By Karen Polich

The gift of salvation is God’s grace in full display. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Baptism is the outward act of a heart that has accepted Christ. It demonstrates the life-altering change and is an act of obedience. Seeing hundreds of people in Malawi rejoice as they are baptized is an inspiring event.



The Spiritual Growth of a Child

By Pastor Trey Sullins

PART TWO (Read PART ONE here.)

Once a child has accepted Christ as their savior, a parent’s next question is often, “When is my child ready for baptism?”

Baptism is a wonderful act of obedience any believer can take. It is the outward demonstration of what Jesus has done in their life. For children, it can be both an exciting time as well as a frightening one.

The Bible teaches that baptism is the physical act of obedience that occurs after a person has given their life to Christ and accepted His gift of eternal life. There are some religions that have “infant baptism”, which is designed to insure salvation and dedication to God for the child before they can make that decision for themselves. AFBC believes the Bible teaches that as parents we dedicate our children to God and train them in His Word, but that is not salvation. It leads them toward salvation which they must choose on their own.

I like to use the analogy of the wedding ring. I ask the child if they know what it is. Often times they do and I am able to take it off and hand it to them. I then ask the question, “If I take off my wedding ring am I still married?” Some will answer yes and some will say no. Then I ask them, “If you put the ring on, does it make you married?” Then most of them get the idea that it is just a ring. I go on to explain that the ring is something I wear to show people that I am married. The ring doesn’t make me married, but is a symbol of my being married. The ring is like baptism. When you ask Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins, you get baptized to show other people that Jesus is now your “boss”.

Recently we had a number of the children in our church experience baptism. It has raised a number of questions among the other children. They want to know about baptism. What does it mean? Can I do it too? This is a great time for parents to begin a dialogue with their child to determine if the child is ready for baptism.

You will want to ask questions like:
“Why do we need to be baptized?” The obvious answer is, “Because God said so” or they might say, “To show others that Jesus is my boss.” You might also inquire, “Why do you want to be baptized?”

This type of conversation with your child will give you a better understanding of their level of comprehension.

When you feel your child is ready to be baptized, you can then communicate with a pastor that your child understands that they are a sinner and have accepted Jesus into their life and is ready to show others, through baptism, that they are now followers of Christ.

Scriptural Baptism

By Karen Polich

What does God’s Word say about scriptural baptism?
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

“Baptism is the outward sign of an inward act of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Michael M. Cook

Baptism communicates an act of obedience, demonstrating the first fruit of salvation. Obedience is part of who we are as followers of Christ. When it comes to baptism, what any denomination says is irrelevant, what matters is the Word. The Bible uses the Greek word, “baptizo”, which means to submerge, place under, immerse. Authentic scriptural baptism demonstrates the death and resurrection of Christ.

Baptism is the commanded symbol of our obedience; it is not salvation. Mark 16:15-16 tells us, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. In Ephesians 2: 8a we read, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…

We are called to:
1. Faith in Jesus (heart change).
2. Baptism (obedience).
3. Discipleship (teach, apprentice, share the gospel).

Baptism is the beginning of an obedient heart that seeks to grow in Him. As a follower of Christ, what hinders you from being scripturally baptized?

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