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As reflected in Article III of our bylaws, we believe Baptism is a symbolic act representing Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. A new Christian follows Christ’s example in symbolizing his own death to sin, burial, and resurrection to a new life as a believer by being baptized. Through the ordinance of Baptism, an individual demonstrates that he/she has turned from sin to Christ. Therefore, Olive Branch shall receive for Baptism any person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Jesus Christ publicly, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord, whether or not that individual chooses to become an Active Member of Olive Branch. Baptism shall be by immersion in water. Other modes of Baptism are acceptable for persons who unite with the Church having already experienced that respective mode of Baptism.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BAPTIZED
I. WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
1. To FOLLOW the example set by Jesus.
“And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.” Mark 1:9 (KJV)
2. Because Christ COMMANDED it.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you” Matt. 28:19-20 (KJV)
3. It demonstrates that I really am a BELIEVER.
“…and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” Acts 18:8 (KJV)
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” I John 2:3 (KJV)
II. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM?
1. It illustrates Christ’s DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION.
“Christ died for our sins– He was buried– and He rose again.” I Cor. 15:3-4 (KJV)
“Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him…” Col. 2:12 (KJV)
2. It illustrates my BIRTH as a Christian.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Cor. 5:17 (KJV)
BAPTISM DOESN’T MAKE YOU A BELIEVER — it shows that you ARE a believer. Baptism does not save you, only your faith in Christ can do that. Baptism is like a wedding ring–it is the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart.
III. WHY BE BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION?
1. Because JESUS was baptized that way.
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending
like a dove, and lighting upon him:” Matthew 3:16 (KJV)
2. Every baptism in the NEW TESTAMENT was by immersion.
(Example) “– then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water –” Acts 8:38-39 (KJV)
3. The word “baptize” means “to DIP UNDER water.”The Greek word bapitizo means “to immerse or dip under water.”
4. It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection!
The founders of denominations agree:
Martin Luther — “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”
John Calvin — “The word ‘baptize’ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
John Wesley — ‘buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
IV. WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Every person who has BELIEVED in Christ.“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized…” Acts 2:41 (KJV)
“Simon himself believed and was baptized…” Acts 8:13
“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.”
Acts 8:12 (KJV)
V. PARENT/CHILD DEDICATION
In some denominations, infant christening represents a decision made by parents that they are dedicating their child to Christ. In many ways, that’s the same reason we suggest baby dedications at Olive Branch. It’s a very important time for parents to commit to raising their children in accordance with the teachings of Scripture. It is important to understand that being christened or dedicated as a baby does not make one a Christian. Only a personal acceptance of Christ’s death on the cross for one’s sins and subsequent resurrection can accomplish that. While we recognize the right of other churches to practice infant christening, we understand Scripture to teach that only professing believers qualify for baptism.