This Matters: Baptism

Baptism is more than a mere symbol, tradition, or rite. Baptism is the first step of admittance that following Jesus Christ matters above all else. It’s saying that Christ’s act of saving me is now worthy of my obedience. No loopholes, no cutting corners, obedience is God’s love language…and baptism, instead of being a deterrent, is a demonstration of faith acting in obedience. 

Open: Describe a time when the enormity of a decision caused you to take a bold, unexpected, step.

Read: Acts 8; Isaiah 53; Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 6:1-14

Discuss:

1. As you read Acts 8, what makes God’s movement of Philip from Samaria to Gaza so intriguing? List some differences between Samaria and Gaza. What does this say about God’s plan to bring salvation to specific people at specific times?

2. Describe the situation facing the Ethiopian Eunuch (why was he a eunuch and what was his task?): Why do you believe he was traveling to Jerusalem? Why would he have left disappointed? Why would he have been reading Isaiah 56?

3. Upon hearing the gospel of Jesus, why does the eunuch ask about baptism? What does this tell us about the expectation of baptism in the first century? What Old Testament examples give us pictures of the New Testament perspective of Baptism? Throughout the New Testament there is clear emphasis on baptism. What does the word baptizo mean? Why is baptism so important in the life of a believer?  What is baptism mean to represent? In what ways does baptism paint a picture of the work of Christ for us?

4. In what ways does baptism act as a first step into the plan and purpose of God for believers? What does tradition tell us about the Ethiopian Eunuch? How does baptism represent that first bold step of many steps into our journey?

Pray: If you know Christ but have not been baptized, pray that God would help you take this first courageous step of obedience. If you have been baptized, pray for the faithfulness to take the bold steps God may be asking you to take at this moment in your journey.  

Memorize/Meditate: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4