What is the biblical purpose of baptism?
Water baptism is a symbolic act through which believers publicly acknowledge their need for God’s forgiveness. Christian baptism, then, is not what causes you to become a Christian–it is something you do because you have become a Christian. It is not something you do to earn God’s acceptance–it is something you do because you have received the free gift of God’s acceptance through faith in Christ.
Why should you be baptized?
If you have personally received Christ, you are permanently forgiven and accepted by God whether you get baptized or not (Romans 8:1; Colossians 2:13,14).
There are many excellent reasons why you should be baptized.
- Jesus tells us to get baptized (see Matthew 28:19). It is a fitting and loving response of faith to get dunked!
- It is a powerful opportunity to stand up and tell people about the newness of life available through Jesus Christ. In this way many people have been spiritually influenced in a positive way, even receiving Jesus Christ themselvs. Non-Christian friends and family members usually attend our baptisms, and they are often deeply struck by the testimonies of those who get baptized.
- Your Christian friends and the entire Body of Christ is powerfully served by this and motivated to continue in sharing the message of Christ.
- Most important, it is an opportunity for you to take a step of faith and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you. To get baptized can be intimidating because it involves speaking to a group of people and taking a stand for your faith. It means stepping outside our “comfort zone” to do something that shares Christ and serves others. Yet the Holy Spirit who indwells us will empower us and lead us in supernatural ways we would never otherwise experience unless we took a chance with Him.
If you’re involved in a home group, talk to a friend about what this could mean for you. If you’re new to Xenos or not involved in a home group, but are interested in learning more about this incredible event, please call us. We’d love for you to experience a baptism event first hand!
What Do I Say at a Baptism?
One of the most helpful things a Christian can do is write out his personal testimony. This exercise will help you think through in your own mind what God has done in your life and will prepare you to share your story simply and clearly with others.
- Sharing how you became a Christian is one of the best ways of witnessing.
- It is particularly helpful in presenting Jesus Christ to relatives and close friends, usually the most difficult people to whom to witness.
In sharing the story of your experience:
- Make it personal — Don’t preach.
- Tell what Christ has done for you.
- Make it short — Five minutes should be enough time to deal with the essential facts.
- Keep Christ central — Always highlight what He has done for you. Be sure to discuss when you actually made the decision to receive salvation.
- Use the Word of God! A verse or two of Scripture will add power to your story. Remember that the word of God has a keen cutting edge (Eph. 6:17).
TESTIMONY PITFALLS TO AVOID
- Not focusing on the Lord and what he’s done in your life
- Bashing of prior church or denomination
- Giving the glory to Xenos and/or friends
- Not being clear that you made a point-in-time decision to accept Christ
- Try writing down your personal testimony just the way you’d tell it to a non-Christian.
- Make the story of your conversion so clear that another person hearing it would know how to receive Christ.
- Tell a little about your life before you trusted Jesus Christ; then tell about your conversion, how you came to trust Him, and something of what it has meant to know Him — the blessing of sins forgiven, assurance of eternal life, and other ways your life or outlook has changed.
- If you have been a Christian for some time, be sure that your testimony includes some current information about the continuing effect of Jesus Christ in your life.
As you prepare your story, ask the Lord to give you opportunities to share it. Pray for two or three people whom you would particularly like to tell about Jesus Christ in your neighborhood, at work, or at school. Then take the first opportunity to share your testimony with them.
Follow a format similar to this:
- Before I trusted Christ
- How I trusted Christ
- Since I’ve trusted Christ
The Bottom Line…
In conclusion, remember that you do not have the power in yourself to convince anyone of spiritual truth. The Holy Spirit convicts non-Christians of their need to know Christ (John 16:8). As you pray for those with whom you desire to share your personal testimony, be sure to ask God to honor the proclamation of His word, to convince people of their need, and to strengthen you as you share the gospel.
God has summoned each Christian to be a witness of what he has “seen and heard” (I John 1:3). Witnessing is a style of living — you are a witness at all times. Loving others and showing your genuine concern for them are practical ways to communicate the Love of Christ.
You also witness by your life. Actions are often more revealing than words. Your actions, however, are not sufficient to communicate to another the message of the gospel of Christ. You need to witness by your words — to identify openly with Jesus Christ and to tell others how they can be reconciled to God. One of the most effective means of communicating this to another person is the story of how God has worked in your life — your personal testimony.