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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
– Acts 2:38-39
What is Baptism?
Baptism is simply a public acknowledgement of our faith in Jesus Christ. To baptise comes from the Greek word baptizo, and it means ‘plunge, sink, drench’ in large amounts of water. It is always a joyful ceremony with friends and relatives present to witness your faith in Christ. What lies at the heart of baptism is conversion – a turning from our sinful past towards Christ who forgives us of all our sins and gives us a brand new start which lasts into eternity. In baptism God blesses us with His Spirit. When we give ourselves to Jesus, God blesses us with the gift of his Spirit. God’s Spirit teaches us more about who Jesus is, God’s purpose for our life and it also gives us the strength to live a life pleasing to God. Baptism also shows we are now members of God’s very own family. This is why in most cases after your baptism you are formally received into membership of the church.
Why be baptised?
We get baptised because Jesus commands it. It isn’t something we do because we feel like it, it’s an act of obedience. Not only does Jesus ask us to be baptised, he also sets us an example at his own baptism even though he didn’t need to be baptised. And finally Jesus earliest disciples challenge us to be baptised. Peter on the Day of Pentecost urges all present to repent of their sins and be baptised. When we choose to be baptised we are doing what God requires – and this in turn pleases God.
What happens at the service?
At the baptismal service we publicly confess Jesus as Lord. Baptism is the great moment of nailing your colours to the mast and declaring that you belong to Jesus. In most instances you will be telling those present why you are getting baptised, what your journey so far has been like and so on (although this isn’t compulsory) When you are invited into the water by the pastor he or she will be asking you a few questions to ascertain your faith in Christ Jesus after which you are completely submerged in water for a few seconds. When you emerge from the water you will usually say ‘Jesus is Lord’ to which all present respond ‘Hallelujah!“