Who Should Baptize Me?

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Who Should Baptize Me?

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Baptism is a serious, life-long commitment. For this reason, being baptized by a minister of God is an important and valuable part of the process. Through the minister’s experience and knowledge, he will not only perform the baptism but also help you understand how to more effectively prepare for it yourself.

A true minister of God is one who understands that God gave humanity His laws to show us His way of love. Those laws define how we demonstrate love to God and our fellow man (Deuteronomy 30:15-16 Deuteronomy 30:15-16 [15] See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; [16] In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.
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Matthew 22:35-40 Matthew 22:35-40 [35] Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, [36] Master, which is the great commandment in the law? [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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1 John 5:3 1 John 5:3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
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). Sin is violation of that law of love. God showed us a way to live in peace and harmony with Him and with mankind and defined this way of life by His law. When we sin, we violate or transgress that boundary and break God’s law.

A true minister of God understands that when God calls a person, He expects a twofold response expressed by Jesus in Mark 1:15 Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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: “Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Faith and grace are gifts of God (Ephesians 2:8 Ephesians 2:8For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
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). Likewise, God grants repentance, especially when a person prays for it (Acts 8:22 Acts 8:22Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
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). And Paul said, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4 Romans 2:4Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
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Jesus Christ Himself gave us a pattern to follow when He sought out John the Baptist to conduct His baptism

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?' But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him” (Matthew 3:13-15 Matthew 3:13-15 [13] Then comes Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John, to be baptized of him. [14] But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me? [15] And Jesus answering said to him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
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John was not only called by God to ministry in this way, but he was also a man who understood the seriousness with which we are to approach the Christian life. John was a representative of God who came proclaiming a baptism of repentance. John’s message regarding baptism differed from contemporary religious teaching in that he taught that baptism was much more than simply a symbol of ceremonial cleansing. He taught a baptism of repentance, confession of sin and the need for moral cleansing (Matthew 3:5-8 Matthew 3:5-8 [5] Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, [6] 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 to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
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After Jesus Himself was baptized, He encouraged His disciples to be baptized and, on His behalf, to baptize others. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'” (Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 28:18-20 [18] And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
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The book of Acts is a key historical record of what the early Church believed and practiced regarding baptism

The Acts of the apostles records the disciples beginning to do exactly what Jesus had told them to do. And this pattern we see over and over again in the baptism stories recorded in Acts. God’s ministers are sent to not only guide those called by God, but to also baptize them upon their repentance, and lay hands upon them asking God that they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:14-17 Acts 8:14-17 [14] Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John: [15] Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: [16] (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) [17] Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
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records one such account: “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Later in Acts 8, we have detailed the wonderful baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch by Philip. The Ethiopian struggled with Isaiah’s writings but God sent Philip to help with understanding the scripture. “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' And he said, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?' And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him . . . Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him . . . So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:30-38 Acts 8:30-38 [30] And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understand you what you read? [31] And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. [32] The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: [33] In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. [34] And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray you, of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? [35] Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus. [36] And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? [37] And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. [38] And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
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Sent by God, Philip was not only able to teach the Ethiopian about Jesus Christ and His dying in place of sinners. But he was also able to baptize him upon his acceptance and belief in Christ.

Likewise in Acts 16, we have the remarkable baptism stories of Lydia and the Philippian jailer. God’s representatives, Timothy, Paul and Silas were traveling through the city of Philippi when they encountered a certain woman named Lydia. She worshiped God and “the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” And she and her household were baptized (Acts 16:14-15 Acts 16:14-15 [14] And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things which were spoken of Paul. [15] And when she was baptized, and her household, she sought us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
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Paul, representing God, not only spoke the good news about the Kingdom and about Jesus Christ, but was also able to baptize Lydia and her household.

We read that soon after the baptism of Lydia and her family, Paul and Silas were thrown into Jail. While there, the jailer was inspired by the gospel message they brought, and “they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized” (Acts 16:32-33 Acts 16:32-33 [32] And they spoke to him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. [33] And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
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Since the days of the disciples, we see a pattern of God’s representatives being sent to baptize those who have come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul wrote: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15 Romans 10:14-15 [14] How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? [15] And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
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Do you believe God is leading you to a fuller understanding of Him and His Word? If the answer is yes, then you should seriously consider acting on the steps God is telling you to take.

Today the United Church of God has ministers in most parts of the world who are trained to counsel with and baptize those who turn to God in true repentance. If you perceive that God is calling you and you would like to counsel with one of God’s ministers, then please contact us and we will put you in touch with our ministerial representative nearest you.

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