
4. About10yearsaftertheApostlePeterpreachedhisfirstinspiredsermontotheJewishpeoplein Jerusalem, God sent him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.
He was sent to the house ofCornelius,avery devoutItalian(Acts10). PeterthenpreachedtheGospeltoCornelius,hisfamilyandfriends(verses24,34-43.
Comment: RepentantbelieversordinarilymustbebaptizedbeforetheycanreceivetheHolySpirit. (Acts 2:38). But God made an exception in the case ofCorneliusandhisgroup. Sincetheywerethefirst GentilesoftheNewTestamenteratobecalledbyGodandconverted,GodgavethemHisSpiritbefore baptismasaspecialsigntoPeterandtheotherapostlesprovingthatHehadalsoopenedthewayofsalvation
ThereisgreatconfusioninthereligiousworldregardingthepropermethodofChristianbaptism. Some "baptize" by sprinkling, and others by pouring water over the heads
of new converts. Some require complete immersion.
It is interesting to note that the word "sprinkle" occurs only a few times in the
New Testament, always in connectionwiththebloodofChrist,butneverreferringtobaptism. Theword"pouring"isalsomentioned severaltimes,butnotonceasaformofbaptism!
Notice what the New Catholic Encyclopedia says regarding baptism: "It is evident
that baptism in the early churchwasbyimmersion. Thisisimplicitinterminologyandcontext....Thatbaptismtookplacebyimmersion isevidencedbyPaul'spresentingitas"beingburiedwithChrist"(Rom.6:3-4;Col.2:12)"(article"Baptism,"1967,
volume 2, pages 56, 58). The 1907 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia states:
"The most ancient form usually employed was unquestionably immersion .... In the
Latin Church immersion seems to have prevailed until thetwelfthcentury"(article"Baptism,"volume2,pages261,262).
But pouring and sprinkling were growing common in the 14th century and gradually
prevailed. It is quite plain that these customs of traditional Christianity are
actually innovations of men!
The word "baptize" is not an English word per se. It is derived from the Greek wordbaptizo.(Recallthatthe NewTestamentwasoriginallywritteninGreek.)IntranslatingtheBibleintoEnglish,thetranslatorsleftthis wordun-translated.
Theliteraltranslationofbaptizois"immerse". Itmeans"plungeinto"or"putinto". Itdoesnotmean "sprinkle"or"pour". TheGreekwordforsprinkleisrantizoandforpourischeo. Godinspiredthewritersof theNewTestamenttouseonlythewordbaptizo, meaning to immerse, when referring to baptism.
Sprinkling and pouring obviously are not forms of immersion. Therefore, sprinkling
and pouring are not forms of baptism. Immersion-being placed completely under water-is
the proper biblical method. Baptism symbolizes the burial of the old carnal, sinful
self. Only total immersion can properly symbolize death and burial; sprinkling and
pouring are not symbols of a burial by any stretch of the imagination!
NoticewhatADictionaryoftheBible,editedbyJamesHastingsin1898,says:"Theelementwasalways water, and the mode of using it was commonly immersion. The symbolism
of the ordinance required this. It was anactofpurification;andhencetheneedofwater. Adeathtosinwasexpressedbytheplungebeneaththe water, and a rising
again to a life of righteousness by the return to light and air; and hence the appropriateness
of immersion" (volume 1, page 243).
Comment: There would have been no purpose for Philip to go into the water, except
there was no other way hecouldplungetheeunuchintothewater. Hadsprinklingorpouringbeenthepractice,Philipwouldhave neededonlytobendoveratthewater'sedgeandscoopupthewaterinhishands. Theabovebiblicalevidenceclearlyshowsthatimmersion-beingplacedcompletelyunderwater-wastheonly methodofbaptismpracticedbytheNewTestamentChurchofGod.
Water baptism is an outward sign of repentance. It demonstrates one's willingness
to put away permanently his or her old way of life and to walk in God's way of life
from that point forward. Its meaning is strictly symbolic in the sense that water
baptism itself has no mystical or magical effects on the person who is immersed.
Its only physicaleffectistogetthepersonthoroughlywet! NoristheHolySpiritgivenbywaterbaptism.
There are several other baptisms or immersions mentioned in the Bible that are important
for us to understand. Let'snoticewhattheyare.
withwaterforrepentance,buthe[Jesus]whoiscomingaftermeismightierthanI,whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize [immerse] you with the
Holy Spirit and with fire" (verse 11, RSV). HereJohnreferredtotwootherkindsofimmersion-neitheroftheminwater.
2. Did Jesus promise His disciples the baptism with the Holy Spirit? Acts 1:4-5.
When did they receive theHolySpirit? Acts2:1-4.
prophecy were fulfilled. God began His Church then by putting the Holy Spirit within
His disciples and other believers.
3.IsGod'sChurchthe "body" of Christ? ICorinthians.12:12,14,27;Col.1:18.
Ormustwebe"put into" it by God's Spirit? ICorinthians.12:13.
Comment: Notice that the receiving of the Holy Spirit actuallybaptizesusinto,orputsusinto,thespiritual body of Christ-His Church!
So just being baptized in water does not put one into God's Church. One is put into
the Church by the Spirit of God. This immersion into the Church of God by the Holy
Spirit is termed by the Scriptures "the baptismwithor “ the baptismbytheHolySpirit."
This is the same as our immersion into the spiritual "body of Christ."
At present, the divine Family of God consists only of the Father and the Son, Jesus
Christ. (The Holy Spirit is the divine nature and power of the God Family-not a "third
person," as some teach. The subject of the Holy Spirit will be covered thoroughly
in the following lesson.) But at the return of Jesus Christ, when Spirit-begotten
Christians are born of God as spirit beings, the God Family will have many thousands
of members. And when God's plan is finally complete, there will be thousands of
millions of sons of God!
6. Now what about the baptism with fire? Should a Christian seek it? Exactly what
did John say concerning baptism"withfire"? Matt.3:11.
Comment: Large crowds came to see John-mostly out of curiosity. But John
was speaking to the unrepentanthypocriticalreligionists,aswellastothosewhodidrepent.
NoticethatsomeofthosetowhomJohnspoke-thosewhotrulyrepented-wouldlaterbebaptizedwiththe HolySpirit. Butsomeoftheotherspresent-hypocritical,unrepentantPhariseesandSadducees-weregoingto be baptized with fire-immersed ingehennafire-unlesstheyrepented(verses7-10). Theywouldbeburnedupas chaff(verse12). Thisfire,aswelearnedinLesson6,istheultimatefateofallincorrigiblywickedpeople(Rev.21:8; Mal. 4:1-3.
One other important point: The baptism with fire is not associated, as some assume,
with the “cloven tongues likeasoffire”thatappearedoneachofthedisciplesonthedayofPentecost(Acts2:3). Thiswasaspecialsign ofthefirstoutpouringandreceiptoftheHolySpirit. ItwasmanifestedonlyatthebeginningoftheNew TestamentChurch.
Should a person be baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ"? Exactly what does this
phrase mean? Let's notice thesimplebiblicalexplanation.
Comment: The Greek expression for "in the name of" means "by the authority of. If
you do something in the nameofanother,youdoitwithorbythatperson'sauthority-byhisexpresspermission.
Jesus' disciples did the baptizing in Jesus' name-that is, in His stead, for Him,
by His authority-and that was considered just the same as if Jesus had actually done
it Himself. And so baptism, when performed by ministers of God's Church today, is
always done "in the name of Jesus Christ"-that is, by His divine authority.
Comment: Even though the people had been previously baptized in water, they had not
yet received the Holy Spirit. This plainly shows that the Holy Spirit is not given
at or by water baptism. Yet Acts 2:38 shows that the Holy Spirit will be given after
TheBibleshowsthatthe HolySpiritisgiventoapersonasaresultofprayerandthelayingonofhandsofaministerofGodfollowing baptism. Noticethesequence:firstrepentance,thenwaterbaptism;nextprayertogetherwiththelayingonof
hands;thenthereceivingoftheHolySpirit. Andaswejustlearned,thereceivingofGod'sSpirit"immerses"or puts into the Church (the spiritual body of Christ)
and into the divine Family of God as His Spirit-begotten child. GodordainedthatHisChurchusethe"layingonofhands"asaphysicalsymboloftheauthorityHegivesHis ministers. Itisafterthephysicalactsofbaptismandthelayingon
ofhands,togetherwithprayer,thata repentant believer receives the Holy Spirit.
Millions have been "baptized:' but very few have ever had hands laid on them for
the receipt of the Holy Spirit after baptism. And still fewer have had hands laid
on them by a person who really had authority from Jesus Christ todoboth.
NoticeintheexampleinActs8thatthepeoplehadbeenbaptizeddaysorevenweeksbeforebyPhilip,who was a deacon in the Church. But they had not received the
Holy Spirit. God did not give His spirit to these Samaritans until the apostles
Peter and John prayed for their receivingof the Holy Spirit and laid hands on them,
Obviously, the physical act of placing one's hands on someone doesn't transmit the
Holy Spirit to him. Only GodHimselfcanbegetarepentant,baptizedpersonwithHisSpirit. ButGodhasestablishedthisphysical ceremony as a symbol of His recognition
of the human instruments He has chosen to work through as His true ministers.
(The laying on of hands is also performed when ordaining individuals to offices in
God's Church, for the healing ofthesickandforblessinglittlechildren-seeActs6:1-6;13:2-3;Mark16:18;Matt.19:13-15.
Since water baptism is commanded by God for salvation, what about the thief on the
cross? Was he saved withoutbeingbaptized? Whataboutthoseutterlyunabletobebaptized?
1 . Does baptism itself save us? Romans 5:1 0.
Comment: Baptisminwaterisnotwhatsavesus,althoughitisacommandedstepessentialtosalvation. As explained before, it is merely symbolic of Christ's death,
burial and resurrection. It is Christ's life that saves us.
We learned in Lesson 7 that Jesus' statement in verse 43 should be punctuated as
follows: "I say unto thee today,shallthou[oryoushall]bewithmeinparadise."JesuswasstressingthetimeofHispromise,notwhen He would be in paradise. Jesus
did not go to paradise that day. He went to the grave for three days and three nights!
Obviously, the thief was unable to be baptized. Since baptism is not the thing that
saves us, or gives us eternal life, he did not lose salvation because of circumstances
beyond his control. God makes allowances in such cases. Thetimeiscomingwhenthismanwillberesurrectedtoreceivehisopportunityforsalvationandeventually
We need not worry about the thief on the cross, or anyone utterly unable to be baptized.
We do need to be muchconcerned,however,aboutobeyingGod'splaincommandwhenweareable.
Someeventhinktheymust be perfect before being baptized. But how could a person
be spiritually perfect before he receives God's Holy Spirit,whichenablesonetogrowtowardspiritualperfection?
Sincere, heartfelt repentance and belief are the only prior conditions for baptism
given in the Bible!
If a person knows that God commands baptism, knows that he should be baptized, and
has truly repented, then he should be baptized as soon as a true minister of God
One should be baptized only upon repentance toward God and faith in the sacrifice
of Jesus Christ. Only a mature mind, one that understands this and can truly "count
the cost" (Luke 14:27-30), as explained in the previouslesson,shouldconsiderbaptism.
Even older children have not yet reached the maturity and stability of judgment where
they have the self- disciplinetotrulyrepentandbelieve. Itisonlynearandatadulthoodthattheaveragepersonismatureenough tounderstandthesignificanceofbaptism. Onlytheyaremostcapableofmakingameaningfulandlasting commitmenttoChrist.
Animmaturemindmayexperienceanemotionalfeelingoftemporaryremorse. Thisissometimesthoughtto be "repentance," but it is soon forgotten. It is much like
the temporary emotional experiences of many teenagers whofeelsuretheyare"inlove."Theyusuallyoutgrowthesefeelings. Soitiswithrepentanceandbelief.
TheScripturesdonot indicate whether or notCornelius'sfamilyincludedchildrenunderadultage. However,basedonwhatwehave learned about true repentance
and faith, all those baptized in Cornelius's house were mature enough
to understand the conditions of salvation, and able to truly repent and believe.
The same explanation applies to the baptism of thePhilippianjailer's household
Jesus set us the example of what His ministers should do regarding infants and young
children. But it did not includebaptism! ThereisnorecordofJesusevercommandingbaptismforchildren,noroftheapostles performing such baptisms. Nowhere in the
Bible is there an example or command for this practice.
The Bible shows that Jesus merely laid His hands on and pronounced blessings on little
children (Matt. 19:13; Mark 10:13-16). Today, the ministers of God's Church follow
Christ's example by invoking similar blessings upon the little children of its members.
Did you not only feel this as a deep and very real emotion, but did you thoroughly
understand that you are to strivetoobeythelivingGodandallofHislawsandcommandmentsfromthatdayforward? Hadyoureally come to Jesus Christ in unconditional
surrender, admitting your rebellion against God's way? Had you really repented of
living by the standards of this world?
If you were baptized by immersion, did you understand, fully, that you were being
buried, and that a "new you" was to emerge from the water? Did you have hands laid
upon you, and prayer given for the receivingof God's Spirit?
IfyoudidnotproperlyfulfilALLtherequirementsforbaptismthatwehavecoveredinthisandtheprevious lesson, then your baptism was not valid in God's sight!
Manyhavemadeapreviousdecisionorcommitmenttowhattheythenbelievedtobethetruth. Somemay have even been baptized or had a "religious experience" of some
kind. Now, with the help of this Bible Course, they have come to learn a great deal
more about many biblical subjects-for example, the truth about real repentance,baptismandtheHolySpirit.
18:24 through 19:6). He was an enthusiastic and eloquent speaker whose
zeal at first exceeded his understanding. HerepeatedwhathehadheardconcerningJesusChristandJohntheBaptistandaboutthe messagetheypreached. Hetaughtthatmessageandbaptizedthosewhobelievedwhathepreached.
But when the Apostle Paul came to question the people who had been taught byApollos,hefoundakey ingredient missing in their lives-the Holy Spirit of God. Paul not
only found that these people had not received God's Spirit, they did not even know
what it was. And, as might be expected, there is a large number today who shared
a similar lack of knowledge vital to salvation before studying with this course.
Apollos himself also needed further instruction. He received it from a dedicated
couple in the Church of God whosenameswereAquilaandPriscilla(Acts18:26). ThoseindividualstowhomApollospreachedreceived further instruction from Paul, and
were afterwards immediatelyre-baptized.
If you find yourself in a similar position, you need to seriously consider re-baptism.
No matter what your previous religious history and experience has been, check up
on yourself to see where you stand with God. Don't delay receiving and putting the
power of God's Holy Spirit to work in your life, enabling you to overcome sin and
develop the character of God. Then you will be able to look forward to the second
Coming of Jesus Christ, when God will use His Spirit to transform you into an eternal
member of the powerful and glorious divine Family of God! (Rom.8:11-23).
Remember, God wants us all to grow in grace and knowledge (2Pet. 3:18). One way
to grow is by a careful studyoftheinspiredWordofGod. "Sothenfaithcomethbyhearing,andhearingbythewordofGod"(Rom.10:1, 7).
Take time to study the Bible daily even if you are busy with many responsibilities.
Review this and previous lessons in detail. Be sure you thoroughly understand the
meaning of real repentance. Study and think about the points of Christian living
that God outlines in His Word.