What is Baptism?
Baptism is an explicit instruction that Jesus gave to His followers. New life in Jesus includes believing in Him, repenting of your sins, being baptized with water, growing to maturity in Christ, and identifying with God’s family (the church). Baptism is a public and outward expression of the inner experience of forgiveness and new life. See Matthew 28:18-20.
Why Should I Be Baptized?
Even though water baptism does not “save” a person (only God’s grace through personal faith in Christ does that) it plays a significant role in the Christian life. When you are baptized, it shows three important things about your faith:
- Obedience to Christ
Jesus specifically instructed His followers to be baptized after they had come into a saving relationship with Him. This was not merely a suggestion, but a command to be acted upon. In fact, from the very earliest days of the church Christians have practiced water baptism in obedience to Christ’s command. At Riverside Community Church we believe that baptism is a personal and intentional act that indicates we are serious about following Jesus. Matthew 29:18-20.
- Identification with Christ
We personally identify ourselves with Christ and His church when we are baptized. Through the physical act of baptism, we outwardly express the inner reality of our faith in Christ. Going under the water and coming out again is a picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to new life. Being completely immersed in water is a picture of our identification with this. Romans 6:3-4.
- Declaration of Faith
Not only is there a private acknowledgement of our belief in Christ, but through baptism we “go public” with our faith. It is an opportunity to publicly declare we have decided to become a Christ-follower. This public declaration is also a very meaningful experience for the entire church family and is a time of community celebration. It is also a public witness to others who have not yet decided to follow Christ. Acts 2:38-41. Baptism provides a powerful time for witnessing changed lives and for telling our stories.
When Should I Be Baptized?
One of the first things you should do after becoming a Christ-follower is to be baptized. See Acts 8:36-39. But even if many years have gone by, it is never too late to take this important step.
How Should I Be Baptized?
The root meaning of the word “baptize” is to dip, plunge under water, immerse, make fully wet. At Riverside Community Church we use the mode of immersion because it is the most vivid symbol of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4. Colossians 2:12.
Should I Be Baptized at Riverside Community Church?
The answer is “Yes!” if you have not yet been baptized and:
- You have received forgiveness of sin and new life through faith in Jesus Christ
- You understand what your faith means and how baptism symbolizes this
- You desire to obey Jesus’ instructions about baptism
- You desire to identify with God’s people, the Church, especially with our local church
- You are ready to “go public” with your faith and declare to the church, as well as to family and friends, that you are a Christ-follower.
How Can I Be Baptized at Riverside Community Church?
- Prayerfully consider your decision to be baptized
- Speak to a pastor or elder at Riverside about your desire to be baptized
- Review the information packet, complete the Bible study and the information form
- Prepare a brief written testimony about your faith in Christ and be prepared to share this verbally (3-5 minutes). We are available to help you with this as needed.
- Attend a Baptism Information Meeting
- Invite your family and friends to the baptism service – it will be a joyous celebration of your new life in Christ.