Heroes Wk 3 // Baptism
- What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in life?
- Was it a good change or a bad change? What made it so difficult or wonderful?
- When you became a Christ follower, what changed?
Our lives change significantly when we come to know Christ, though sometimes we don’t see or recognize the full extent of that change in ourselves until months or years later. Baptism is an important picture of just how much our lives are changed—we died to sin and have been made alive in Christ. It’s a big step, but it’s also a simple step.
Baptism is your public vow that you are a disciple.
Have a volunteer read Matthew 3:13-15.
Eighteen years had passed since Jesus, at the age of 12, went to the temple and listened to the religious teachers.
- Why do you think He chose to go to a river to announce the start of His ministry, rather than back to the temple?
- What did He accomplish through this action?
- Verse 14 records John’s reaction to being asked to baptize Jesus. Are you surprised by this reaction? Why or why not?
John’s hesitance in baptizing Jesus makes sense. John’s baptism presupposed sinfulness, and John knew Jesus was sinless. For this reason he made a strong objection. That John recognized Jesus’ superiority is reflected in his words, “I need to be baptized by you.” Thus Jesus was not baptized for any sin in His life. There was none.
- What is something that has surprised you recently as you’ve followed Jesus?
- Why was Jesus baptized, even though He didn’t need to repent of His sins?
Jesus’ baptism has always proved to be a bit of a puzzle for the church just as it did for John. The sinless Jesus had no sin from which to turn. Why, therefore, did He desire baptism? Jesus didn’t need to repent; He is repenting for others. This is His mission. He came to do what we cannot do for ourselves. Since we cannot atone for our sins, Jesus does it for us. We have the whole gospel in the opening moments of Jesus public life.
Baptism is a testimony to your new life in Christ.
Have a volunteer read Romans 6:1-11.
- How would you define God’s grace?
- What kinds of changes would you expect to see in someone’s life once they experience God’s grace through salvation?
Paul argued that, as Christians, we have died to sin. Sin no longer is the primary influence in our lives. Confession of Christ as Savior and acceptance of His lordship means we have died to sin. We can’t live in that to which we have died. Baptism is a symbol of that great change that has happened in someone’s life.
Baptism is a step in obedience. Jesus told us to do this.
Have a volunteer read Acts 2:37-39.
Prior to this passage, Peter is preaching and shares several Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. His goal is to prove that Jesus was the One the prophesies were about. The people gathered hear Peter's examples and begin to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. This is what prompts the question, "what shall we do?"
- What does it mean to "repent?"
- Why are "repent" and "be baptized" the first two instructions Peter gives to new believers?
1. To feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin.
Baptism is our send off to make disciples.
Read Matthew 28:19-20.
- Why do you think Jesus commanded baptism when He sent out His disciples?
Jesus commanded baptism as a sign of their new life in Christ—it is symbolic of the fact that when we trust Jesus, all our sin is washed away and we live life as a brand new creation. In Romans 6, Paul further explains the relationship between baptism and our faith in Christ.
- Read 2 Timothy 1:7-9. What do Paul’s words say to those of us who might have fears or worries about being baptized?
- What are some of the excuses you have used, or have heard others use, for not getting baptized? How can you answer those excuses?
- What are you saying to others when you take the step of baptism? Why is it so important?
- What encouragement or support can you expect from the church when you declare your faith through baptism? How can we give that support to each other this week?
Thank God for Jesus’ example in being baptized and beginning His public ministry. Pray that we would understand Jesus’ role as a bridge between us and God, and that we would faithfully follow Him. Pray for those who need to take the next step of obeying God through baptism.