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Jesus is Baptised

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JESUS IS BAPTISED 

Scripture: Matthew 3:13–17; Luke 3:21–22; John 1:32–34; Acts 2:38

Memory verse: Acts 2:38
"Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."

Lead—In

Before class, collect a variety of hats, uniforms, and pictures of vehicles which represent specific professions, teams, or organizations. Examples are a military cap, fireman’s helmet, nurse’s cap, doctor’s stethoscope, team jersey, and a police car. Place these items on display

Give each student a sheet of paper and a pencil. Ask the students to number their papers and write beside each number what the corresponding item on display might represent.

When the students are done, pick up one item at a time. Allow the students to identify what the object represents. Call on a different student for each answer so all the students may participate.

Then discuss the purpose for the identifying clothing or equipment. For example, pick up the team jersey. Ask the students to identify what type of person wears it. When they say football player, ask how they know the person is a football player. When they have responded, ask, “Does the team jersey itself make the person who wears it a football player? If I put this team jersey on, does it mean I am a football player?” Help them understand the team jersey is a symbol that identifies its wearer as a football player. When a football player puts on the team jersey, he is showing others he belongs to a football team.

Briefly discuss the other objects on display. Have the students think of other symbols people may wear, carry, or use which show others who they are or what they do. Then tell the students they will be learning about a way certain people let the world know they belong to a very special group.

Hearing God’s Word

Ask: “How many of you have been baptised or have seen a person being baptised in water?” (Allow responses. Perhaps one of the students would like to describe his experience.)

Two studies ago we talked about John the Baptist, who was chosen by God to prepare people for Jesus’ coming. John was well known for baptizing people who had repented of their sins. John baptised Jesus in the Jordan River.

Why did John baptize people in water? Why do we still have the same practice in our churches today? What makes water baptism special or important?

Water Baptism—an Ordinance

First, water baptism is an ordinance that should be observed. An ordinance is a ceremony or an action that is carried out by Christians in obedience to God’s Word. (Write “Ordinance” on the chalkboard. You might ask a volunteer to look up this word in a dictionary and read its definition.) God has declared in the Bible that all Christians are to follow two ordinances or special ceremonies. These ordinances are water baptism and Communion. We will learn more about Communion later in these studies.

Following Jesus’ Example

Once in a while you may hear a person say, “I am saved, but I do not need to be baptised. It does not mean anything anyway.” But water baptism is important to the Christian. There is special meaning behind this ceremony.

When John the Baptist tried to stop Jesus from being baptised, Jesus insisted on it. (Ask volunteers to read Matthew 3:13–17.) The events surrounding Jesus’ baptism are another sign to us of His lordship. (Review the events briefly and point out that all three persons of the Trinity were present at Jesus’ baptism.)

Jesus is our perfect example in all things. Because He insisted on water baptism himself, every Christian should want to be baptised too. Anyone who does not follow Jesus’ example is missing one of the blessings of a full, rich life in Jesus. (Print Water Baptism on the chalkboard.) After Jesus went to heaven, His disciples continued to baptize believers after they had accepted Jesus as their Saviour. Peter’s words are our memory verse this week. (Repeat the memory verse several times together.)

An Announcement to the World

This still does not explain why God made water baptism a command for all to follow. One reason is that it is a good way to witness. When a Christian is baptised in water, he is showing others that he has given his life to Jesus. We talked last week about God using signs and wonders to prove the lordship of Jesus at Jesus’ birth. (Briefly review these signs.) Water baptism is a sign that proves*a person’s belief in Jesus. Baptism is our testimony to

*I have trouble with the word “proves” in the previous sentence. Baptism is evidence of a person’s belief – or is a testimony of the belief, which you later say. “Prove” seems to me to be a technical word and a bit strong for this place.

the world that we have been born again and we are going to live a Christian life. To a person who is not a Christian, our baptism is a visual display of our complete commitment to Jesus. In fact, in some countries Christians are disowned by their families after water baptism because their unsaved relatives recognize they are serious about serving Jesus.

The Symbolism in Baptism

Water baptism is not just for show. It has real meaning, a symbolic meaning. (You may want to ask a student to look up and read the dictionary definition for “symbolic.”) Something is symbolic when it represents something else. For instance, the grade you make on a test paper is actually a symbol of how well you did on the exam. It symbolizes your accomplishment.

Ask: “What does water baptism represent?” (Allow discussion.)

Going down into the water is symbolic of burying our sinful life. Coming up out of the water represents our new life in Jesus that has been cleansed of our sins. Remember—water baptism does not wash away our sins. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. Water baptism symbolizes what has already happened in our hearts through the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Some churches sprinkle water on new converts. (Print “Sprinkling” on the chalkboard.) We believe in immersion. This means the person goes completely under the water and then comes back up. (Print Immersion on the chalkboard.) Jesus was baptised this way, so we prefer to follow His example. Being completely covered or “buried” is symbolic of complete forgiveness and complete death to sin. When Jesus saves us, our sins are forgiven. We then give our lives to Jesus and live for Him as a new person.

Baptism is for all Christians

Ask: “What significance or importance would water baptism have for someone who is unsaved?” (Allow responses.)

Water baptism is simply an empty ritual if a person has not accepted Jesus as his Saviour. Water baptism alone cannot get us into heaven. However, when we have asked Jesus to forgive our sins and truly want to follow Him, water baptism takes on a beautiful meaning. Anyone who has accepted Jesus as Saviour can and should be baptised in water.

It is wonderful to start out one’s Christian walk by following Jesus’ example. Have you been baptised in water? Have you announced to the world that you have a new life in Jesus? There is no better way to begin than by sharing this message through water baptism.

Accepting God’s Gift

Water baptism represents what has happened to us when we receive salvation—our old, sinful lives are buried and we live a new life in Jesus because our sins are forgiven. Jesus’ death and resurrection make it possible for us to have our sins forgiven. God loves us so much He sent His Son so we could live with Him someday in heaven. God offers His love and salvation to anyone who will receive it. We can escape eternal punishment for our sins if we accept His gift.

Accepting God’s Word

Ask several volunteers to help list the reasons a Christian should be baptised. (It is to follow Jesus’ example, to be a witness, and to obey the command of God. Baptism shows an important symbolic meaning of salvation.)

Anyone can hear God’s words, but not everyone obeys them. Ask how many of the students know they are saved. Ask how many of them have been water baptised. Let several of them share their experience of water baptism. Make sure all students understand that God commands water baptism for those who have repented and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Some of the youth may be saved but have not yet thought of water baptism. Ask them to seriously consider this important step of obedience. Encourage them to talk to their parents and the pastor about water baptism. Their pastor can make arrangements for them to be baptised in obedience to God’s command.

Greetings

After a brief exchange, a man offered to lead us to the village chairman who was currently in a meeting on the outskirts of the village. I was surprised to find a gathering of 75 village leaders under a large tree. The chairman left the meeting to welcome us. Hearing the intent of our visit, he asked me to greet the people.

What an honor to speak to such a distinguished group! I understood this to be another divine appointment. The tour guide introduced me and then interpreted my remarks into Swahili. I began by thanking them for allowing us to interrupt their business session. I taught them how to say my name and told of reading about them in books. They applauded my next remark: “Now I see your faces, which are much better than the pages of a book. You are beautiful people!”

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Committed Messengers

1. God to call messengers to go to the Doe,
2. The Holy Spirit give to them a supernatural love for the Doe,
3. Messengers commit to do whatever is necessary to reach them for Christ.

Prayer Promise

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).

Remember: JESUS IS BAPTISED

Memory verse: Acts 2:38
"Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."

1. First step: Accept Jesus and be born again.
2. Second step: Obey Jesus' command to be baptised.
3. Third step: Enjoy God's blessing as I walk in obedience to His commands.

Pray for God to send messengers to the Doe.

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Study 4 | Will of God / Jesus is Lord | africaatts.org/go-teach

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