Our Example in Baptism
Lesson 2

Our interpretation of history is one of the most significant decisions we will ever make. Though few people give a great deal of thought to the matter, this is a decision every one of us, consciously or unconsciously, must make. It is a decision about our religion, about our attitude toward things—how we relate to life. And perhaps most importantly, it is inseparable from our decision about the role we ourselves are going to play in this drama of history.

Properly understood, history is but the revelation of the grand purposes of God through all the changing fortune of men and nations. When we view history from this perspective, it becomes infinitely more than the record of the rise and fall of nations; far more then the story of the Alexanders, the Caesars, and the Napoleons. Though all these men and the events that surrounded their lives will certainly be found in the record of the past, it will be found that they were but incidents in the far greater story—the real meaning of life. They will be found to be only incidental to the working out of the Divine purpose.

The Bible is the most ancient and the most comprehensive history that men possess and by far the greatest portion of the Bible story is the history of the working out of God’s plan to restore man to his original state that through those who will choose to accept the restoration process, the original purpose in man’s creation will yet be realized.

1. In what town did Jesus spend His childhood?

Matthew 2:19–23; Luke 2:51
Matthew 2:19–23; Luke 2:51

2. What was Nathanael’s response on learning Jesus was of Nazareth?

John 1:46
John 1:46

Note: “Nazareth and Galilee were so despised in the eyes of the rabbis that they could scarcely say anything good about them. Especially did the Pharisees mimic and mock the way the Galileans spoke. This is evidently why the little maid so easily recognized Peter as being one of Jesus’ disciples; for, said she: ‘Surely thou also art one of them, for thy speech bewrayeth thee.’ Matthew 26:73. Their pronunciation of the Hebrew gutturals was very different from the Judean Jew, and the rabbis of Palestine used this against them in ridicule.” F.C. Gilbert, Practical Lessons from the Experience of Israel, 104. No doubt it seemed absurd to Nathanael that the long-looked-for Messiah should come from such a rude, unintellectual and obscure place as Nazareth.

3. Who was prophesied to appear before the coming of Christ?

Malachi 4:5-6
Malachi 4:5-6

Note: That there was a general expectation of the Messiah to appear and an understanding that this prophecy applied to that time is evident by the question the priest and Levites asked John the Baptist. See John 1:21. It was not, however, Elijah himself who was to appear, but someone who would in the power and spirit of Elijah do the work Elijah had done centuries before. This is evidenced by John’s denial that he was Elijah and Jesus testimony that he was in fact the fulfillment of the prophecy. See Matthew 17:10–12.

4. Who appeared shortly before Christ began His ministry work?

Matthew 3:1
Matthew 3:1

5. What was John doing?

Luke 3:3
Luke 3:3

Note: By a significant object lesson of baptism, John plainly showed that there must be a purification of the heart and life by all who would have a part in Christ’s kingdom.

6. What event took place at the very opening of Christ’s ministry?

Matthew 3:13
Matthew 3:13

7. What is closely associated with baptism?

Acts 2:38
Acts 2:38

Note: Jesus did not receive baptism as a confession of guilt but having identified Himself with sinners, He taking the steps that we are to take, doing the work that we are to do.

8. In what manner was Christ baptized?

Mark 1:9-10
Mark 1:9-10

9. Those who are baptized into Christ share in what experience?

Romans 6:3
Romans 6:3

10. How is such baptism described?

Romans 6:4
Romans 6:4

Note: Baptism is a gospel ordinance commemorating the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In baptism, public testimony is given to the effect that the one being baptized has been crucified with Christ, buried with him (put under the water), and raised with him (brought up out of the water) to walk in newness of life.

11. At Pentecost, what did Peter instruct his hearers who had repented, to do?

Acts 2:38
Acts 2:38

12. After being united with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection, what should the believer do?

Colossians 3: 1-2
Colossians 3: 1-2

13. Who is then to be living in the believer?

Galatians 2:20
Galatians 2:20

14. When Christ is living within, how is the Christians’ life different?

2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:17

15. What was Jesus’ last commission to the disciples?

Matthew 28:18–20
Matthew 28:18–20

16. As important as baptism is, can it have any value without faith?

Mark 16:16
Mark 16:16

Note: As important as baptism is, without faith, it has no value. Moreover, in giving the disciples their commission to go to all the world, teaching and baptizing, Jesus plainly told them that before they were to baptize a person, they were to teach him to observe all that He had commanded them. Obviously, this cannot apply to an infant. An infant can be dedicated to the Lord, as Jesus was as an infant (see Luke 2:22), but baptism is meaningful only when it expresses the believer’s faith. (See Hebrews 11:6.)

17. Upon one occasion, what did Paul do to those who had been baptized before learning all of the gospel truth?

Acts 19:3–5
Acts 19:3–5

With the emphasis that has been placed on baptism and its importance relative to our salvation, the question is raised in many minds as to whether it is possible for anyone to enter into heaven who has not been baptized. Again, we turn to the Bible for the answer.

18. What did Christ promise the penitent thief on the cross?

Luke 23:42-43
Luke 23:42-43

Note: After having found repentance, the penitent thief would never have had an opportunity to be baptized, yet he had the promise of Jesus that His salvation was assured. While this does not in any way detract from the command of Jesus to be baptized, or diminish its importance, it is a source of comfort to those who, for whatever reason, at the close of life accept Jesus without having had opportunity to be baptized.

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