What does God expect me to do?
and What is the Baptism ceremony?...
GUIDELINES FOR BAPTISM CEREMONY
This article won't "prepare" you for baptism, but will tell you what to expect once you've decided to be baptized. Please counsel prayerfully with the ministry. Do review the scriptures listed below as you "count the cost". Baptism is an adult-level, eternal decision about your relationship with the Almighty God, your Father, and your Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ. It also binds you into a family relationship with all the human children of God, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Think about baptism at least as seriously as you would think about marriage.
Unless you have actually seen a baptism you may have some niggling worries about what is to happen. In fact, as practiced across the centuries by the Church of God, baptism is quite a simple ceremony.
Remember above all that this is a joyous occasion - a bit like a family feels about the birth of a baby! For many it is a very emotional time, as they realize they are about to embark on a new life - life in Christ. When you come out of the waters of baptism you are spiritually clean, with all sin washed away through the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior. Surely something to rejoice over!
It should be pointed out that if you have any kind of dread of being immersed in water you should explain this to the minister concerned in advance of the appointment. Almost always it's possible to work out any difficulties. This applies, too, if you are disabled.
Let's look at some of the practical aspects of baptism.
First, the leadership will try to find as pleasant surroundings as possible - though some have been baptized in cold mountain streams or lakes, or crammed into a bathtub! You can help by locating a suitable place if the minister isn't familiar with your locality.
But what should you wear? Our recommendation is that you use neat "everyday" clothing - old but freshly washed and pressed. For men, a shirt and trousers is adequate. And for the ladies a swim suit under a simple loose dress which will still appear modest even when soaked through; you might consider a swim-cap if needed. Footwear is usually unnecessary. Of course, you will need a towel(s) and a change of clothes after the baptism.
The practical aim of baptism is that you be totally immersed in water - symbolic of the death and burial of "the old you". This aim is achieved by the method most comfortable in the circumstances. It means, of course, that your head will - very briefly - be under water. The person baptizing will consult with you as the best method for you. Usually this is from a standing or seated position with you holding your nose. Total immersion is achieved by gently but quickly drawing you backwards and under the water, and out again speedily.
At some time immediately before your immersion - usually while you are in the "pool" - you will be asked: What is your name? Have you repented towards God? Or similar wording. The minister will then say "[Name] I now baptize you into the Name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit, and I do this in and through the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins". He will then immerse you. You will be baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:27), not into a particular denomination. You will become part of the body of Christ along with all other true children of God (I Cor. 12:27).
That, in brief, is the baptismal ceremony.
However, it is not entirely complete, for the Bible clearly shows it is essential that baptism be followed by "the laying on of hands" (Acts 8:17) as a means of your receiving the awesome miracle of being begotten by the Holy Spirit of God. Following your baptism, those appointed by the Church as leaders will lay hands upon your head - asking God to place in you His Holy Spirit, and to endow you with the spiritual gifts He deems suitable for you.
If you have indeed truly repented, God will honor His promise and instantly beget you with His Spirit - "which He has given to those who obey Him". The Holy Spirit will no longer merely be teaching you "from the outside" but will be in your mind as Leader and Comforter and Helper, witnessing to your human spirit that you are indeed Our Father's Son or Daughter.
We can by no means limit Jesus Christ as to what gifts He places in His brethren in the Church. However, some groups almost "demand" that God gives the "gift of tongues" to all, and are expectant of a variety of physical manifestations - falling over, vain repetitions of the Name of Jesus, tongue-speaking, shaking, warm glows, etc. Sadly, they are often "rewarded" - but not from God - by a counterfeit gift of tongues and other "signs" that are far from being "holy gifts". This is mentioned here to caution against an expectancy of similar physical or falsely spiritual signs. It is the experience of the Church of God that spiritual gifts are indeed given to our brethren - but not, in recent centuries, the true Biblical gift of tongues.
Please feel free to invite any friends or relatives or Church members to accompany you on this momentous occasion.
These notes are for your guidance, and you need only remember those points about clothing, and a towel. The minister will discuss the other matters again with you when you meet for the baptism ceremony.
If you have further questions on any of the points mentioned here briefly, please be sure to write, call, or talk to the person who is counselling with you about your baptism.
Correct date and location
Baptism and my part in the lifelong process of Salvation
What "Faith" means in practice!
Step 1) God calls meRomans 8:16
to be His child1 Peter 5:10
to glory & perfectionHebr 11:35
to a better resurrectionActs 1:8
to be a witness of Jesus
Step 2) God gives me what I needActs 26:18
He opens my eyesRom 12:3
He gives faithActs 5:3
He grants repentanceEph 2:8
He gives salvationActs 4:12
Salvation is through Jesus
Step 3) I must get to know GodHebr 11:6
I must believe that God exists, and rewards those who seek HimRom 8:28
I must love God1 Thess 5:17
I must prayMatt 9:15
I must fastActs 2:21
I must call on God for salvation2 Tim 3:15
I must study God's written wordRom 10:14
I must listen to God's servants
Step 4) I must accept Jesus as my sacrificeRev 1:5
Jesus loves meRomans 3:23
I have sinned: I am a sinner1 John 3:4
Sin is transgression of God's law1 Cor 15:3
I killed Jesus ChristHebr 9:26
Jesus was offered for me
Step 5) I must show my repentanceActs 17:30
God commands me to repent2 Cor 7:8-11
I must sorrow over my old wayMatt 3:8
I must show fruits of repentanceActs 26:20
I must show repentance by deeds1 John 2:6
I must follow the example of JesusActs 2:38
I must live God's wayMatt 5:16
I must perform good works1 Cor 10:14
I must avoid heathen HolidaysMark 2:28
I must keep the Saturday SabbathHebr 10:25
I must attend church meetings1 Cor 5:8
I must keep God's FeastsMatt 6:24
Money no longer rules my lifeLuke 11:42
I must tithe1 Cor 6:9
No more immoralityEph 4:29
No more G**! J****! languageLuke 21:34
No more drunkenness and excessActs 10:14
I must not eat "unclean" animalsHebr 12:14
I must live at peaceEph 2:9
but I can't earn salvation
Step 6) I must count the costLuke 14:26-33
I must give up everything for Jesus1 Peter 5:9
I must expect afflictionsHebr 13:3
I must expect adversityMatt 11:28
Even so, Jesus's yoke is lighter
Step 7) I must be baptizedMatt 28:19
Jesus commands baptismJohn 3:23
I must be immersed under waterActs 22:16
My sins are washed awayRom 6:1-4
The "old" me is "buried". The "new" me is "raised" with Jesus
Step 8) I must receive the Holy SpiritActs 2:38
God promises to give His SpiritActs 8:18
I receive it by laying on of handsRom 8:16
It declares me God's child1 Cor 12:13
God adds me to the Body of Christ, the Church of GodGal 5:22
I will show the fruits of Spirit1 Cor 12:9
God may give me spiritual gifts
Step 9) I must be active in God's family2 Tim 2:2
I must be a witness of Jesus2 Cor 9:8
I must abound in good worksJohn 13:34
I must love my fellow ChristiansJames 1:27
I must visit the afflictedGal 6:2
I must bear others' burdens2 Thess 3:1
I must pray for those preaching2 Peter 3:18
I must grow in grace, knowledge1 Tim 4:12
I must set an example of purity
Step 10) God helps me overcome all difficultiesLuke 14:16
What are my priorities?Hebr 4:11
I must labor to enter into lifeRomans 2:7
I must patiently continue2 Cor 4:17
My light affliction works for gloryHebr 10:26
I must never reject JesusMatt 24:13
I must endure to the endMatt 19:26
With God, all things are possible2 Thess 2:16
Jesus and Our Father love us and give us hope!
Step 11) I must expect to be glorified with my elder brother, Jesus, in the Father's familyJohn 6:39-54
Jesus will lose no one1 John 3:2
I shall be like JesusRev 22:5
I shall reign with Jesus for everJohn 17:3
I will be with My Father for ever
This section needs edited. above
Baptism and my part in the lifelong process of Salvation
What "Faith" means in practice!
Step 1) God calls meRomans 8:16to be His child1 Peter 5:10to glory & perfectionHebr 11:35to a better resurrectionActs 1:8to be a witness of Jesus
Step 2) God gives me what I needActs 26:18He opens my eyesRom 12:3He gives faithActs 5:3He grants repentanceEph 2:8He gives salvationActs 4:12Salvation is through Jesus
Step 3) I must get to know GodHebr 11:6I must believe that God exists, and rewards those who seek HimRom 8:28I must love God1 Thess 5:17I must prayMatt 9:15I must fastActs 2:21I must call on God for salvation2 Tim 3:15I must study God's written wordRom 10:14I must listen to God's servants
Step 4) I must accept Jesus as my sacrificeRev 1:5Jesus loves meRomans 3:23I have sinned: I am a sinner1 John 3:4Sin is transgression of God's law1 Cor 15:3I killed Jesus ChristHebr 9:26Jesus was offered for me
Step 5) I must show my repentanceActs 17:30God commands me to repent2 Cor 7:8-11I must sorrow over my old wayMatt 3:8I must show fruits of repentanceActs 26:20I must show repentance by deeds1 John 2:6I must follow the example of JesusActs 2:38I must live God's wayMatt 5:16I must perform good works1 Cor 10:14I must avoid heathen HolidaysMark 2:28I must keep the Saturday SabbathHebr 10:25I must attend church meetings1 Cor 5:8I must keep God's FeastsMatt 6:24Money no longer rules my lifeLuke 11:42I must tithe1 Cor 6:9No more immoralityEph 4:29No more G**! J****! languageLuke 21:34No more drunkenness and excessActs 10:14I must not eat "unclean" animalsHebr 12:14I must live at peaceEph 2:9but I can't earn salvation
Step 6) I must count the costLuke 14:26-33I must give up everything for Jesus1 Peter 5:9I must expect afflictionsHebr 13:3I must expect adversityMatt 11:28Even so, Jesus's yoke is lighter
Step 7) I must be baptizedMatt 28:19Jesus commands baptismJohn 3:23I must be immersed under waterActs 22:16My sins are washed awayRom 6:1-4The "old" me is "buried". The "new" me is "raised" with Jesus
Step 8) I must receive the Holy SpiritActs 2:38God promises to give His SpiritActs 8:18I receive it by laying on of handsRom 8:16It declares me God's child1 Cor 12:13God adds me to the Body of Christ, the Church of GodGal 5:22I will show the fruits of Spirit1 Cor 12:9God may give me spiritual gifts
Step 9) I must be active in God's family2 Tim 2:2I must be a witness of Jesus2 Cor 9:8I must abound in good worksJohn 13:34I must love my fellow ChristiansJames 1:27I must visit the afflictedGal 6:2I must bear others' burdens2 Thess 3:1I must pray for those preaching2 Peter 3:18I must grow in grace, knowledge1 Tim 4:12I must set an example of purity
Step 10) God helps me overcome all difficultiesLuke 14:16What are my priorities?Hebr 4:11I must labor to enter into lifeRomans 2:7I must patiently continue2 Cor 4:17My light affliction works for gloryHebr 10:26I must never reject JesusMatt 24:13I must endure to the endMatt 19:26With God, all things are possible2 Thess 2:16Jesus and Our Father love us and give us hope!
Step 11) I must expect to be glorified with my elder brother, Jesus, in the Father's familyJohn 6:39-54Jesus will lose no one1 John 3:2I shall be like JesusRev 22:5I shall reign with Jesus for everJohn 17:3I will be with My Father for ever
God is calling You! Please respond!