Acts 8. Forum Discussion

When to get baptized

Chapter 8 is a fascinating chapter.  It begins with Luke’s account of the persecution that began with the church in Jerusalem.  He writes that Saul (Paul) was:

“Ravishing the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, and putting them in prison.” – Acts 8:3. 

This “Saul”, that was so horrible to early Christians would later become the apostle Paul and go on to contribute many of the writings in the Bible.  Isn't that amazing?  God was able to use Paul to become an apostle and to write almost half of the books of the New Testament, even after he persecuted the church and imprisoned Christians!  

From time to time, we may feel that our sins are so bad that God could never forgive them.  That is simply not true (Except for the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – Mark 3:29).

To learn more about the unpardonable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, click the link below:

Virtual Bible Study's Discussion Forum on Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Paul went from persecuting the church to dying for it as a martyr.  1 John 1:9 says:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

If we do not believe that God will forgive our sins, we are greatly underestimating His grace and mercy.  

Later in chapter 8, Luke writes about the Ethiopian eunuch that was returning from Jerusalem where he had gone to worship.  The Ethiopian eunuch was on the side of the road studying from the prophet, Isaiah.  The Spirit said to Philip:

“Go up and join his chariot.” – Acts 8:28. 

Philip asked the eunuch:

“Do you understand what you are reading?”  The eunuch replied, “How could I, unless someone guides me?”  And he invited Philip to come and sit with him.  Acts 8:30-31.

There are several teachable moments from this exchange:

  1. Philip reached out to the eunuch to see if he understood what he was reading.  He did not wait for the eunuch to come to him.  That is an example for all of us as we work to spread the gospel. 
  2. The eunuch was “teachable”.  Maybe we have had people offer to help us in our Christian walk, but our pride, or our busy schedules get in the way and we do not accept their invitation.  Again, we can learn from the humility of the eunuch who was receptive to Philip’s teaching. 
  3. It is ok to get some help in deciding when we are ready for baptism.  Philip did not have to stay and continue studying with the eunuch in order to baptize him. 

The eunuch asked Philip:

“What prevents me from being baptized?” – Acts 8:36. 

Philip responded in verse 37:

“If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

That was the only qualifier that Philip put on the eunuch being baptized. He wanted to make sure the eunuch believed in Jesus.

Before we conclude today’s study, we will review the following excerpt from Virtual Bible Study’s discussion on Mathew 3 about the baptism of Jesus and why we should be baptized:

FROM VIRTUAL BIBLE STUDY’S FORUM DISCUSSION ON MATHEW 3. A direct link is provided below.

Virtual Bible Study's Discussion Forum on Baptism

Why was Jesus baptized?

Why should we be baptized?

Our focus scripture can be found at the end of Mathew Chapter 3:

Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.  But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.  After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,  and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” – Mathew 3:13-17.

Before we look at why we should be baptized, we will at why Jesus was baptized, in His own words. In Mathew 3:15, Jesus answered John’s question about why He was being baptized this way:

“Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” – Mathew 3:15.

Jesus said that He was baptized, “To fulfill all righteousness.” Because it was the right thing to do.

Now let us look at how God reacted to His baptism:

“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” – Mathew 3:16-17.

Every child would love to hear those words from their father, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased.” It is hard to imagine how special it would be to hear those words directly from God.

We can learn two things from the baptism of Jesus:

  1. Jesus was baptized because it was the right thing to do (“To fulfill all righteousness”).
  2. It pleased God that Jesus was baptized (“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased”).

Are those enough reasons to be baptized?

Absolutely! 

What could be more important than doing what is right, and what pleases God? It is hard to come up with anything that would be a higher priority than both of those things.

Here are some additional reasons why we should be baptized:

  1. When we repent and are baptized, our sins are forgiven. Acts 2:38. “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. We receive the Holy Spirit when we repent and are baptized. Acts 2:38 again. “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  3. It is required to enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
  4. Baptism, along with belief in Jesus saves us. Mark 16:16. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

To summarize, in addition to obeying God, it is important to be baptized for the following reasons:

  • For the forgiveness of sins.
  • To receive the Holy Spirit.
  • To be able to enter the kingdom of God.
  • To be saved.

No other reasons should be needed for those that love the Lord and want to serve Him.

Thank you for studying with us today!  Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Acts 9. We will be studying about the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus. May God’s blessings be upon you until then.  Amen

Comments

Michael

The scriptures seem to indicate that baptism is necessary for salvation, but I do not know if that is a hard and fast rule. Jesus will judge us and He will determine the criteria.

Reply
Johnee

Yes it is

Reply