Posted by: missionventureministries | December 5, 2019

HELPING YOU AND YOUR CHILD UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF BAPTISM – Acts 2:38

“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.” (Acts 2:38) 

This information is to help you and your child to understand that baptism is an act of obedience for those who know the meaning of salvation and have already been saved. The act of baptism is symbolic of salvation by faith; that is, having been buried with Him in baptism God makes us alive with Christ.

Baptism is an outward act in which we affirm our desire to follow Jesus on this inner path. This “death” that Paul mentions is a death to my old life, where I choose to stop living according to my sinful and biased human nature. I can then begin to walk in “newness of life” by obeying God’s commandments. (Colossians 2:12-14).

As taught and practiced in the New Testament, baptism is therefore an act of obedience by an individual and is a response to the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in his life.

Before a young person or anyone is baptized, he must be old enough to understand the gospel of Christ.

A candidate for baptism has repented of their sin, placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and wants to make Him the Lord of their life. The evident desire to obey the Lord Jesus in this matter validates their conversion experience. Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (John 14:21).

Baptism is an important step in anyone’s journey as a follower of Christ and an outward symbol of the work He has already done in your life. The Bible paints a beautiful picture of baptism as our identification with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. When you make the decision to accept Christ as your Savior, the Bible says that your old way of life is dead, and you are beginning a new life with Christ.

If your child wants to get baptized, ask questions.

Baptism comes after salvation, so start with the basic questions: 

  • Can you tell me who Jesus is?
  • What did He do for you?

Here’s one way to explain salvation in a way kids can understand:

We need to let them know that God loves us so much that He sent His son Jesus to earth. Jesus took the punishment for our sin by dying on a cross. But Jesus did not stay in the tomb! God resuscitated Jesus and He lives.

To follow Jesus, you have to believe that He died for you and that God resuscitated Jesus and He lives.

We need to understand that we are born with something called sin, which means that we all mess up at times and do wrong things. When we sin we deserve to be punished for those things, right!

So, we need to tell Jesus that we are sorry for the way we behaved and we need to repent. To repent means to change your mind; to turn away from sin and turn to God. We can then ask Jesus to forgive us and He will and His Holy Spirit will come and live inside us because Jesus knows our heart and knows that we no longer want to do anything that intentionally hurts Him.

Here are some initial questions that could provide insight if a child or a person is ready to be baptized:

  • Why would you like to be baptized? This question is asked to determine the motive or conviction to be baptized – e.g. to please their parents, friends, etc. or to obey God. 
  • Who should be baptized? This question is asked to clarify if they understood that baptism is a special act linked to salvation. 
  • What is baptism for? This question is asked to determine the level of understanding about the symbolism of baptism. 
  • Do you think that being baptized will make it easier for you to follow the Lord? This question is asked to ensure that the child or person is not disillusioned about the Christian walk after baptism. 
  • Have you made a decision to follow Jesus Christ and make Him the Lord of your life? This is a very critical answer.

To make sure the child understands, here are additional questions that you might ask and confirm that they are aware of what is really taking place, since this is a very important commitment that they are making for life: 

  • What is baptism? – Baptism means that I am telling people that I understand what Jesus did for me. It is a public profession of faith that tells people that I have decided to follow Jesus.

NOTE: Explain to your children that many are baptized without really understanding what baptism means and we can see that they did not understand because there is no change in their behavior, they continue lying, cheating and doing all kinds of bad things that the Bible tells us not do do. Jesus tells us that by their fruits you will know them. Baptism is a serious matter that needs to be understood before a commitment is made. It is important at any age to be knowledgeable of the meaning of baptism. 

  • What does baptism represent? – That we are buried with Christ and shared in His death; that we are buried with Him when the pastor puts us under the water and when we come up out of the water it represents that we are going to live a new life, just as Christ was raised from death by the wonderful power of God the Father (Romans 6:4).
  • When we are baptized does the water wash away our sins in the same way that we wash the dirt of the body when we take a bath or a shower? (1 Peter 3:21) – NO, the water is a symbol of our sins being washed away because we believe in Jesus Christ and what He did for us, and that we now want to obey Him. 
  • Why do we get baptized? – We get baptized to follow the example Jesus set for us. It is an act of obedience. Jesus said: “I tell you the truth. Unless you are born from water and the Spirit, you cannot enter God’s kingdom.” (John 3:5)
  • Who was Jesus baptized by? (Matthew 3:13-17) – He was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist.
  • When was Jesus baptized? (Luke 3:21-22) – At the beginning of His ministry.
  • Why was Jesus baptized? – Because He wanted to be an example for us, and God wanted everyone know that Jesus was His beloved son. When Jesus was baptized and He came out of the water a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, “This is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him.” (Matthew 3:17)

Baptism is an important part of your relationship with God and it shows obedience to Jesus Christ. Baptism is not something we do because friends are doing it or because it looks kind of fun. We are baptized out of obedience and love for Jesus to tell everyone we are following Him by the way we behave, speak, live and treat others. And everyone can see that something really wonderful happened because the Holy Sprit who Jesus Christ sent is now living in us.

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