Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Lexington, KY. Pastor JOE H. HEAD
Pleasant Ridge Baptist ChurchLexington, KY. Pastor JOE H. HEAD 

BIBLE BAPTIST BAPTISM    by Pastor Earl Thomas

Text: Mt 3:5 “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet (meet means: worthy of; evidence of) for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto (unto means: as a sign of;in token of) repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: 12 Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. 13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The first rule of understanding what words mean in the Bible is the “rule of first use.” My text is the first Bible use of the word baptize. This passage defines what it is, and eliminates all that it is not.

The N.T. Greek language of the original scripture translated in these verses as baptize, uses the word: bap-tid'-zo. Means: to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism. Every time we read this passage we must think in our minds the word, “immerse.” Because that is what John did when he administered this ordinance.

There are several modern day, man made, definitions for what baptism is, but we Baptists have always contended that we follow the meaning as set from in the New Testament of our Bibles. Perhaps all denomination which have perverted the original meaning of the word baptism, admit that in the N.T. it meant “immersion.” They also concede that their traditions have changed the original meaning into a form more convenient for them to practice; hence, sprinkling/pouring of water over the subjects. This facilitated administering their perverted baptisms in places of little or no water, on the sick, invalid, and infants, and upon those at deaths door.

The desire to baptize such people was based upon another error of belief, by well meaning but ignorant church leaders, who believed baptism was essential to a person’s eternal salvation. So an easier way was sought. Baptism by a means other than immersion.

This was based upon misinterpretation of certain Bible verses, and upon the human tendency to assume that there is something we must also do in order to be saved other than to simply believe the gospel. Faith to them is not enough to bring one into a right relationship with God through Christ. So, they chose baptism as the way to put themselves into Christ and to literally wash away their sins. This is ALL WRONG!

This is why our church does NOT accept just any other kind of so called baptism, administered by other denominations as being just as good as what we Baptist’s administer.

When we baptize a repentant/believing person into the membership of our church we picture exactly what baptism did when practiced in the N.T. churches. Our baptism is exactly like what John the Baptist gave to Jesus and to those men whom Jesus soon chose to be members of the church which He organized, and to all those who came to him expressing repentance for their sins.

John baptized by immersion in water. He would not baptize just anyone. They had to show evidence of repentance. He called that “fruits” of repentance. In other words there must be a turning from their sinful lifestyles to God with a changed life as proof of their sincere inner heartfelt repentance.

Proof of the mode of baptism is self evident in this text. “16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water.” When reading the word baptized, think of the Greek meaning: “immersed.” John was immersing repentant believers. He was doing it in the Jordan river, Joh 3:23 “And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”

Don’t be fooled into a false picture of what N. T. baptism was. To perpetuate their errors on baptism, the false churches in the early centuries and today depicted their false traditions of baptism by drawings and paintings which illustrated, according to them, how John the Baptist, (John the immerser) holding water cupped in his hand or in a sea shell, standing ankle deep in the Jordan river, Jesus standing next to him as John pours the sea shell of water over the head of Jesus. This is not baptism, it is a lie perpetuated by those denominations which hate conformity to true N.T. practices and choose that which is more convenient or more pleasing to people.

Those early churches were conforming to the world, leaving N. T. Doctrine, and came to believe that they had a divine right to evolve Bible doctrine into whatever they wanted. The head bishops claimed authority from God to make such changes and that the changes were binding on all Christians to follow.

We believe there is historical evidence that traces Baptist kind of churches back to the church Jesus built, but that’s another sermon. However, those who were Baptist’ rejected unbiblical changes totally. Any believers who left the false churches and came to the Baptist kind seeking to join with them and support their conservative and Biblical doctrine, were REQUIRED to be re-baptized to become members.

Why was this? It was to repudiate their first but false baptism, and give them a scriptural one. So, it was actually not a re-baptism, but the first real scriptural one.

Throughout history those who have been members of sects that were found to be in error were baptized, not again, (for their baptisms were held to be invalid), but were baptized properly for the first time. This idea did not originate with "Landmarkism" of the 1800's but has always been a Baptist standard.
Tertullian, writing in the 2nd century on the Unity of Baptism says of those baptized in erroneous ways, by a false church or for reasons which were unscriptural, "And therefore their baptism is not one with ours either, because it is not the same; a baptism which, since they have it not duly, doubtless they have not at all; nor is that capable of being counted which is not had." It should be noted here that it is not the mode (immersion) that was being debated, for all immersed at that time, but that they came from sects in error who were spreading unbiblical false doctrine and the commandments of men.

The truth is that those persons DO NOT have real baptism who have been sprinkled as a child, or as an invalid who cannot get immersed, or by any other mode of baptism besides immersion of a believer by the authority of a properly organized Baptist church who is faithful to the biblical ordinance.

There is a legal way to become a citizen of the U.S.A. right? But there are many who choose an illegal way to reap many of the benefits of citizenship w/o actually going through the lawful way to citizenship. To them it is easier and just a good. But it isn’t, is it? They consider it just the same as the legal, but it isn’t, is it?

Much of the church movements today have exited the true N.T. ways of identifying what church life is supposed to be all about. They erroneously think that modern people need something new, something different, and so they give it to them. And it is so far away from every sensible position you read in your bibles, that it is NO WAY the same.

They use an alternative music program. Christian rock. Do not try to tell me that Christian Rock is music! It is not, it is noise. It does not invoke a deep sense of spirituality in the hearers. Do not tell me that a preacher dressing in blue jeans and tea shirt is just as good as one who looks the part. It am of the opinion that a Christian should look his best when he goes to church. That doesn’t mean expensive clothes, but clean and neat and the best you have in your closet. A famous golfer was once asked why golfers always wore green sports coats when the winners were given their rewards. He said, the winning golfer needed to LOOK LIKE HE BELONGED THERE!!!

The worldly minded sects who leave the traditional ways of worship are after one thing. They are trying to remove everything to which the people of the world object and because of which they refuse to come to church. Some even advertize, “If you hate going to church, come here. We’re not your parents kind church.” What makes it worse is they preach a watered down social gospel which doesn’t save anyone. They put out the fires of hell by denying there is one. They close the books on God future judgments by claiming that God is too good to send anyone to hell and that if Jesus died for all, then ALL WILL ULTIMATELY BE SAVED without repentance or faith. They administer a baptism which only gets one wet and then receives them into a church which in reality is NO CHURCH at all.

All alternatives which Satan offers as substitutes for real NT doctrine, church, ordinances, etc., ARE NOT JUST AS GOOD as the REAL THING. People need to open up their eyes to the deceptions out there. The only way to do that is to compare them with the Bible source of authority. If it isn’t in the bible, it isn’t right! If it is in the bible, it is right no matter who stand up and says it isn’t.

Substitutes have never been as good as the real thing. A ring gold in color is not as good as one of real gold! A Ford car on which you adhere a Rolls Royce emblem is not just as good as a Rolls, is it? Internally it’s still a Ford. A photograph of your family at Christmas time is not just as good as having your real family with you, is it? Just so, just anything that some church calls “baptism” is not just as good as one which is the same as the N.T. pattern practiced by Jesus, the Apostles, and the N.T. churches. This church can give you exactly that!

Real baptism can only be administered by a church to a person who has repented and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. When they profess this faith, we baptize them by immersion into our church. We also tell them they are to walk in the newness of life showing the world what a real Christian is.

Baptism is first of all a figure of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

It shows forth the persons faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. Ro 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection.”

Secondly, it is also a symbol of the person’s experience of salvation who is baptized. It says about them, that they have died to the old life of sin, they hereby bury their sins and that life in the watery grave, and rise from the immersion in water to walk in the newness of the Christian life. As a symbol, baptism does not save the soul, or wash away sins, it only pictures it. Baptism is only a symbol, a figure of something. Just like your family photo is NOT really them, but only a two dimensional figure of them.

It thirdly pictures, the truth that all who have faith in Jesus will one day die as a mortal human, they will be buried, but there will be a resurrection day when Jesus comes back the second time and the dead in Christ shall rise again with immortal bodies.

If baptism is only a symbol, then why be so picky about the details? Simple, we should want to be baptized the same way Jesus was. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right!


1. The right candidate, a believer in Christ for salvation, one who has repented of his sins and trusted in Christ.

2. The right mode, immersions in water, pictures burial of the old life of sin, and resurrection to walk in the newness of life in Christ.

3. The right purpose, to declare ones salvation not in order to receive it, and to picture the washing away of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, and

4. The right authority, a N.T. Baptist church. Our church will not recognize as scriptural any baptisms not administered by another Baptist church of like faith and order. Even some Baptists have agreed to accept alien baptism from other denominations as valid. If they do, it indicates to us that they DO NOT understand who has authority to baptize. It raises the question of how far those kind of Baptists can go and still maintain their status as the Lord’s kind of church and not be threatened with the loss of their lampstand? (Rev 2.5) This has to do with LOST authority as His church; to be removed from it.

Baptists who receive alien baptisms are not of like faith and order with us and we reject them and their baptisms.

Why is that? Because we still follow the scriptures instead of the traditions of men practiced by other denominations. Unless a persons baptism meets all four of these points, it is unscriptural and unacceptable to us.

We know this is a narrow position. John was narrow in what he set forth by God authority as the requirements for his baptisms. The same can be shown for all new testament examples of this ordinance. Here is our command: 1 Co 11:2 “....keep the ordinances, as I delivered [them] to you.”


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