What is Baptism
Baptism is:
  • water
  • used with God’s promise of forgiveness and salvation and
  • by Christ’s command.
 
Christ commands us
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  (Matthew 28:19)
 
God promises
  • “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16)
  • Sins are washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16)
  • The Holy Spirit is given (Luke 3:21-22; Acts 2:38)
  • God makes us members of the Church, the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27)
  • God brings us into his Kingdom (John 3:5)
  • We are adopted Children of God (John 1:12; Rom 8:14-16)
     
God does these things, not the water by itself
This means:
  • The amount of water is not important—God can use just a few drops
  • The type of water is not important—river, lake or tap water can all be used by God
 
God does these things, not the person being baptized
This means the baptized:
  • Do not need to know anything, understand anything, or do anything except receive
  • Can be an infant or adult
  • Can be a professor of philosophy or mentally handicapped
  • Does need to be trained and taught to believe God’s promises in baptism
  • Does need to be surrounded by faithful Christians who will guide, support, and train them to follow Jesus.
  • Baptism is the beginning of a relationship with God
  • God:
  • Sustaining
  • forgiving, and
  • guiding the baptized​
  • The baptized:
  • Daily asking God for forgiveness
  • Trusting in God’s forgiveness because Jesus died and was raised
  • Actively participating with other Christians in a congregation (Weekly worship, fellowship, study, service)
  • Studying the Bible to learn of God’s grace and will
  • Daily praying to give thanks, ask for forgiveness, and help
  • Serving neighbor (the people at home, next door, in community, country & world)
  • Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. … So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:3-5, 11)
  • Parents/Guardians create a Christian environment
  • Some ways they may do that are:
  • Model Christian disciplines/behavior yourself (Prayer, Bible Reading, Worship Attendance, Service; Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control)
  • Praying before meals and bedtime (for example, “Come, Lord Jesus…”)
  • Listening to Christian Music with their children (especially singable music, for example WeeSing)
  • Christian Radio (89.1, 90.3, 105.5 FM in the Phoenix area)
  • Watching Christian videos (VeggieTales, etc)
  • Reading Christian stories
  • Having devotion time for reading the Bible (Making Time for God is a good one)
  • Discussing Christian solutions to problems (“What would Jesus want us to do?”)
  • Having children in worship, encouraging participation as possible
  • and Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Confirmation​
  • Baptismal Sponsors represent the whole church
  • Sponsors should be baptized Christians, actively practicing their faith.
  • Sponsors encourage parents in their Christian responsibilities and encourage the baptized in their Christian growth.  Some examples:
  • Model Christian disciplines/behavior yourself (see above)
  • Pray for the baptized
  • Call or send a card on their baptism day each year
  • Show care and concern for the baptized as able
  • Discuss their faith, “What do you believe about…?” and “What do you do differently because you follow Christ?”
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q:  My friends are asking me if I’ve been “born again”.  What do I say?
  • A:  Other Christians believe different things about baptism.  As Lutheran Christians, we believe that baptism is being “born again” (see John 3:5), and it is God’s work and not ours.  When someone asks this question, tell them the day you were baptized!
  • Q:  Don’t you need to make a personal commitment to Jesus?
  • A:  There are many times during your life when you may make a public commitment to follow Christ. For Lutheran Christians, this usually happens when you are Confirmed and when you join a congregation. Baptism, however, is not about your decision to follow Christ but God’s decision to claim you. It is very important to Lutheran Christians that Baptism is understood as God’s work and not the work of the baptized person. Through Baptism, God plants the seed of faith which will grow hidden most of the time in the heart, and at other times may bloom so others can see it (for example, through good works and public commitment).
  • Q:  What about private baptisms?
  • A:  “Private baptism” usually means with only a few family and personal friends, and not in the normal worship service.  Because we believe that baptism makes one a member of the church, the normal time and place for a baptism is during a regular worship service.  There are exceptions to this rule, typically in the case of medical or personal emergencies.
  • Q:  What happens if a baby or someone dies without being baptized?
  • A:  We don’t know for sure.  Baptism is about confidence in God’s promises.  Someone who is baptized and believes in Christ can be confident in salvation, not because of his or her actions but because we can count on God’s promises.  For those who are not baptized, we don’t have the surety of God’s promises.  We believe God is good and gracious, and we commend them to God’s goodness.
  • Q:  Does this mean “once baptized, always saved”?
  • A:  No. Baptism is the beginning of a relationship with God, a relationship that God initiates—but we can end.  Many relationships begin with one person more serious than another—that’s how baptism is:  God is more serious about us than we about him.  It is possible to reject God, Christ, forgiveness and salvation after baptism—and then to be condemned.  However, God will continue to seriously pursue the lost sheep (see Luke 15)—and it is always possible to return to God and be received with open arms, forgiven sins, and saved.​
  • At St. John’s Lutheran Church, baptisms may occur at any regular worship service following the sermon.
  • For more information, or to schedule a baptism at St. John’s Lutheran Church,
  • call 623-931-2451.