God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton on today's edition of The Encouraging Word. We'll start our Bible study in Matthew chapter 3 in just a moment, but Dr. Don wants you to know we're here to pray with you anytime at 866-899-WORD.
That's 866-899-9673. We would love to connect. And now, Dr. Don Wilton. Amen. Please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 3. The Gospel of Matthew and chapter 3. I want to make an announcement to you this morning as we worship God together. Every occasion we come together as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, as followers of the Lord. God speaks to us through His Word. God speaks to us when we have our private devotions and quiet times. He speaks to us through our small group, discipleship groups. He speaks to us in times when we have devotions, whether on the athletic field or wherever it might be. And God certainly speaks to us every time we come to church together. And so this morning is no exception. But ladies and gentlemen, I want you to watch me.
I want everybody to look at me because I'm about to say something to you. About four weeks ago, God put something in my heart. And this morning I'm going to be sharing with you from God's Word related to the subject that God has put in my heart. I shared this with our ministerial team and we have prayed about it. God has spoken to us. This is not something you haven't heard before.
All of you have heard of this. But I am going to say this to you. I'm going to say to you that this morning you are going to have to answer God yes or no.
There's not going to be any maybes here today. You're going to have to say, yes, Lord, I have done this, or no, I haven't. Yes, Lord, I understand your Word, or no, Lord, I'm not going to do it no matter what you say.
It's very clear. The issue that we're going to deal with this morning is something that comes from the heart of God. There is a timeless truth in a changing world.
You cannot change this. And for every person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, what God teaches us this morning is something that I believe with all my heart because of where it comes from, that God has written these things just for you and me. I'm going to be speaking to you about this issue of baptism.
There's a lot of confusion in the world today. There's a lot of confusion, and there are a lot of churches that quote-unquote do baptism in different ways. What is the way in which to participate in what God has taught us very clearly in His Word? I'm going to read to you four passages of Scripture. The first is going to be in John's Gospel, chapter 3 and verse 13.
Follow along with me. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John, trying to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me. So Jesus replied, let it be so now, John, for it is proper for us to do this in order to fulfill all righteousness.
Then John consented. Now watch verse 16. As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up or He came up out of the water. And at that moment, heaven was opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him.
And a voice from heaven said, this is my beloved Son whom I love, and with Him I am well pleased. Now turn with me to the book of Acts, chapter 2. The book of Acts, chapter 2. I love to hear all those pages turning.
Everyone turn there with me. Acts, chapter 2. Now I'm going to read just two verses, verse 38 and verse 41. You're going to notice, by the way, in verse 37 that there was a congregation of people just like you and me, a crowd had gathered around, and Peter and John were preaching and talking about the Lord, and these people asked the same kind of questions that we ask today. There it is.
You can see it. What shall we do? What shall we do?
What do we do about these things? Well, listen to what Peter said in verse 38. Peter replied, repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now go down to verse 41.
Those who accepted His message were baptized, and about 3,000 were added to their number that day. Now go with me to Acts, chapter 8. Turn over the page.
A couple of pages to your right. Acts, chapter 8. Marvelous encounter here about Philip, God's servant Philip, and a man by the name of the Ethiopian eunuch, and some of you may remember the story how that God, by His Spirit, told Philip to go and speak to this man. Here he was traveling down the interstate, and God said to the pastor, said to him, listen, Philip, I want you to go and speak to this man traveling down the interstate in his chariot.
I want you to talk to him about me. And so Philip goes and opens the Scriptures to him. And look what happened.
Verse 36. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water. Evidently there was a pond there. There was a river there. There was a lake. There was a body of water there. How do we know it was a body of water and not just a puddle? Well, I'm going to show you because the Bible says both of these men got down and went into the water. Both of them did. Look what happened. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, look, here is water.
Why shouldn't I be baptized? He gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
Incredible story. Now let's turn over to Acts chapter 16. Turn right again in your Bible.
Take a right turn. Acts chapter 16 and verse 29. Again, a wonderful story here in God's word about Paul and Silas. They ended up in prison. Well, here they were in prison. God spoke, and God acted, and what happened in that prison had an indelible impression upon those who were keeping them prisoners on the jailer himself. Look at verse 29.
The jailer called for lights. Rushed in and he fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. Folks, here's what happens when people follow Jesus Christ. Other people come to know the Lord as well. Well, look what happened in verse 32. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him, and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night, the jailer took them and washed their wounds, and immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Now folks, there are two issues that we're going to deal with this morning. Number one, we're going to discover that the Bible teaches believers baptism. In other words, baptism, according to Scripture, is only for people who have been saved, who have received Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives.
It's not for people who have not done so. You must have given your life to Jesus Christ. If you were baptized prior to having trusted Jesus Christ, your baptism is invalid because you weren't baptized as a believer. The second issue we're going to deal with, and most importantly this morning perhaps, is this whole issue of baptism, and what I want to do today is very simple.
I'm going to ask four questions. Number one, what is baptism? What is baptism? Number two, why be baptized? Number three, who should be baptized? And number four, when should you and I be baptized? So let's look at that together from God's Word this morning, and I know that the Lord is going to speak to our hearts, and I know that He's going to speak to your heart.
Number one, what is baptism? Well, that's a very important question. If I was to hold up a sheet of paper, albeit a blank sheet of paper this morning, and I was to hold up the sheet of paper and it had a picture on it, you would be able to tell me what is on that picture. You'd say to me, well, pastor, there are trees there, people there, a motor car driving down the road, there's a swimming pool, there's a horse, there's cattle. Whatever is in that picture, you are able to show me that picture.
Listen to me carefully. The Bible teaches us that baptism is God's way of giving to us a picture of Himself. Now, what is in the picture of baptism? What is in the picture of baptism? But when people are baptized tonight and they step into the baptistry, and the water is usually about waist high, comes up to about my waist, when people step into that baptistry, they are immediately beginning to depict or to show a picture of what Jesus Christ did in terms of three things. First of all, the death of Jesus upon the cross. And as they stand there in the baptistry with their pastor, they are standing there in public eye just the way Jesus hung upon that cross, just as He stood before all mankind.
And so the first picture that we see in baptism is Jesus upon the cross. And as Jesus was on the cross, He died. Now folks, Jesus didn't sort of die. I remember the governor of Louisiana back in the early 80s went on public television and said that the death of Jesus was nothing more than Jesus taking a nap.
He swooned. Jesus didn't swoon upon the cross. Jesus died completely. Jesus had to die completely.
Why? In order that He might take upon Himself the sin of the world and in order that your and my sin might die with Him. That's why in Adam all people die because of the sin of Adam, but in Christ Jesus we're all made alive. So the beginning point of baptism, this picture that is being painted, is a picture of Jesus hanging upon the cross and dying. Well, the second part of that picture is the burial of the Lord Jesus Christ. Number one is death.
Number two is burial. Now when Jesus died, the Scriptures tell us that He was taken from the cross and He was put into the grave and the stone was rolled over. Now folks, the water is about waist high and when I take someone who is being baptized, a person who has already trusted Jesus Christ, I say to them, have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Yes, I have. It is upon your public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus that I now baptize you into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and I'm going to talk about that in a minute. And then I say, as I take them, I say buried with Jesus in death. And folks, as the Scripture teaches, I put that person under the water, not sort of under the water, not some parts, I put them under the water. In fact, the word in Scripture, baptizo, literally means to immerse completely.
Now why does the Bible teach that we as disciples of Christ need to be immersed completely? Because it's a picture, remember, and the picture is of the complete death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus didn't sort of die. He didn't have just a nose sticking out in life. He didn't have part of Him die and another. He didn't have a snorkel. He had nothing. He was dead. He was over. And when we go under the water, we are depicting a picture not of just someone gasping for air or someone taking a break from humanity. We are depicting the complete closing over of death in the life of all those who have trusted Him.
Paul put it like this. He said in order to know Jesus Christ, you and I must die to ourselves. We've got to completely be dead to ourselves. We've got to capitulate. We've got to step off the throne of our lives. We've got to give up completely. We've got to be buried in the grave.
And that's exactly what Jesus did. Forgive the interruption, but surrender is so hard to give up, to completely give up. I pray that you know that we stand ready as an understanding friend at the other end of 866-899.
We're to pray with you and maybe pray for you as we all have to release some things so that we can make room for what God wants to place in our hands next. 866-899-9673 is the number to call or meet us online at www.tewonline.org. While you're there, be sure and sign up for the daily encouraging word email from Dr. Don. It is a blessing. Lands every day about 6 o'clock, and you can sign up online today and you'll have it with the next day or so.
That's online at www.tewonline.org. Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. But folks, did the Lord Jesus stay in the grave?
No, He didn't. You'll remember that Easter Sunday morning on the third day He rose from the grave, and that's the third part of this picture. It's the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Folks, what would happen if I left somebody under the water? We know exactly what would happen. They would drown. Well, was Jesus left under the grave? Was He left under the water? No, Jesus Christ is alive. We worship a living Savior, not a dead Savior.
He's alive and He lives in our hearts. And so it is, this beautiful picture of baptism buried with Jesus in death and raised up to walk in unis of life. That's what baptism is. Number two, why be baptized? Why do you and I need to be baptized?
Let me give you a couple of answers to that. Number one, because the Bible teaches it. I don't have time this morning and the time available to go through all these passages.
There are many. You can go through the pastoral epistles. One of my favorite passages is in 1 Peter chapter 3 that talks about baptism and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul spoke to the church at Corinth about baptism. He spoke to many people about baptism, but the Bible teaches it. The Bible says we must repent and be baptized. Jesus said we need to be baptized. Number two, Jesus demonstrated it.
Now folks, I'm going to ask you a question this morning. Is there anyone here who thinks that Jesus had to be baptized or that Jesus needed to be baptized? No, He was the Son of God, so why did Jesus get baptized? Folks, there are two reasons in Scripture why Jesus was baptized. Number one was in order to demonstrate the hand of God upon the Son of God. When Jesus was baptized, God used His baptism as a public demonstration of this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. It was a confirmation to John the Baptist that this indeed was the Son of God. That was the first reason for His baptism. But the second reason why Jesus got baptized by immersion was that Jesus wanted to demonstrate to us what He expects of all of those of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what Jesus did right throughout His ministry, Jesus went public using His own life as the primary example to publicly demonstrate what He expects of us.
And folks, listen to me, watch me. If Jesus could get baptized, you can count me in, brother. That puts it beyond debate. Number three, Jesus not only demonstrated it, but Jesus commanded it. It is an express command of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you remember the Great Commission, the end of the Gospel of Matthew? Do you remember what Jesus said? Jesus said, go into all the world. Preach, teach, and baptized.
And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. And what did He say about baptism? He said, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Some of you might have wondered, when I baptize, I say to people, have you trusted Jesus Christ?
Yes, I have. Well, it is upon your public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus that I'm now privileged to baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Why do we do that? Because the Bible tells us to. We're just following the word of God.
So folks, why do I need to be baptized? Number one, the Bible teaches it. Jesus demonstrated it. Jesus commanded it. Number four, because we obey it. It's just as simple as that.
You know, just like our children, all over the world, boy, they start asking those questions. Why do we need to do that? Why do we need to be back? Oh, why do we need to be back by 12 o'clock at night? We can't do anything. Why can't we go there? And eventually, parents become exasperated, and they say, because why is a crooked letter?
That's why. And you can't make it straight. You know, when you get to that point, hey, Chris and Melanie, you can look forward to that. I promise you it's coming, brother.
You can call me Zachary David. As cute as he is, he's going to wire you to death. And you just say, one day, Dad says, see that line in the sand? Because why is a crooked letter?
And you can't make it straight. What you basically say to your children is, because I'm Daddy, you do it. And if you don't do it, there's going to be a public execution.
That's why. Folks, listen to me. God loves us so much.
But you know something? We get baptized because Jesus said it. God's Word commands it. And there comes a time in life, folks, where it's not a matter of your and my personal preference.
I have people say to me from time to time, oh, I think I'll go and join this church over here. It doesn't matter whether or not they practice and believe believer's baptism. I'm just going to ignore this. It doesn't matter. It's not important. It is important, folks.
It's not something that you just sweep under the rug. I watch people jumping around from one church to another, and they don't care whatsoever what the Bible teaches. It's not a matter of just joining a church. What does the Word of God teach us? Jesus tells us very clearly on some of these things. And number five, we testify through it. That's another good reason to be baptized. We testify through it.
Listen to me, folks. Your and my baptism is the place and the moment of our public confession of faith. Our public confession of faith is not when we walk down the aisle. That's an announcement that we're making. We've given our hearts to the Lord. We want to give our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. But the place of our public confession of faith is when we stand in the baptistry, and we publicly and unapologetically identify with the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ because He commanded it and because He demonstrated it and because He expects it of those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ.
It's not open to discussion. See law. So be it.
It's signed, sealed, and delivered. It doesn't even require a deacons meeting to discuss this. That's what Jesus was saying. Folks, this is not something we do because we're a Baptist church. It's not something that we do because the deacons decided to do this or the pastor decided to do this. This is something that is done because God said so. Why do I need to be baptized?
Well, let's ask another question. How should we be baptized? If we've tried to discover what baptism is and why we should be baptized, how should we be baptized?
Well, the Bible says there are three important things. Number one, we need to be baptized by immersion. Now folks, every passage in Scripture that talks about baptism talks about baptism by immersion. Listen to me.
Listen to me. There is no other baptism in Scripture. Now folks, you're talking to a man who when I was little I was sprinkled. That is not baptism. The Bible never teaches infant baptism.
It is nowhere in Scripture. You cannot be baptized into Christ. You get baptized because you are in Christ. You don't get baptized and if you please get a ticket to heaven. You get baptized because you already have a ticket to heaven. You don't get baptized in order to get saved and in order to be forgiven. You get baptized in obedience because you are saved and because you have been forgiven.
Are you listening this morning? That's what the Word teaches. The Bible says when you get baptized it is believer's baptism by immersion. They went down into the water. Jesus went down into the water. I want you to know folks, it does something to me when I see these pictures of Jesus standing in the Jordan River or kneeling on the bank and John the Baptist with a handful of water trying to sprinkle water on his face. That is not a correct depiction of what Jesus' baptism was all about. It is baptism by immersion. There is no other baptism in Scripture. Number two, we need to be baptized before the people. We need to be baptized before the people. Baptism is not a private institution. Baptism is a public profession. What good is a picture if nobody can see it?
What good is a light if nobody can experience it? And what Jesus says, I want you to stand publicly and display my picture of me in you to the people. So it's by immersion. It's by the people. And third, it's by the pastor. Yes, your pastor has a very important role to play in baptism folks. I take baptism very seriously in this church, not because I'm the only one qualified to baptize, but right throughout Scripture when people were baptized, God brought God's servant, the pastor or the minister of the church or the organization together with the person who had believed in Jesus Christ and he, as you please, he wasn't administering baptism because you don't administer baptism as it were like a sacrament, but he is the one who enables baptism to take place and is the conduit of God's mouthpiece during the very expression of baptism. By immersion, before the people, by the pastor, by the minister, by that person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ who is qualified to baptize you. So there's one more question, when then should we be baptized?
When? Well, the Bible's clear on this folks. These passages I've read to you this morning and many others in Scripture, the Bible says that as soon as you've given your life to Jesus Christ, you need to be baptized. What powerful teaching today, not only on baptism, but the thing that comes before that, the very first step, long before baptism is saying yes to Jesus Christ.
Have you done that? I pray that you would know we're here to talk with you, to pray with you. Our phone number is 866-899-WORD and any time, day or night, we'd love to pray with you about what God's doing in your life. That's 866-899-9673 or if you'd rather go keyboard to keyboard, meet us online at our website, TEWOnline.org.
That's TEWOnline.org or the phone number 866-899-9673. Before we get away, our pastor has come back into the studio to share something that's not just preaching and teaching, but something directly from his heart. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today, I repent of my sin and by faith, I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name, my friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.
This is exciting news. If you just prayed along with the pastor moments ago to give your life to Christ, oh, how we'd like to rejoice with you, to celebrate with you, to send you some free resources and whether that's the first time decision or perhaps you have rededicated your life today, Dr. Wilton has wonderful resources he wants you to have for free if you'll call us at 866-899-WORD. Would you consider connecting with us? You can call right now and connect with me at 866-899-9673. Did you get that? 866-899-9673. Well, that wraps up a wonderful week of broadcast and podcast here from The Encouraging Word, but we have exciting things taking place over the weekend as well. Have a blessed weekend and join us again for more Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton.
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