BY:                     PASTOR JAMES OTCHERE


SCRIPTURE READINGS:  MATTHEW 28:19; ACTS 2:38; 8:36-39; MK 1:5



Water Baptism is a New Testament doctrine which was commanded by Jesus Christ for Christians. God’s purpose for all believers is that they might receive eternal life. Jn 3:15-17. Jn. 3:3,5.


Requisites for eternal life

  • For one to receive eternal life, he must be born again (regeneration) – Jn 3:3-5; 1Pet 1:3; Tit 3:5. Born again or Regeneration is to believe in Jesus Christ as your saviour; repent, confess your sins, and commit your entire life to follow Him. Rom 10:9,13; Acts 16:31. When one does this, eternal life is imparted into your heart, you then become a child of God and admitted into his Kingdom. This is what is called spiritual re-birth, or regeneration. Jn 1:12; 1Cor 5:17; Gal 3:26; 1Jn 5:13.


  • For a Christian to receive eternal life or enter into the Kingdom of God, he must also be born of water (baptised) and of the spirit (H. Ghost). Jn 3:3-5. 1Cor. 15:50; Tit 3:5.



The Greek word for baptism is Baptizo which means “to immerse”.

Water Baptism is a Christian’s public symbolic act testifying of his repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ.  In order words, it is one’s outward testimony to what God through his son Jesus Christ has done in his life which has now made him a son or a follower of him. Mk. 16:16; Matt. 28:19-20.



The following conditions qualify one to be baptized:

  1. Faith in Christ: One who through the gospel believe that Jesus Christ as the son of God.

Mk 16:16 “He that believe and is baptized shall be saved”.

  1. Repentance: One who wholeheartedly repent of his sin and confess Jesus Christ as his

Lord. Acts 2:38; 8:36-38. Rom 10:9.

  1. Ability to know right and wrong: Anyone who is matured enough to make his own

confession to follow Christ as his Lord and personal saviour. Acts 16:31.



Water Baptism symbolizes or stands for:

  1. Obedience: It is Christian’s total obedience to God’s command and his word. Mt. 28:19;      

     Mk. 16:16.

  1. Emulation of Christ: It is an emulation of Jesus Christ our Lord. He himself was baptized

so we also follow his example. Mt. 3:13-17; Jn 13:15.

  1. Crucifixion with Christ: By immersion, our old sinful life is crucified with Christ. Rom.6:6; Gal. 5:24;2:20.

  2. Burial with Christ: Through immersion we bury the old life. We therefore die to sin. Rom 6: 2-3; Col. 2:12.

5. Resurrection in Christ: Emerging out of the water signifies our resurrection to walk a new

life for Christ. That is, just as Christ was raised from death, in baptism we are also raised to

walk in new life for Jesus. Rom 6:4-5; Col 2:12; Gal. 5;24.


6. Identification with Christ: It is our identification with Christ death, burial and resurrection.

Rom 6:3-4 “all of us who were baptized were baptized into Christ death. We were buried

with him and just as he was raised from death we too may live a new life.”

  1. Forgiveness of sins: Even though there is no power in the water that forgive sin, Water

Baptism affirms that our sins are washed by God.  Ac 2:38; “And now why are you  

    waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the     

    Lord.” – Ac 22:16; Heb. 10:22; Col. 2:11-12.

  • Know that it is only through the blood of Jesus that sins are totally forgiven.(Eph.1:7).
  1. Confirmation of our Salvation: Salvation is found only through faith in Jesus Christ

(Ac 4:12;16:31; Eph 2:5,8.), but in baptism, God raises us into new life just as Christ was

raised from death to life. So our salvation is confirmed. Rom 6:4. “He who believes and is   

     baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16);   

     Titus 3:5.

  1. New Creation in Christ: It helps us to understand that our old sinful life passes away

(die to sin) as our sins are forgiven or washed away by the blood of Jesus. We then

receive new life (raise to new live) in Christ and become children of God. 1Cor. 5:17.

Ac 22:16; Gal.3:19-21,27; Rom. 6:6. We then have the ability to

communicate with God,  love and obey him. His life is now seen in us.

10. Clear consciousness. We affirm that our conscious have been purified by the blood of

Jesus. Heb. 9:14; 1Pet 3:21.

  1. Acknowledgement of faith: We publicly acknowledge our faith in Christ before men. Mt.


  1. A public testimony: It is a declaration to the world that God’s son Jesus Christ was

crucified, shed his blood and died on the cross for us. Rom 10:9; Acts 2:37,38,41.

13. Receiving of the Holy Ghost: It opens our hearts to receive the Holy Ghost and its gifts.

Acts 2:38.

14. Admission into the body of Christ: We are added into the body of Christ which is the

Church of God. Acts 2:41; 1Cor. 12:12-13.



Water Baptism can be administered in two ways.

a) In the name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost. Mt. 28:19.  This is the acceptable practice as

it was taught by Jesus.

b) In the name of Jesus is also acceptable. Acts 2:38; 10:48.


These are the only methods that are proved by scripture and are therefore acceptable. “For there is no other name…. whereby we must be saved”. Acts 4:12. There is only “one Lord, one faith and one baptism” Eph. 4:5. 


Water is the medium for Baptism but one must be submerged in the water, for this is what the scripture teaches. Acts 8:36-38; 10:47. However, it does not matter whether a person is baptized in a river, lake, pool, or church baptistery. Baptism is all about faith, identifying with Christ and walking in new life. Rom. 6:3-4.


7. BAPTISM BY SPRINKLING OR POURING  Rhantizo – to sprinkle; Cheo – to pour

Some translate water baptism as pouring or sprinkling. The Greek word for pouring is (cheno) and “sprinkling” (raino) but that of Baptism is baptizo which means immersion. Therefore sprinkling and pouring are not baptism.


In the 2nd century a document called the Teaching of the twelve Apostles (didache) was written stating that, baptism should be done in living water. Where there is no living water baptise in cold water and if you cannot, do it in warm water. But if there is neither cold nor warm water, pour water three times upon the head. Some churches have therefore adopted and maintained this old tradition. It is not biblical.



Any time one wholeheartedly repent of his sin, believe and receive Christ as his Lord and savior, he should be immediately baptized. Mt. 28:19; Mk 16:15-16; Acts 2:38.



Biblical baptism requires repentance and faith in Jesus. As infants cannot fully understand repentance and confession of sins, they are not baptised until they are of age to know right from wrong and make their own decisions.  Mk 16:16; Acts 2:8.



This is necessary with the following reasons:

a)      Wrong Mode of Baptism: When the method which was used was wrong. Eg. Sprinkling or pouring – only by immersion. Rom 6:3; Co 2:12

b)     Wrong Mode of authority: When the authority or name used in the baptism was wrong. It should not be in any order name besides God the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. Ac 19:1 -5.

c)      Wrong Purpose for Baptism:

i) Because everyone is doing.

ii) Baptised for the sake of parents, spouse, church leaders, friends etc.

iii) Baptised when he was a child or infant.


All baptism must centre on one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Mk 16:16; Acts 2:8.



  1. Jesus himself went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. Mk. 1:9; Mt. 3:13-16; Lk.3:12.
  2. Jesus made his disciples baptized many of his followers. Jn. 4:1-2.
  3. First Christian believers at the day of Pentecost. About 3000 people were baptized. Acts 2:41.
  4. Apostle Paul (Saul) himself. Acts 9:18.
  5. Cornelius and his family. Acts 10:47.
  6. Believers in Samaria: When they believed, both men and women – Acts 8:12-13.
  7. Simon the Sorcerer. Acts 8:12,13
  8. The Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized by Philip. Acts 8:35f
  9.             Lydia or Dorcas, the purple cloth dealer and her household. Acts 16:13-15.
  10.  The Philippian jailer and his household were baptized when they believed – Acts 16:30-34;
  11. Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue and many others in Corinthians – Acts 18:8.


There were two covenants (agreement) that God made with man. One each in the Old and New Testaments.

  • Old Testament Covenant: This was made by God and the people of Israel. Deut 5:2-3.
  • New (NT) Covenant: At the death of Jesus on the cross a new covenant was made by God with all men which ended the Old Testament covenant. Ep 2:14-16; Co 2:14.

The new covenant was given to the disciples and enforced by them. We are in the New Covenant. Heb 8:6-7; 9:15-17.


Water Baptism therefore is a New Testament covenant which was commanded by Jesus to be implemented after his death and resurrection but not before. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16.


  • Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, Elijah, the Prophets, believers of old and the thief on the cross etc. were all not baptised but saved as water baptism was given after Jesus’ death.


  • John the Baptism, whose baptism was in the New Testament era, was to prepare people for Christ – Baptism of repentance was done in his own name. Mk 1:4-5; Acts 19:3.



The following Old Testament invents resembles a kind of water baptism which is being referred to in the New Testament. This is what is called the Antitype.

Antitype: Greek word “antitupon” meaning, something formed after a certain pattern or that which resembles another type. One is the type and the other the antitype.


a) Noah: 1Pe 3:20-21. Though Noah was saved by grace of God through faith in him, it was

water that God used as a medium to save him and his household. So water in baptism is

also a means like the water that was used to save Noah. Gen 6:8 (grace); He 11:7 (faith);

1Pe 3:20(water).

b) Moses and the Israelites: The Pillar of Cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea by the

Israelites on the wilderness were God’s symbol of baptism dedicating them into his

covenant as his chosen nation. 1Cor 10:1-2; Ex. 13:21-22. Through faith and obedience

they were saved by them.



All Christians have been commanded by Jesus Christ to be baptised. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 10:48; 22:16.

Our disobedience is a disobedient to God’s word and Jesus’ command. It is a wonderful privilege of God to every Christian and those that obey are blessed.