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Baptism and Discipleship
What does it cost to become a disciple of Christ? What does it cost to be a disciple? Are they the same or is there a difference? Does it matter? What is baptism and how does it relate to discipleship?

The Great Commission

1. What great commission did Christ give His church? Matthew 28:19-20

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

2. How was Jesus baptised by John? Mark 1:9-10

“At that time Jesus … was baptised by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.”

The Ethiopian, baptized by Philip, went “down into the water” and then came “up out of the water.” (Acts 8:26-39).

“For the first thirteen centuries the almost universal practice of baptism was that of which we read in the New Testament, and which is the very meaning of the word ‘baptize’ — that those who were baptized were plunged, submerged, immersed into the water.” (A. P. Stanley, Christian Institutions, page 19)

In classical Greek usage the word baptizō is related to the word baptō meaning “to dip under.” It was used of the smith tempering the red-hot steel and also “to dip in dye, to color.” (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)

The Meaning of Baptism

3. On what three great acts of Jesus does salvation centre? 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

“I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you… [which is] of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without it there would be no Christianity, or hope of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).

4. In what way does baptism by immersion commemorate these three events? Romans 6:3-6

“All of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism … just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

5. How much does it cost us to become a disciple of Jesus? Ephesians 2:8-9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”  (See also Romans 6:23; Acts 16:31)

The Body of Christ  – The Church

6. Paul likens the church to Jesus’ body. How do we become part of that body? 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

“The body is a unit… and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body…”

This is spiritual baptism or regeneration by the Holy Spirit, symbolised by and preceding water baptism.

7. What does it costs us to be Jesus’ disciple? Luke 9:23-26

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

To become a disciple of Jesus costs us nothing — it’s a free gift of grace. To be a disciple costs us everything. Jesus first saves us then He asks us to obey Him. Baptism primarily is a public expression of our acceptance of what Jesus has done for us in His death, burial and resurrection.
Next, it symbolizes the change in the lives of those who accept Him.

Thirdly, it represents the entrance into membership of the body of Christ — the church and our commitment to follow Him as disciples.

Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay © 2001-2014, Westlake Village, CA.