Lesson 6 Who Should Be
Reading: Acts 8:34–38
Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the
3:1, 2. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching
in the wilderness of Judaea, 2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom
of heaven is at hand.
3:3–8. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of
repentance for the remission of sins; 4As it is written in the book
of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the
wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5Every
valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and
the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6And all flesh shall see the
salvation of God. 7Then said he to the multitude that came forth to
be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the
wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,
and begin 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.
they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were
added unto them about three
8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom
of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
22:16. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy
sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
ON THE LESSON TEXT
3:1, 2. John had more than baptism to
preach, he preached repentance and the kingdom of God.
3:3. John connected repentance and the remission of sins with baptism. It is
not baptism that effects remission but repentance. Baptism testifies to this
remission. V7. John did not baptize without question all who came to him.
This is a good hint to ministers. V8. John demanded not only professed
repentance but evidence that repentance had taken place. He demanded reformation
of life. Neither race, blood, nor religious associations entitle on to baptism,
but a definite change of character.
2:41. Those baptized were such as received the word. An intelligent
acceptance of the truth precedes baptism.
8:12. Philip’s converts first believed then were baptized. Both men and
women are included, but no mention is made of infants.
22:16. Baptism is insisted upon as an immediate act; no tarrying is to be
permitted. In baptism there is a cleansing from sins, which, however, is
ceremonial, but nevertheless important.
TOPIC: WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED
PROPER CANDIDATES FOR BAPTISM
The commission to baptize reaches to all the world, all nations, to the end of
the world. B) Both sexes are included. Circumcision in the Old Testament was for
males only, but baptism is for both men and women.
Jesus so taught (see Mark 16:16). Believing is to precede baptism, and baptism
without faith is of no avail. B) Those who heard and believed Philip were
baptized. There is first an assent to the truth. Philip preached more than
baptism, all of which was believed. C) Those who received the word were
baptized. This implies more than a passive belief and assent. There is included
an active acceptance of the conditions imposed in the message. All unbelievers,
disbelievers and rejecters of the message are excluded from baptism.
John taught repentance with baptism. He required his converts to first repent,
and in some instances demanded proof of repentance in amended lives. B) Peter
likewise required repentance fist (see Memory Verse). Though these were Jews and
professed people of God, repentance was demanded of them to precede baptism.
Baptism symbolized the death to sin and new life in Christ, therefore it is
proper for converted people only. Those who are still sinners are not proper
candidates. B) The Samaritans were converted under Philip’s preaching and were
baptized. They had not yet received the Holy Ghost. Ordinarily baptism follows
conversion and precedes the reception of the Holy Ghost. In two instances—the
cases of Paul and of Cornelius—the Holy Ghost was received previous to
baptism. In both instances baptism immediately followed.
THE BAPTISM OF INFANTS
The doctrine stated.
The Catholic position. Catholics hold that baptism is a sacrament and necessary
to salvation. No unbaptized infant can enter heaven. B) The Protestant position.
On the contrary, most Protestants who practice infant baptism hold that the
children of Christians are holy and that “of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Therefore they are entitled to baptism.
Arguments in its behalf.
The Catholics claim no Scriptural ground for the practice, holding church dogma
sufficient. The doctrine is consistent with their system. B) Protestants admit
that it is not directly taught in the Scriptures but they seek to establish it
on the following Scriptural grounds: It takes place of circumcision. This
ceremony has ceased, and baptism takes its place. Jesus blessed the children
brought to him. We should bring them to him in baptism.
Objections to it.
Christ said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” This should silence the
Catholic position. B) Baptism does not take the place of circumcision. The
Jewish Christians baptized and also continued circumcision. They had both.
Circumcision typifies conversion, not baptism. There is no proof of the baptism
of infants. The jailer’s family all heard the word, believed, and rejoiced. No
infants were present. There is no evidence of infants in the other cases. It
originated in the apostasy under the idea that baptism is necessary salvation.
Protestants have perverted the original meaning of the rite. It is unnecessary.
It bestows no spiritual benefit on the child and does not make his later
conversion probable. It is positively harmful. The child is led to believe that
he is a Christian because he was baptized, so he does not feel the need of
conversion. It becomes a substitute for the new birth. It perverts the purpose
of baptism. It robs it of its true symbolic character as representing a definite
BAPTISM IS NOT A SAVING ORDINANCE
It is not intended to save.
It cannot by its nature. It is a ceremony performed by man, whereas salvation is
a divine work wrought in the heart by the power of God. B) It is not the new
birth, for baptism has no spiritual life to impart. We are born of the Spirit
and not of the will of man, which would be the case were baptism the new birth.
C) We are saved through the blood of Christ, and not through water baptism.
It fails to save.
Simon the sorcerer believed and was baptized, but Peter found later that his
heart was not right. Possibly his repentance had not been genuine. B) Multitudes
today depend on baptism for salvation but they are not saved from sin. Baptism
cannot change the heart.
Salvation must come first.
Repentance and faith precede baptism. These are the conditions for salvation,
and when they are met from the heart one is saved though not yet baptized. B)
Some were sanctified before baptism. This proves beyond doubt that salvation
precedes baptism, for God does not give the Holy Ghost to unsaved people. Since
people may be both saved and sanctified before baptism, it is not a saving
ordinance. C) Baptism is a burial, so it follows death. Men must first be dead
to sin. We do not bury people to kill them but because they are already dead.
Its salvation is ceremonial.
There is a cleansing in baptism. Baptism is connected with remission of sins by
Peter, and Paul is told to wash away his sins. B) Paul was saved, sanctified,
and commissioned to preach previous to his baptism. The actual cleansing had
taken place. He was not to wash away his sins ceremonially. C) Peter calls it
salvation in a figure. It was the ark, not the flood that saved Noah. One may be
saved without baptism. The dying thief is an example.