I have led many workshops on the Great Commission, but one in particular stands out in my memory. As the group of twenty or so, many of whom had been believers for a long time, went through the passage (Matthew 28:18-20), the focus of the very interactive discussion kept returning to baptism. By the end, many were in tears, repenting that they had failed to obey Jesus command to baptize new believers. The Holy Spirit was convicting them.
Here are four reasons why baptism is important.
- It is part of, or perhaps demonstrates, a rite of passage between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of light, between the old life and the new. (Acts 2:38, Romans 6).
- Jesus commanded us to make disciples and baptize them (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Informal statistics (research done by George Patterson) show that people are much more likely to continue their walk with the Lord if they are baptized immediately following their salvation experience (around 95% will still be going on with the Lord a year later). If this is delayed even a short time, then a year later, there is a much greater dropout.
- In many countries if a person becomes a believer, there is little to no problem. However, let him get baptized, and all hell breaks loose. When baptism occurs, something happens in the heavenlies. It seems that Satan himself is aware of the importance of baptism. We may not recognize it here on earth, but it is important enough that the spiritual powers take notice.
What other reasons can you think of?
A baptism that took place at our company recently